MADRID has said it will vote against the draft Brexit proposal put forward by Theresa May, because crucial details on Gibraltar have been emitted.
Instead, Spain wants separate bilateral talks over Gibraltar’s future on the four memorandums of understanding (MoUs), which were finalised this week.
Addressing the Gibraltar parliament on Thursday the Rock’s Chief Minister Fabian Picardo has now said he is open to direct talks from Spain over Gibraltar’s future.
The MoUs cover citizens’ rights, tobacco market access, cooperation on environmental matters and cooperation on police and customs matters.
In his address to parliament however Picardo warned Sanchez, ‘there are and there will be no concessions on matters of sovereignty, jurisdiction or control.’
Outside Downing Street on Thursday, Theresa May said: “I spoke to the Spanish prime minister Pedro Sanchez and I am confident that on Sunday we’ll be able to agree a deal that delivers for the whole UK family including Gibraltar.”
Today a European Commission spokesperson said that “work is continuing” to bring Spain around, ahead of the vote on Sunday.
The political declaration is a crucial document in the process of the UK’s exit from the EU as it governs what the relationship on trade and political ties will look like.
Spain’s issue with the draft of the document is Article 184, which it says does not allow for negotiations on Gibraltar’s future in a separate forum to Brexit talks.
Fresh off the back of a meeting in London with May, Picardo’s lengthy speech made reference to what he called ‘the Spanish government’s misgivings.’
He said: “Spain interprets [Article 184] as compromising the role it wishes to play in determining how the UK’s future partnership with the EU will apply to Gibraltar.
“Let it be clear that this has nothing to do with what we have been negotiating, which is the terms of our differentiated involvement in the Withdrawal Agreement for Gibraltar and our inclusion in the transition period and not the terms of the future relationship with the EU.
“That is not what we are dealing with at this point.”
He added: “At this critical time in Europe’s history, Gibraltar can be the strongest foundation stone for a future relationship between the UK and the EU, not a rock on the road to agreement.”