KING Felipe VI of Spain has told the UK the two countries can overcome their differences on Gibraltar and maintain strong ties post-Brexit.
During a speech at Westminster yesterday, the Spanish royal said he believed they could begin ‘the necessary dialogue’ to form an arrangement over Gibraltar.
But the government of the Rock said last night that the king’s focus on a dialogue between London and Madrid was ‘undemocratic’.
While discussing Britain’s decision to leave the EU, Felipe said: “To overcome our differences will be greater in the case of Gibraltar. I am confident through the necessary dialogue and effort, our two governments will be able to work… towards arrangements that are acceptable to all involved.”
The government of Gibraltar has said it would have to be involved in any discussion between Spain and the UK.
It added that two referenda in 1967 and 2002 showed the people of Gibraltar voted to remain British.
Chief minister Fabian Picardo said: “We have no desire to be part of Spain or to come under Spanish sovereignty in any shape or form.
“In the times in which we live, territories cannot be traded from one monarch to another like pawns in a chess game.”
During the speech, King Felipe said Britain and Spain were ‘profoundly intertwined’ and he respected the UK’s decision to leave the EU.
He added that the hundreds of thousands of Brits who live in Spain and Spaniards who live in the UK ‘form a sound foundation for our relations.’
“These citizens have a legitimate expectation of stable living conditions for their families,” he said.
He went on to highlight the importance of the two countries’ trading arrangements, adding that Britain is ‘the second largest investor in our country’.
At the banquet later hosted by the Queen and Prince Philip at Buckingham Palace, the Queen acknowledged the two countries had not always seen ‘eye to eye’.
In a speech, she said: “A relationship like ours founded on such great strengths and common interests will ensure that both our nations prosper now and in the future whatever challenges arise.”
Guests at the Buckingham Palace banquet were treated to poached fillet of salmon trout with fennel, followed by a medallion of Scottish beef with bone marrow and truffles, with a sauce made from Madeira, and a dark chocolate and raspberry tart for dessert.
The Queen gifted King Felipe copies of love letters from his great-grandmother to King Alfonso XIII.
Queen Victoria’s grand-daughter Princess Victoria Eugenie met King Alfonso on a state visit to Britain in 1905.
The pair married and Princess Victoria Eugenie became Queen Ena of Spain, making King Felipe a descendant of Queen Victoria.