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We are promoting urgent public petitions to the UK and EU Parliaments saying NO to clause 22!

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We are disappointed that the European Union appears to have singled out Gibraltar as a bilateral issue between the United Kingdom and Spain at the earliest possible juncture by the inclusion of a veto in the form of clause 22 in the draft negotiating position.

Despite the assurances of the UK Government, we want to ensure that the wishes of the people of Gibraltar continue to be heard in both the UK and EU Parliaments and that no stone is left unturned in the expression of those wishes.

Both the UK House of Commons and the EU Parliament have established mechanisms for the acceptance and reading of public petitions. We have drafted such petitions and made contact with the office of the Clerk of Public Petitions in the House of Commons. We will be inviting non governmental organisations and the Government to support both petitions in order to present a united front in defending Gibraltar’s interests.

We’ll be knocking on doors and will set up a stand on Main Street in the coming weeks, and those interested in signing the petition can also come down to GSD headquarters.

This is an important way in which the people of Gibraltar (in parallel with the Government) can express their concerns directly to the House of Commons and the EU Parliament on the EU draft negotiating position before they are ratified by the EU on 29 April 2017.

Say no to clause 22

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Clause 22 requires removal to protect Gibraltar’s Economic Interests

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We welcome the statements made by UK Government and its Ministers over the weekend.  The GSD, however, believes that there has been a focus in those statements on sovereignty commitments.  Welcome as these are, the double lock commitment of the UK Government in respect of sovereignty is inviolable.  The attempt to exclude Gibraltar from any UK-EU BREXIT deal requires an unequivocal rejection of the so-called clause 22.

Over the next few months the UK and the EU will attempt to agree by consensus a list of issues or an agenda, which will be carried forward for negotiation in any BREXIT deal.  That is why Spain has played its hand early.  Any inclusion of clause 22 in that consensus list or agenda should be wholly unacceptable for the UK Government.  This is not about sovereignty.  It is about protecting the economic interests of our community in circumstances where we are being singled out at the earliest possible juncture for exclusion.

Over the last year the GSD has argued that Gibraltar’s goals should remain simple and from the outset we outlined what those goals should be: access to the UK market, access to any trade deals negotiated by the UK with third counties and the EU, together with a sensible agreement in respect of the frontier.  Nothing that undermines those objectives should be acceptable to us.

In addition, we should continue to attempt to develop alternative non-EU dependent markets.  Gibraltar has always shown it is an agile jurisdiction which can adapt and we simply need to get on it.  In this regard, the Leader of the Opposition is visiting Morocco today for high level meetings.  He has already done so on a number of occasions in the past eight months.  Roy Clinton will be acting Leader of the Opposition in his absence.

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Our Reaction to EU Negotiating Position on Gibraltar

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We are disappointed that the European Union appears to have singled out Gibraltar as a bilateral issue between the United Kingdom and Spain at the earliest possible juncture.

The Attorney General Michael Llamas QC yesterday evening told the GFSB that he felt confident that Spain would not want to be seen by its European partners as being unreasonable by vetoing an entire deal between the U.K. and the EU because of its position in respect of Gibraltar.  It is precisely to avoid this situation that the European Union is now attempting to carve out Gibraltar as a bilateral issue between Spain and the United Kingdom. In practical terms it means that Spain could block Gibraltar’s access to any trade deal the U.K. may be able to negotiate with the EU and it also means that unlike the Irish border, which is a recognised EU issue, the Gibraltar border will become bilateral to the UK and Spain.

It now falls to the UK’s negotiating team to translate goodwill towards Gibraltar into action and reject outright such a prejudicial position to Gibraltar’s long term interests.

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