The Deputy Chief Minister Dr Joseph Garcia this morning met with the First Minister of Wales Mark Drakeford MS in Cardiff.
Gibraltar has maintained contact with Wales across a number of different policy areas since our departure from the European Union. It will be recalled that former First Minister Carwyn Jones received Dr Garcia in Cardiff in November 2016, soon after the Brexit referendum, and subsequently paid a return visit to Gibraltar in June 2017.
There are strong educational links between Gibraltar and Wales where many Gibraltarians have chosen to undertake further studies at university. Indeed, there are over thirty Gibraltarians studying in Cardiff at the moment.
Dr Garcia and the First Minister exchanged views on the COVID-19 pandemic and discussed the consequences for Gibraltar and for Wales of our respective departures from the European Union.
The Deputy Chief Minister is in Cardiff for a meeting of the EU Committee of the Regions-UK Contact Group which brings together different parts of the UK family and areas of the EU. The aim is to continue the relationship between them post-Brexit and to foster cooperation going forward.
Dr Garcia intervened during the discussion on “Perspectives for cooperation and dialogue with UK regions”. He addressed delegates on the objectives of the Government of Gibraltar for our future relationship with the European Union, which were centred on a mobility agreement for the fluid movement of persons. This had been set out in the New Year’s Eve Agreement. He explained that there had been six negotiating rounds so far where the EU and the UK, together with Gibraltar, had worked very well to arrive at many areas of convergence but he stressed that important areas of divergence still remained to be resolved.
The Deputy Chief Minister added that the realisation of an area of shared prosperity between Gibraltar and the Spanish region of the EU around us was in the best interests of all the parties involved.
This meeting, which took place at the Welsh Parliament-Senedd Cymru, is the sixth of the UK-EU contact group with Gibraltar participation and the first that the Government of Gibraltar has attended in person.