Canada In Gibraltar, Brexit raises fears of the worst

13:00  05 december  2020
13:00  05 december  2020 Source:   lepoint.fr

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The effect of Brexit on Gibraltar concerns the status of Gibraltar after withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union. The UK left the EU on 31 January 2020 after having voted to leave in the 2016 referendum and formally notified the EU of its intention to withdraw in March 2017.

Brexit Heats Up Question on Gibralta's Future. The move came at a time when Britain is involved in a heated dispute with the EU and Spain over the future of the British territory of Gibraltar . Spain feared that such a move would aid Catalonian separatists in the north of Spain to separate as well.

  A Gibraltar, le Brexit fait craindre le pire © Provided by Le Point

With its typically British red telephone booths, its pubs offering the traditional "fish and chips" and its untaxed products, the British enclave of Gibraltar, in south of the Iberian Peninsula, attracts crowds of tourists. But for how long ?

The free movement of travelers, who, for the moment, cross the border between the Rock and the Spain without incident risks ending with the departure of United Kingdom from the single market of Spain

'European Union on December 31.

This is what worries the traders of Main Street, Gibraltar's main pedestrian avenue, with its buildings with facades covered with Portuguese tiles, its old-fashioned shutters and its wrought-iron balconies: that their businesses suffer from increased controls at this time. which will be a new border between the United Kingdom and the European Union.

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Video caption: Brexit : What happened on Monday? Brexit : What happened on Monday? The suspension of Parliament begins and MPs reject a second call from Boris Island Games organisers say uncertainty surrounding Brexit is causing them anxiety ahead of the 2019 event in Gibraltar .

EU guidelines make clear bloc will not overrule Spain in any trade or sovereignty dispute over British overseas territory.

"I think this will discourage people from visiting Gibraltar," said Prem Mahtani, a 41-year-old jeweler whose family runs four tourism-dependent businesses in Gibraltar.

Along with gambling and banking investments in off-shore accounts, tourism is one of the pillars of Gibraltar's economy, a territory of 34,000 inhabitants historically claimed by Spain and one of the regions most more prosperous Europe


This port city at the mouth of the Mediterranean welcomes some 10 million visitors each year, most of whom leave the same day, after crossing the border in the shadow of the famous Rocher, a gigantic limestone rock whose white cliffs s 'rise more than 400 meters above sea level.

In addition, around 15,000 cross-border workers residing in Spain come to work every day in Gibraltar, where they represent half of the territory's employees.

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Mr Picardo raised the concern that Brexit could affect Gibraltar ’s ability to access European airspace, recalling that it was only in 2006 that Gibraltar is one of the Mediterranean’s leading ‘bunker’ ports, underpinned by its status within the EU but outside the EU’s VAT jurisdiction, which allows it to offer

With an area of ​​just 6.8 km2, Gibraltar has to import all of its food, a process that should take longer if administrative controls are tightened at the border.

These are all reasons why, in 2016, nearly 96% of Gibraltar voters voted in favor of keeping the UK in the EU, while the referendum saw supporters of Brexit

prevail in the national level with 52% of the vote.

Reduced influence Gibraltar is seeking an agreement with Spain to keep "the greatest possible level of fluidity" for the passage of people at the border, the head of government of the British territory, Fabian Picardo, told AFP


Negotiations are also being held with suppliers to ensure that the delivery of food and other goods continues smoothly, in order to avoid "an economic collapse", he said.

Reaching such an agreement is "not easy", but remains feasible, believes Mr Picardo, without however providing details of these discussions.

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‘veto’ over Gibraltar , raising fresh fears that the issue could derail the Brexit negotiations at the eleventh hour, the Telegraph can reveal. “veto” over the Brexit process which said that the terms of the Withdrawal Agreement and transition deal would not apply to the territory of Gibraltar unless they

But Brexit Secretary David Davis, in Spain for meetings with members of its government, said Lord Howard was expressing the "resolve" of the UK in supporting the sovereignty of Gibraltar . He made it clear any talk of Falklands style taskforces "wasn't going to happen". Former Labour minister Lord

If Spain ceded Gibraltar to Great Britain in 1713, Madrid did not stop claiming the territory thereafter.

Tensions were at their height in 1969, when the regime of dictator Francisco Franco closed the border, which had not fully reopened until 1985.

In 2013, a dispute over an artificial reef had provoked months of traffic jams at the border due to increased controls on the Spanish side.

But with Britain's exit from the EU, its ability to convince Spain "not to put pressure on Gibraltar, not to resort to border closures, will be reduced", he said. Quentin Peel, analyst at the London think tank Chatham House, explained to AFP.

"What we are"

The Spanish left-wing government has agreed to put aside the question of sovereignty for the moment in order to focus on keeping the border open.

Madrid has pleaded in the past for shared sovereignty with the UK, a proposal that was 99% rejected by the people of Gibraltar in a referendum in 2002.

But if there are traffic jams at the border, the residents of the Rock could, "in the medium and long term", come to think that a shared sovereignty would be in their interest, argues Ignacio Molina, an analyst at the Royal Elcano Institute, a Madrid "think tank".

"If there was a good agreement that allowed them to have self-government and keep the British military base, this could convince them to overcome the great distrust they have towards Spain", he added.

But Mr. Picardo, the head of the local government, is categorical: there is, he assures, nothing that Spain can do that could "change our desire to remain completely and entirely British".

"Being British is who we are, it's the blood that runs in our veins, it's our culture, our education, it's our way of life," he concludes.

05/12/2020 08:39:51 - Gibraltar (AFP) - © 2020 AFP X1

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