GIBRALTAR – The government of the tiny British Overseas Territory of Gibraltar, perched on the southwestern tip of Spain, said Monday it was prepared to consider the joint management of its airport with Spanish business interests as both it and the United Kingdom prepared to leave the European Union.
The territory said in a statement that the groundwork for a joint management of the small airport was already provided for in an agreement signed in 2006 by Spain, the UK and Gibraltar.
“The joint management of the air terminal, on a purely commercial basis, between Gibraltar and Spanish business interests was provided for in the agreement signed at Cordoba in 2006 between the then Governments of Gibraltar, the United Kingdom and Spain,” the statement said.
Spain had said it was in favor of reaching a bilateral agreement with the UK for the joint administration of Gibraltar airport, according to a statement made by its Foreign Minister, Alfonso Dastis, to the newspaper the Financial Times.
The territory’s statement said that Gibraltar and the UK continued to work closely together as both prepared to leave the EU following the Brexit referendum.
It added that the longstanding position of Gibraltar’s government was that it was ready to engage in technical discussions with all interested parties, including Spain, over the operation on a commercial basis of the airport.
Citing the text of the 2006 agreement, Gibraltar said that subject to EU directives, the Government of Gibraltar would grant a contractual concession to operate the airport’s terminal and provide services “on a commercial basis to a joint venture company owned by Gibraltar and Spanish commercial interests.”
However, it added that the sovereignty of Gibraltar was not a matter for discussion.
Spain ceded Gibraltar’s sovereignty to Britain by treaty in 1713 but has persistently sought its return ever since.