THE Chief Minister of Gibraltar has said the territory is prepared to make post-Brexit arrangements with Spain if Britain leaves the EU without a deal next year.
Fabian Picardo said Gibraltar officials would seek to “soften the blow” of a no-deal Brexit on residents of The Rock and Spanish citizens.
“We have a duty as a responsible government to be ready for eventualities, we do not have the freedom to be irresponsible and simply ignore reality,” Picardo said.
Officials from the British enclave said they would do so by adapting arrangements to preserve current cross-border situation in the event of a no-deal, the Chief Minister added.
It comes as Luis Marco Aguiriano, Spain’s Europe Minister, said Memorandums of Understanding reached between Gibraltar and Madrid would still stand if Britain leaves the EU without a deal.
Picardo said officials from Gibraltar would begin evaluating the situation in January. He added Gibraltar would continue to seek co-operation with Madrid but that Spain’s intentions would be viewed with “cynical and sceptical” eyes.
“Our preferred course is for this Brexit nightmare to end. But it is better to leave on the basis of the agreement and not without it,” Picardo said.
The Chief Minister’s comments come as British government sources announced debates on the ‘meaningful vote’ on Brexit would be held in the week commencing January 14. The vote itself is expected to take place days later.
Concerns remain over British Prime Minister Theresa May’s chances of getting the deal through Parliament.
The vote was postponed earlier this month after May said she did not have the support to get past the House of Commons.