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Brexit & Gibraltar: the Rock and a hard place

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Brexit & Gibraltar: the Rock and a hard place

Brexit & Gibraltar: the Rock and a hard place
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Every day, some eight thousand Spaniards cross the border between Spain and Gibraltar to work on the rock, by car, on foot, and by bicycle.

Now they are worried about Brexit. They are afraid of losing their jobs or being required to apply for a visa, which means queues will go on forever as Gemma Salcedo who has worked as a store clerk for fifteen years, explains:

"Instead of taking five minutes to cross the border, it could take three or four hours"

Gibraltar is also the economic engine of this area of ​​southern Spain. It is estimated that it generates 26% of the gross domestic product.

And it is not only creates employment. Companies in the area export goods and services to Gibraltar.

It is well known by the owner of a motorcycle store, who fears for the future of his business.

"My business depends a lot on Gibraltar. One of them is selling motorcycles and it depends as much as 90%. And I also sell furnitures and the turnover that I make make with Gibraltarians and cross-border workers is about 40%," says Loren Perianez, President of Cross Border Group.

In Gibraltar they are also restless. The GibMaroc company imports fresh products arriving by road from Europe. And for them it is essential that traffic on the border remains fluid.

The owner thinks that an agreement is possible, but affirms that they are prepared for any eventuality.

"Gibraltar and the Gibraltarians being the survivors and true entrepreneurs that we are, we turned things around and I would say that 48 hours after the referendum there was a different emphasis, there was a different thrust, and Gibraltarians were already looking to run it around in our favor and how could we approach the challenge," explains George R Desoisa, owner of GibMaroc.

The population of the rock voted clearly against Brexit, almost 96% said no to the United Kingdom exit from the European Union.

The Brexit is a source of permanent concern, here in Gibraltar.

But some see it as an opportunity to close some of the contentious that have being pending with Spain for too many years.

Spain has left aside the question of sovereignty. But aspires to use Brexit to solve other issues. Mainly, the joint use of Gibraltar airport ... the end of pollutant discharges into the sea ... and the fight against the smuggling of cigarettes.

But the most controversial point remains fiscal transparency, as confirmed by the Chief Minister of Gibraltar, Fabian Picardo.

"Today we do not have a final agreement in relation to matters related to taxation and fiscal matters. But I think we have got a lot of good progress there because we share objectives. And if you share objectives and you have not yet reached technical agreements, you can continue to be optimistic that the technicians will be able to give a fact to the agreements between the politicians," says Picardo.

The agreement between Madrid and London seems really close. But in case of failure, Spain could exclude Gibraltar from the agreement on brexit and its transitory period.

03:00 END