The 2016 vote was not a declaration of love for the European Union, it is believed by Fabian Picardo, Prime Minister of Gibraltar. “It was an overwhelming vote for the opening of the border with Spain,” he told radio station SER. The range is only 1.8 kilometers long, with a single crossing. The 33,000 residents of Gibraltar, one of the wealthiest in Europe, like the Spaniards know what it would mean if the border became slightly impenetrable on 1 January. If there is no agreement between Brussels and London, Gibraltar does not want to change control until July – and expects Spain to do the same.
Every day, 15,000 people cross the border to go to Gibraltar in the morning to go to work and return in the evening. So far all they have to do is show their identity card and they wave. In addition, there are about seven million tourists per year without Corona. If everyone is to suddenly introduce a passport, which needs to be stamped on the new EU external border, there is a possibility of waiting for four hours.
The government in Madrid is well aware of what this would mean for the impoverished region north of Gibraltar. Unemployment in the border town of La Linea is already 35 percent. Foreign Secretary Archana Gonzalela said, “It is a joint duty for the UK and Spain to create a region of prosperity.” The non-party politician set aside the question of sovereignty over Gibraltar, which Spain was to cede to Great Britain with the Peace of Utrecht in 1713 and has since sought it back. It is about the well being of the people.
For this – and because of his advocacy of being accepted into the Schengen area of Gibraltar, where there is virtually no identity check at the borders – Laia has gained a lot of recognition at Effenfelsen. “She has shown a sensibility for Gibraltar that has never been seen before,” says Picardo, who also supports the Schengen idea. The people on the monkey rock actually feel very British and doubt their big neighbors.
It is not yet clear whether British Prime Minister Boris Johnson will agree to include Gibraltar in the Schengen area. The German press agency said, “Gibraltar and London are marching here in the same direction.” The conversation was in full swing. Laia is hoping for an early settlement with the British.
In order to save not only the movement of people, but also the movement of goods, there are also plans that foreign territories also join the Federation of European Union. But it is still some other horizon, they say in Gibraltar. According to government circles, technically this would not be a major problem: Gibraltar already has border controls for people and goods at its airport and port. Thus, Brexit, which would take Great Britain out of the European Union, could have the opposite effect in Gibraltar: the foreign sector would in a way be closer to the European Union.