Spanish Foreign Minister Arancha González Laya on Thursday announced an agreement in principle with the United Kingdom which would allow the Schengen agreement to be applied to Gibraltar.
“The practical result is that the fence will be demolished, which will facilitate mobility,” the minister said at a press conference at Moncloa Palace to report on the state of negotiations with the UK on Gibraltar .
The principle of the agreement reached will allow the application of European Union policies and programs in Gibraltar, such as the Schengen Agreement or a customs regime for the traffic and transport of goods and fair competition measures in fiscal, environmental, labor and social fields.
“We are breaking down barriers to build an area of shared prosperity,” said González Laya.
With the principle of the agreement, he explained, Schengen will be applied to Gibraltar, Spain being the country responsible for control, and borders will be changed at the port and the airport.
During a transition period of four years, Frontex will assist these checks.
After the conclusion of this principle in agreement with the United Kingdom, Spain will have to ask the European Union to consolidate it in a treaty that González Laya hopes to see ready in six months.
While this agreement is being drafted, “the Schengen provisions will be used to facilitate checks on the fence,” he said.
“We know how much this has afflicted the citizens of Campo de Gibraltar and the Gibraltarians,” he added.
González Laya has defended that this principle of agreement “constitutes a solid base on which to build the future relationship of Spain and the United Kingdom” with which they wish to “strengthen” the relationship in this new stage after Brexit.
The minister, who has announced that she will appear before the Congress of Deputies to report on this agreement, has already informed the president of the Andalusian government, Juanma Moreno, of the terms of the agreement and will do the same for the spokespersons of all political groups.