‘ONLY Gibraltar will decide who is able to enter Gibraltar’ as part of the Schengen ‘in principle’ deal, its Chief Minister revealed.
Fabian Picardo said this was an essential part of the New Year’s Eve agreement with Spain that allowed Gibraltar to avoid a hard Brexit.
The reassurance in an interview with the Gibraltar Chronicle comes after Spanish Foreign Minister Arancha Gonzalez Laya claimed Spain ‘will have the last say’.
After the agreement was announced at 3pm on the Rock, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson tweeted about his ‘enthusiasm’ for the last-minute agreement.
Minister for Economic Development in Gibraltar Joe Bossano even said that it was all sown up before the Spanish backtracked two weeks before the end of the transition period.
Gibraltar officials are already writing up what they think will be the final treaty will look like that is to be signed in six months time.
Even the right-wing Junta de Andalusia regional government and Campo mayors have supported the agreement.
If the final treaty is signed after six months of talks, it would make British Gibraltar have two border entry checks.
The first one would be staffed by the Borders and Coastguard Agency (BCA) and the second by the Frontex with access to the Schengen database.
Although Spain, and not Gibraltar, has access to that database, it is controlled by the European Union and not exclusively by Spain.
One of the main issues believed to have been discussed was if Spanish police would take that role at air and sea ports.
“Only once entry into Gibraltar has been granted by Gibraltar by the BCA, then entry into the Schengen area will be determined by Frontex officers,” Picardo told The Gibraltar Chronicle.
“They will be connected to the European Schengen Information System which will be remotely provided to the Frontex officers by Spain.
“We will not accept Spanish law enforcement officials wearing an arm band as Frontex Statutory Corps.”
It is possible that a disagreement between the two could lead to a case being brought before the Gibraltar courts.
“The only law and jurisdiction which will apply to anyone detained in Gibraltar will be Gibraltar law,” added Picardo on the matter.
This would mean Gibraltar has the final say on who enters the Rock through its law courts.
The Chief Minister also revealed that the nationality of the Frontex officers would be of ‘the nations that make up Frontex’.
Finally, Picardo summed up the results of the agreement quite neatly: ‘Sovereignty safe, prosperity protected, mobility assured’.
The final deal would lay out a ‘shared prosperity treaty’ which could benefit the whole area and the Rock more than ever.