Photographer: Luke MacGregor/Bloomberg

Keep Gibraltar-Spain Border ‘Free-Flowing,’ U.K. Lawmakers Say

Gibraltar must retain a “free-flowing” border with Spain after Britain has withdrawn from the European Union, a panel of U.K. lawmakers said on Wednesday.

The U.K. has a “moral duty” to promote the interests of Gibraltar, a British territory that borders Spain at its southernmost tip, as it negotiates a divorce from the bloc, the House of Lords EU Committee said in the report.

While Prime Minister Theresa May wants to be able to end the free movement of EU nationals across U.K. borders, authorities in Gibraltar want to retain it because some 40 percent of the territory’s workforce crosses the border from Spain every day. Almost 20,000 people in Gibraltar voted to stay in the EU, compared with about 800 who voted to leave.

The territory isn’t an integral part of the U.K., and so has a different relationship with the EU. Unlike the U.K., Gibraltar isn’t part of the European customs union, which allows the free movement of goods without tariffs. It does depend on the bloc for services.

The panel also recommended that the U.K.:

  • block any attempt by Spain to bring sovereignty dispute into Brexit talks
  • preserve border rules for workers traveling between Spain and Gibraltar
  • keep security collaboration to prevent Gibraltar from becoming crime hub
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