Negotiations between the UK and the European Commission in respect of Gibraltar’s future relations with the European Union entered a fifth round on 1 February. The objective is to reach an agreement before Easter 2022.
The Gibraltar government issued a statement confirming that there had been progress in each of the four round of talks so far, and said it was clear that all parties were determined to move forward in a positive and constructive manner to find solutions to the complex political and technical issues under discussion.
The negotiations centre on ensuring fluid movement of people and goods between Gibraltar and the EU, while also creating an area of greater shared prosperity between Gibraltar and the nearest area of Spain, the Campo de Gibraltar.
The political framework for the negotiations was agreed between Gibraltar, UK and Spain on New Year’s Eve 2020. It included an ambitious proposal for Gibraltar to have tailored access to the Schengen area, with the external Schengen border moving to Gibraltar’s port and airport where controls would be provided by the EU’s Frontex force.
If agreement can be reached, it will take the form of a treaty between the UK, which is responsible for Gibraltar’s external relations and therefore negotiates on behalf of the Gibraltar government and in accordance with its wishes, and the EU. Gibraltar is, however, fully involved in the process.