Meeting with regional Spanish Trade Union leadership

Mr Picardo with Paco Carbonero and Carmen Castillo.

The Chief Minister Fabian Picardo and the Deputy Chief Minister Dr Joseph Garcia met with the regional representatives of the main Spanish trade unions in Andalucia, Paco Carbonero of CCOO and Carmen Castillo of UGT together with a delegation from Unite on the afternoon of July 4.

The Chief Minister made the point very clearly that freedom of movement through the border was just as important to the neighbouring region of Spain as it is to Gibraltar as of the 10,000 people who live in Spain and work in Gibraltar, the majority are Spanish or EU nationals.

Independent research produced for the Chamber of Commerce has shown that Gibraltar was responsible for generating 25% of the GDP (£847m) of the neighbouring region of Spain and Gibraltar, as a whole, is the second largest employer for the region of Andalucia, after the Junta.

The Chief Minister told the Union leaders that Gibraltar wanted to continue its relationship with the European Union even in the event of a potential UK exit as there was an overwhelming vote for this from the people of Gibraltar during the referendum vote.

He went on to explain that in continuing to subject freedom of movement to joint-sovereignty, the interim Spanish Foreign Minister was doing a huge disservice to the many thousands of cross-border Spanish workers, and he was putting their jobs at risk as joint-sovereignty is never going to happen.

The meeting was very positive and constructive. The Spanish Unions understood and shared the concerns expressed by Gibraltar and pledged to uphold the principle of freedom of movement for frontier workers, residents and tourists.

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