THE European Union (EU) has released a draft statement ahead of a summit on Britain’s withdrawal from the bloc this weekend that does not mention Gibraltar in detail.
The draft Political Declaration on the Future Relationship between the EU and Britain said the bloc would particularly vigilant on fishing and industry standards. Some EU member states have expressed concern on both areas post-Brexit.
The agreement does not outline any arrangement for Gibraltar. Spain’s Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez has threatened to veto the deal if the statement does not make clear that future arrangements for Gibraltar post-Brexit will be discussed solely by London and Madrid.
Speaking at a joint Spain and Portugal summit in Valladolid yesterday, Sanchez said Spain would vote against the deal if changes regarding Gibraltar are not made.
“We reiterate our position. We are a European government, but we cannot accept an agreement on the Brexit that questions the ability of Spain to negotiate with Britain on the future of Gibraltar.
“If this does not change, on Sunday we will not vote at the European summit,” Sanchez said.
Reiteramos nuestra postura. Somos un Gobierno europeísta, pero no podemos aceptar un acuerdo sobre el > que cuestione la capacidad de > para negociar con Reino Unido el futuro de Gibraltar. Si esto no cambia, el domingo votaremos no en la cumbre europea.
—> Pedro Sánchez (@sanchezcastejon) 21, 2018
President of the European Council Donald Tusk took to Twitter earlier today to confirm he had sent off the draft statement. It now needs the approval of all 27 EU member states to be adopted.
I have just sent to EU27 a draft Political Declaration on the Future Relationship between EU and UK. The Commission President has informed me that it has been agreed at negotiators’ level and agreed in principle at political level, subject to the endorsement of the Leaders.
— Donald Tusk (@eucopresident) 22, 2018
The news comes as Theresa May travelled to Brussels today (Thursday) ahead of this Sunday’s summit in an attempt to extract further concessions from the EU on the draft deal.
The British Prime Minister is facing mounting pressure at home from both Remain-supporting and Leave-supporting figures who have criticised the deal.
Remain supporters claim it leaves Britain in a similar arrangement to being a member of the EU without having a seat at the table. Some have called for a second EU referendum, or ‘People’s Vote’, to settle the matter.
Brexiteers claim it means Britain will not be able to strike its own trade deals and will still be subjected to a significant amount of influence from Brussels indefinitely.
—> UK Prime Minister (@10DowningStreet) 22, 2018