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Chief Minister’s Statement to Parliament on Albares Remarks  - 876/2022

November 25, 2022

His Majesty's Government of Gibraltar has noted statements made this afternoon by the Foreign Minister of Spain, Jose Manuel Albares in the context of a meeting with Mayors of the neighbouring Municipalities that make up the Mancommuninidad de Municipios of the Campo de Gibraltar.


The thrust of those remarks is to set out Spain's view of an overview of the current proposals put by the EU and Spain in the ongoing negotiations.


The United Kingdom and Gibraltar also have proposals on the table which are designed to deliver benefits for the people of the whole region.


The Chief Minister, the Hon Fabian Picardo KC MP said: 


Our proposals provide for the removal of trade barriers and the protection of the integrity of the Single Market in a manner that would not compromise our fiscal or wider sovereignty concerns.


Our proposals also address the issue of personal rights of fluidity across the frontier.  These are achieved in keeping with the provisions already agreed between us in 2020 and taking into consideration concerns of the EU in respect of the protection of the integrity of the Schengen Area.


We have also identified areas for enhanced cooperation for mutual benefit. All of these are clearly drivers for potentially huge economic growth for the whole region driven principally by Gibraltar and its people as well as by the Municipalities around us and the people who live around Gibraltar. 


Our proposals, therefore, also, of course, provide for cross frontier workers to continue to enjoy equal treatment with resident workers in respect of in-work benefits.


Additionally, the thrust of this growth is delivered through the engine of these new arrangements and the support of the European Union and the United Kingdom through this potential treaty.


I am therefore very pleased to welcome the statements from Jose Manuel Albares saying that Pedro Sanchez's government is also working to achieve a positive outcome to treaty negotiations. 


We are all on the same page in this objective.

There are ways to achieve that objective now by concluding the negotiation successfully and with all sides relevant, long standing positions being preserved.   These options are on the table and can be pursued to a successful conclusion for all parties. 


I am therefore confident that we will be able to find the route now to fashion our respective positions around agreement.


In the unlikely but possible eventuality that we were unable to do so, with a heavy heart we continue to diligently plan for a No Negotiated Outcome situation.


Happily, however, we are already working towards agreement and have a further UK/EU negotiating round fixed for London next week on the 28th and 29th of November.


We all want agreement this year and continue to work towards that.


My key objective and the key objective of the Government is to achieve a safe and secure agreement for our people which benefits us and benefits the people around us also.


We are committed to a win-win outcome in which no one loses and no one has to concede on the issues we consider fundamental, though compromise in areas we each consider we can compromise on, and that works for the UK and the EU are the high contracting parties.


Mr Speaker, I am convinced we can achieve this. 


The United Kingdom has provided massive Whitehall resources to help us achieve our objective.


Prime Ministers Johnson, Truss and Sunak have demonstrated their commitment to this process in that way, as have Foreign Secretaries Truss and Cleverly, all of whom I thank as well as their respective teams of officials who are with us at the coal face of this negotiation.


The same is true of the European Union and Spain. Both have deployed considerable resources and expended as much negotiating time as we have to achieve this.


I want to thank President von Der Leyen and Vice President Sefcovic for that investment of resources.


I thank the EU negotiators also for seeking to understand our positions and the logic of them and how we propose to interface with EU law in a manner designed to assure them of the integrity of their own legal order. I also want to thank President Sanchez and Foreign Secretaries Laya and Albares of Spain for their commitment to the success of this process together with their teams of officials.


This has not been easy and what is left is not easy either. But we remain committed to a positive outcome.


A positive outcome can now be achieved.


A positive outcome must now be the result.