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24th November 2021, 20:50

Chief Minister takes questions from European Scrutiny Committee

It's possible to finalise an agreement on Gibraltar's future relationship with the EU by the end of the year but a treaty by then is unlikely.

This according to the Chief Minister, who answered questions from the European Scrutiny Committee of the House of Commons.

Fabian Picardo did not get an easy ride during this afternoon's session when he was quizzed by Committee members for over an hour. Wearing his Royal Gibraltar Regiment tie, the Chief Minister gave an overview of the time frame between agreement and treaty and what the situation currently was at the frontier.

He reiterated the New Year's Eve agreement is what he feels should be mirrored and what all parties should be aiming for. This political framework, he told the Committee, was hugely important and should not be undervalued. The Gibraltar Government, he said is committed to finding legal certainty for the people of Gibraltar and for the people of Southern Spain.

If the Chief Minister wanted to emphasise the New Year's Eve Agreement as the way to go, he also wanted to emphasise his red lines, saying Spanish Law Enforcement Officers in Gibraltar would never be accepted and that no Gibraltarian would ever negotiate anything that relinquishes sovereignty, jurisdiction and control.

An unpopular move in the UK, especially for Brexiteers is whether having moved away from Brussels's legal influence, the European Court of Justice would continue having a direct impact on British Territory. In fact it was put to the Chief Minister that sovereignty was at the heart of the Brexit deal and to respect that Britishness the ECJ could not have a role. In this intense exchange, the Chief Minister said he did not see the the need for the European Court to play a role in Gibraltar's Future but that it would not be the litmus test for the Treaty.

Highlighting that the negotiations are ongoing and that it would not be productive to disclose aspects of them over the airwaves, the Chief Minister did give insights into what's being discussed saying he believed it's possible to reach an agreement satisfactory to all parties on customs and goods and to have a Gibraltar only Visa.

Gibraltar he said, would not form part of the Schengen area but would enter into a Common travel area with Schengenwith two separate immigration zones that would facilitate, not free movement but fluidity.