Mr Picardo didn’t hide the majority of Gibraltarians’ feelings over Brexit in his televised address to the UK’s overseas territory. In the 13-minute long message, the Chief Minister said Gibraltar is following the lead of the UK and is getting ready to implement no deal Brexit preparations. However, he highlighted more than once the fact Gibraltar didn’t want to leave the bloc, with a staggering 84 percent of voters choosing Remain at the EU Referendum in June 2016.
Mr Picardo said: “We must ramp up the implementation of preparation for the departure form the EU without a deal.
“Because although many of us may wish that Brexit may somehow be stopped by a second referendum or an outright recision of the Article 50 notification, we must be prepared for any eventuality – and we will be, because that is the responsible thing to do.”
In his address, Gibraltar’s Chief Minister said the Rock’s Cabinet has worked alongside with the UK during the Brexit negotiations and will keep doing so in the future to shape the new relationship between Britain and the EU27 and “prepare for the opportunities Brexit can bring.”
He said: “I am determined that our work will lead to more and greater opportunities for prosperity for our people and the whole region around us in the future.
“That is the determined work that the Brexit team that I lead has delivered by ensuring that Gibraltar is included in the Withdrawal Agreement if there is to be one.
“That was the responsible thing to do, it is what our bilateral agreement with the UK guarantees.
“In fact the whole of the ministerial team in Cabinet has been involved in preparing for the separate logistical challenges that Brexit poses with or without a deal.
“We have also been preparing for the opportunity that Brexit can bring, again that is the responsible thing to do.
“These were not opportunities that we craved or we thought were worth leaving the EU for, but they are opportunities nonetheless and we are duty bound that we make the most out of a situation we have not chosen.”
Gibraltar, a British territory since 1713, joined the European Union with the rest of the United Kingdom’s territories in 1973.
While it didn’t take part in the UK European Communities membership referendum in 1975, it overwhelmingly voted in favour of remaining part of the bloc in June 2016, with only four percent of voters supporting Leave.
As announced by Mr Picardo, Brexit will bring on the table future relationship between Gibraltar and Spain, which has a centuries-long claim over the territory.
However, Mr Picardo added, Madrid should not be under the impression Brexit will change Gibraltarians’ mind on a possible joint sovereignty.
He said: “I want to be crystal clear again on one thing, no one should interpret our massive vote in favour of remaining in the EU as suggesting that we will be prepared to somehow compromise on sovereignty.
“If anyone in Spain, in any part of the political spectrum, believes that we will ever compromise on our sovereignty they are wrong.
“Any dilution of our sovereignty is a dead duck.
“It is as dead as a dodo.
“If anyone seriously think they can advance the concept of joint sovereignty they are flogging a dead horse.”