SPAIN has hosted a summit of EU leaders as Madrid launches a Brexit charm offensive.
Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy met the heads of France, Italy, Portugal, Greece, Cyprus and Malta in the Spanish capital on Monday.
It comes the week after Spain was granted an effective veto over Gibraltar being included in any future UK Brexit trade deal.
And with Spain now looking to bolster support for its Gibraltar stance, observers believe Spain is seeking to assert its authority within the EU.
Borja Lasheras, director of the Madrid office of the European Council on Foreign Relations said: “There is a real willingness in Spain to regain influence at a time when other top European countries are absorbed by their own problems.
“Spain is playing its cards, and other countries are not.”
It was the third meeting of the seven nations as Madrid looks to cement a common Brexit stance among southern European leaders.