Special meetings galore as the Brexit crunch nears

Joe Garcia
Special meetings galore as the Brexit crunch nears

The chief minister Fabian Picardo and the deputy chief minister Dr Joseph Garcia returned to the Rock yesterday afternoon after talks in Madrid to conclude pending work on the memoranda that form part of the EU withdrawal agreement. 

The Spanish government like to say that they do not recognise the Gibraltar government and that they only talk to the UK government, but on return after the latest round of talks an official Gibraltar statement said: "The Chief Minister led the negotiations on all Gibraltar matters as has been the case throughout this process."

In fact, talks between the Gibraltar government and Madrid mandarins have been held, in both Madrid and Gibraltar, for quite some time now, ironing out problems and misunderstandings which are the direct responsibility of Gibraltar and not the UK, it is what Mr Picardo has referred to as 'the process.'

The meetings in this latest round have resulted in the finalisation of the work on the four Memoranda of Understanding and the Tax Agreement which are referred to in the Gibraltar Protocol to the UK/EU Withdrawal Agreement, subject only to what is described as 'text stabilisation/legal checks and minor clarifications outstanding.' Such remaining matters are expected to be finalised in the next 48 to 72 hours.

Details about the memoranda and other matters were spelt out last week when the Gibraltar Protocol was made public, making it clear that the Protocol on Gibraltar between the UK and the EU would be underpinned by other arrangements between the UK, Spain and the Government of Gibraltar which set out the parties' commitment to cooperation. "These will be implemented in line with the constitutional arrangements in place between the UK and Gibraltar," it was made clear.

In fact, the Protocol and other arrangements address issues of importance to citizens and businesses in Spain and Gibraltar, and are without prejudice to respective positions on sovereigny, "and do not in any way affect the UK's sovereignty over Gibraltar, including British Gibraltar Territorial Waters." 

Indeed, nothing in the Protocol affects the relationship between the UK and Gibraltar. It is also important to note that, with the exception of provisions on citizens' rights, the Protocol is limited to the duration of the implementation period. The memoranda is similarly time limited.


The Chief Minister has, meanwhile, convened an extraordinary meeting of the Cabinet for this morning to brief Ministers on latest developments.

And the Deputy Chief Minister has similarly convened a meeting to brief the Brexit Select Committee of the Parliament also for this morning.

A meeting of Parliament takes place at 3pm today, when the Chief Minister will make a statement in order to update the House and the whole community, having obtained leave from the Speaker Adolfo Canepa to make the statement.

And next week it is expected that there will be a Ministerial Statement, after the Special European Council in Brussels at the weekend and the anticipated publication of all the relevant texts.


In fact, all eyes are on the Special Council meeting in Brussels where the Prime Minister Theresa May is expected to insist that the UK Government will not exclude Gibraltar from future relationship negotiations, given her "steadfast support" for Gibraltar in Parliament yesterday, speaking of securing a deal that works for Gibraltar.