MINISTERS representing the governments of Gibraltar and the United Kingdom met in London on December 7 for the first formal engagement between the two under the structure of the new Joint Ministerial Council (Gibraltar EU Negotiations).
This is the framework within which the United Kingdom and Gibraltar are developing plans for the negotiations for leaving the European Union following the result of the referendum of June 23.
The Chief Minister Fabian Picardo and the Deputy Chief Minister Dr Joseph Garcia (who is also responsible for Europe and for work related to exiting the EU) met with Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union Robin Walker and Minister of State for Europe and the Americas Sir Alan Duncan.
The two hour preliminary discussion centred on the detail of the report about “Gibraltar and Brexit” that was submitted by the Gibraltar Government to the United Kingdom after the summer.
Mr Walker, during the course of the meeting, expressed the full support of the United Kingdom Government for Gibraltar. He also updated those present on the state of play at this time.
Dr Garcia said: “The relationship between the UK and Gibraltar has never been better. The government is very pleased with the level of engagement that has existed between Gibraltar and the United Kingdom since the decision was taken in the UK to leave the European Union. I know that both Mr Walker and Sir Alan have a deep understanding of the position of Gibraltar going forward and of what our priorities are.”
Mr Picardo said he considered that the meeting with Robin Walker and Alan Duncan had gone very well. “Robin Walker has a clear affinity with Gibraltar and he understands the issues that are relevant to us as we gear up to form part of the UK’s negotiations to exit the EU. We have been able to go thoroughly through the issues that matter and will be meeting regularly now to ensure we are able to work in close partnership with the UK in this process. Sir Alan Duncan is a keen supporter of Gibraltar and he remains the FCO Ministerial lead for Gibraltar as Minister for Europe and the Americas.
We have been grateful for his contribution to the debate. As someone who knows and loves Gibraltar, he is an important ally for the people of Gibraltar in this process. All in all I can assure Gibraltar that this first official meeting of the Joint Ministerial Committee has been very fruitful and successful for Gibraltar and we look forward to continuing this process going forward.”
It was agreed that the Joint Ministerial Council would continue to meet on a regular basis and that a number of inter-governmental working groups would be established to examine specific areas in more detail.