Start Europe Spain’s foreign minister threatens to refuse consent – because of a centuries-old...

Spain’s foreign minister threatens to refuse consent – because of a centuries-old dispute

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Spain could refuse its approval of the Brexit agreement, according to its Foreign Minister Josep Borrell, over the Gibraltar issue. The draft did not make it sufficiently clear that future negotiations on relations between Brussels and Britain and negotiations on the status of Gibraltar would be separate, Borrell said Monday after a ministerial meeting in Brussels.

„Future negotiations on Gibraltar are separate negotiations,“ Borrell said. As long as this is not clearly stated in the Brexit Agreement, „we will not be able to give our consent“.

The peninsula in southern Spain has been part of Britain since 1713, but is regularly reclaimed by Spain. Madrid sees it as its right to negotiate bilaterally with Great Britain for the future of Gibraltar, thereby de facto having a veto right. Although the Legal Service of the Council of Europe assured Spain that the draft does not preclude bilateral negotiations, Madrid demands further clarification.

The EU and Britain want to reach their Brexit compromise next Sunday at a special summit of EU leaders. Both sides have now made it clear that they do not want to change the proposed divorce agreement.

The spokesperson for British Prime Minister Theresa May said on the Spanish demand that the text draft include Gibraltar. May has made clear that she will not exclude Gibraltar and other overseas territories from negotiating future relations with the EU. „We will get a deal that applies to the whole family of the United Kingdom“.

European diplomats had assured on the weekend that they do not expect Spain to break out.