FRAMEWORK AGREEMENT IN PRINCIPLE FOR A UK/EU AGREEMENT ON GIBRALTAR
January 13, 2021
On Monday 11th Spanish newspaper El País, printed an extensive version of the framework in principle agreement for the UK/EU agreement on Gibraltar, reached on 31 December last.
Chief Minister, Fabian Picardo took to social media in response to the publication stating that the ‘facts have been spun into inaccuracies.’ We reproduce the CM’s post here in full. The link to the El País article can be found at the end of the post.
Today's EL PAIS contains a skewed summary of our framework agreement in principle for a UK/EU Agreement on Gibraltar.
As is usually the case when we read about Gibraltar in the Spanish press, the facts have been spun into inaccuracies.
Remember before you believe their spin on all of this, for example, that this is a newspaper that regularly calls us a tax haven!
On Visas, for example, the way they present the position is not an accurate reflection of the position. If you are a visa requiring national, you will still need a Gib visa to enter Gibraltar. The position is exactly as it is now. (PLEASE NOTE THAT UK NATIONALS WILL NOT REQUIRE A VISA TO ENTER GIBRALTAR OR SCHENGEN).
The Member States of Schengen, which include Spain, will be competent in issuing VISAS for Schengen where entry is through Gibraltar, as is the case in respect of all the other entry points to Schengen. (FOR EXAMPLE, SPAIN CAN GRANT A VISA FOR ENTRY VIA GERMANY IF THE SCHENGEN CRITERIA IS MADE OUT).
But ONLY Gibraltar will be competent to grant VISAS for entry into Gibraltar.
And entry into Gibraltar will remain our exclusive competence and will be the primary key to access Gibraltar.
That primary key will be exercised by us through the Gibraltar Borders and Coastguard Agency which will become the lead agency to control all access via Gibraltar.
The Schengen visa is for Spain / Schengen and, as the text says, it will be possible to be issued also by the other member states.
ALSO, nb, it will be possible to get ‘Gibraltar only’ visas, for which only we will be the competent issuing authority.
Lets be clear: Spain’s sovereignty claim in respect of Gibraltar has been specifically off the table in all discussions relating to the deal we announced on New Year’s Eve.
What this article also doesn’t show - but is in the agreement - is that the whole operation happens ONLY with “permission” from Gib/UK (which is particularly relevant on the isthmus), and that we can withdraw permission at any time and end the Treaty.
This is what shows our assertion on sovereignty which DEMONSTRATES that only we are sovereign on the isthmus because these operations happen (via Frontex only) cos they are ‘permitted’ by UK. This is key.
So sovereignty is protected in the following ways:
1. This is NOT a legal agreement, it is a framework to negotiate a legal treaty with the EU, not Spain.
2. The EU has no sovereignty claim, and they are the ones we will enter a Treaty with.
3. The first paragraph is a reservation of all parties positions on sovereignty, ‘without prejudice’.
4. That paragraph referred to the “issue” of sovereignty, in the singular, not two “issues” as in The Brussels Agreement, which tore off the isthmus as separate.
5. The “permission” point above, which is the boldest ever diplomatic assertion of sovereignty over the isthmus ever made by Spain or accepted by Spain. The EU could not go ahead with this without the UKs permission as provided for. The permission can be withdrawn at any time that Gibraltar wants out of the Treaty (like Article 50).
6. Another key point, btw, is that the Frontex guards will need to be permitted by Gibraltar law. So it will be in our law that only Frontex can do the Schengen checks in Gibraltar. This will require an Act of Parliament in Gibraltar which is entirely a matter for Gibraltar's elected parliamentarians. This is massive recognition of our Parliament, our key democratic institution. Before any Spanish law enforcement could be in Gibraltar, it would require a change to that Act of Parliament, something which I am sure no Gibraltar Parliament will permit now or in four years. A key factor in protecting sovereignty, jurisdiction and control!
7. The right to terminate at any time, as per Article 50 style, which demonstrates that nothing is ceded as all practical arrangements can be undone.
8. The ‘double cumulative key’ over which we assert primacy, ie, a traveller can be turned back by BCA BEFORE he has the right to move on to the Schengen, Frontex control.
9. All asylum matters will b dealt with in the Gibraltar Courts, which, like the European Arrest Warrant, shows our primacy of jurisdiction.
10. The dispute resolution mechanism is UK/EU, not Spain.
11. Also, on joint patrols, these will be agreed only so long as it is accepted to be exclusively with our RGP/Customs in BGTW and no other entity involved.
12. There will be no power for any officer other than a Gibraltar BCA / law enforcement official to exercise jurisdiction over any person in Gibraltar.
I know that this requires a very detailed technical explanation, but it is very, very clear and very, very sovereignty safe, jurisdiction assured and control retained.
I look forward to addressing these points in Parliament so that you have all the assurances you need on this.
On Thursday, with thanks to GBC, I will be on a LIVE 90 minute VIEWPOINT to answer all your questions on this agreement.
Here is the electronic version of the article:
https://elpais.com/.../el-texto-del-acuerdo-entre-espana...And here are the relevant texts: