7 Nov, 2022 @ 16:22
1 min read

Gibraltar leaders fly to London ahead of EU treaty talks in Brussels later this week

725.7 2022
CLEVERLY DONE: Chief Minister Fabian Picardo lets Foreign Secretary James Cleverly know which team to bat for in EU tallks over a treaty

A NEW round of negotiations between the UK and the EU on a post-Brexit treaty on Gibraltar will take place in Brussels later this week, the Rock’s government said.

Gibraltar Chief Minister Fabian Picardo and Deputy Chief Minister Joseph Garcia travelled to London Sunday to prepare for the latest round of talks.

Despite the subject of the talks remaining secret, the two leaders have been intensifying their lobbying of the Conservative party for support over the last few months.

It comes as press reporters intensify their speculation of what is going on behind closed doors.

The British embassy recently denied an EFE report suggesting that Spain was delaying its recognition of British licences barring a favourable deal on Gibraltar.

The original European Commission mandate for the negotiations was the first nail in the coffin for the Rock.

Picardo tweeted last year that it ‘strays unhelpfully from the New Year’s Eve Framework Agreement & cannot form the basis for the negotiation of an agreement of a UK treaty with the EU in relation to Gibraltar’.

Rock leaders have also been trying to keep the British side satisfied on its demands about a total disconnection from the EU.

“I see no future role for the European Court of Justice,” Boris Johnson said last year in answer to a question on Gibraltar.

The former Prime Minister’s reply represented a real obstacle for the Rock’s hopes to forge an agreement with the EU.

It remains to be seen whether Sunak’s more practical economic approach will benefit or hinder Gibraltar.

Picardo, however, rubber-stamped the appointment of James Cleverly as Foreign Secretary, giving further hope of achieving the much coveted EU treaty.

Originally appointed to the role in the short-lived premiership of Lizz Truss, Sunak gave the Foreign Secretary a second bite of the cherry even after he supported Boris Johnson’s return to the top job.

If all sides sign the treaty this year, it could see Gibraltar remove its frontier, allowing free access to the Rock for the first time in a Schengen style arrangement.

The alternative would be a no-deal scenario with a hard EU border on Gibraltar’s doorstep, leading to long delays coming into and out of the British overseas territory.


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