Coronavirus: Fabian Picardo ‘Brexit has prepared us well’
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The British Overseas Territory is not covered by the UK’s Trade and Cooperation Agreement and separate negotiations with the EU are set to take place to agree on a post-Brexit treaty. But the European Commission is yet to agree on its negotiating mandate with the 27 member states.
A draft version was published by the Commission earlier this year.
Spain Foreign Minister José Manuel Albares said that he considers the matter “a priority” and held talks with his Slovenian counterpart who currently holds the six-month Council presidency.
Mr Albares told Anže Logar to resolve the internal talks as quickly as possible as negotiations cannot commence until they do.
He added: “I have expressed to my colleague my wish that the presidency press for the approval of the mandate.”
The UK Government has also expressed concerns about the lack of progress as well as the contents of the draft mandate.
The mandate from the European Commission only talks about Spanish officers performing border controls at Gibraltar’s entry points, a move that concerns London.
Foreign Office Minister Wendy Morton said the draft mandate “undermines UK sovereignty over Gibraltar and cannot form the basis for negotiations.”
A framework agreement was agreed between Britain and Spain on December 31 last year to outline Gibraltar’s future relationship with the EU ahead of a treaty being agreed.
But the final treaty will address issues including border crossings and trade and would secure fluidity of movement for people crossing the border between Spain and Gibraltar as well as the free movement of goods.
The agreement would also aim to scrap paperwork required by around 10,000 Spaniards and Gibraltar residents who cross the border daily to work.
Scottish Government demands action on Immigration
Scottish ministers are demanding urgent action from the UK on immigration, in a bid to address some of the problems being caused by labour shortages.
Scottish External Affairs Secretary Angus Robertson has written to Home Secretary Priti Patel calling for an “immediate discussion”.
It comes as drivers across the UK have faced lengthy queues at petrol stations, after a shortage of HGV drivers forced some fuel retailers to shut their pumps and ration sales.
That comes on the back of growing concern about the impact the lack of HGV drivers is having on supermarket supplies, with fears Christmas shopping could be hindered without action.
Worker shortages have been linked to both the coronavirus crisis and a lack of European labour after Brexit.
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