Spain and the United Kingdom reached a principle of agreement in extremis last New Year’s Eve that allows to “lift the gate” in Gibraltar and apply Schengen in the territory, something that was not covered by the Brexit agreement reached between the EU and the United Kingdom in Last Christmas Eve.
And, seven months later, the European Commission has decided this Tuesday to ask the Council (the governments) to open negotiations to close the EU-UK agreement on Gibraltar on the principles reached between London and Madrid on December 31, 2020. A From there, the Council will adopt this draft mandate and, afterwards, the Community Executive will be able to initiate formal negotiations with the United Kingdom.
European Commission Vice President Maroš Šefčovič, EU negotiator during post-Brexit, said: “We are honoring the political commitment we made with Spain to start negotiations for a separate agreement between the EU and the UK in Gibraltar. There is a mandate whose objective is to benefit those who live and work on both sides of the border between Spain and Gibraltar, while protecting the integrity of the Schengen Area and the Single Market “.
Gibraltar was not included in the agreement for the future post-Brexit relationship between the EU and the United Kingdom on December 24, 2020. The European Commission then undertook to start the negotiation of a separate agreement on Gibraltar, if Spain so requested, thing he has done. This is why the Commission is now recommending that the Council authorize the start of specific negotiations on Gibraltar.
“Spain appreciates and positively values the effort made by the European Commission in approving a proposed mandate adapted to the understanding between Spain and the United Kingdom reached on December 31,” states a government statement: “Spain will be accompanying the European Commission ensuring that its legal positions, interests and objectives are safeguarded and that the commitments reached between Spain and the United Kingdom are respected. Spain wishes that the negotiation concludes as soon as possible so that a new framework is quickly established that ensures shared prosperity for the benefit of all parties and, in particular, of the citizens of Campo de Gibraltar2.
The political agreement that will serve as the basis for the EU negotiation reached by Spain and the United Kingdom involves applying Schengen to Gibraltar and lifting the gate.
The text was the result of six months of work, and establishes that Spain will be the EU Member State “responsible” for the application of Schengen in Gibraltar, although during a transitional period of four years it will be assisted by Frontex. The inclusion of Gibraltar in the Schengen area means that British traveling to the region will have to pass some kind of passport control at the border, while Spaniards will be able to cross freely.
The agreement also allows for the incorporation of fair competition measures in taxation, environment and labor matters.
Approximately 15,000 community workers cross the gate daily to work in Gibraltar.