The departure of the United Kingdom from the European Union will not only impact Spain in the field of the trade balance of all kinds of goods and services that will see its ‘status quo’ diminish. The small territory of Gibraltar can become another economic earthquake due to its geographical characteristics and the socio-economic relationship that exists with the entire Campo de Gibraltar in the south of the province of Cádiz.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Arancha González-Laya, has insistently recalled that the Government will defend “the interests of Campo de Gibraltar, its citizens and companies, with the intention of building an area of prosperity shared with Gibraltar”, and that this will not be done ‘against Gibraltar or the United Kingdom’.
There is a plan prepared by the Executive for the Campo de Gibraltar with the Executive’s “clear commitment” to “promote great economic support” for the region. “We have a unique occasion integrating a plan that has already been drawn up and that includes a series of priorities for the Campo de Gibraltar, in the General State Budgets, which are being drawn up,” he declared. The plan “exists, it was developed at the end of 2018 and it was not launched because after the change of government there has not been a budget.” In addition, Spain hopes that the EU recovery fund will allow “to move from the design of the plan to its execution”, which affects “infrastructure, employment and business, security, justice and sustainability.”
A report by the Elcano Royal Institute is clear in this regard: “The Campo de Gibraltar will suffer considerably worse economic effects after ‘Brexit’ if it ends without an agreement”. The economies of Gibraltar and the Campo are closely related. Geographical proximity makes possible a considerable volume of exchange of productive factors between the two: around 18.5% of the Gross Domestic Product of the economy of Campo de Gibraltar in 2013 was explained by interaction with Gibraltar and is considerably higher than that which is gave in previous years.
Cross-border employment generates approximately 11% of total employment in the Campo de Gibraltar and this is mainly concentrated in the commercial sector, construction and the hotel and restaurant industry. Regarding the exchange of merchandise, imports from the Rock to Spain are focused on the construction and wholesale and retail sectors, grouped in the commercial sector.