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Opposition have still not understood the Withdrawal Agreement – 128/2020

By February 28, 2020 No Comments

The Leader of the Opposition has either still not understood the content of the Withdrawal Agreement between the United Kingdom and the European Union or is mischievously twisting the facts in order to mislead and confuse public opinion. This is because the latest Opposition statement on frontier workers bears little resemblance to reality.

The Withdrawal Agreement protects the rights of UK and Gibraltarian residents, workers and frontier workers in the European Union and in return protects the rights of European Union nationals, including residents, workers and frontier workers in the United Kingdom and Gibraltar. The rights are reciprocal and they are Europe-wide, affecting many millions of people. This means that EU frontier workers everywhere are entitled to the same rights as UK and Gibraltarian frontier workers everywhere.

These rights are not derived from any Memorandum of Understanding. They are derived from the very Withdrawal Agreement itself, which is an international treaty.

The Opposition should note that when the transitional period comes to an end, the principle of freedom of movement, as we know it, will come to an end for everyone. The reason for this is because the border between Gibraltar and Spain would pass in practice from being an internal border of the European Union to becoming an external border. This would mean that all persons crossing may be subject to different procedures and controls when entering and exiting than they do today. There are presently controls on persons exercised by Spain and separate controls on persons exercised by Gibraltar.

The Government has already made it clear that it aims for a common travel area between Gibraltar and the European Union. The Opposition should know by now that this is a matter for the negotiations on the future which have not even started and which are due to commence next month.

It is also worth pointing out that when the European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Act was taken to the Gibraltar Parliament, which included the reciprocal rights in question, it was approved unanimously with the Opposition itself voting in favour!