Lords EU Committee ask Government for four key commitments to Gibraltar
The House of Lords EU Committee has today written to David Davis MP, Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union seeking assurances on four key aspects of Brexit as it relates to Gibraltar.
In its letter the Committee says that Gibraltar's economic prosperity depends on the terms of the UK's withdrawal agreement with the EU, and in particular the transitional arrangement, applying in full to Gibraltar and asks Mr Davis to reassert the Government's commitment to never enter negotiations that would see the sovereignty of Gibraltar change against the will of its people.
The letter follows a Committee visit to Gibraltar on 15-16 March 2018 by way of follow up to its March 2017 Brexit: Gibraltar inquiry, where the Committee met key interlocutors including the Chief Minister of Gibraltar, members of the Parliament of Gibraltar Brexit Committee, representatives of business and the cross-frontier group, and port, airport, police and customs officials.
The four areas of policy the Committee asks the Government to provide a response on are:
- Ensuring transitional arrangements applying to Gibraltar in full. The Committee asks for the Government's response to the European Council's statement that "no agreement between the EU and the United Kingdom may apply to the territory of Gibraltar without the agreement between the Kingdom of Spain and the United Kingdom".
- Ensuring the fluidity of Gibraltar's border with Spain and continued cooperation with the Campo de Gibraltar. The Committee says that, given that there are over 13,000 frontier workers in Gibraltar, any hardening of the border would damage both Gibraltar and the neighbouring Spanish region of the Campo de Gibraltar, and would be ‘unnecessary and counterproductive'.
- Ensuring UK-Gibraltar relations are maintained and enhanced post-Brexit – 92% of Gibraltar's economic activity within the EU single market is with the UK. The Committee welcomes the recent agreement of measures to promote closer UK-Gibraltarian cooperation up to 2020, and calls on the UK Government to set out how it will take forward the commitment to a post-2020 framework based on shared high-standard regulation post-Brexit, and to ensure Gibraltar benefits from post-Brexit trade deals.
- Ensuring Gibraltar has a voice in the Brexit process – the Government of Gibraltar has placed its trust in the UK Government to negotiate on its behalf and the Committee asks what reassurance the Government can give the people of Gibraltar that it will fulfil that moral responsibility.