The Deputy Chief Minister Dr Joseph Garcia has said that a sensible, an orderly and a well-managed Brexit is not only in the interests of Gibraltar, it is also in the best interests of Spain itself. The protection of citizens should be the most important aspect of Brexit.
Dr Garcia was speaking as a panellist together with delegates from Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland during a meeting at the Liberal Democrat conference in Brighton.
The Deputy Chief Minister declared that the impact of Brexit on Gibraltar, the Overseas Territories and the Crown Dependencies was not properly considered in the debate at the time of the 2016 referendum. This has meant that the different interests of a disparate number of British territories must now be taken on board as we prepare to leave the European Union.
The Deputy Chief Minister explained that, unlike the Devolved Administrations, Gibraltar was British but was not part of the United Kingdom. Gibraltar had, therefore, enjoyed a differentiated relationship with the European Union since 1973.
It made sense for Gibraltar to pursue a tailor-made solution as we prepare to leave the European Union because that is the relationship we enjoy at present.
The Deputy Chief Minister explained that the UK would be ultimately responsible for three different land borders with the EU. These were the Northern Ireland border with the Irish Republic, the border between the sovereign bases and Cyprus and the border between Gibraltar and Spain. He explained the importance of frontier fluidity for all sides post-Brexit.
Dr Garcia made the point that the United Kingdom and Gibraltar had engaged with the EU Member States as we prepared to leave the European Union. This included discussions with Spain, as our nearest EU neighbour, over a series of different issues. These EU-exit negotiations were progressing well but had not yet concluded.
The room was packed to capacity with an audience that included politicians and diplomats who were keen to achieve a better understanding of the impact of Brexit on the Devolved Administrations and on Gibraltar.
The meeting, which was chaired by the Lib Dem Brexit spokesman Tom Brake MP, ended with a lively question and answer session.