Spain Threatens Gibraltar Could be Excluded from Brexit Deal

gibraltar
Reuters

The British territory of Gibraltar could be excluded from a Brexit transition deal and the European Union’s (EU) Single Market unless the UK works to agree a specific arrangement with Madrid, a Spanish government source has threatened.

The EU’s remaining 27 member states shocked the UK government in March by hinting that the Spanish government will have to explicitly approve any post-Brexit trade or transition deal for it to apply to Gibraltar.

If Spain says no, the territory’s future and prosperity will be uncertain and in jeopardy.

“This is what we are telling the Gibraltarians,” a Spanish government source told the Guardian Wednesday. “If you want to have your existing status, you will have to talk with us.”

The source’s tone was pessimistic about Brexit, saying Theresa May’s government had other serious issues to address alongside Gibraltar.

“I think the situation with Gibraltar is crystal clear,” they said. “Gibraltar became associated with the EU project because of their dependence in the UK. This is going to stay until March 2019. In 2019 when the UK leaves the EU, Gibraltar will leave with the UK.”

“This is what we are telling the Gibraltarians”, the source added. “If you want to have your existing status, you will have to talk with us.

“And I cannot understand why [Chief Minister of Gibraltar Fabian Picardo] has refused to do so. I think in the past he has played very hard on the other side. But reality arrives.”

Of Britain’s lack of proposals with regards to the future of Gibraltar, the Spanish government source said: “I honestly believe they have other more important issues.”

A spokesman for the government of Gibraltar said they would not comment “on what unnamed Spanish sources are alleged to have said”.

In May, the Spanish foreign ministry asserts that “Spain cannot accept that the EU negotiates with the United Kingdom a relation that is not compatible with the Spanish position over the territorial claim, that does not respect Spanish interests, the interests of the Spanish [living near Gibraltar] and that does not impede the unfair competition with Spain”.

Mr. Picardo responded by warning Brussels and Madrid that the Gibraltarians will not take ill-treatment “lying down”.

“If anybody thinks that they can discriminate against the people of Gibraltar and that we’ll take it lying down, they’ve got something else coming,” he told crowds celebrating May Day.

“We will deal with any attempt to discriminate against or prejudice the people of Gibraltar in the way that every nation does: with the principle of reciprocity. What they do unto us, we will do onto them and theirs.”

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