The Deputy Chief Minister Dr Joseph Garcia is in Brussels for a series of meetings at the European Parliament and for a meeting of the Committee of the Regions-United Kingdom Contact Group.
The visit comes as negotiations continue between the UK and the EU on the future relationship of Gibraltar. There is considerable interest in Brussels on this matter.
In an update to the Contact Group, the Deputy Chief Minister explained that Gibraltar was now the main remaining area of unfinished Brexit business between the UK and the EU following the Windsor agreement which settled the relationship with Northern Ireland. Dr Garcia outlined the framework agreed in 2020 for a mobility agreement which would allow the fluid movement of persons across the border by relocating the Schengen controls from there to the port and airport. He expressed the hope that it would be possible to conclude a treaty soon which would be in the best interests of all the citizens of the wider area.
Earlier the Deputy Chief Minister, along with other delegates, was invited to a ceremony in the European Parliament to mark 25 years since the Good Friday agreement.
Dr Garcia also took the opportunity to participate in a roundtable discussion on priorities after Brexit with representatives from the offices of other British territories based in Brussels. This included the Devolved Administrations, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man. This was a useful forum which allowed for a free and frank exchange of views and for those present to learn more about each other.
The Deputy Chief Minister Dr Joseph Garcia said: “It is clear that UK-EU relations have improved considerably after the conclusion of the Windsor framework and this new spirit may impact positively on the separate Gibraltar negotiations. In the meantime it remains very relevant to continue to exchange views with the institutions and regions of Europe. I am very grateful to the Director of Gibraltar House in Brussels Daniel D’Amato and to Paul Patron for the very useful sequence of meetings.”