Spain and the European Commission present a proposal to the United Kingdom for the Campo de Gibraltar to become an area of shared prosperity

News - 2022.11.25

The Minister for Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation, José Manuel Albares, announced to the main local and regional authorities with powers in the Campo de Gibraltar that Spain and the European Commission have sent the United Kingdom a proposal to make this area a zone of shared prosperity.

Albares, who had convened the meeting to report on the current stage of the negotiations with the United Kingdom on Gibraltar, reviewed the objectives and interests that Spain has been defending in this negotiating process, particularly for the benefit of the citizens and economic operators of the Campo de Gibraltar.

During the meeting, the minister explained that Spain, together with the European Commission, has already put a global proposal on the table, which aims to establish a new legal framework that lays the foundations for a stable relationship between Spain and the EU, on one hand, and the territory of Gibraltar, through the United Kingdom, on the other.

As detailed to the main local and regional authorities with competences in the Campo de Gibraltar, this proposal contains very reasonable technical and practical solutions, which are necessary for the construction of an area of shared prosperity and are respectful of our respective legal positions.

The text submitted to the UK is a comprehensive proposal that includes provisions on the mobility of people, with the aim of abolishing the fence and ensuring the full fluidity of transit of people. This requires Spain to take control, on behalf of Schengen, of Gibraltar's external borders and, to this end, be able to exercise certain functions and powers necessary to protect the integrity and security of the Schengen area.

Rights and benefits

The Spanish proposal also provides for the protection and improvement of the rights of workers and welfare recipients in Gibraltar.

On customs issues, it is proposed to ensure the free movement of goods between the EU and Gibraltar, without increasing the risks for the EU internal market, in particular for economic operators in the area in terms of unfair competition or illicit trafficking, e.g. tobacco. As in the case of people, this will require Spain, on behalf of the EU, to exercise control and protection functions in the internal market, as customs controls between Spain and Gibraltar will disappear.

Furthermore, the conditions of fair competition are preserved, so that economic operators in Gibraltar compete under similar conditions to other economic operators in the EU and, in particular, in the Campo de Gibraltar area.

The text, which is already in the hands of the UK, also includes provisions to combat money laundering; provisions to ensure high standards of environmental protection and nuclear safety protection, to provide maximum safeguards against potential environmental damage affecting the whole area, and to prevent unfair economic competition; and a financial mechanism for training and employment programmes in the area.

Unchanged position

The minister recalled that Spain's position on sovereignty and jurisdiction in relation to Gibraltar remains unchanged. Neither the future Agreement, nor any action or measure taken pursuant to or as a result of it, shall imply any renunciation or amendment to Spain's legal position with respect to sovereignty and jurisdiction over Gibraltar.

Albares said that the Government is confident and hopes that the negotiations will conclude with a satisfactory agreement as soon as possible. He added that the Government does not want a no-deal scenario, but it should be remembered that, on one hand, Brexit is a British decision and, on the other, that the commitment of both parties is needed to sign an agreement.

The minister was able to hear first-hand the opinions and concerns that Brexit and the results of this negotiation raise in the local administrations of Campo de Gibraltar and in the Junta de Andalucía. He reiterated the Government's firm commitment to the Campo de Gibraltar, a region with very unique challenges, even more so in the context of Brexit. In this regard, the Minister recalled that, through the different ministries, the Government is developing the main lines of action designed in the Comprehensive Plan for Campo de Gibraltar, approved by the Council of Ministers in November 2018.

In addition to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation, the meeting was attended by the President of the Association of Municipalities of the Campo de Gibraltar, the mayors of Algeciras, La Línea de la Concepción, San Roque (and also President of the Provincial Administration of Cádiz), Los Barrios, Tarifa, Castellar de la Frontera, Jimena de la Frontera and San Martín del Tesorillo, the Government Subdelegation in Cádiz, the Director of the Coordination Office of the AGE in the Campo de Gibraltar and the Subdelegate of the Andalusian Government in the Campo de Gibraltar.

Non official translation