SPAIN’S Foreign Minister said he was ‘very close’ to be able to sign a deal on Gibraltar’s post-Brexit future after meeting his UK counterpart at Tuesday’s NATO summit.
Jose Manuel Albares had a phone call with Britain’s Foreign Secretary David Cameron before the pair met on the sidelines of the Brussels NATO summit.
“Today we have made progress, because David Cameron has shown a willingness to reach an agreement,” Albares said in answer to questions in Brussels.
Talks between the UK and Spain over an EU treaty for Gibraltar have been on ice since May.
But these negotiations could be back on track after Pedro Sanchez regained a second term as Spanish Prime Minister after getting the support of regional parties.
Albares told reporters he had had a chat with Cameron at a ‘political level’ but that would have to be backed up ‘in black and white’ by negotiators.
“We are both focusing in finding the correct formulas so that the political ideas can cement themselves in set aspects that are both efficient and practical,” Albares said.
He said he had talked about ‘the joint use of the airport’ and other matters relating to the deal, but these would have to be followed up at a diplomatic level.
Chief Minister Fabian Picardo has objected to Spain’s use of the airport and its position on pension payments for Spanish workers.
It followed his words to Telecinco after the telephone call with Cameron on Monday.
“Many months ago Spain put on the table a balanced and generous agreement and that is where we are going to go,” Albares told the national broadcaster.
He once again said that ‘what Spain wants is for this agreement to be signed tomorrow’.
But Lord Cameron did not say anything on the EU deal, as Brexiteers in his party riled his call for closer ties with the European bloc.
The joint use of the airport and the pensions issues could be some of the issues keeping the UK from signing the Gibraltar agreement.
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