Spain must have a say in Gibraltar's future post-Brexit

2017-04-01 06:53
(File, AP)

(File, AP)

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Madrid - Spain must have a say over whether any post-Brexit deal applies to Gibraltar, the EU said on Friday, a move welcomed by Madrid which is engaged in a bitter sovereignty row with London over the British territory.

The proposal represents the EU's position in tough Brexit negotiating plans unveiled by EU president Donald Tusk just days after Britain formally triggered the process to exit the 28-member bloc.

But it is likely to face a fierce backlash from London, which has pledged to stand by the tiny rocky overseas territory on the southern tip of Spain that was ceded to Britain in 1713.

"After the United Kingdom leaves the union, no agreement between the EU and the UK may apply to the territory of Gibraltar without the agreement between the Kingdom of Spain and the United Kingdom," the EU's draft negotiating guidelines read.

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This means that Madrid could potentially block Gibraltar's access to any trade deal Britain negotiates with the EU, opposition politicians in the Rock claim.

It also shows that the European Union is putting Spain -  its member state - first.

A senior EU official said the issue of Gibraltar was included in the negotiating guidelines as it is one of a number that involve joint or contested jurisdiction and that "the EU is naturally pursuing the interests of the remaining 27 member states".

Spain's conservative government, which has been particularly vocal about getting Gibraltar back, welcomed the latest development.

"EU recognition of the legal-political situation defended by Spain satisfies us entirely", government spokesperson Inigo Mendez de Vigo told reporters.

Read more on:    eu  |  donald tusk  |  spain  |  gibraltar  |  uk  |  brexit

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