Gibraltar is in talks with Scotland “about a plan to keep parts of the UK in the EU”, the BBC’s Newsnight programme was reporting last night.
The idea behind the talks, the BBC said, was that the two British entities – both of which had voted to remain in the EU last Thursday, when most of the rest of the UK voted to leave – might join forces in an effort to maintain their membership in the 28-member bloc.
Northern Ireland could also “potentially be included in the discussions”, the BBC said.
According to the BBC, the British overseas territory’s chief minister, Fabian Picardo, “told the BBC he was speaking to Scotland’s first minister, Nicola Sturgeon, about various options” they might explore together.
The BBC said Sturgeon had separately confirmed that talks were indeed under way with Gibraltar.
The BBC quoted Picardo as saying: “I can imagine a situation where some parts of what is today the member state [known as the] United Kingdom are stripped out, and others remain.”
Picardo then went on to explain, according to the BBC, that under the plan being discussed with Sturgeon, Gibraltar and Scotland would not have to apply again for access to the EU, but rather, “we simply [would] remain with the access we have today, and those parts that leave [would then be] given a different sort of access, which is negotiated but not necessarily under Article 50”. Article 50 is a provision in the Lisbon Treaty that sets out how member states might voluntarily leave the EU.
Nicola Sturgeon has previously indicated that it was likely a second referendum on independence for Scotland would be held, in the wake of last Thursday’s Brexit result.
More than most parts of the UK, Gibraltar has had cause to be concerned about the UK leaving the EU, or at least, this is the perception of many of its residents. This is because Gibraltar’s neighbour, Spain, the coast of which it is attached to, has long stated its belief that the territory should belong to Spain, not to the UK. After the results of last Thursday’s vote, Spain’s acting foreign minister, Jose Manuel Garcia-Margallo, was quoted as saying, “The Spanish flag on the Rock is much closer than before”.
To read the story on the BBC’s website, click here.