The Minister for Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation, José Manuel Albares, announced today to the main local and regional authorities with jurisdiction in Campo de Gibraltar that Spain and the European Commission have sent the United Kingdom a proposal to turn this space into a zone of shared prosperity.
José Manuel Albares, who had called the meeting to report on the state of negotiations with the United Kingdom regarding Gibraltar, reviewed the goals and interests that Spain has been advocating in this negotiation process, particularly to the benefit of citizens and economic operators in Campo de Gibraltar.
During the meeting, the minister stated that Spain, together with the European Commission, has already put a global proposal on the table, which seeks to establish a new legal framework that lays the foundations for a stable relationship between Spain and the EU, on the one hand, and the territory of Gibraltar, through the United Kingdom, on the other.
He stated to the main local and regional authorities with jurisdiction in Campo de Gibraltar that this proposal contains very reasonable technical and practical solutions which are necessary to forge a zone of shared prosperity and which are respectful of our respective legal positions.
The text presented to the United Kingdom is a global proposal that includes provisions on the mobility of people, with the aim of removing the fence and thus guaranteeing a fully fluid transit of people. This requires that Spain takes over control, on behalf of the Schengen Area, of the external borders of Gibraltar and that, to this end, it may exercise certain functions and powers required to protect the integrity and security of the Schengen Area.
Rights and benefits
Spain’s proposal also provides for the protection and improvement of the rights of workers and of the recipients of social benefits in Gibraltar.
As regards customs matters, the proposal seeks to guarantee the free movement of goods between the EU and Gibraltar, without this increasing the risks for the EU’s internal market, particularly for economic operators in the zone regarding unfair competition and illegal trafficking, for example, of tobacco. As with the free movement of people, this will require that Spain, on behalf of the EU, exercises control and protection of the internal market, as the customs controls between Spain and Gibraltar would disappear.
Furthermore, the conditions on fair and loyal competition will be maintained, so that economic operators in Gibraltar can compete under similar conditions to those enjoyed by other economic operators in the EU and, in particular, in the Campo de Gibraltar area.
The text which is already in the hands of the United Kingdom also contains provisions to fight money laundering and provisions to guarantee high standards of environmental protection and nuclear safety protection, with a view to establishing the maximum guarantees against potential environmental damage that affects the whole zone, and to avoiding unfair economic competition; and a financial mechanism for training and employment programmes in the zone.
The minister recalled that Spain’s position regarding sovereignty and jurisdiction in relation to Gibraltar remains unaltered. Neither the future agreement, nor any action or measure taken in application or as a result thereof, will imply any renunciation or modification of Spain’s legal position regarding sovereignty and jurisdiction in relation to Gibraltar.
José Manuel Albares indicated that the Government of Spain trusts and hopes that the negotiations are concluded with a satisfactory agreement as soon as possible. He also added that the government does not wish a scenario of non-agreement, but that it should be remembered that Brexit was a British decision, on the one hand, and that a commitment is required from both parties to sign an agreement, on the other.
The minister listened first-hand to the opinions and concerns that Brexit and the results of these negotiation have aroused in the local authorities in Campo de Gibraltar and in the Regional Government of Andalusia. In response, he reiterated the government’s firm commitment to Campo de Gibraltar – a district with its own particular challenges – more so against the backdrop of Brexit. In this regard, the minister recalled that, through the different ministerial departments, the government is developing the main lines of action designed within the Comprehensive Plan for Campo de Gibraltar, approved by the Council of Ministers in November 2018.
The meeting involved the participation, in addition to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation, of the President of the Association of Municipalities of Campo de Gibraltar, the Mayors of Algeciras, la Línea de la Concepción, San Roque (also the President of the Provincial Council of Cadiz), Los Barrios, Tarifa, Castellar de la Frontera, Jimena de la Frontera and San Martín del Tesorillo, the Sub-delegation of the Government in Cadiz, the Director of the Coordination Office of the General State Administration in Campo de Gibraltar and the Sub-delegate of the Government for Andalusia in Campo de Gibraltar.
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