June 19 - Garcia In Brussels For EU Meetings

The Deputy Chief Minister Dr Joseph Garcia has left for Belgium today in order to attend a number of meetings with European Commission officials and MEPs.

In addition to this, Dr Garcia has been invited by Sir Graham Watson MEP to speak at a conference in Brussels organised by the International Centre for Parliamentary Studies (ICPS) on the subject of "Maritime Security for Blue Growth". Dr Garcia will address the issue from a Gibraltar perspective, given Gibraltar's important geographical location at the crossroads of the Mediterranean and the Atlantic.

The ICPS exists to promote effective policy making and good governance through better interaction between Parliaments, Governments and other stakeholders in society. It is a research institution of the United Nations Public Administration Network (UPAN), and also works in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Association of European Election Officials (ACEEEO).

The event will be chaired by Gibraltar and South West Liberal Democrat MEP Sir Graham Watson who invited Dr Garcia to participate and whose office has very kindly arranged the programme for the visit. The viewpoints and recommendations for action of the Conference will be published in the October edition of the organisation's publication which is called the "Government Gazette".

Dr Garcia will take the opportunity of his time in Brussels to visit the Gibraltar exhibition stand in the European Parliament building. The exhibition marks 300 years of the Treaty of Utrecht and includes stationary and electronic displays about the history, the people and the economy of Gibraltar. There is also a section on Gibraltar's 40 years as part of the EU (1973-2013) the anniversary of which is also this year. The exhibition space was kindly booked and hosted for the Government by Gibraltar and South West Conservative MEP Ashley Fox.

Commenting on the visit, Dr Garcia said:

"This is my third visit to the EU institutions since being elected into Government. There are three clear strands that have come together. The first is to follow up a number of issues in meetings from the Government's last visit in March. The second is to address the International Centre for Parliamentary Studies (ICPS) and the third to visit the Gibraltar Treaty of Utrecht exhibition in the European Parliament building. I am told that this is already attracting considerable interest."

The exhibition is being staffed by the Office of the Deputy Chief Minister. Dr Garcia returns to Gibraltar this Friday in time for the Budget debate on Monday.