Extract of Chief Minister’s Statement To Parliament

The United Kingdom has agreed a further extension for its and our departure from the European Union.

As Honourable Members will be aware, the Second Special Meeting of the European Council on Article 50 of the Treaty, held last night in Brussels, resulted in an offer being made to the UK for such an extension. 

The President of the European Council, Mr Tusk, offered the Prime Minster, Mrs May, an extension of the Article 50 notification period until the 31st of October 2019.

Mrs May has accepted that proposal for an extension.

The extension contains no condition that Gibraltar should consider objectionable.

The extension has set a maximum period – subject to future negotiations for a further extension.

It has not, however, set out a minimum period.

The UK can leave the EU if a Withdrawal Agreement has been finalised before then.

Alternatively, the UK can still crash out of the EU – as a matter of EU law - if no Withdrawal Agreement is finalised and the UK fails to hold European Elections.

The holding of those elections is a condition of the long extension, but it is not one we would find objectionable.

In this latter respect, the UK has already legislated to hold the EU Elections, as have we in Gibraltar.

The whole House will want to reflect our nations thanks to the Clerk, in his capacity as returning officer for Gibraltar in EU elections, for having moved quickly to ensure that we are able to hold the 2019 EU Election in Gibraltar on Thursday the 23rd May this year.

Not since our first opportunity to vote in these European Elections will our votes have been so important.