Brexit: Gibraltar outraged that Spain has veto power over its future

by Garry Watts April 2, 2017, 1:17
Brexit: Gibraltar outraged that Spain has veto power over its future

"There been a dramatic tone in the way the Spanish are approaching the border issue", he said.

Tom Brake the Liberal Democrat foreign affairs spokesman 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".

The Independent and Telegraph carried the Foreign Secretary's statement on Saturday, where he said "as ever, the United Kingdom remains implacable and rock-like in our support for Gibraltar".

And on Wednesday, British Prime Minister Theresa May pledged her support for Gibraltar.

Lord Boswell, chairman of the House of Lords EU Committee, said the government must not give the impression that Gibraltar is an "afterthought".

But Dastis, known for his pragmatism, said in an interview last weekend that the country does not intend to take any "drastic measure" such as closing the border, given the strong bonds between Gibraltar and the local economy.

"It worries me that we are about to enter into the most detailed negotiations that we have known for decades".

With the Brexit talks set to begin, she added: "If the Government has overlooked the interests of Gibraltar - which is a crucial part of the constitutional arrangements of our membership of the European Union - then what else are they going to overlook en route as well?"

"It is what we wanted and what we have said from the beginning".

Gibraltarians want to stay British, as demonstrated in 2002 when they rejected a referendum on shared sovereignty with Spain.

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While counted as part of the South-West England constituency, Gibraltar's result was noted in the Brexit referendum, with a staggering 96% of voters in favour of Remain.

"We have been firm in our commitment never to enter arrangements under which the people of Gibraltar would pass under the sovereignty of another state against their wishes, nor to enter into a process of sovereignty negotiations with which Gibraltar is not content", she told parliament.

Despite its small size, Gibraltar is strategically important, standing only 12 miles from the north coast of Africa.

Tusk released on Friday draft guidelines for the negotiating stance of the bloc's other 27 members that caused dismay among the 33,000 residents of the rock at the southern tip of Spain.

Prime Minister Theresa May has been criticised for failing to mention Gibraltar in her letter triggering Article 50, starting the Brexit process, while the negotiation guidelines set out by European Council president Donald Tusk would require Spanish agreement for the territory to be included in future agreements between the EU and United Kingdom on issues like trade.

According to a senior European Union official, now that Brexit is happening, the European Union will 'stick up for its members and that means Spain now'.

"Any extension of the deal [after withdrawal] to Gibraltar. will require the support of Spain. It recognises that there are two parties to this dispute", an European Union source told the newspaper.

Picardo has accused Spain of a "disgraceful" attempt to manipulate the Brexit process to further its sovereignty claim over Gibraltar.

"It's predictable that, given Spain's previous behavior, they would try and use Brexit as a fig leaf for trouble-making over the status of Gibraltar", Lopresti said Friday. "There will be no negotiation over the status of Gibraltar".

The EU has more or less handed over a veto to Spain for the future of Gibraltar within the Brexit negotiating guidelines, a move that will inflame the already high tensions. Picardo, says "the Rock" will not be pushed around. Are you affected by these issues?

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