29 Dec, 2022 @ 09:00
1 min read

Cadiz politician calls for ‘courage’ to clinch EU treaty ‘utopia’ on Gibraltar as Spain digs in on demands

Gib Lit Fest 1 2
The Rock of Gibraltar at dawn, a trail of steam running off its peak in at the crack of dawn. Credit: Walter Finch

A LEADING politician from Andalucia has called for ‘more courage’ from Spain, the UK and the EU to reach agreement on Gibraltar’s post-Brexit future.

Juan Carlos Ruiz Boix, secretary general of the PSOE in Cadiz and mayor of neighbouring town San Roque, said he wanted to see ‘the utopia’ of the end of the frontier come true.

“If we are sharing the same territory, we have to share a zone of shared prosperity, which is the challenge that Pedro Sánchez had in December 2020,” Ruiz Boix said.

“I would ask all those who are at that table to act with courage and close the agreement that almost 300,000 inhabitants are wishing for,” he added.

He was referring to the 270,000 people of the Gibraltar Campo and the Rock’s population.

It followed a meeting between the UK and Spain in Madrid on December 14.

UK foreign minister David Cleverly and Spanish minister for foreign affairs Jose Manuel Albares said they wanted to agree on the EU treaty ‘as soon as possible’.

Talks between the EU, Spain and the UK started after the New Year’s Eve Framework Agreement on December 31, 2020.

But two years on, disagreements on pensions, use of the airport, military, VAT, border control and environmental issues seem to be holding back a final deal.

The mayor of border town of La Linea, Juan Franco, has been especially vocal about his desire for a final EU treaty.

“We are the only municipality in the EU that borders a Brexit area, with a third of the active population working in Gibraltar and with a third of the turnover of many companies dependent on clients from Gibraltar”, Franco said.

But despite the Spanish government’s desire to continue to take part in new rounds of negotiations, its foreign minister appeared intransigent in a December 19 interview with the Joly media group.

Asked whether there would be further rounds of talks, Albares indicated he was ready for more but said it was up to the UK now.

“There will be if it is necessary for some more detail, but the Spanish proposal is on the table,” he said.

“Spain is prepared to reach that agreement tomorrow. As far as Gibraltar is concerned, the ball is now in the British court.”

Gibraltar Chief Minister Fabian Picardo has said he would continue to negotiate with Spain until .

But he also said had expected a last-minute attempt to up the ante and demand that little bit extra from Gibraltar.


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