THE Spanish Prime Minister has promised that a deal will be agreed with the United Kingdom over Gibraltar ‘in the coming months’.
Mariano Rajoy revealed that bilateral talks between the two countries were ongoing and progressing well.
To the relief of many on the Rock, Rajoy also confirmed that the issue of Gibraltar’s sovereignty would not be up for debate.
Instead, he said that the priority for Spain was safeguarding the livelihoods of those living in the Campo who depend on Gibraltar for their income.
It is believed that 8,000 Spanish workers cross the frontier each day making Gibraltar the second biggest employer in the Andalucian region.
“We have already started bilateral talks with the United Kingdom, these are progressing satisfactorily,” he said.
“(Any deal should) first ensure that the situation of frontier workers is maintained and improved, which is out priority, and reasonable solutions to a number of issues which have been adversely affecting Gibraltar.”
The news comes as the UK revealed the terms of its initial draft withdrawal agreement with the EU which would see Gibraltar leave the union at the same time.
The draft confirms that the UK will leave the EU on March 29 2019 but that it will then be given a 21 month transition period whereby it could secure new trade deals.
The deals, which would also apply to Gibraltar, would then come into play after the transition period finished providing a degree of certainty for business.
It has certainly been a good fortnight of Brexit negotiations for Gibraltar.
Crucially, the UK government confirmed that Gibraltar would have barrier-free access to its financial services and online gaming markets after Brexit and until 2020.
The UK market currently accounts for over 90% of all business conducted by Gibraltar-based companies.
The British government then confirmed that it would draw up the terms for a new agreement for Gibraltar post-2020, based on its status outside of the EU.
“Great care has rightly been taken by the UK and Gibraltar to ensure regulatory standards will be maintained between us in a manner that will be designed to assure customer protection and equivalence on regulatory outcomes going forward,” said the Chief Minister.
“Today our bilateral relationship grows stronger and the terms for it to endure are further cemented as we realise the commitment to maintain and enhance market access for Gibraltar service providers into the UK post-Brexit.”