dglobalnews.com Brexit Makes Gibraltar's Future Uncertain As EU Negotiating Position Gives Spain Veto
Published: Sat, April 01, 2017
Markets | By Armando Jensen

Brexit Makes Gibraltar's Future Uncertain As EU Negotiating Position Gives Spain Veto

Brexit Makes Gibraltar's Future Uncertain As EU Negotiating Position Gives Spain Veto

The draft guidelines for Brexit negotiations says Spain should have final say on all U.K. -EU agreements involving Gibraltar after Brexit happens.

The clause was set out today by the European Council in their negotiating strategy which has said the United Kingdom must settle the Brexit bill and the future of EU citizens must be agreed before any trade deal talks can take place.

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. 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.

Mr Brake said: "Confirmation that Gibraltar's future must be agreed by the United Kingdom and Spain shows just how damaging the Government's hard Brexit will be on this strategically-important British territory".

"Brexit is already complicated enough without Spain trying to complicate it further", he added, branding the proposed singling out of Gibraltar "unnecessary, unjustified, unacceptable" and "discriminatory".

Insisting that the guidelines would allow Spain "to discriminate against the British people of Gibraltar", he said: "Gibraltar is not going to be a political pawn in Brexit, neither is it going to be a victim of Brexit".

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Mr Picardo added: "What we are seeing is a clear manifestation of the predictably predatory attitude that we anticipated Spain would seek to abusively impose on its partners, as they have been threatening to do since the referendum took place and as the only member of the European Union with an obsession with Gibraltar".

He added that there was no question of any negotiation over Gibraltar's future and said he would raise the matter with the secretary general of North Atlantic Treaty Organisation.

In 2002, they also voted to reject the idea of shared sovereignty between the United Kingdom and Spain.

Theresa May did not refer directly to Gibraltar in her Article 50 letter to Donald Tusk on Wednesday.

The Tory chair of the all-party parliamentary group on Gibraltar, Jack Lopresti, said: "It's predictable that given Spain's previous behaviour, they would try and use Brexit as a fig leaf for troublemaking over the status of Gibraltar".

The statement from Dastis was interpreted as a "message of calm" to Spaniards who work in Gibraltar, saying their interests will be kept in mind by Spain. For people living in Gibraltar the outcome of the negotiations may have significant, and life-changing, consequences.

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