Sir Peter Caruana says Gibraltar has to hold treaty negotiations in private & referendum only needed if sovereignty concessions
Former Chief Minister Sir Peter Caruana says Gibraltar has to hold treaty negotiations in private.
He told GBC’s Viewpoint it is understandable that businesses may feel like there is too much uncertainty surrounding Gibraltar’s future relationship with Spain and the EU.
But he said the Government cannot accommodate that ‘need to know’ at the expense of there being no agreement for everyone: negotiations must take place in a ‘windowless room’ as certain things can never succeed if details are out in the open.
Sir Peter also believes a referendum would only be necessary if there are real sovereignty concessions. He said the test will be if there are Spaniards in Gibraltar exercising sovereign powers – jurisdiction or control powers – on behalf of the Spanish state. If an agreement included that then it would be a concession on sovereignty and there should be a referendum about it.
The former political leader said he was pointing out the circumstances in which it would become necessary to hold a referendum on a future relationship treaty, but stressed he was not expressing a view on whether that sovereignty concession was worthwhile.
Sir Peter said the devil will be in the detail and Gibraltarians will have to consider ‘prize versus price’: the prize being avoiding the negative consequences of not having a deal and the price being the cost Gibraltar will inevitably have to pay if it is to agree one.