The Deputy Chief Minister, Dr Joseph Garcia, has vowed that the Gibraltar Government will leave no stone unturned in order to safeguard and protect the interests of Gibraltar in the coming Brexit negotiations.
In a New Year’s message, which focused on Brexit but also reflected on other areas, Dr Garcia said Brexit would dominate the political agenda of the next twelve months and not only for Gibraltar.
He set out exactly what the impact of Brexit will be on Gibraltar and what needs to be done.
This, he said, is the process that Gibraltar is currently engaged in hand in hand with the UK. “There is no point in having futile arguments about labels,” he said.
“Everyone in Gibraltar knows that Brexit comes down to fluid access through the border and to access to the Single Market and to the UK market in particular.”
The Leader of the Liberal Party added that Gibraltar has already taken ‘great strides’ to secure the access to the UK that it has at present and are discussing the evolution of such access further still.
“We are all working together in order to safeguard Gibraltar’s position,” he said. “You can rest assured that your Government will leave no stone unturned in order to safeguard and protect the interests of Gibraltar in the coming negotiations.”
With regards to Spain, Dr Garcia said one of the highlights of 2016, from a wider Gibraltar perspective, was the departure of Mr Margallo from the Spanish Foreign Ministry.
“His obsessive, negative and destructive approach to anything remotely connected with Gibraltar was one which had not been seen in this form since the days of Franco and Castiella,” he said. “But, like them, Mr Margallo has failed,” Dr Garcia said, adding that those who follow him will fail also.
“He has thus joined the long list of Spanish Foreign Ministers who did not get their hands on Gibraltar.”
It is abundantly clear, he said, that a sensible, orderly and well-managed Brexit is in the best interests of all concerned.
“This means that Spain would do well to take into account the position of thousands of Spanish nationals whose daily livelihood depends on Gibraltar.” Elsewhere, Dr Garcia reflected on the fact that 2017 marks the 50th anniversary of the 1967 Referendum.
This, he said, was the first time that the people of Gibraltar were given a direct choice over the future status of their country.
The 50th anniversary of the 1967 Referendum will be marked by a series of ‘special’ events throughout the year, including a seminar in the autumn.
National Day already promises to be extra-special, Dr Garcia added.