THE Gibraltar Government is ‘very optimistic’ that the UK, EU and Spain will sign a ‘safe and secure treaty’ after its leaders met in Madrid before setting off to the UK.

It comes after Chief Minister Fabian Picardo led a delegation including Deputy Chief Minister Joseph Garcia and Attorney-General Michael Llamas to the Spanish capital.

Llamas is then set to head to London to take part in the next formal round of negotiations with the EU, with the other pair joining on a video link.

“The Government remains fully committed to a positive, safe and secure treaty for Gibraltar and is very optimistic that such a treaty will be agreed,” a spokesman told the Olive Press.

The latest round of talks come as a prominent Spanish think-tank advised Madrid to sign a deal ‘as soon as possible’.

The Elcano Royal Institute released its annual ‘Spain in the world’ report last week signed by 34 co-authors.

The institute said that as ‘key partner of the UK in many trade sectors’ an agreement would be in its favour and if hard borders came in it would threaten ‘10,000 Spanish jobs’.

“Spain has too close a relationship with the UK and needs fluid trade, stable investment and a cooperative relationship with Gibraltar,” the report said.

Spain’s Foreign Minister said his government was ‘very close to a deal’ with the UK at last week’s Davos economic forum.

Jose Manuel Albares added the UK was acting with ‘a constructive spirit’ suggesting the two-year wait for an EU treaty could be coming to an end.

Picardo meanwhile told GBC the details of the draft treaty were ‘mind-blowing’.

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