The Government has warned Citizens to prepare for the possibility of a non-negotiated outcome in the event that it is not possible to conclude a treaty between the UK and the EU on the future relationship of Gibraltar.
This advice comes in a document published today which contains guidance to citizens in the event that there is no agreement. This latest information notice contains new updates and consolidates advice which has been given before into one composite booklet. A number of past Technical Notices on relevant issues have also been incorporated for ease of reference.
This is the second such booklet published by the Government. It will be recalled that the first one, entitled “Preparing for a No Deal Brexit”, was issued in the run-up to the Withdrawal Agreement.
The latest document shows that the Government retains the option of operating a reciprocal regime at the border in the context of the more stringent controls that would be operated by Spain for entry and exit under the Schengen Border Code. It covers areas like the movement of goods, cross-border healthcare, driving, social security telecommunications and mobile roaming. The document makes it clear that it will be impossible to completely mitigate against all the consequences of no agreement simply because the new situation would simply reflect life outside the European Union.
In their joint foreword, the Chief Minister and the Deputy Chief Minister make the point that the position of the Government remains unchanged. Gibraltar will continue to work constructively, together with the United Kingdom, to secure an international treaty based on the framework agreement concluded with Spain on 31 December 2020. That framework, which was arrived at after many months of negotiations, provided a delicate balance on a number of important issues. However, they add, since the UK or Gibraltar would never accept an agreement which would sacrifice fundamentals or put Gibraltar’s future prosperity in jeopardy, we must also be ready to walk away.
This means that it is prudent and responsible to prepare both for an agreement and for no agreement at the same time.
The Guidance to Citizens is now available on-line on the Brexit section of the Gibraltar Government website www.gibraltar.gov.gi and a hard copy will be printed and distributed to households in Gibraltar shortly.