REPRESENTATIVES of Spain and the United Kingdom will meet Tuesday this week as negotiations begin concerning the future of Gibraltar post-Brexit.
Both nations have been reluctant to embark upon such an important process via videoconference, but Spain’s loosening of restrictions has enabled dialogue.
Spain hopes that talks will result in an agreement by October, as reports El Pais, and new rules coinciding with Britain’s departure from the EU at the end of 2020.
Spain’s governing coalition particularly wants to the balance the relationship between the British Overseas Territory and neighbouring La Linea de la Concepcion, one of Spain’s poorest areas.
Government representatives will not seek controversial sovereignty over the Rock, instead choosing to fight for workers’ rights and tackle environmental problems.
More than 9,000 Spanish citizens cross the frontier daily, meaning they are also central to the economy of Gibraltar, population 34,000.
Spain has often viewed Gibraltar as a tax haven that allows businesses and capital to escape the clutches of Spain’s tax authorities.
Both nations will honour the 1713 Treaty of Utrecht, the first document concerning British control of Gibraltar, while trying to carve out a future beyond the EU’s single market and customs union.
Another topic of debate will be laws regulating tobacco, which recent legislation between the UK and Spain has ruled must not cost less than 32% of Spanish prices.