The big question remains unanswered after Lords meeting

Joe Garcia
The big question remains unanswered after Lords meeting


The taking of evidence from the Chief Minister by the House of Lords EU committee was a success for Gibraltar. It was confirmation that members of the Lords have a high degree of goodwill for Gibraltar, as has been reflected in many instances in the past. Certainly, Gibraltar has a special place in UK politics.

Mr Picardo put across a robust Rock posture, effusing optimism.

The attitude emanating from EU talks at bilateral level had been positive. But of course there is a long way to go.

When the next meeting of the UK-EU specialised committee would take place was not known, but Mr Picardo thought it would be in the autumn.

He spoke of ongoing work between Gibraltar and the UK, 'working non-stop over period of pandemic.'

There was a case to keep moving forward in areas such as mobility and security, not wanting a breakdown in such areas.

The impact of Brexit on the status and operation of the Gibraltar airport was considered. The aim is for nothing to change in respect of EU law, but it might be possible to do things in a way that was not possible in the past.

It is not clear what that would entail or what would it mean in specific terms. The Spaniards are always ready to try and make inroads in areas which for Gibraltar are of fundamental concern.

Mr Picardo would only be specific on this: Future prosperity for Gibraltar and the region.

Progress appears to be making headway in the area of financial and online services, but the fact is that many aspects of such policies remain undecided.

There had been progress on the question of buying pharmaceuticals, as we might be getting better prices aligned with the NHS.

Gibraltar wants to protect Gibraltar waters from commercial fishing, but no questions about the never-ending incursions of British waters and what can be done positively about that.

He should have been asked if the MOD was prepared to do more than what it has been doing up to now in order to relay a strong message to the Spanish, and to shake up the Foreign Office from its paper protests which have been ineffectual over so many years.

Asked about the last meeting with the Spaniards, Mr Picardo said it had been positive, but nothing has matured yet, and hence nothing is clear how will it all end. At this moment in time it was important to observe discretion in the negotiations.

The session went on for over an hour. Generally it was informative, and Gibraltar came across as knowing its business. But of course the big question is: How will it all end?