Picardo and Garcia at Brexit talks with Spain

Joe Garcia
Picardo and Garcia at Brexit talks with Spain

Everyone knows that the Gibraltar Government has been having talks with Spain about the 5-point memoranda affecting the two sides of the frontier. Everyone also knows that a full agreement was not reached at the last round of talks. 

Now, with the Brexit deadline drawing closer by the day, it dawns on all parties concerned that something must be done, and in doing something, there is a tendency for the EU to blame the UK and for the UK to blame the EU.

In the middle of all this, is Gibraltar. And in the same way that the Irish problem remains unresolved, the Gibraltar issue now has a protocol, but not full agreement on the 5-point memoranda. Thus, Gibraltar and Spain cannot remain static, so it is obvious that a meeting of minds is called for to try and seek common ground, which may or may not be possible.

It was the chief minister Fabian Picardo who spelt out last month that there was a large measure of agreement on the substance of four of the five memoranda.

Put succcinctly, these are the five political headaches, and the positions reached so far, as new negotiations break out:


*The first of these sets of practical arrangements will deal with the implementation of the rights of

citizens which are protected under the main Withdrawal Agreement.


*The second will deal with matters related to the environment. we have long been keen to see cooperation in this area on a basis which is clearly without prejudice to the sovereignty, jurisdiction and control position on which we would never compromise, expressly or impliedly, in any respectin particular in respect of Gibraltar’s British Gibraltar Territorial Waters.


*The third memorandum addresses matters of police and customs cooperation. In this area there has long been excellent regional cooperation between our respective law enforcement agencies in many respects. Unfortunately, there have also been some every high profile instances of a lack of cooperation occurring between law enforcement agencies. We sincerely hope that we can leave disagreements behind and move toward more fluid cooperation.


*The fourth memorandum will deal with matters relating to the trade in tobacco in order to progress the shared agenda of wishing to control illicit tobacco activity and to protect our respective legitimate markets. In this particular respect, I sincerely hope we will be able to move forward in the cooperation we enjoy with relevant agencies and competent authorities across the frontier.

The work on this memorandum is not yet finalised, however, and we do want to continue discussions to seek agreement.


*Finally, we are also seeking to try to agree a tax treaty to settle the perennial misunderstanding by some in Spain of our internationally accepted tax system. This Memorandum is also not yet agreed. I do not know if it will be possible to reach final agreement in respect of this matter at this stage but we continue our discussions to seek agreement.

So, these are the issues on the negotiatng table as Gibraltar and Spain face each other to confirm where there is agreement, and to try and endeavour ironing out the differences that remain.