Gibraltar could become part of the European Union’s borderless area of Schengen by the end of this year, according to Gibraltar’s Minister of Tourism and Business, Vijay Daryanyani.
Minister Daryanyani raised Gibraltar citizens’ hopes that a new historic treaty permitting freedom of movement between the territory as well as the EU would be signed within the coming months, SchengenVisaInfo.com reports.
In this regard, he stressed that such an agreement could bring major economic benefits to Gibraltar as well as Spain facilitating the travel process for Spanish workers who enter the territory as well as residents from the Rock shopping across the border and tourists from EU countries.
However, the Minister emphasised that in order for such an agreement to be finalised, there would be no need for the sacrifice of sovereignty.
“There’ll be no concessions whatsoever on sovereignty, jurisdiction or control. That is one of the things that Gibraltarians as well as the Government are 100 per cent sure of,” he pointed out regarding the issue.
There have been continuous negotiations in order to reach a common agreement since the temporary agreement permitting freedom of movement for a period of over four years was finalised in December 2020, before the United Kingdom officially left the European Union.
The Minister considered that Gibraltar was in a good place, expressing hope that the territory could reach an agreement within the coming months. However, he emphasised that the territory’s authorities would like to think that a treaty could be finalised by the end of this year.
“It would mean 16,000 citizens of Spain who daily cross the border to work in Gibraltar’s hospitals, hotels, restaurants, and other businesses would be able to travel into the territory without passport checks. We have more jobs than people; we need them to come and work in Gibraltar,” he stressed, as reported by MSN.
Gibraltar has often sparked controversies between authorities in Spain as well as those in the United Kingdom.
Previously, the Former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Spain, Arancha González Laya, said that only Spain has the right to decide when it comes to persons who are eligible to travel to Gibraltar following the terms of the preliminary post-Brexit deal that was reached back then.
The polemics rose after Gibraltar’s authorities announced that the territory plans to join the Schengen Zone as part of the agreement reached hours before the UK left the EU on January 1.
“Schengen is a set of rules, procedures and tools, including its database, to which only Spain has access. Gibraltar and the UK do not. That is why the final decision on who enters the Schengen area belongs to Spain,” the former Foreign Minister pointed out.
According to her, the responsibility for border checks is in the Spanish authorities’ hands.