CHIEF Minister Fabian Picardo said he is hoping the ‘good will’ of Christmas can help push EU treaty talks ‘forward in some way, if we can’.

Picardo echoed the words of Gibraltar Governor Sir David Steel who said he wanted to see an ‘in principle agreement’ during the festive season.

The comments were both fruit of interviews carried out by local broadcaster GBC after Picardo returned from talks in Malaga.

He had travelled to the nearby city with Deputy Chief Minister Joseph Garcia to continue EU treaty talks.

“The people around the table have all become at a personal level quite friendly, but we’re sick of seeing each other to talk,” he said.

“We want to see each other to sign!” he exclaimed.

But he said he did not want to put a ‘timeline on the table’ adding that ‘objective criteria’ could push the negotiations towards agreement or not.

Picardo did not comment on Spanish Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Albares and the Governor’s claims that the airport was a sticking point.

“I have to keep it to myself at this time because I think it is in the interests of the people of Gibraltar that I do,” he said.

Instead, he promised to leave the talks with an agreement that was both ‘safe and secure’ and also ‘beneficial’.

He told GBC his government alliance was also preparing for the future after early estimates of the 2022 census suggested the local population had grown to 38,000 people.

There are now 6,000 UK nationals living locally, 900 Spaniards, over 250 Moroccans and 2,000 people of other nationalities.

“Our power station is designed for upto 80,000 people,” Picardo said.

“We have an outstanding service for the 38,000 if that is the final conclusion of number of residents of Gibraltar.

“We are already planning additional schools to come in the future, potentially on the Eastside,” he added.

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