Foreign secretary Dominic Raab has travelled to Gibraltar to attend the Joint Ministerial Council and hold bilateral talks with Gibraltar’s chief minister, Fabian Picardo.
The Joint Ministerial Council was originally established to discuss the UK’s exit from the EU and represents the highest negotiating forum for UK and Gibraltar ministers to convene and discuss key issues. It has, since its foundation, played a role as a forum for the UK and Gibraltar to come together and address issues of mutual importance.
Part of the purpose of Raab’s trip is to reiterate Britain’s commitment to reaching a future agreement with the EU on Gibraltar’s position, after the territory was not covered by the UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement.
However, Westminster and the Government of Gibraltar collaborated on a political agreement with the Spanish government on a framework for Gibraltar’s future relationship with the bloc, which was struck on December 31 last year.
The political agreement and framework provide the basis for a UK-EU treaty regarding Gibraltar. The European Commission is currently in the process of formulating its own mandate for the negotiations over such a treaty.
A key issue in the impending negotiations will surround the border between Gibraltar and Spain, with maintaining freedom of movement of both people and goods a priority for all parties.
Raab said: "As a valued member of the UK family, we stand side by side with Gibraltar as we enter into the forthcoming negotiations with the EU on Gibraltar’s future relationship.
"We are committed to delivering a treaty which safeguards UK’s sovereignty of Gibraltar and supports the prosperity of both Gibraltar and the surrounding region."