Spain to reject Brexit deal unless Gibraltar issue clarified


The Spanish leader demanded the European Union hand Madrid a guaranteed veto on any future trade arrangement between the bloc and the United Kingdom involving Gibraltar.

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said Tuesday that his government "cannot accept that what will happen to Gibraltar in the future depends on negotiations between the United Kingdom and the European Union".

He repeated his threat made Tuesday that Spain will vote against the planned agreement unless its interests are taken into account.

The entire debacle centers on Article 184 of Britain's draft withdrawal document, she explained.

Madrid has objected to Article 184 of the withdrawal agreement, which states that the United Kingdom and European Union will use the transition period to "use their best endeavours to negotiate expeditiously the agreements governing their future relationship referred to in the political declaration".

"Within 72 hours we found does not clarify one thing that is essential for us, such as the Gibraltar situation in the future", he said.

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"The negotiations on the future of Gibraltar are separate discussions", Borrell said.

Spain do not have the legal ability to veto the Brexit deal as settlement comes down to a 'qualified majority'.

Spain, meanwhile, has also threatened to frustrate Mrs May's proposals, insisting that any deal covering the British territory of Gibraltar must be approved by Spain.

"It is not realistic to expect Gibraltar to become part of Spain", Gomez Arana said, noting that a 2002 referendum saw 99 percent of the population say that it did not agree that Britain and Spain should share sovereignty of the territory.

UK Prime Minister Theresa May is due to sign a treaty with European Union leaders to leave the bloc on Sunday, but the warning over the contested British territory on Spain's southern tip may add another complication.

As for Gibraltar itself, it isn't well pleased with Madrid waiting so long to make a statement.

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The country´s government said that will oppose the draft deal if it doesn't include clarity over Gibraltar and would like to treat it as a bilateral issue to be discussed directly with the UK.

Gibraltar, a strategically important peninsula on its Southern Coast, was ceded to Britain in the 1713 Treaty of Utrecht. Over the years, the Spanish have tried various attempts to retake the land.

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"We know how hard the discussions are in Britain, but I can say for Germany that we will agree to this exit agreement", Merkel told German lawmakers on Wednesday during a budget debate.

"We will get a deal that works for the whole United Kingdom family".

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