As per reports from a top diplomat of Spain, Gibraltar will soon become a part of the Schengen border zone to guarantee facility on its border shared with Spain in a breakthrough deal signed hours before the Brexit deadline. Now that Britain has left Europe following Brexit, after Spain and the UK reached a temporary deal which is yet to become a treaty by the European Union in the coming months, Gibraltar will join the borderless Schengen area of EU.
Britain parted ways with the European bloc officially on the 31st of January 2020 and since then began a 11 month transition period to arbitrate the terms of a deal with the European Union, though any Gibraltar Schengen agreement wasn’t certain till the end of the process. Nevertheless, it has now been confirmed that this territory will form a part of the Schengen agreement and will offer passport-free travel between members allowing 14,000 workers to enter as well as exit the semi-exclave everyday without the requirement of a passport.
Schengen at the border zone and the terms of the agreement
Under the terms of this new agreement, Gibraltar will become a part of the Schengen Zone with Spain playing the role of a guarantor. Due to this agreement, the fence is removed and Schengen is applied to Gibraltar. It permits the elimination of controls between Spain and Gibraltar. Gonzalez Laya indicated that this procedure will be supervised by Frontex, the border agency of European Union.
The Gibraltar-Spain Border – How to cross it
Did you know that nearly 10,000 citizens of Spain reach Gibraltar regularly for work? Till this agreement came into effect, the workers of Spain could cross the border only with the help of their ID card but it is no longer sure whether or not this would be the case post the Brexit transition period.
Nevertheless, now that both the UK and Spain have signed an agreement to retain a freedom of movement to and fro Gibraltar, this helped them keep the status of Gibraltar as British Overseas Territory. The Foreign Minister of Spain Arancha Gonzalez Laya confirmed this news stating that the fence is removed.
Gilbraltar-Spain Border – What is its economic importance?
For both the economies of Gibraltar and Spain, it is vital for people to be able to cross the border efficiently and quickly. As the citizens of Spain account for a considerable portion of the Gibraltar workforce (nearly 40%), they perform imperative roles which would otherwise be left unfulfilled. At the same time, majority of the Spaniards who dwell in the Campo de Gibraltar area of Cadiz depend entirely on the income offered by such jobs.
Besides, Gibraltar has also turned out to be one of the most renowned tourist spots in recent years. Nearly 10 million people visit the place every year among which many also land from Spain. Hence, with this kind of mutual dependency, it can be easily highlighted how necessary it is to maintain the freedom of movement to and from Gibraltar.
How does the future of traveling look to Gibraltar from UK post Brexit?
Though all citizens of the Schengen nations can now be able to enter Gibraltar using just their national ID card, the citizens of the UK will still need to have a valid passport and go through their passport checks in order enter the place as the UK has never been a part of the Schengen border zone Area.
Additionally, now as Gibraltar has joined Schengen, the citizens of the UK could require an ETIAS visa waiver to visit ‘The Rock’ or Gibraltar in near future. It’ll be necessary for all the visitors from the visa waiver nations who are traveling to the Schengen area to pre-register online before they enter any of these countries.
So, after this temporary agreement between the UK and Spain, we have to wait for this to be transformed into a future treaty between the European Union and the United Kingdom.
Susan Noel is an experienced content writer. She is associated with many renowned travel blogs as a guest author where she shares her valuable travel tips with the audience.