The news that Theresa May is tabling talks with the Opposition in UK to break the current Brexit deadlock provides a further opportunity for Gibraltar that the Government should not miss.
It is obvious that the deadlock is largely about the type of relationship that different people want the UK to have with the EU. A variety of permutations have been floated recently from a customs union to some form of market access and even options that would entail accepting freedom of movement as a principle going forward. Over and above that there is also the issue of whether such a new relationship should be sanctioned by a confirmatory or people’s vote.
The GSD would want to see circumstances emerge that would allow us to remain in the EU or to have a choice at a People’s Vote between remaining and some form of new relationship outside the EU. But to the extent that there is a current attempt at defining the kind of relationship the UK should enjoy with the EU if Brexit is to be inevitable then Gibraltar should not lose out.
GSD Leader Keith Azopardi said: “We have always been clear that if Brexit is inevitable we wish to see a relationship with the EU recalibrated on the basis of a retention of freedom of movement and single market access. We have been saying so for a long time and urging Government to put its case to achieve that. Instead the Government have been ambivalent and not vigorously pursued achieving these objectives for three years. In part because they have been saying this debate is not for now. But the fact is that most of the debate that has been raging in the UK for months now is about the nature and quality of the kind of relationship the UK wants with the EU. We run the risk of missing the boat if our aspirations are not put strongly. The Prime Minister is also meeting the First Ministers of Wales and Scotland. What about Gibraltar’s quite unique and separate interests? The Government has already wasted a long time. It needs to make its voice heard by all sectors of political opinion in the UK. We need to be positive and speak loudly about how we see our future and be specific about the relationship we want with the EU.”