Gibraltar Government to increase its presence in Brussels; CM wants visits at least twice yearly - La Treizième Étoile: A blog on EU politics
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Gibraltar Government to increase its presence in Brussels; CM wants visits at least twice yearly

Wednesday, 27 March 2013
Following their successful busy and high-level visit last week, the Government of Gibraltar is considering strengthening its presence in Brussels, the Chief Minister today revealed, adding that he hoped he and his deputy would make business visits to the EU capital at least twice a year. Gibraltar already has an office in the Belgian capital, but the scope of its activities is limited.

Speaking to the Gibraltar Chronicle, Fabian Picardo said: “I’m considering an extension of what it is that Gibraltar does in Brussels. I think it is important for us to have stronger independent representation here, whilst continuing to work even more closely with the United Kingdom and the representation that they have already established. And when I say that we should have enhanced independent representation, I mean both for commercial reasons as much as for political reasons.

The Chief Minister added that he hoped to visit Brussels together with his deputy, Dr Joseph Garcia, at least twice a year. “We intend to continue this process, it will be a process led both by me and the deputy Chief Minister at this level, but also involving ministers in respect of each of their portfolios. I believe that we should have full engagement with the Commissioners in respect of all the areas of responsibility where the European Commission is making decisions,” he said.

The news will be welcomed by the Rock's Liberal Democrat MEP Sir Graham Watson, who was instrumental in organising last weeks’ visit. In a thinly-veiled criticism of the previous administration, he told the newspaper: “It helps Brussels to understand what the special needs of Gibraltar are [...] I think what’s really changed is that the Chief Minister has decided, with his government, to take Europe seriously, to implement all of the European directives - which gives them a very strong position morally – to show that Gibraltarians are good Europeans, and to come here and say, ‘we want our interests to be listened to’.

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