12 Apr, 2024 @ 12:42
2 mins read

IN PICTURES: Gibraltar Chief Minister Fabian Picardo meets David Cameron in Brussels ahead of crunch talks with Spain and the EU

CHIEF Minister Fabian Picardo was in Brussels this morning to meet with David Cameron ahead of today’s crunch talks with the EU on Gibraltar’s status post-Brexit.

Just hours earlier, the Chief Minister had enjoyed a working breakfast with his team on a big day for Gibraltar.

The Gibraltar delegation will sit with counterparts from the UK, the EU and Spain this afternoon to try to thrash out a deal regarding the territory’s relationship with the EU – and specifically the border with Spain.

Around the table Picardo and Cameron will be facing off with the Spanish Foreign Secretary José Manuel Albares and EU bigwig Maroš Šef?ovi?.

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Chief Minister Fabian Picardo (left) and Foreign Secretary David Cameron (right) enjoy a light moment ahead of their high-level talks

The highly contentious talks, which have worn on since 2020, had previously broken down after Spanish officials insisted that the UK surrender control of Gibraltar Airport, which includes an RAF base.

However, sources from the EU were quoted this week as being ‘optimistic’ that a resolution would soon be found.

Picardo, leader of the Gibraltar Socialist Labour Party, will be accompanied for the meeting by the Deputy Chief Minister Dr Joseph Garcia, the Attorney General Michael Llamas and the Chief Secretary Glendon Martinez.

The meeting will be the highest level multilateral negotiation ever attended by a Gibraltar Chief Minister.

MCGRAIL INQUIRY: The ‘triple conflicted’ Chief Minister Fabian Picardo forced police boss out of his job ‘to protect the most powerful lawyer in Gibraltar’ 

The Gibraltar and United Kingdom delegations

Picardo said yesterday: “I look forward to engaging on treaty issues with the different parties later this week. Gibraltar remains fully committed to secure a safe treaty which will govern our future relationship with the EU”.

“I am optimistic that the meeting on Friday will very positively advance matters and move us firmly into the territory for delivery of this treaty. I know this will be very good news for people in Gibraltar and the whole region around, as well as for the wider UK family, Spain and even the EU”.

The Spanish foreign minister adopted a more cautious tone, saying ‘nothing is agreed until everything is agreed.’

“But I believe we are getting closer to everything being agreed,” Albares added.

“There have been technical meetings in recent weeks, at the level of officials, which have led to significant convergence of our positions with the United Kingdom regarding the Gibraltar agreement, seeking that area of shared prosperity for Gibraltar and the Campo de Gibraltar.”

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This morning Picardo (centre-right) had a working breakfast with Deputy Chief Minister Dr Joseph Garcia (centre-left), Attorney General Michael Llamas (left), EU Representative Daniel D’Amato (far left) and Chief Secretary Glendon Martinez (far right)

The timing of the meeting, set to unlock an issue that has until now been intractable, comes on the same day as a public inquiry hears testimony into the conduct of many of the same Gibraltar figures.

Picardo stands accused of interfering in a police investigation of his old boss at the law firm Hassans and forcing the Commissioner of Police, Ian McGrail, to retire.

The inquiry has heard from the senior detective in the case that Picardo had allegedly conspired with the Hassans senior partner James Levy and his lawyer Lewis Baglietto to protect the former.

Lawyers acting on behalf of McGrail have accused some of the same figures sitting around the table in Brussels this afternoon of ‘corruption at the highest levels’.

Walter Finch

Walter - or Walt to most people - is a former and sometimes still photographer and filmmaker who likes to dig under the surface.
A NCTJ-trained journalist, he came to the Costa del Sol - Gibraltar hotspot from the Daily Mail in 2022 to report on organised crime, corruption, financial fraud and a little bit of whatever is going on.
Got a story? [email protected]
@waltfinc

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