Spain and the United Kingdom signed this week four Gibraltar memoranda annexed to the EU's UK Exit Agreement and will be completed with an international agreement on taxation and protection of financial interests that is already concluded but needs parliamentary approval.
The set of these agreements guarantees an "orderly exit of Gibraltar from the EU, including the transitory period," according to the Foreign Ministry.
In addition, stresses that it will occur under conditions that guarantee the rights of citizens and workers in the area and also "begins to correct" the main imbalances in the relationship between Gibraltar and the Campo de Gibraltar.
The Spanish Government considers that these agreements "create confidence for all and demonstrate the virtue of the method of progressively advancing on solid foundations".
However, the four documents begin with a paragraph that states that "neither the present memorandum, nor any action or measure adopted as a result of it will lead to a modification of the respective legal positions of the Kingdom of Spain and the United Kingdom with respect to the sovereignty and jurisdiction of Gibraltar. "
These are the keys to the agreements – on citizens' rights, tobacco and other products, cooperation in environmental matters and police and customs cooperation – which have been initialed by the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of Spain, Josep Borrell, and the United Kingdom, David Lidington.
1. Agreement on citizens' rights:
– It allows specific modalities of application for cross-border workers in Gibraltar of the rights and guarantees that the Retirement Agreement grants to citizens and workers in general.
– The rights of the Campo de Gibraltar workers are guaranteed, including their social benefits, which they will enjoy on equal terms as the local ones, in accordance with the principle of non-discrimination.
– Provides coordination mechanisms and the exchange of information between authorities to ensure their effective compliance.
– The British authorities have committed to reimburse the Spanish Treasury for the difference in unemployment benefits advanced by Spain to cross-border workers.
2. Agreement on tobacco:
– Gibraltar market control obligations and traceability of tobacco products are established, which must be implemented before 2020, for which appropriate coordination and information exchange measures are foreseen.
– Before the end of the transitional period, in June 2020, the Gibraltarian authorities must reduce the price of tobacco products so that the difference in prices with Spanish products does not exceed 32%.
– It establishes measures on the control of sales with the exchange of detailed information quarterly on the price trend, the wholesale and retail sales of each type of tobacco, the control measures that are being applied at all times and the collaboration in the collection of taxes.
3. Agreement on the environment:
– Establishes the principle of cooperation to ensure maximum standards of protection throughout the area in matters such as solid and liquid waste management, control of the supply of fuel to vessels or scientific research, including marine research through vessels intended for that purpose.
– It foresees the creation of a technical and coordination commission to realize the "desire to maintain rigorous standards of environmental protection and promote sustainable development" both in Gibraltar and in the Commonwealth of Campo de Gibraltar.
4. Police and customs cooperation agreement:
– It allows strengthening coordination systems between police authorities in the area to improve collaboration in the investigation and prosecution of a whole series of crimes, including drug trafficking, trafficking in persons, arms or merchandise, cybercrime, corruption, money laundering capitals and fraud.
– This includes, for the first time between the areas of cooperation, crimes related to road safety and investigations in the area of financial crimes, as well as coordination in the customs field, which will allow the fight against smuggling and trafficking in persons. drugs, protecting, where appropriate, the possibility of collaborating in joint operations.
– Establishes the creation of a joint coordination commission composed of members of the State security forces and bodies and representatives of the administrations, including those of the Tax Agency.
– This commission will establish operational cooperation mechanisms, especially police and customs, to ensure maximum efficiency and collaboration.
In addition to these four memoranda, Spain and the United Kingdom have reached an agreement on taxation and protection of financial interests that requires parliamentary processing.
Foreign Affairs has stressed that this tax agreement will be the first that Spain signs with the United Kingdom to ensure that the tax jurisdiction of Gibraltar is "transparent with the tax authorities and can not be used for money laundering or tax evasion."
– In fiscal matters, the Gibraltarian authorities will establish a reinforced system of administrative cooperation with Spain to fight against fraud, smuggling and money laundering and guarantee full fiscal transparency in Gibraltar.
– The agreement also establishes tax residence criteria to avoid tax evasion.
"In short, it is a step forward so that Gibraltar can not be constituted as a tax haven that allows us to avoid tax obligations with the Spanish Treasury," states Foreign Affairs.