Crunch Brexit talks on Gibraltar with Spain in new push for control
Gibraltar 'not willing to negotiate an inch' with Spain says expert
We use your sign-up to provide content in ways you’ve consented to and to improve our understanding of you. This may include adverts from us and 3rd parties based on our understanding. You can unsubscribe at any time. More info
Britain and the European Union were today locked in negotiations on Gibraltar’s future, with Spain attempting to use Brexit for greater control of the Rock. Officials from both sides met for crunch talks in London as they sought to find a breakthrough in discussions on the status of the British overseas territory now the UK is outside of the EU.
While a free trade deal was struck between Britain and Brussels in 2020, Gibraltar’s own future has been the subject of drawn-out negotiations with little progress.
Today’s meeting came after Madrid pushed to seize more control over the Rock by putting forward plans to eradicate border posts between Gibraltar and Spain.
The proposals would see the Rock effectively become a part of the EU’s Schengen zone that allows for free movement across the continent.
In return, Spain would take control of the territory’s borders.
POLL: Is Rishi Sunak trying to ‘water down’ Brexit?
Foreign Minister José Manuel Albares said in a statement on Friday: “The text presented to the United Kingdom is a comprehensive proposal that includes provisions on mobility with the aim of removing the border fence and guaranteeing freedom of movement.”
He said the proposals would “make the area a zone of shared prosperity”.
“This requires Spain to take control, on behalf of the Schengen area, of Gibraltar’s external borders and, to this end, to be able to exercise certain functions and powers necessary to protect the integrity and security of the Schengen area,” it added.
Madrid continues to claim it has ownership of Gibraltar despite ceding it to Britain in 1713.
About 15,000 people commute daily from Spain to Gibraltar, which has a population of about 32,000.
Spain has been repeatedly accused of attempting to use Brexit to wrestle control of the small 2.6 square mile area, despite the majority of Gibraltar residents supporting remaining under the jurisdiction of the UK.
The British ambassador to Spain, Hugh Elliott, said on Thursday he was confident a deal can be reached this year.
Britain and the EU set a deadline of the end of 2022 in order to give a hard end date to talks.
Mr Elliott added that “two outstanding complex issues” in negotiations had been resolved opening the way for a wider breakthrough.
A row over driving licences has hindered talks for months.
Source: Read Full Article