Carwyn Jones, First Minister of Wales
I visited Gibraltar on 29 and 30 June at the invitation of the Chief Minister, the Hon. Fabian Picardo, QC, MP.
The purpose of the visit was to discuss our respective views of the challenges and opportunities created by the UK’s withdrawal from the EU, of the UK Government’s negotiating position as set out in the Article 50 letter from the Prime Minister to the President of the European Council and of the current state of the negotiations. The visit was also intended to enable us to understand better each other’s priorities for the outcome of the negotiations.
For Gibraltar, these priorities include: ensuring continued relatively unimpeded movement of people and goods across the border with Spain; ensuring that any future trade agreement between the UK and the EU-27, as well as any new free trade agreements with third countries include Gibraltar while fully respecting its status as a self-governing Overseas Territory; and securing continued high levels of access to both the UK market and the EU Single Market.
I had the opportunity of discussing these issues over a working dinner with the Chief Minister, the Minister for Economic Development (and former Chief Minister), the Hon. Joe Bossano, MP and the Minister for Housing and Equality, the Hon. Samantha Sacramento, MP.
I also had a separate meeting with the Deputy Chief Minister, the Hon. Dr. Joseph Garcia, MP who leads on European affairs and the Brexit negotiations. These meetings also enabled us to discuss ways of ensuring closer engagement over the Brexit negotiations between Wales, and potentially the other Devolved Administrations, and Gibraltar in future.
As well as these meetings with the Government, I was received by the Governor of Gibraltar, His Excellency Lieutenant General Edward Davis, CB, CBE, KStJ. In order to hear at first hand the concerns and aspirations of the business community, I also met with representatives of the Gibraltar Chamber of Commerce and the Gibraltar Federation of Small Businesses.
Finally, I attended a small lunch hosted by the Hon. Albert Isola MP, Minister for Financial Services and Gaming, which provided an opportunity to meet other leading figures in Gibraltar, including Sir Peter Caruana, KCMG, QC who was Chief Minister from 1996 to 2011 and the Minister for Health, Care and Justice, the Hon. Neil F. Costa, MP.