THE Chief Minister has said he believes that Gibraltar could have a ‘safe and secure’ EU treaty ‘in the first half of 2024’.
In his New Year’s message Chief Minister Fabian Picardo rued Brexit had forced Gibraltar to a negotiating table it ‘never wanted a seat at’.
He vowed he would never compromise on ‘British sovereignty, jurisdiction or control of Gibraltar’ as he and his government ‘will not do it’.
And he added it was ‘pure fantasy’ that an EU treaty could have been signed earlier, as critics have suggested.
The Chief Minister spoke of the ‘complex, sophisticated, ongoing discussion’ that had taken place at the talks.
He said that parts of the discussion with the EU and Spain ‘may cause us discomfort’.
“But we cannot scupper the future of our children for the sake of short-term political advantage,” he said in his message.
“I believe that in the first half of 2024 the question of Gibraltar’s future relationship with the EU will be resolved.
“So we have to be ready to deal with any pressures that may come as we work through the end game of this negotiation.
“Patience and stoic calm will be our only allies as we work through this period.
“But, with the UK on our side, we will get to the right conclusion.”
The prediction that the two year-long discussions will come to a probable end in the next six months is the first time Gibraltar has set a deadline to get the deal done.
Spain has already hinted that the cut-off point for talks could be the European elections on June 6-9.
The New Year message followed Spanish Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Albares’s declaration that talks are continuing at ‘a very good rhythm’ after the 14th round of negotiations in London.
“The proposal for a balanced, generous and good agreement to create the zone of shared prosperity is on the table,” Albares said.
“We continue to talk and negotiate with great intensity.”
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