European Future of Gibraltar: Cherry-Picking Elements of Brexit

Written by | Wednesday, January 31st, 2018

Gibraltar can choose parts of any Brexit agreement that London agrees on with Brussels and avoid those elements that it considers detrimental. The chief minister of the British territory, Fabian Picard, said that Gibraltar’s constitution made it possible to decide which parts of any deal with the European Union it would keep. “We will be able to determine whether aspects of what is agreed will be implemented in Gibraltar or not,” Picardo said and added that “it is clear that we do have a Brexit veto for Gibraltar, in Gibraltar.” British authorities have not commented yet.

Gibraltar’s deputy chief minister, Joseph Garcia, in turn said during his visit to the territory that Gibraltar should not be a “whipping boy” forced to suffer the consequences of Brexit. He added that Spain might say no to the current conditions applying in a transition period after Brexit and emphasized that it was crucial to preserve the movement of people across the Gibraltar-Spain border. Around 13,000 people cross it each day to go to work. Mr. Garcia said that the border had previously been used as a bargaining chip, with intensive checks, but the Commission intervened and smoothened crossings and day-to-day operations. He also added that Gibraltar was at risk of not being protected by EU law after the Brexit.

As Britain is in talks about a new trading agreement with the EU, there are deep disagreements across the country of what kind of a deal should be sought with the bloc. A recent analysis compiled by British officials that leaked earlier this week showed that Britain would be worse off under each of the three scenarios that are being discussed. Gibraltar, which Spain ceded to Britain in 1713 but now wants back, voted overwhelmingly – 96% – in favor of staying in the EU. The territory, however, has autonomy in business- and social care-related areas.

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