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Friday 22 September 2017

Gibraltar says it will stay with EU even if Britain votes to exit

Gibraltar says it wants separate negotiations on EU membership in the event of British exit Credit: Susan Degginger
Gibraltar says it wants separate negotiations on EU membership in the event of British exit Credit: Susan Degginger

Steven Swinford

Gibraltar warns it will push to remain in the European Union if a referendum on Britain's membership is held under a future Conservative government.

Fabian Picardo, chief minister and leader of the Gibraltar Socialist Labour Party, told The Financial Times that "even the most rabid anti-Europeans" do not want to sever all economic ties with Europe.

The British overseas territory has its own government and each day 10,000 people cross the border from Spain to work.

Mr Picardo said that Gibraltar should be given the opportunity to remain in the European Union with a "different degree of membership".   

He said: "The only existential threat to our economy is one where we are pulled out of the European Union against our will and denied access to the single market."

"I think everybody who is serious about the subject, even those whose views I don't share, talk about retaining access to Europe as a member of the European economic area."

"I know that there are many in the UK who advocate the UK moving out of the EU who consider themselves to be very good friends of Gibraltar, but they need to understand the economics of this."

Gibraltar's stance echoes that of the SNP and Plaid Cymru in Wales, who have called for separate referendums with Britain's exit from the EU only guaranteed if all four British nations vote in favour.

However William Dartmouth, Ukip MEP for southwest England, which include Gibraltar, said that it would be better off our of the European Union.

He said that there is a "permanent threat" that it will no longer be able to set its own tax rules if it remains in the European Union.

Telegraph.co.uk

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