Spain may get sign-off on Gibraltar Brexit deal

Spain may get sign-off on Gibraltar Brexit deal

As part of the EU's Brexit talk guidelines, Spain is set to be given the power veto a future trade deal if it is not given a say over the future of Gibraltar, the southern tip of "Spain" which remains under British control and is home to some 30,000 Britons.

The negotiating principles from the European Council stipulate that any future trade deal between the EU and the United Kingdom will not apply to the British territory - unless it is agreed by Spain.

The agreement has yet to be finalised but it handed Spain a diplomatic victory as it still lays claim to the overseas territory which it ceded to Britain in 1713.

In its opening negotiating position on Brexit, the European Union has said whatever deal is negotiated, it will not apply to Gibraltar without Spain's agreement. While Gibraltar voted overwhelmingly against quitting the European Union, it now faces the possibility of losing access to both a source of thousands of workers who cross its border daily and a market for its financial services industry.

Gibraltar faces an uncertain future after Brexit, with Spanish ministers suggesting they'll seek joint sovereignty of the territory.

The EU has put the future of Gibraltar at stake by backing Spain in its dispute with the United Kingdom over the British overseas territory.

Chief minister Fabian Picardo said that Spain was "employing her unhealthy obsession with Gibraltar and bringing it to the table of a very complex negotiation already".




Though Gibraltar residents voted overwhelmingly in favor of remaining in the European Union, the inhabitants of the rock want to stay under United Kingdom jurisdiction.

In a diplomatic victory for Madrid, the 27 other European Union member states have agreed to allow Spain to exclude Gibraltar from any final Brexit trade deal.

"We have been firm in our commitment never to enter arrangements under which the people of Gibraltar would pass under the sovereignty of another state against their wishes, nor to enter into a process of sovereignty negotiations with which Gibraltar is not content".

"Gibraltar will be no-one's bargaining chip", he added.

"Theresa May must urgently produce a plan that protects the citizens of Gibraltar, including their businesses and communities".

This detail is key as it means Prime Minister Theresa May and acting Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy may have to hold bilateral discussions over the territory if any points of contention arise during Brexit negotiations.

"It's predictable that, given Spain's previous behavior, they would try and use Brexit as a fig leaf for trouble-making over the status of Gibraltar", Lopresti said Friday.

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