Friday, 22 February, 2019

Spain threatens to vote against Brexit deal over Gibraltar

Spain threatens to vote against Brexit deal over Gibraltar Spain threatens to vote against Brexit deal over Gibraltar
Melinda Barton | 20 November, 2018, 16:25

Article 184 states that there will be negotiations to define the future EU-UK relationship.

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

A small peninsula on Spain's southern coast and a British territory since 1713, Gibraltar is a major point of contention in Anglo-Spanish relations.

Theresa May's government was reacting after Spain warned it might not back the draft Withdrawal Agreement between the United Kingdom and the European Union unless there was clarity that Madrid would have the deciding voice on Gibraltar's inclusion in any deal on the future relationship.

Spain has threatened to block the Brexit deal if it does not get a veto over how any future trade deal applies to Gibraltar.

A Downing Street spokesperson, meanwhile, has ruled out any concessions on Britain's part saying that "The draft withdrawal agreement agreed last week covers Gibraltar".

"This is what needs to made clear, and until it is clarified in the withdrawal agreement and in the political declaration on the future relationship, we can not give our backing". "The negotiations on the future of Gibraltar are separate discussions", Borrell said.

Spain has long claimed sovereignty over the territory.

The EU's chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier defended the deal as "globally" fair and balanced.

"The PM has been clear that we will not exclude Gibraltar, and the other overseas territories and the crown dependences from our negotiations on the future relationship".

What is certain, the week is due to culminate in a special EU Summit on Sunday, but uncertainty surrounds whether events in the United Kingdom will mean Brussels will prepare a Brexit deal, or its contingency plans for a No Deal scenario.

Spain said last week that it welcomed the inclusion of a protocol on Gibraltar in the draft Brexit agreement, but Mr Borrell said that the document introduced "a certain confusion" on the issue.

"Whilst our relationship with the EU is changing, our commitment to European prosperity and security remains steadfast and our duty to support Gibraltar, its people and its economy is resolute", he added.