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Gibraltar welcomes Brexit deal as 'far better than crashing out with no-deal'

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Gibraltar welcomes Brexit deal as 'far better than crashing out with no-deal'
Gibraltar, the tiny territory at Spain's southern tip has much to lose in a no deal Brexit. Photo: AFP
11:59 CET+01:00
Gibraltar's Chief Minister Fabian Picardo was among the few politicians to welcome Theresa May's deal with the European Union stating that it “worked from the point of view of Gibraltar”.

“I am satisfied that the aspects of the proposed Withdrawal Agreement which relate to Gibraltar work for Gibraltar,” he said on Thursday  morning hours after the agreement was approved by Theresa May's cabinet.

“This Protocol contains absolutely no concessions on sovereignty, jurisdiction or control. We would not have accepted it if it had. There are no issues of bilateralism that can cause any concern,” he said in a statement issued from Number 6 Convent Place on Thursday morning.

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“There are no matters which in any way challenge our fundamental positions on any keys issues,” he said, adding that a full statement would be made next week after “every part of the Protocol and its effect on Gibraltar can be properly analysed and understood."

The statement from his office said that “the Gibraltar Government is of the view that the deal that has been concluded is far better for Gibraltar than crashing out of the European Union in four months time without an agreement.”

Mr Picardo had been actively involved in negotiations where they involved Gibraltar and welcomed the deal on the table.

"It means that Gibraltar will not crash out of the European Union in March 2019 and that things will largely remain as they are until the end of 2020. This period will allow for the negotiation of the future relationship with the European Union which would be expected to apply after the end of the transition," the statement said.

However, Mr Picardo admitted that if the UK Parliament voted down the agreement and left no alternative but a “no deal” things could get bad for Gibraltar, where 96 percent voted to remain in the EU.

“A no deal would be very bad indeed for Gibraltar,” Mr Picardo said outside the Cabinet Office in Whitehall on Wednesday night, according to the Gibraltar Chronicle.

“Anyone who genuinely cares for Gibraltar will want to see a deal as important as this is for Gibraltar to prosper,” he said.

In April 2017 the EU agreed to give Spain the right to veto any future post-Brexit relationship between the 27-member bloc and Gibraltar.

The tiny rocky outcrop of Gibraltar, home to some 32,000 people on Spain's southern tip, has long been the subject of an acrimonious sovereignty row between London and Madrid, which wants Gibraltar back after it was ceded to Britain in 1713.

Spain has nevertheless tried to reassure the territory's inhabitants that it will put the issue of sovereignty aside and won't use the negotiations over Gibraltar to try to get the territory back or to make their lives more complicated.

But fears remain that Gibraltar and the cross frontier economy that spills into the neighbouring town of La Linea will be detrimentally affected by Brexit.

READ MORE: Brexit dims outlook for both sides of Spain-Gibraltar border

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