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Montevideo, September 21st 2018 - 23:44 UTC

Spain hopes to reach an agreement with UK over Gibraltar by next October

Saturday, April 7th 2018 - 08:11 UTC
Full article 7 comments
“...we are definitely working towards having an agreement before October, even if possible by the summer...”, said foreign minister Dastis “...we are definitely working towards having an agreement before October, even if possible by the summer...”, said foreign minister Dastis

Spain hopes to reach an agreement with the UK over Gibraltar by the summer, its foreign minister has said. Alfonso Dastis said Spain would “defend our position” but the two sides were “working towards” an agreement as soon as possible. The UK says “informal” talks are going on about Gibraltar's post-Brexit future with Spain.

 Spain has a long-standing territorial claim on Gibraltar, a UK overseas territory on the Iberian Peninsula. Mr Dastis has previously said that sovereignty would not be an issue in Brexit negotiations. Instead Madrid wants joint management of Gibraltar's airport and more co-operation on tax fraud and border controls.

Asked if he was hopeful agreement could be reached before October - when the UK and EU hope to reach a Brexit deal that can then be ratified by EU states - Mr Dastis told the BBC: “We are definitely determined to defend our position so I don't exclude anything.

”But we are definitely working towards having an agreement before October, even if possible by the summer, and we hope... that there is also, from the British side, a position which works towards that end.“

The EU has said that no future Brexit trade deal may apply to Gibraltar without a bilateral agreement between Spain and the UK. Mr Dastis said the two sides had met three or four times already this year: ”We are having very constructive conversations.“

Spain wants joint management of Gibraltar's airport, which is located on a disputed strip of land connecting Gibraltar to the Spanish mainland. Mr Dastis said that while Spain ”cannot accept“ British jurisdiction over the land, it wanted to use the airport ”to the benefit of the population of Gibraltar“.

Asked what joint management would mean, he said: ”We will have to work out what the exact terms will be. We have tried twice. Once it was rejected by the UK, the second time it was rejected by us - maybe third time lucky?“

Responding to Mr Dastis's comments, a spokesman for the UK government said: ”We are having a wide range of discussions with member states, including Spain, about our departure from the EU, including the practical implications for Gibraltar.

“Discussions are continuing with the Government of Gibraltar and our European partners on how to address the specific challenges and opportunities here.”

The Government of Gibraltar did not respond directly to Mr Dastis's comments, but in a speech last week, its chief minister Fabian Picardo said Gibraltar had agreed “key fundamentals” with the UK for after Brexit - including the continuation of current trade arrangements.

He added that Gibraltar would seek to establish “new lines of co-operation with the EU” and in particular, Spain, “not because we feel threatened, but because that is our nature”.

“And we will continue to seek to construct new synergies for the future and avoid unnecessary confrontation because it has always been our approach.”

Gibraltar was ceded to Great Britain in the 1713 Treaty of Utrecht but Spain has continued to press its claim - which is rejected by both the UK and Gibraltar itself.

Gibraltarians rejected by 99% to 1% the idea of the UK sharing sovereignty with Spain in a vote in 2002 and in a previous referendum in 1967. But Gibraltar voted by 96% to stay in the EU in the 2016 referendum. (BBC).-

 

Categories: Politics, International.

Top Comments

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  • LEPRecon

    Spain can talk to the UK as much as it wants, but ONLY the people of Gibraltar have any say in what happens in Gibraltar and to Gibraltar, and nothing Spain says or does will ever change that.

    Of course we all hope for an reasonable relationship built on trust and mutual respect...but Spain has a long way to go before Gibraltar or the UK will accept that. Of course it doesn't help when Spain unilaterally tries to force an agenda that basically gives them control over things that are nothing to do with them.

    Apr 07th, 2018 - 07:53 pm +1
  • Ann Other

    ”Spain wanted to use the airport to the benefit of the population of Gibraltar“? Not to simply grab a strategic asset and get a foothold in Gibraltar then. The airport was paid for by Gibraltarians, not the UK, not the EU and not Spain so guess who is going to run it. Spain had the option to build a connecting terminal their side of the frontier to access the airport, but never did. Spain also signed the Cordoba agreement in which it promised not to obstruct Gibraltar's inclusion in EU aviation matters, took the money, and reneged on the deal. If Sr Dastris wants an airport there are plenty of unused 'ghost airports' in Spain, like South Madrid Airport and Castellón built with EU funding and left to decay. The Gibraltar airport works very nicely thanks.

    Apr 08th, 2018 - 09:08 am +1
  • Brit Bob

    ''Spain wants joint management of Gibraltar's airport, which is located on a disputed strip of land connecting Gibraltar to the Spanish mainland. Mr Dastis said that while Spain ”cannot accept“ British jurisdiction over the land,''

    Gibraltar Isthmus – Acquisitive Prescription (1 pg):-
    https://www.academia.edu/35658479/Gibraltar_Isthmus_Acquisitive_Prescription

    Dastis also forgets that prior to joining the EU Spain signed the Helsinki Accord and that stipulates 'borders in Europe can only be changed ''by consent''.

    Apr 07th, 2018 - 09:24 am 0
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