Diplomatic event and meetings in Glasgow create marriage of convenience against Tories
DIPLOMATIC OFFICIALS from Gibraltar and Scotland pledged to support each other during the negotiations on the UK’s planned exit from the European Union at a meeting in Glasgow last night [Thursday 13 October].
The private reception brought together Gibraltar’s deputy chief minister Dr Joseph Garcia, his staff, and the two Scottish Government ministers with direct responsibility for European affairs – cabinet secretary Fiona Hyslop and minister for Europe Alasdair Allan MSP.
Both parties pledged to support each other, given their respective votes to remain within the European Union.
The government of Gibraltar held the event as part of a unique attempt to reach out to the Scottish Government, given its concerns over a ‘hard Brexit’ threatening its border and trade with neighbouring Spain.
Likewise the Scottish Government, keen the minimise any hit to European links, opposes any attempt to end open trade and free movement with the 27 countries of the European Union.
The reception, which formed part of the SNP Autumn conference, followed previous meetings between Gibraltar and Scottish political officials following the Brexit vote.
Scotland voted by 62 per cent to 38 in favour of remaining within the EU.
Gibraltar, an overseas territory of the UK which is closely attached to the Spanish economy, voted overwhelmingly to remain by 96 per cent.
Dr Garcia told the event: “It’s clear to us that we must explore every avenue to make sure that our people, our territories, our countries can remain part of the European Union because that is the wish of our people.”
Garcia also met First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and SNP Depute leader Angus Robertson at the conference.
Minister Alasdair Allan addressed the reception on behalf of the Scottish Government.
“We start from a position in the Scottish Government that the people of Gibraltar do have a democratic right and a democratic right that must be respected,” he explained.
He added that Scotland and Gibraltar will both challenge the Tory’s opposition to free movement of people.
The Spanish Government recently ramped up its rhetoric over the sovereignty of Gibraltar with its acting foreign minister stating that this would be an issue in UK EU exit talks.
Gibraltar, Scotland, the Republic of Ireland, big business and especially the city of London are all pushing for as soft a Brexit as possible in negotiations.
However, the Tories appear to have sided with anti-migrant voters, which would mean leaving the single market to limit the number of internationals who come to the UK.
Picture courtesy of the Government of Gibraltar
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