Monday, 23 March 2009

Gibraltar & Lisbon Treaty

A while back I wrote that the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office and Gibraltar have not answered my questions about possible approval of the EU Treaty of Lisbon in Gibraltar.

The geographical scope - Article 355(3) and (4) TFEU - includes the Aland Islands and Gibraltar (additionally Declaration 55), but the Wikipedia article on the Lisbon Treaty reports that these territories with self-rule are to decide on the applicability in their territories.

The Wikipedia information is correct as to Aland, but I had failed to find information to confirm or deny that Gibraltar would need to approve the Lisbon Treaty.


Today I received an answer from the Minister of Justice of Gibraltar D A Feetham, saying that Gibraltar is part of the European Union by virtue of UK membership on the basis that the UK is responsible for the external affairs of the territory. Gibraltar is not a Member State and does not ratify treaties.

Once the Lisbon Treaty is ratified by the UK it will then be applicable to Gibraltar.


I am grateful for the response.

A few remarks:

The answer is official, so the editors of the Wikipedia article on the Lisbon Treaty need to take the position into account.

The autonomy of the Aland Islands is roughly comparable, but there the treaty needs to be approved with regard to its territory and the policy areas pertaining to self rule (and my question did not imply formal ratification).

The answer does not contain any legal references, but if someone has more exact information to share, I am grateful.

The concept ‘external affairs’ is given a wide interpretation for direct applicability, given the subject matter of the EU treaties (a number of internal policy areas, some of which probably are included in Gibraltarian self-rule).

The United Kingdom has ratified the Treaty of Lisbon, so its entry into force awaits the final ratifications by the last member states.

The UK FCO has not responded yet.

Ralf Grahn