Gibraltar PM says he will use veto on Brexit is necessary

Published:  13 Feb at 6 PM
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Tagged: Spain, UK, Euro, England
British expats on Gibraltar are being encouraged to envision the brighter side of the Brexit debacle.

According to the Chief Minister of the ‘Rock’, Fabian Picardo, Brexit need not be an unmitigated disaster for Gibraltar’s expat and local population. The British Territory of Gibraltar recorded an almost unanimous Remain vote, with 96 per cent saying they wanted the UK to stay in the European Union, and nothing’s changed since then. Picardo strongly believes it’s time to step back and work out how to safeguard the next generation of residents from the worst that Brexit can throw at the tiny community, the majority of whom are Britons by birth.

During an interview with local media, the Chief Minister reminded the UK he has a veto on the terms and conditions of any Brexit agreement, adding he will not hesitate to use it should the agreement cause problems for Gibraltar. He is also calling for a second referendum, to be based on acceptance or rejection of the final draft of the Brexit agreement, if and when it is published.

Negotiations on the future of the Rock are expected to have reached the resolution stage this month, following talks between the UK and Spain. Picardo believes now is the moment to ensure Gibraltar isn’t just another victim of Brexit, saying its future should be safeguarded on behalf of its next generation of Gibraltarians. Although he isn’t able to influence British thinking on the subject, he’s determined to resist any negative impact on Gibraltar’s people, their social care and their businesses by the use of his veto.

Picardo's strength is that the Rock’s constitution was drawn up in London by UK lawmakers, making rejecting the Chief Minister’s arguments tricky at best, even in a court of law. His take on the Brexit referendum itself is that holding it without spelling out exactly what leaving the EU would mean for the country’s economy and businesses was very unfair, therefore giving democratic legitimacy for the call for a second vote after the good, the bad and the ugly is made clear to all. Whatever the outcome, he says, Gibraltar will refuse to be paralysed by Brexit.
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