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UK gives Gibraltar Deadline for EU Directives

14 October 1999

The UK has given Gibraltar until 15 October 1999 to implement the 4th and 7th EU directives on company disclosure in Gibraltar law. In response, the Gibraltar Government said that it was always their intention to implement the directives and that the Bill is currently with the House of Assembly. British Foreign Office minister Mr Geoff Hoon travelled to Gibraltar this week to pressure Gibraltar not to implement the Foundation Ordinance – parallel legislation designed to compensate for damage resulting from the directives by allowing for reduced disclosure by financial entities. Britain has already expressed its firm opposition to the Foundation Ordinance and is likely to block the legislation if passed. Other issues on Mr Hoon’s agenda for discussion are proposed changes to the constitution, and the 'passporting' rules for EU insurance and banking enterprises.

With an all-party Select Committee ready to consider constitutional reform to decolonise Gibraltar, the Foreign Office wants to clarify that the only changes they are prepared for would be minor cosmetic ones. The Chief Minister considers this to be short sighted, not to mention the Opposition. Gibraltar's proposals include joint control of the police and of judicial appointments as well as removing the remains of colonialism such as unelected members in the House and the procedure for the Governor's appointment. Generally, the proposals have created an obstacle in London, where the Chief Minister has been given "a clear steer" of what Britain wants, according to Mr. Hoon. Spain would oppose any initiative contrary to the Treaty of Utrecht, the Anglo-Spanish negotiating process, and the doctrine of the UN. This is Mr. Hoon's first visit to Gibraltar which has been labelled as a "a working visit.


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