The United Kingdom and Gibraltar Governments have met in the 10th Joint Ministerial Council for Gibraltar. The meeting included the signature of two new Memoranda of Understanding between both Governments under which the UK has agreed to financially underwrite part of certain Brexit contingency projects in Gibraltar.
The Gibraltar Brexit team was led by the Chief Minister Fabian Picardo and included the Deputy Chief Minister Dr Joseph Garcia, Attorney General Michael Llamas and Financial Secretary Albert Mena.
The United Kingdom delegation was led by Minister for Europe Chris Pincher and included officials from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Department for Exiting the European Union.
The signature of the new MoUs by the Chief Minister and Minister Pincher is a reflection of the close and positive working relationship between the two Governments and reflects the challenge that Gibraltar faces as a consequence of Brexit.
The UK has agreed to fund the construction of the vehicular access ramp at the port in order to allow cargo trucks to and from ferries. The cost of these works, which are now complete, were estimated at £390,000. The objective of this project is to provide Gibraltar with greater resilience by sea in the event of the difficult border.
The second MoU relates to a project designed to provide greater resilience in the area of Gibraltar’s waste storage and export. The contingency plan for waste involves the purchase of machinery to shred, bale and wrap waste for storage and subsequent export by container. The machinery will cost in the region of £862,000 and this will be paid for by the United Kingdom after agreement was ratified in the JMC.
During its time in London, the Gibraltar delegation also held other strategy meetings involving various departments of the UK Government. The discussions centered on the future way forward in relation to the proposed post-Brexit relationships between the United Kingdom and the European Union. The UK has already engaged extensively with Gibraltar on this. These negotiations about the future are expected to commence immediately in the event that the UK and Gibraltar leave the European Union on 31 January. The process is obviously subject to the UK general election on 12 December.
The Chief Minister Fabian Picardo said:
“I am delighted that the Joint Ministerial Council has once again delivered concrete results for Gibraltar as we continue our preparations to leave the European Union. The United Kingdom Government has once again showed its commitment to the people of Gibraltar through the Memoranda of Understanding that were signed during the meeting and by providing direct financial support in respect of the funding of the contingency projects required to deal with a potential hard Brexit, or the resilience we will require in the absence of a deal with the EU at the end of a transition period. We will continue to work closely together as we await the outcome of elections in Spain this month and in the UK itself next month.”