News on the UK/Gibraltar/EU Treaty

Article appeared in the Gibraltar Chronicle by Brian Reyes:

Negotiators for a UK/EU treaty on Gibraltar’s post-Brexit relations with the bloc have made “tremendous progress” to date, Attorney General Michal Llamas, KC, said on Friday, even while acknowledging a “limited number of difficult issues” remain unresolved.

Mr Llamas was speaking in the Supreme Court during the Ceremonial Opening of the Legal Year and revealed the ninth formal round of talks between the UK – with Gibraltar – and the EU had taken place earlier this week in London after it was re-scheduled following the death of Queen Elizabeth II.
Mr Llamas, the Gibraltar Government’s chief negotiator in the talks, described the talks as “intense.” “Not only because of the numerous subject matters that are being discussed, and their individual, massive complexities, but also because the political and legal positions of three different governments and of the European Union have to be taken into account and respected,” he said.

“Tremendous progress has been made over a vast range of issues in the last 12 months, including in relation to the vital issue of border fluidity and our future relationship with the Schengen Area. A limited number of difficult issues remain, but we continue to work on them with determination and imagination.”

Mr Llamas said that at the forefront of his mind in every negotiating round are “the crystal-clear instructions” from Chief Minister Fabian Picardo and Deputy Chief Minister Dr Joseph Garcia that no aspect of the deal is to compromise Gibraltar’s British sovereignty “in any respect whatsoever”.

He referred to statements made by the Chief Minister earlier in the week during an address to the UN, in which Mr Picardo said Gibraltar’s British sovereignty and its common law framework already created wealth here and in the surrounding region and could unlock further prosperity if a treaty is successfully negotiated.

“To maintain and enhance that prosperity and stability, notwithstanding the grave challenges posed by Brexit, must be the enduring achievement of the new treaty,”Mr Llamas said. “And the role of the jurisdiction of this Supreme Court in our future prosperity as a nation is highlighted by the Chief Minister’s reference to the importance of the common law in that regard.”

Mr Llamas was addressing senior members of the judiciary, including Chief Justice Anthony Dudley and Sir Maurice Kay, the President of the Court of Appeal, and members of the legal profession who had gathered for the occasion.
Also present were dignitaries including the Governor, Vice Admiral Sir David Steel, the Chief Minister and the Leader of the Opposition, Keith Azopardi, the Minister for Justice Samantha Sacramento and representatives from the community and law enforcement agencies.