The Rock’s Government has prepared a document which urges its more than 33,500 citizens to “be prepared” for Britain to unshackle from the EU without a Brexit deal, with just over six weeks to go before the end of the transition period. The British Overseas Territory warned Spain it could be forced to close its border, which would affect 10,000 Spanish cross-border workers in the Campo de Gibraltar area, which includes Algeciras, Los Barrios, Castellar de la Frontera, La Línea de la Concepción, Jimena de la Frontera and Tarifa.
The Rock also warned of two-hour waits at the border for private vehicles and up to six hours for commercial vehicles, saying a no deal could create traffic congestion throughout the territory of Gibraltar.
The report said: “Most of the road network of the country will be affected.”
Gibraltar also warned of problems in the supply chain due to the border controls that goods requiring health controls, such as food, must pass.
According to British estimates, these types of goods will have to arrive by sea.
The report said: “Approximately 20 to 30 heavy vehicles per day may be affected.
“Traffic congestion will be such that it will affect the provision of services, including emergency services, and the interruption of the supply chain.”
This could also affect food exports from Gibraltar to tourist hotspots in Spain like Costa del Sol.
A warning from the Government said in the event of a no deal Brexit people would be prohibited from taking certain foods across the border into Spain from January 1, 2021.
They said it may no longer be possible for individuals to introduce any quantity of meat, milk, pet food, or fishery products into the EU, which in this case means into Spain.
People would be required to limit animal products including honey, live oysters, live mussels and snails to 2kg per person.
The warning reads: “Gibraltar’s departure from the European Union means that certain processes and procedures will inevitably become more difficult, cumbersome and bureaucratic.
“It is important that everyone is aware of this and that, where possible, they plan ahead.
“The Government can only prepare in areas that are within its control.
“Even then, there will be certain areas where mitigation is not possible because the new situation simply reflects what it means to be outside the European Union”.
But Joseph Garcia, deputy minister of Gibraltar, sought to play down fears, saying: “We want to avoid alarm or panic among the general population.
“This message is to prepare and not panic.”
Brexit has brought Gibraltar’s status as a British Overseas Territory into sharp focus with 96 percent of its population voting Remain.
The UK’s departure from the European Union had raised questions over Gibraltar’s sovereignty and self-determination as Spain makes a bid for the Rock.
Additional reporting by Maria Ortega