Following the results of the United Kingdom’s Referendum held last month, the Ministry of Business and Employment has established a BREXIT Working Group in order to consider the possible implications for Gibraltar businesses, arising from the United Kingdom’s potential withdrawal from the European Union.

Further to HM Government of Gibraltar’s Press Release of 20 July 2016, where the Deputy Chief Minister announced the Government’s self-assessment of the implications of a potential BREXIT, the Ministry of Business and Employment will consult representatives from all the different sectors of the Business Community to assess the possible consequences. The Group will seek to explore the possible solutions to any issues to businesses that could arise from the United Kingdom leaving the European Union.

Further, the Ministry of Business and Employment is currently considering different business ideas which could further diversify Gibraltar’s vibrant economy. In his Budget Address Minister Costa announced that work will start with the Gibraltar Federation of Small Businesses, the Gibraltar Chamber of Commerce and other stakeholders to consider the elements of an incubator scheme for start-ups. Such a scheme will be particularly useful for start-ups in the software and technology industry, which the Government seeks to nurture.

The Minister for Business and Employment, the Hon Neil F. Costa MP said: “It is right that we should move immediately to carefully consider the consequences to Gibraltar businesses from a potential Brexit. As the public is fully aware, HMGoG will not rest nor leave any stone unturned in doing all that it can to safeguard and protect Gibraltar’s present and future interests. In this respect, the Chief Minister and Deputy Chief Minister have moved immediately to put Gibraltar’s case to the British Government and have met with, amongst others, the new Prime Minister and the Foreign Secretary. The UK Government has confirmed that Gibraltar will be “fully involved” in any BREXIT negotiations and has reaffirmed the UK’s double-lock sovereignty commitment to Gibraltar.

Further, the Minister for BREXIT only last week stated that a common market between Gibraltar and the UK is to be analysed as a matter of urgency and that the UK is fully committed to promoting the interests of all Gibraltarians. As a result, at my first meeting of the Business Working Group, I will ask the representatives of the different industry sectors to prepare written submissions on the impact of BREXIT to their sectors and likely solutions, the main principles of which I will submit to the Deputy Chief Minister as part of the Government’s self-assessment on the impact of BREXIT.

The Group will also explore every option to strengthen Gibraltar’s economic position. It is worth highlighting at this juncture that a possible BREXIT will create alternative business opportunities for Gibraltar.