TALKS commence today (Monday) between Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator and Spanish Prime Minister, Pedro Sanchez, and his other key ministers regarding Spain’s post-Brexit relationship with the United Kingdom and also the future of Gibraltar.
Spain will push for the addition of a specific chapter in any Brexit agreement surrounding longstanding issues over taxes, smuggling and the environment originating from the British territory.
The talks take place ahead of October’s Salzburg Summit during which important members of European governments will gather to try and make an agreement over the terms of the UK’s exit from the European Union before the deadline date of March 29 2019.
Negotiations this week in Spain will place a heavy focus on the future relationship between the European bloc and the United Kingdom and therefore will involve The Rock of Gibraltar.
However, Spain is not planning to raise the question of sovereignty during this week’s talks.
Spanish Minister for Foreign Affairs, the EU and Cooperation, Josep Borrell, has said he does not want the issue of Gibraltar’s sovereignty to be a sticking point in reaching an agreement over Brexit.
Borrell has claimed “the issue of sovereignty is not on the table,” as he is more concerned about Gibraltar’s socio-economic conditions than the question of The Rock’s ownership.
Borrell has cited issues such as the Rock’s airport, tobacco, fishing, commuters and customs as his greatest causes for concern and believes waiving, for the moment, Spain’s claim to Gibraltar is “the first step towards an agreement”.
Reports suggest an agreement between Spain and Britain is pending regarding Spain’s issues caused by the British territory.
Successful negotiations between the two nations have concluded after six rounds of talks. It is believed an agreement has been made regarding smuggling, taxes and workers rights issues in Gibraltar.