7 Jul, 2023 @ 09:25
1 min read

There could be a referendum if EU treaty talks ‘relate to sovereignty’, Gibraltar leader says

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THE Chief Minister of Gibraltar Fabian Picardo admitted that there could be a referendum if issues at EU treaty talks ‘relate to sovereignty’ in a recent UK parliamentary hearing.

At the House of Commons’ European Scrutiny Committee meeting on July 5, Picardo said a referendum could also take place if an area of the deal ‘changes the way things are done in Gibraltar’.

But he denied reports that negotiations were stalled on the issue of the airport, instead saying the pause in talks was because of the national Spanish elections on July 23.

“The talks were sticky, difficult and intense, which is exactly what you would expect in this process as it comes towards an endgame,” Picardo said.

He said most of the obstacles to a final deal were not practical issues but ‘political’ ones he believed could be resolved.

The Chief Minister said one particular area which ‘can deliver prosperity’ but had to be done ‘in a way that is sovereignty neutral’.

He did not mention the issue in particular though, as has been the case throughout the talks.

Any such controversial changes could mean a referendum, although this would probably be after the four-year trial of the EU Treaty, he explained.

“If an issue touches and concerns sovereignty – and it won’t – then it has to go to a referendum,” he said.

“If an issue in the treaty does not touch and concern sovereignty but changes the way things are done in Gibraltar, it may be necessary to put it to a referendum.”

The Committee also gave the Rock’s leader a severe grilling on other issues, including how the Schengen Zone connected to the airport.

Picardo replied that there were already plans in place for a separate Schengen area next to the border which would be added to the air terminal.

This adaptation could be used to allow the processing of visitors who would not pass through Gibraltar but go straight into EU territory.


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