Gibraltar Stalemate Sparks Tensions in Endless Brexit Negotiations Between UK and EU

There have been 18 rounds of talks over how Gibraltar sits within the UK/EU relationship, with no clear resolution. These comments aren’t set to help get a deal over the line any time soon.

Comments Made After Further Rounds of Talks

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The exclamation was made by Margaritis Schinas after he was asked about progression of the Gibraltar talks between the UK and EU.

Historically British, Ceded to End Wars

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The strategically important land mass was ceded to the British under the ‘Treaty of Utrecht’ in 1713. It was part of the pact that drew the Spanish Wars of Succession to a final conclusion. 

Residents Wish to Remain British

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The most recent referendum on the nationality of Gibraltar was held in 2002. The results showed that 98.97% of Gibraltarians wished to remain British. The severity of the outcome put the issue to bed. 

Spain Hasn’t Demanded Sovereignty Over Gibraltar

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It’s important to note that at no point in the negotiations has Spain demanded control over the land mass, which makes the remarks all the more confusing. 

Schinas Comments Delaying An Already Long Process

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When talking about the negotiations, Schinas said, “I don’t believe there will indeed be a result before the European elections, and I think some involved in the negotiation wanted to project a certain optimism that is not reflected in reality.”

‘Common Travel Area’ Hoped For Outcome

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The main purpose of the talks is to establish a post-Brexit common travel area. The idea is to allow smoother travel and transport between the two areas.

Spanish Government Accused of Making Life Difficult

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The local Gibraltar government has been critical of the Spanish authorities in the past, accusing them of putting in extra security checks without warning. This has forced visitors to wait for hours before being able to continue on their way.

Deal Being Negotiated by EU, But Voted on by Spain

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The overall negotiations between the EU and the UK are being handled by the EU, but the final vote on the deal will be had by the Spanish. They have the right to accept or reject the deal.

Optimism on Both Sides

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The broad agreement of a deal has been reached between the UK, Europeans and Spanish. It will see Gibraltar gain membership of the EU’s passport-free Schengen zone. This should ease some of the people movement issues.

Security and Airport Remain Key Details

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The outstanding issues include the control of the airport in Gibraltar. The Spanish government wants to share control of the airport, whilst the UK is resisting. There’s also an RAF base on the site. 

Spanish Anger at Schinas’ Comments

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Jose Manuel Albares, the Spanish foreign minister has suggested Schinas has been brought into line for his comments. He said, “I have spoken with Commissioner Schinas regarding those statements he made, which seem very unfortunate and incomprehensible to me because Commissioner Schinas is not at all involved in the dossier of the withdrawal agreement concerning Gibraltar.”

Deal Would Benefit Both Sides

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Although a sensitive issue, there is genuine hope that a deal can be reached. The Spanish government has not issued a full legal barrier between Gibraltar and mainland Spain yet, but has warned the situation can’t go on forever.

Both Economies Benefit

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Thousands of people cross the border daily in order to work, live, socialise, shop and travel. Any disruptions would cause unnecessary harm to both local economies. 

Local Spanish Economy Buoyed by Gibraltar

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The Spanish side of the border isn’t a wealthy area by any stretch, so by allowing many Spanish to work in Gibraltar, there’s a lot of additional money that flows into the Spanish region around the land mass.

Brits Love Southern Spain

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There’s also the fact that millions of Brits travel to Southern Spain every year. The Spanish government would be loath to lose that income, so will work to ensure Gibraltar isn’t seen as a pinch-point that puts off travellers. 

Sensitivities Make Negotiating Tight

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The pro-Brexit MPs are worried the Spanish government are angling for control over the area, but there’s nothing to say that is true at this point.

Talks Slow, But Moving

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With the majority of the deal already brokered, we just have to hope that common sense, and the common good prevails. The UK wants to keep Gibraltar British, and the locals want that too. We also respect the Spanish position of wanting to control their borders. 

All Eyes On Elections

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There’s hope a deal can be struck before European elections in June, so watch this space. It’s unlikely, but possible.

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The post Gibraltar Stalemate Sparks Tensions in Endless Brexit Negotiations Between UK and EU first appeared on Edge Media.

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