Expats angry as Spain backs off Gibraltar deal

Published:  20 Nov at 6 PM
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Tagged: Spain, UK, Euro, England
Spain is now refusing to support any Brexit deal unless it receives more assurances about Gibraltar.

According to Spanish Foreign Minister Josep Borrell, the Spanish government in Madrid is demanding greater clarity on the Rock’s future status. Only when it receives the information will it offer its full support for any Brexit deal which may be agreed. Apparently, one article in the present document was only perceived to present problems in the middle of last week, and Spain now wants clarification as regards interpretation of the content to ensure what’s being negotiated excludes Gibraltar.

The shock of the Spanish stance comes as PM Theresa May is expected to push and seal her deal during a crucial meeting with EU leaders next Sunday. At the same time, she is in a life or death struggle with eurosceptics within the Conservative party who are interpreting her proposed deal as giving far too much power to the European Union. In addition, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn is determined to vote down the agreement.

Spain is now requesting several changes to Article 184 of the draft treaty, in spite of negotiator in chief Michel Barnier’s insistence that the text, agreed last week, should not be revisited. The Spanish Foreign Minister is warning his country’s support depends on the actual content of a declaration concerning future ties between the UK and the EU. Spain, it seems, is now arguing Gibraltar isn’t a part of the UK, meaning that future agreements cannot apply to the Rock and its politicians must enter into new negotiations with Spain should they want an extended transition period.

British expats in Gibraltar as well as their compatriots in mainland Spain are expected to be up in arms at Spain’s new stance on the Rock’s ownership, especially after a recent agreement was reached. Should Spain throw fuel on the Brexit fire using its continued claim to sovereignty over Gibraltar, it’s not just expats on the Rock who will suffer, as Spanish lawmakers may well use British expats on the mainland as bargaining chips.
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