Spain threatens to reject Brexit deal over Gibraltar

Elias Hubbard
November 20, 2018

Speaking in Brussels today, Spanish Foreign Minister Josep Borrell said: 'The negotiations between the United Kingdom and the European Union do not apply to Gibraltar. future negotiations on Gibraltar are separate negotiation'.

Contrary to the Spanish government's frustration with the plans, EU Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier said on Monday that there had been broad agreement with the draft withdrawal deal.

'And that is what must be made clear.

"I am pleased that ministers today support the overall package", Barnier told reporters on Monday.

The EU is preparing for a special meeting of EU leaders with May on Sunday (25 November), where leaders will formally sign off on the withdrawal agreement and the accompanying political declaration on the future relationship.

"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".

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

"We have to realise that this deal on the table is the best possible one, there is no better deal for this insane Brexit", Luxembourg's foreign minister Jean Asselborn said before the meeting.

Prime Minister Theresa May's official spokesman said: "The draft withdrawal agreement agreed last week covers Gibraltar".

An exceptional Brexit summit will take place in Brussels this Sunday (25 November), attempting to reach consensus on the agreement, which, with Spain's stance on Gibraltar becoming clear on Monday, may be more hard than was thought at first to achieve.

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".

Even if he said this is not a veto, he also said that they will not approve the text on Sunday if there is no legal certainty on the fact that any negotiation related to Gibraltar will need the approval of Spain.

As May fights for to push the draft Brexit deal through the United Kingdom parliament and struggles to stay in power against a mounting internal Conservative plot to unseat her, her domestic opponents have called for a renegotiation of the deal.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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