Spain May Thwart Theresa May's Brexit Plan Over Gibraltar Status

Spain May Thwart Theresa May's Brexit Plan Over Gibraltar Status

Spain has said it will not agree to the draft Brexit withdrawal deal without clarity over how talks on the future status of Gibraltar should be handled.

The Spanish Minister of Foreign Affairs, Josep Borrell, asked for clarification about Gibraltar in order to back the draft agreed on Brexit.

Throughout the Brexit negotiations, Spain - along with Ireland and Cyprus - has conducted separate talks with the United Kingdom about specific border issues.

Mark Lancaster also met with Gibraltar's Chief Minister Fabian Picardo to discuss the strategic importance of Gibraltar to Britain's defence.

An EU diplomat said the issue could go as far as the Sunday summit of all EU leaders aimed at rubber-stamping the Brexit deal, where other outstanding points are fisheries and a limit on any extension of a post-Brexit transition phase. The uncertainty comes from article 184.

Pedro Sanchez said: "As of today, if there are no changes with respect to Gibraltar, Spain will vote no to the agreement on Brexit".

Britain said it would not exempt Gibraltar or any other British territory from the agreement in what may put the two countries on a collision course ahead of the weekend summit.

Unless the Spanish Government gets that clarity, it will not approve the Withdrawal Agreement, Mr Borrell warned yesterday.

But yesterday an European Union diplomat said the issue could go as far as a summit of all European Union leaders scheduled for Sunday aimed at rubber-stamping the Brexit deal, and where other outstanding points including fishing rights and a limit on any extension of a post-Brexit transition phase are due to be raised.

The minister said that Madrid wanted the deal to clarify that talks on future ties between London and the bloc would not apply to Gibraltar.

Spain said last week that it welcomed the inclusion of a protocol on Gibraltar in the draft Brexit agreement and that it would be positive for residents there.

"It's a period which I believe is essential for the United Kingdom, for its preparations or the creation, of its bureaucracy, in certain areas, such as for businesses, but it's also a period where we don't know what will happen, because it has to be negotiated".

Czech Europe minister Ales Chmelar said some states "have some individual proposals on sensitive issue" but said: "We hope that the text will not be reopened excessively".

"It has no place in the modern Europe of today at a time when both the United Kingdom and Gibraltar are trying to build a new positive future relationship with the European Union".

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