The House of Lords European Union Committee publishes its report on the impact of Brexit on Gibraltar, in which it makes clear that the UK Government has a 'moral responsibility' to ensure that Gibraltar's voice is heard, and its interests protected, throughout Brexit negotiations with the EU.
Of all the British Overseas Territories, only Gibraltar is part of the EU and was therefore eligible to take part in the referendum of June 2016. 95.9% of votes cast in Gibraltar were for the UK to stay in the EU, by far the strongest vote for 'remain' of any area eligible to participate in the referendum. Yet the territory is now set to leave the EU along with the UK, and faces significant challenges as a result.
The Committee concluded that any loss of access to the Single Market in services, or to its cross-border workforce, could significantly harm Gibraltar's economy. They therefore found that the UK Government had a moral responsibility to ensure Gibraltar's voice is heard, and its interests respected, throughout the negotiations.
Key areas considered include:
- The impact of the Single Market in services and EU funding in supporting Gibraltar's economic development
- The importance of maintaining and enhancing economic links between Gibraltar and the UK
- The means by which a free-flowing frontier between Gibraltar and Spain might be maintained following Brexit
- The importance of cross-border cooperation, particularly in the area of security and policing
- The context of shared EU membership in supporting improved relations between Spain, the UK and Gibraltar
- The potential for the sovereignty dispute to impact Brexit or future EU trade negotiations
- The need to find a new structure through which open lines of communication between Spain, the UK and Gibraltar can be maintained after Brexit