Gibraltar’s chief minister, Fabian Picardo, has claimed in the Gibraltar Parliament that Spain’s Interior Minister, Fernando Grande-Marlaska, assured him that British nationals not resident in Gibraltar will be able to cross the fence. He said he had received “direct assurances from the Spanish Interior Minister” on the matter.
He explained that Mr Fernando Grande-Marlask assured him that “Spanish authorities at the border will continue to accept a boarding pass for a flight that is diverted from Gibraltar departing from Malaga as a valid reason for entry into the Schengen area”.
The minister added that “passenger lists” will also be provided to “ensure accurate data that includes those who enter Schengen because they are booked on a flight that has been diverted”.
It comes as non-resident Brits have had trouble crossing the border, complaining that, after Brexit, “we are no longer European citizens” – said a representative of Picardo’s opposition GSD party.
Grande-Marlaska said that British nationals can enter Spain without a visa in the event of a diverted flight.
“It is completely inappropriate to think that we have the right to enter Schengen,” Picardo said in a statement reported by the Gibraltar Chronicle.
“Those days are gone. Brexit caused this. We are no longer European citizens, we have no right to access the Schengen immigration zone,” he stressed.
“I have received assurances directly from the Spanish Interior Minister, Mr Fernando Grande-Marlaska, that the Spanish authorities at the border will continue to accept a boarding pass for a diverted Gibraltar flight departing from Malaga as a valid reason to enter the Schengen area,” the Rock’s chief minister said.
“In addition, passenger lists will be provided to ensure that accurate data is available containing those who enter Schengen because they are booked on a diverted flight,” he added.
“I should add that, in all my communications with him, Mr Grande-Marlaska has always sought to be helpful and has shown concern for the welfare of people who may have to cross the border for all legitimate reasons,” he continued.
On Tuesday, Spain’s Foreign Minister said that Madrid and London were moving closer to a deal to find a final solution to resolve Gibraltar’s status after Brexit.
Gibraltar’s status and how to police the border with Spain have been obstacles since Britain voted in 2016 to leave the European Union.
The peninsula was left out of the exit deal between Britain and the EU.