Seeking to improve neighbourly relations

The Chief Minister Fabian played host on Friday with the La Linea Mayoress Gemma Araujo, this was the first official contact between the new GSLP/Liberal Government and the PSOE Mayor.

The Chief Minister opened his address by pointing out that the meeting was an “opportunity to talk about all the things that concern real people on both sides of the frontier, where both he and the La Linea mayor in some way may be able to make a difference.”

Chief Minister's comments

Western Beach:

Mr. Picardo said that he made clear to Mrs Araujo the Gibraltar Government's concern regarding the situation at Western Beach, particularly as the summer bathing season will soon be looming over the horizon. The CM said that no specific measures were agreed and that discussions on the western beach problem centred on looking at ways and analysing what measures could be taken and how these measures will be implemented.


In answer to question regarding the criticism levelled at the government by Juan José Úceda of ASCTEG about the Government’s employment policy that was described as unfair and favouring locals, Mr Picardo said that "his first obligation is to find employment for the Gibraltarian” but that the Gibraltar Government will not act in any discriminatory manner, and that the new Gibraltar Government did not deserve the accusation made by ASCTEG, he said the Gibraltar Government has to abide by international obligation in this respect and that all officially registered cross frontier workers from all nationalities are well received in Gibraltar.

Bus Pass:

The Chief Minister announced that the Government wasdevising a workable mechanism that would allow all officially registered Spanish cross frontier workers, including other officially registered workers from other nationalities, access to the bus service. To this end, the government is in the process of designing a bus card for the use of official cross frontier working commuters enabling them to use the bus service, in the same way as any resident of Gibraltar. Mr. Picardo also mentioned that he hoped that this initiative would also encourage Spanish workers to officially register themselves locally so as to avoid the exploitation of cross/frontier labour.

Gemma Araujo's comments

The Mayoress thought that this first meeting between herself and Mr. Picardo would be the start of many other such meetings in the future.

Western Beach and Bus Passes:

The mayor confirmed that she and her team had noted the concerns manifested by the chief minister regarding western beach. She also thought it was an important day for Spanish workers as a result of the announcement made by the chief minister regarding the issuing of bus cards to official Spanish commuters.

Neighbourly relations:

The La Linea Mayor reiterated her desire to continue these cross border contacts with the Gibraltar Government, she said she was voted into the Mayor's office on a ticket of improving cross-frontier neighbourly relations, although she thought there were avenues for improvement between both sides of the frontier in areas of Culture, Education and Sport.

Mutual interest:

She also thought that there was a lot of common areas of mutual interest from both sides and hoped arrangements can be agreed for officials from both sides to get together and discuss and put forward possible projects of mutual interest that would make life easier for citizens from both sides of the frontier.