DEPUTY Chief Minister of Gibraltar Joseph Garcia admitted ‘there are some lines we cannot cross’ as he visited Brussels during the latest round of EU treaty talks.
British and European Union diplomats are trying to thrash out a deal in round 16 of negotiations over Gibraltar’s post-Brexit future.
And while Garcia said his government ‘remains fully committed’ to getting the free movement Gibraltar desire, he pointed out it was just as ready for ‘no treaty’.
The latest ‘technical round’ in Brussels started is running from January 23-25 in the Belgian capital.
Attorney General Michael Llamas and Gibraltar House director Daniel D’Amato presented the Rock’s perspective at the latest talks in the Belgian capital.
“This is a technical round with officials representing the European Union and the United Kingdom, together with Gibraltar,” a government spokesman said.
Garcia had made his government’s views known at a meeting of the UK-EU Committee of the Regions Contact Group.
The government said in a statement that he had ‘expressed hope that an agreement would be arrived at soon’.
Garcia’s speech – delivered just five minutes away from the location of this week’s talks – stressed how Gibraltar needed a different arrangement to the UK itself.
“He said that what was on the table was essentially a mobility deal to allow for the fluid movement of persons, with a number of add-ons including in relation to the movement of goods,” the Rock’s government reported.
“He said that Gibraltar was one of the areas of unfinished business of Brexit, and that the Windsor Framework on Northern Ireland had created a positive background.
The Liberal party leader said while he had also planned for no deal, it would have ‘serious consequences’ for people on both sides of the border.
“He said this was not in the interests of citizens or businesses,” the government continued.
“Brexit could not be allowed to destroy an example of European cross border cooperation.”
During the visit, Garcia is meeting diplomats, European Parliament members, the UK ambassador to the EU and Gibraltar’s own negotiating team.
Chief Minister Fabian Picardo said recently that he believed the talks could end successfully in the first six months of 2024.
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