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19th November 2021, 19:50

UK government highlights areas of concern in the Gibraltar-EU treaty negotiations

The British Government has highlighted its main areas of concern in the treaty negotiations on Gibraltar's future relationship with Europe.

These are identified in a letter to the European Scrutiny Committee of the House of Commons by Europe Minister, Wendy Morton. The letter is dated the 21st of October, after the first round of negotiations but before the second.

The Chief Minister, Deputy Chief Minister and Attorney General Michael Llamas will appear before the Committee next Wednesday - the 24th.

The Gibraltar Chronicle has today reported the key issues of concern highlighted in the letter. These focus on areas where the draft negotiating mandate strays from the New Year's Eve Agreement. The UK, Gibraltar and Spain have all stated the treaty should mirror this agreement, and it was in fact at Spain's behest that a specific mention of Frontex was included in the mandate.

The mandate gives Spain responsibility for the issuing or renewal of residence permits, and gives Spain a veto; the agreement is clear that this responsibility rests with the Gibraltar government. Likewise, the mandate makes Spain responsible for the issuing of visas into Gibraltar, with the original agreement stating that this would only be for entry into Schengen via Gibraltar, and not for Gibraltar itself.

A similar situation arises with asylum claims, over which Gibraltar holds jurisdiction; the mandate states this would be Spain in cooperation with the UK.

Wendy Morton also claims the mandate goes well beyond what's in the political framework on law enforcement measures, with this having direct implications for UK sovereignty.

On mobility of goods and the level playing field, she warns of a disproportionate legal and administrative burden on Gibraltar.

Ms Morton stresses the UK's commitment to standing by the Rock, regardless of the outcome of the negotiations.