Spain to Challenge Brexit Deal Due to Gibraltar Issue

Spain to Challenge Brexit Deal Due to Gibraltar Issue

Pedro Sanchez said: "As of today, if there are no changes with respect to Gibraltar, Spain will vote no to the agreement on Brexit".

A strategic port on Spain's southern shore at the mouth of the Mediterranean, Gibraltar - known by locals as The Rock - has been governed by Britain since the 1713 Treaty of Utrecht.

Spain and the United Kingdom have always been negotiating the future of Gibraltar in relation to Brexit, but it seems highly unlikely that Madrid will ever regain the territory which was ceded to the British crown in 1713.

Spain has said that it will vote against a deal agreed between London and Brussels for Britain's departure from the bloc, or Brexit, if it does not guarantee Madrid's veto over Gibraltar's future status.

A top Spanish diplomat says negotiations are underway to find ways to formally address Madrid's demands about Gibraltar's future relation with the European Union after Britain leaves the bloc.

Gibraltar chief minister Fabian Picardo said he has received assurances from Theresa May that the deal will cover "the whole United Kingdom family".

Spanish Foreign Minister Josep Borrell said on Wednesday that Madrid wanted assurances on the peninsula from the withdrawal agreement, which was published last week, and the political declaration, which has not yet been distributed.

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Mr Sanchez said: "As a country, we can not assume what is going to happen in the future with regard to Gibraltar they are going to negotiate between the United Kingdom and the EU. I can't say exactly how we solve this issue, but I hope it will be solved by Sunday".

There seemed to be no drama on the horizon and the Spanish prime minister told me a few weeks ago he had "no significant concerns over Gibraltar", that the "behaviour of the British government was good" and an agreement could be reached.

'As a country, we can't conceive that what will happen with the future of Gibraltar will depend on a negotiation between Britain and the European Union, ' he said.

"We and the Government of Gibraltar have had positive and constructive discussions with Spain on the Memoranda of Understanding that will underpin the protocol to the withdrawal agreement on Gibraltar".

"Five days ago, Prime Minister Sanchez said the agreement was fine and then the Foreign Minister comes out".

Spain soon after closed its border with Gibraltar and did not fully reopen it until 1985, the year before Spain joined the European Economic Community - the forerunner of the EU.

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