Authorities in Spain have proposed to add Gibraltar to the borderless area of Schengen, after the Brexit transition period, in order to facilitate the movement between these territories.
According to Politico, Spain presented this idea during various meetings that were held recently between the representatives of the governments of Britain and Gibraltar, in Madrid, SchengenVisaInfo.com reports.
Gibraltar, which is a British Overseas Territory and headland, will cease to be part of the European Union alongside the UK. However, if Spain’s proposal would be approved, Gibraltar would have a similar agreement as Liechtenstein, which is not in the EU but is a member of the Schengen Zone.
Spain’s proposal also has been supported by Gibraltar’s Chief Minister, Fabian Picardo.
Ninety-six per cent of Gibraltar’s citizens voted to remain in the European Union in the 2016 referendum.
Britain still applies the bloc’s rules until the end of 2020, when the transition period will come to an end, even though the UK left the European Union at the end of last year.
Gibraltar was part of the European Union single market, which permitted the territory to trade freely in the EU countries, but never in the Schengen Zone, just like Britain.
Nearly 15,000 persons who live in the south of Spain’s La Linea de la Concepcion need to cross the border every day to work in Gibraltar. About 9,000 of them are Spanish, while 6,000 of them Britons.
If the proposal comes into life, and Gibraltar is included in the Schengen zone, it would be considered a controversial move for the United Kingdom, which didn’t participate in the Schengen Zone agreement during the time that was part of the European Union.
Last week, Spain’s government expressed its support for Kuwait’s request for its citizens to be able to travel visa-free to the Schengen Zone.
Spain’s Senate President Pilar Llop stressed that he would back Kuwait’s effort to reach a visa liberalization agreement with the Schengen Area during his visit to Kuwait, in a meeting held with Kuwait’s Ambassador to Madrid Eyada Al-Saeedi.