With the final Brexit deal now on the table, the Spanish government are now setting their sights on the future of Gibraltar. Last week, the government said that, after making a last minute arrangement to make sure the UK’s future relationship with the EU will not apply to Gibraltar automatically, it would be backing the deal.
In an announcement, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez said: “Europe and the United Kingdom have accepted Spain’s demands. España will lift its veto and vote tomorrow in favour of the Brexit deal.”
The deal that’s been set out clarifies the UK’s future relationship with the EU and will be aligned with Article 184. Although this is controversial, it also states that the article “imposes no obligations regarding the territorial scope of such agreements and that there is, therefore, no obligations or presumption, on the basis of this provision, for such agreements to have the same territorial scope of the one provided in Article 3 of the withdrawal agreement.”
This means that the agreement wouldn’t automatically be applied to Gibraltar. As highlighted in the text, future deals “will require prior agreement of the Kingdom of Spain.” This is the result Spain was looking for, and Sanchez noted that “once the United Kingdom leave the European Union, the relationship between the EU and Gibraltar, either political, juridical or even geographical, will have to pass through Spain.”
Furthermore, decision made by the remaining EU member states will be approved and legally binding, which is another demand Spain had made. Sanchez added: “The Council and the European Commission reinforce therefore Spain’s position, as never before, ahead of the most vital negotiations that we will have, because we will need to talk about co-sovereignty, among many other things, with the UK.”
Donald Tusk (European Council president) and Jean-Claude Juncker (president of the Commission), have both, additionally, signed a letter to ratify the demands made by the Spanish government. “We understand the sensitivity of the current situation and would like to underline our solidarity with the Kingdom of Spain on this matter,” they stated.
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