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Healthcare issue a consequence of Brexit says Government – 465/2022

By July 1, 2022 No Comments

The comments by the Opposition on the ending of reciprocal healthcare arrangements between Gibraltar and Spain is total nonsense. It shows that they lack the most basic understanding of the intricacies of the matter and do not have a clue about anything they say.

The first point is that this has come about as a result of our departure from the European Union. It should have taken effect as from 1 January 2021, when reciprocal healthcare came to an end with the rest of the EU after the end of the transition period.

Moreover, it was precisely the negotiating skills of the Government that secured an eighteen month extension for Gibraltar from Spain! This extension was unilateral and dependent on reciprocity from Gibraltar.

The Government has warned on countless occasions since then that the extension of reciprocal health care arrangements was temporary and could be terminated at any time.

The Opposition are mixing up tourists or visitors with workers. The position is reciprocal and identical in both cases. In other words, UK (including Gibraltarian) frontier workers in the European Union, on the one hand, and EU frontier workers in the UK and Gibraltar, on the other, continue to enjoy exactly the same legal rights if covered by the Withdrawal Agreement. The position is different for new frontier workers, both in the EU and in the UK and Gibraltar, who no longer enjoy such rights automatically.

In respect of visitors, Spanish visitors to Gibraltar will now require travel and medical insurance in the same way as Gibraltarian visitors will now need the same in Spain, as required in the rest of the EU since 1 January 2021.

It is absurd for the Opposition to claim that this is a failure of the negotiation when it is clearly a failure of Brexit. Therefore what the Opposition have said is tantamount to blaming the Government for Brexit!

In any event, the Government will continue to work to resolve these issues and to ensure that no one in our community suffers any loss as a result of this latest development.