The Chief Minister, Fabian Picardo , and the Deputy Chief Minister, Dr Joseph Garcia, are in Cardiff on an official visit at the invitation of the First Minister of Wales Carwyn Jones AM. The invitation arises from a meeting between Mr Picardo and Mr Jones during the Labour Party conference in September.
There will be a formal meeting between the two delegations at the Welsh Government offices in Cathays Park during which a wide range of issues are expected to be raised with the objective of establishing closer links between Gibraltar and Wales.
In addition to this, Mr Picardo and Dr Garcia will also attend a meeting of the British Irish Parliamentary Assembly which takes place in Cardiff at the same time. The Assembly includes parliamentarians from Westminster, Ireland, Scotland, Northern Ireland, Wales, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man. This is the first time that Gibraltar will be present in this forum and it has come about at the suggestion of other participants including the Channel Islands and UK MPs.
It is expected that much of the focus will be on the ongoing discussion for the potential exit of the United Kingdom from the European Union, Brexit. The delegates will be addressed by the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland James Brockenshire and the Minister of State at the UK Department for Exiting the EU Robin Walker. There will be an opportunity to exchange views with the two Ministers. Mr Walker is the main Ministerial contact for Gibraltar in relation to these discussions and Mr Brockenshire is already familiar with some Gibraltar issues during his time as a Minister of State at the Home Office.
Mr Picardo and Dr Garcia will also attend a formal working dinner at Cardiff Castle which will include all the delegates as well as the First Minister of Wales, the Lord Mayor of Cardiff and the British and Irish Co-Chairs of the Parliamentary Assembly.
Mr Picardo has been invited to deliver the after dinner address.
The Chief Minister:
“I am delighted to be able to make my first official visit to Wales as Chief Minister and am particularly pleased that this has coincided with the British Irish meeting. This means that the Deputy Chief Minister and I will be able to exchange views with Government Ministers and Members of Parliament from across the spectrum, including those from the Devolved Administrations and the Crown Dependencies. Brexit is the topic of the moment and it is always very useful to compare notes with others who find themselves in the same situation in order to achieve a better understanding going forward.”
The Gibraltar delegation also includes the Attorney General Michael Llamas and UK Representative Dominique Searle.