Memorandums of Little Understanding

Leo Olivero

There appears to be confusion regarding the ‘commencement’ of the ‘Memoranda of Understanding’ or MoU’s announced last November, when in reality, there should be no confusion at all unless it is concocted!

The MoU’s came into being after protracted negotiations between the UK, Spain and the government of Gibraltar. A long process that delivered four MoU’s with one important accompanying proviso which made clear, these Memoranda’s would only come into effect if a Withdrawal Agreement is entered into between the UK and Spain or if the UK and Gibraltar leave the EU without a deal. The MoU’s have zero application whilst the Rock and Britain are still in the EU!

To outline: the MoU’s agreed covered areas involving citizens’ rights, cooperation on environmental matters and the last two, the focus and main subject of this report on the ‘cooperation in police and customs matters and tobacco and other products’

Carefully Worded MoU Declaration Left Little Margin For Misunderstanding

With the various carefully worded statements and decelerations when the MoU’s were announced. One would have thought, left little margin for any misunderstandings, confusion or any political error, malicious or otherwise. But it does obviously exist in part?

However this confusion as I will call at this stage, is apparent to me at least, both from a Spanish and Local perspective. The latter is based on a number of reports, critical commentaries and statements, already made from either side of the frontier.

Even more confusing, as far as the Gibraltar public is concerned, are some local agencies, particularly the Police, who have been actively playing it seems, a MoU type role. The RGP have also made statements, as if the memorandums were it concerned their role, were already in effect or activated. This I have harshly criticised in recent reports, especially with the RGP’s ‘hopeless illegal fishing enforcement policy in BGTW’ together with banner-type public statements by the Police how they are at the ‘centre of International policing’ and additionally, RGP officers taking part in Spain in high-profile Spanish led drug operations. This in my opinion has not helped the local cause and probably led to misconception and confusion on the Spanish side, precisely that the MoU’s were or are in full swing! As the Saying Goes “Give Them an Inch” Though Spanish Take More Than a Mile! The MoU commencement issue could be considered a harmless one, but its not, I’m sure of that. Literally, there should not have been any misperceptions or confusion regarding a hugely important and painstakingly created agreement, unless the intention was, or is to cause some mischief!