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Lords EU committee conclusions on Gibraltar and Brexit

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The House of Lords European Union Committee has published its report on the key challenges posed by Brexit to Gibraltar. These include challenges to its service based economy; its land border with Spain; relations between the UK, Gibraltar and Spain; and Gibraltar’s future relationship with the EU. See http://bit.ly/2lVjiXY.

Gibraltar is a British overseas territory, with derogations from the EU common agricultural and fisheries policies, and from the customs union. Financial services and online gaming account for 40% of GDP and a quarter of total jobs within Gibraltar’s economy. The government of Gibraltar acknowledged in written evidence that losing access to the single market in services and the ability to ‘passport’ its financial services to the rest of the EU through the UK would be a ‘severe blow’.

The report notes that the extent to which these potentially significant economic consequences will be realised hinges both on the outcome of the UK’s negotiations with the EU, including the level of single market access, and on the reaction of Spain during and after withdrawal. Gibraltar’s most significant economic relationship is with the UK itself, and it will be important for Gibraltar to maintain and enhance its access to UK markets to compensate for any loss in access to the single market.

The committee concludes that the government of Gibraltar has placed its trust in the UK to negotiate on its behalf and secure a Brexit that 96% of its voters did not support. The UK government has a ‘moral responsibility’ to ensure Gibraltar’s voice is heard, and its interests respected, throughout the Brexit process.

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