Gibraltar, in Brexit limbo | Fear among Spanish workers

Day and night, at the border crossing between Spain and the British colony of Gibraltar, the traffic is continuous. Fifteen thousand Spaniards cross the Gate on a daily basis to work on the Rock. Spaniards who, at the moment, are crossing their fingers, imploring that the United Kingdom and Spain manage to reach a post-Brexit agreement in the next few hours.

If not, the only hard border between the European Union and the United Kingdom would be lifted at this border crossing as of January 1, with all the problems that that would entail. Óscar Aguilera, a cross-border worker from La Línea de la Concepción, expresses his concern.

“As you can see, this is a daily stream of people, this is the daily bread -explains Óscar-. I have been working in Gibraltar for almost six years and the point is that the work in La Línea is not very good to say and, Thank God, Gibraltar is here and it can provide us with that workforce that we do not have in Spain. And the issue of Brexit, we are also aware of what the papers are, in case there are going to be retentions. We have the uncertainty of not knowing what is going to happen“.

_ – To know more: _Spain gives a 72-hour ultimatum to avoid a ‘hard Brexit’ in Gibraltar

“The Line could even disappear” if there is a hard border

Due to the particular situation of Gibraltar, whose sovereignty Spain has never stopped claiming, this territory was left out of the post-Brexit agreement reached last week by the European Union and the United Kingdom, and pending a separate commitment between London and Madrid, which must close before the end of the year.

Spanish workers, like Óscar, account for 50% of the Peñón’s workforce. For the neighboring municipalities from which these revenues come, they are vital.

60% of the Line’s Gross Domestic Product depends on the Gibraltarian economy. With a hard border, without a smooth passage of people or goods, I believe that La Línea, in the short or medium term, could even disappear, because the modus vivendi of La Línea’s economy depends on Gibraltar -states Lorenzo Pérez Periáñez, from the city’s association of PIMES-. And not only on the economic issue, we can also talk about the social and family issue. We cannot limit the right of families on both sides to be able to meet, to be together and to see each other. “

The prospect of a hard border, with all the corollary of controls, retentions and visas, scares the Gibraltarians in the same way, who in the Brexit referendum voted, 96%, in favor of remaining in the European Union.