§ Lord Haskel
asked Her Majesty's Government:
What was the outcome of the talks held on 4 February under the Brussels Process. [HL2668]
§ The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Amos)
At the Brussels Process ministerial meeting on 4 February my right honourable friend the Foreign Secretary and Spanish Foreign Minister, Josep Pique, continued to make good progress in our discussions about Gibraltar in the atmosphere of friendship and understanding which links the UK and Spain, reaffirming the full range of commitments that we assumed at our previous meetings in London and Barcelona.
Our common aim remains to conclude a comprehensive agreement before the summer, covering all outstanding issues, including co-operation and sovereignty.
Both governments confirmed that their shared objective is to overcome their differences over Gibraltar and to ensure a secure future for Gibraltar in which Gibraltar can preserve its way of life and traditions, enjoy greater internal self-government, sustain and enhance its prosperity and reap the full benefits of a harmonious and mutually beneficial co-operation in all fields together with the wider region.
We reiterate our invitation to the Chief Minister of Gibraltar to attend future Brussels Process meetings so that he, and through him the Gibraltarians, can join the current dialogue and contribute to it to the benefit of Gibraltar. We confirmed that the Chief Minister is warmly invited to participate on the basis of the Two Flags, Three Voices formula, having his own and distinct voice as part of the British delegation.
Our intention is that the comprehensive agreement we seek will offer the best framework for a secure, stable and prosperous future for Gibraltar. In that framework, our objective is that Gibraltar can enjoy enhanced powers of internal self-government, allowing its government and population to have a greater say in their lives. We will invite the Government of Gibraltar to develop together with us the relevant ideas on this objective.
We also took forward our work on all possible ways of enhancing co-operation to improve the quality of the daily lives of people in Gibraltar and the Campo region. The UK and Spain reaffirmed that the aim of the arrangements they seek is to promote the highest level of fruitful co-operation within the wider region, favouring better standards of living and working conditions in Gibraltar and the Campo and fluid communications with the region.78WA
The Spanish Government recalled the arrangements they had made to allocate a further 70,000 telephone numbers for Gibraltar and reaffirmed that, as regards the technical responsibilities of the Spanish side, they are operational. They expressed their commitment to ensure that no obstacles prevent their immediate use for the benefit of all Gibraltarians. To that end, the UK and Spain agreed to engage in immediate talks to assess the situation and attain their objective. Both Governments also tackled the issue of pensions, a problem on which they will intensify their efforts to find a prompt solution consistent with the responsibilities of the public authorities involved.