The UK has clarified what airport deals will be accepted as part of a Gibexit deal between the UK and the EU. They must be “practical and technical options,” such as those of the Córdoba Agreement of 2006. It moved from the phrases of the past, “joint use” or “strengthened use,” with or in Spain. Talk of exploring “practical and technical options” for allowing flights between Gibraltar and the EU without compromising British sovereignty opens the door to the possibility of ‘rigging’ the airport. At the same time, the UK is carefully covering its back with Gibraltar by making any agreement conditional on Gibraltar’s approval.
The latter is a surprising safeguard if, in any Gibexit ‘deal’, Britain’s’sovereignty, jurisdiction, and control’ are not compromised; this is a reality that follows from and falls within the phrase ‘practical and technical options’. .
THE UNITED KINGDOM SHUTS OFF FOR THE FAILURE OF TALKS
In its statement, the UK is shielding itself against any accusation of guilt if a Gibexit agreement cannot be reached because of airport issues, and thus its serious negative consequences for Gibraltar and the Campo de Gibraltar. . If a ‘deal’ cannot be reached on Gibexit, the United Kingdom may argue that it is not due to the irreversibility of the airport. At the same time, it opens the door to “fix” the airport, perhaps based on the 2006 Córdoba agreement that talks about “enhanced use,” which replaced the declaration of the airport in 1987. The practical reality is that the considerations of commerce did not lead to any ‘enhanced use’ after 2006. Today, there are no visible signs that market needs have changed, making Gibraltar-EU voyages more viable.
OPTIMISM ON THE EU’S CHANCE
The United Kingdom clarified its position on the airport pending high-level negotiations in the coming weeks in London and considered the optimism of Maros Sefcovic. Maros Sefcovic led the EU delegation in the Gibraltar negotiations. He is confident of “a lot of progress,” reflecting the recent optimism expressed by the Governor of Gibraltar, David Steele. Maros Sefcovic said: “We are working closely with our colleagues in the UK and, of course, working together in Spain. I think we have made a lot of progress in many areas. And I think what we have to achieve is what I describe as the final push—the most difficult. That’s why I can’t predict the final result.”
The signals given by the various parties have raised high hopes that a Gibexit deal will emerge from the next round of talks in London. Everyone’s ambition is to reach a zone of ‘shared prosperity’. This is not an ambition that can be achieved by strangling the economy of Gibraltar or by derailing a Gibexit ‘deal’ on the airport issues that were overcome in 1987 and 2006. Spain should know that adjustments to the Gibraltar agreement should be made. 2006 to comply with the general terms of any Gibexit treaty. All things considered, including the fact that Gibexit talks have not broken down, the odds of reaching an agreement on Gibexit are now favourable. What follows is the conviction that nothing in any agreement will infringe on ‘British sovereignty, jurisdiction, and control’. Another issue is overcoming the trade barriers that any treaty of this type may impose on Gibraltar. There is no doubt that the agreements, especially the rumored transaction tax, which mirrors the VAT, will affect businesses in Gibraltar, in some cases beneficially and in others adversely.