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What does a no deal Brexit mean for Gibraltar?

We explain what that could mean for the British Overseas Territory of Gibraltar and their status.

What is Gibraltar’s current status in EU elections?

Gibraltar did not participate in the 1975 UK European Communities membership referendum and they didn’t participate in any election until the UK passed legislation in 2002 allowing them to take part.

In May 2015, it was announced that Gibraltar would fully participate in the EU Referendum in 2016.

Gibraltar was the only British Overseas Territory that got a vote in the referendum and it is the only one that currently has the right to vote in EU elections.

Gibraltar saw the single biggest “Remain” vote of all 382 voting areas as 95.91 per cent voted to Remain and 4.09 per cent voted to Leave the EU.

The British Overseas Territory will leave the EU as majority of the UK voted to Leave.

What happened when Eurocrats called Gibraltar a British 'colony'?

Britain risked a full blown diplomatic row with Spain – blasting its “inappropriate” bid to use EU law to brand Gibraltar a 'colony'.

The UK’s ambassador to Brussels confronted his Spanish counterpart at a meeting in Brussels in a bitter Brexit dispute.

It came as the EU rubber stamped moves to allow Brits visa-free travel to the Continent after Brexit – but called Gibraltar a colony of the “British crown” in the text.

In an impassioned speech Sir Tim Barrow branded Madrid’s rhetoric unacceptable and said it was wrong to call Gibraltar a colony.

And he argued the wording proposed by Madrid is incompatible with both the UN position on the Rock and the Withdrawal Agreement between the UK and EU.

What does a no deal Brexit mean for Gibraltar?

It is not clear.

Gibraltar has no say in the negotiations between the UK and EU.

The duties of defence and internal security in Gibraltar are the responsibility of the UK.

In Theresa May’s Withdrawal Agreement there is a section called EU Exit Negotiations: Gibraltar Memoranda of Understanding.

The UK, Spain and Gibraltar all signed the agreement and it covered citizens’ rights, cooperation on environmental matters, cooperation in police and customs matters and tobacco and other products.

Gibraltar and the UK has also published a Concordat, which states that Memoranda of Understanding will be implemented in accordance with the constitution of the territory.

Chief Minister Fabian Picardo told the Gibraltar Parliament in December ahead of May’s ‘meaningful vote’: “Without a Withdrawal Agreement there is no protocol on Gibraltar,” he said at the time.

“Without a protocol on Gibraltar, there are no effective memoranda hanging off that.

“But that is not to say…that in a no deal context we would not wish to consider with Spanish colleagues how to adapt arrangements to ensure we work to soften the blow of no deal for our respective citizens and continue to seek cooperation on the terms of the MoUs in those important policy areas.”

“We will start consideration of such matters in early January in meetings in London with UK and Spanish colleagues.”

“But we do not consider that it is accurate to say that the MoUs can automatically be considered to be in effect if there is no Withdrawal Agreement. The opposite is our legal view.”

However, the day before May lost her ‘meaningful vote’ a Gibraltar government spokesman said: “Gibraltar has been making plans for a ‘no deal’ scenario.”
It is unclear what the scenario looks like.

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