Friday, December 8, 2023

EU to back Spain over Gibraltar claims in Brexit trade talks

Gibraltar's Chief Minister Fabian Picardo (R) and Foreign Minister Joseph Garcia (L) attend a ceremony to replace the European flag with the Commonwealth's one in Gibraltar, 01 February 2020. 

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Madrid will have the support of the European bloc over its territorial claims to the “Rock” and will be given the power to exclude the British Overseas Territory from the EU-UK trade deal, when negotiating on Gibraltar’s future.
“They have in principle asked that the new relationship not apply to Gibraltar without the explicit consent of Spain, which will only be given if the bilateral talks with Spain and the UK over the rock are resolved,” a senior EU diplomat, according to the Guardian.
Following UK’s departure from the European bloc on Friday, a transition period started on 1 February, during which, the UK government needs to strike a trade deal with the EU.
Spain sees Brexit as an opportunity to stage its own bid to rebutting British sovereignty of Gibraltar, formalised by the Treaty of Utrecht in 1713. Until 31 December 2020, EU rights will continue to apply to all residents of Gibraltar and the United Kingdom.
One day prior to UK’s exit from the EU, the 11th Joint Ministerial Council meeting between the UK and Gibraltar took place in London, to discuss the key issues the two sides have been working on. Gibraltar’s side was headed by the territory’s Chief Minister, Fabian Picardo, while UK’s by Christopher Pincher, Minister of Europe.
Earlier on January, Pincher had said that Gibraltar joining EU’s Schengen zone would be advantageous for the self-governed British territory, as many micro-states in the continent are benefiting from the common travel areas with Schengen.
With dozens of thousands of people crossing daily the borders to reach their jobs, “the priority of the government of Gibraltar is to ensure that our departure from the EU does not negatively affect the lives of citizens who cross the border in either direction,” according to Picardo.

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