Her Majesty’s Government of Gibraltar notes and welcomes the very clear position on the EU negotiating mandate set out by the Foreign Secretary, Rt Hon Dominic Raab MP, at his first meeting with the new Spanish Foreign Minister, Jose Manuel Albares.
The Government of Gibraltar also notes and welcomes Snr Albares’ remarks committing to the New Year’s Eve Agreement and recognising that the potential treaty between the UK and the EU in relation to Gibraltar would be good, not just for the Campo de Gibraltar, but also for Gibraltar.
The position of the Governments of the United Kingdom and Gibraltar are entirely united and joined up.
The Government and people of Gibraltar will never accept a treaty that in any way resembles the mandate issued by the EU Commission.
It goes beyond the careful balance reached in the New Year’s Eve Agreement in very sensitive respects and is unacceptable to the Government as a basis of negotiation.
The Chief Minister said: ‘The Government of Gibraltar and the United Kingdom are entirely at one on this issue. I am very grateful to the Foreign Secretary for having set out so clearly the position of the UK, which is wholly aligned with us.
“No one should believe that we would ever be prepared to accept the things set out in the EU’s draft negotiating mandate. We will not even be prepared to accept things that are close to that.
“Gibraltar remains fully committed to the New Year’s Eve Agreement. The United Kingdom has already said they remain fully committed also.
“But the notion that Spanish law enforcement officers might be present on our land, at our port or airport, is one that the Government or the people of Gibraltar will not accept. That is not something that can be finessed or negotiated. That is a non-negotiable red line. I have said so throughout this process and I will not change my mind or my position. The Cabinet as a whole will not change the position of Gibraltar. Anyone who wants to argue against that or think that they can negotiate around it are driving this process into a brick wall.
“Additionally, most other parts of the EU mandate are equally unacceptable on matters related to asylum, residence etc. There are too many problematic parts of the mandate for it to form the basis for the successful negotiation of a treaty.
“For that reason, I very much welcome Jose Manuel Albares’ statements in London yesterday recommitting Spain to the terms of the New Year’s Eve Agreement and to the Frontex aspects of it in particular.
“We have a lot of work to do in order to be able to bring to fruition in a UK/EU treaty the enthusiasm and optimism that welcomed the New Year’s Eve Agreement in Gibraltar and the region around us.
“I will not give up, but the EU needs to become a partner in the process and not continue to be a hinderance to it. I hope that with more information and more cooperation between relevant officials, we may see some progress for the benefit of citizens of all the Member States, and that we will not see the historic opportunities that the New Year’s Eve Agreement presents for Gibraltar and the Campo de Gibraltar sacrificed.”