Gibraltar might be part of the Schengen space as a way to assure freedom of motion on its border with Spain when the UK has left the European Union, urged the pinnacle of presidency of this British territory in an interview with AFP. .
For this tiny 6.2 km2 enclave on the southern finish of the Iberian Peninsula, the circulate of visitors at its solely border put up with Spain is essential.
The suggestion of the chief minister of Gibraltar Fabian Picardo in an interview carried out Friday on "the Rock" intervenes lower than two weeks earlier than Brexit. February 1 will open an 11-month transition interval throughout which London and the EU must negotiate on the way forward for their relations.
"We talked about this earlier than Brexit, mentioned Picardo, of the potential of Gibraltar coming into the Schengen space", an space of 26 international locations, 4 of which aren’t a part of the EU, between which vacationers can journey with out passports.
The UK by no means needed to hitch the Schengen space but when Gibraltar entered it "it could be optimistic" estimated the chief minister.
"Does it make sense to the EU that 2.5 sq. miles on the southern tip of the peninsula isn’t accessible to European residents? I don’t imagine so," he mentioned.
A clean crossing of the border is within the curiosity of the enclave of some 30,000 inhabitants in addition to Spaniards who’re employed there.
Nearly 14,000 staff, the overwhelming majority of them Spanish but in addition nationals of all nationalities established in Spain, cross the border daily to go to work in Gibraltar the place full employment prevails.
Amongst them, 2,500 Britons residing in Spain due to the decrease actual property costs, cross the border crossing on foot or by automotive earlier than crossing the airport runway constructed on an isthmus connecting Gibraltar to Spain.
"Have a look at different micro-states in Europe, they get pleasure from freedom of motion in Schengen, even when they aren’t totally built-in into the data change system," continued Fabian Picardo. All of this can be taken under consideration within the upcoming negotiations. "
Liechtenstein, particularly, is an related micro-member state of the Schengen space.
Painful historical past
The minister minimized the chance of Madrid placing strain on the negotiations by slowing the passage via strengthened border controls, when neither Gibraltar nor London can name on the European Union.
In 2013, a dispute over territorial waters had resulted in severe visitors jams on the border for months, till Brussels intervened.
"Any European citizen who crosses the border will be capable of complain to the Fee or to the EU Court docket of Justice if there are exaggerated delays," he mentioned.
"The administration of this border by Spain have to be finished in compliance with European guidelines as a result of it’s entry to the Schengen space".
Spain ceded Gibraltar to Nice Britain in 1713, however has since claimed duty for the return of the territory, and the battle has usually been marked by strain on the border.
In 1969, the dictator Francisco Franco closed the border, imposing a blockade that was not utterly lifted till 1985, when Spain was getting ready to hitch the EU on January 1, 1986.
For the reason that British voted in 2016 to go away the EU, Spain has reformulated its proposal to share sovereignty over the Rock between Madrid and London. However the Gibraltarians, who rejected the thought by referendum in November 2002, preserve their refusal.
Picardo, nonetheless, was optimistic about relations with the brand new left-wing coalition authorities in Madrid, noting that Socialist Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez expressed the want "to look past the everlasting quarrel over sovereignty for see how you can enhance the financial scenario within the area. "
The area of Spain adjoining Gibraltar has one of many highest unemployment charges within the nation. On each side, the leaders evoke a cooperation that may create jobs.
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Gibraltar plans to hitch Schengen space after BrexitOuest-France.fr