SPANISH government officials have said Britain and the European Union (EU) acted in darkness and with “treachery” over their decision not include Gibraltar in a draft Brexit agreement.
Officials said Article 184 of the draft agreement, which covers future talks on Britain’s relationship with the EU after it leaves next year, should not apply to Gibraltar.
Madrid wants any discussions on the future of the British enclave to be handled solely between themselves and London.
Luis Marco Aguiriano, Secretary of State for the EU, said Spain would back the draft Brexit deal if the European Commission guaranteed Article 184 would not apply to Gibraltar.
“Spain wants the ability to negotiate on Gibraltar with Britain bilaterally and to reach agreements,” Aguiriano said.
“We have until Sunday. We will see what is proposed, we will analyse it calmly and we will see if it is acceptable, or renegotiable or not,” the official added.
The leaders of the EU’s 27 member states are due to meet on Sunday to approve the draft deal. Other countries have raised objections to it over fishing and industrial standards concerns.
Speaking before parliament earlier this week, Aguiriano claimed Britain and the EU had changed the draft agreement at the last minute behind Spain’s back.
“They acted in darkness and with treachery,” Aguirano said.
Pedro Sanchez, Spain’s Prime Minister, said yesterday (Wednesday) that his and British Prime Minister Theresa May’s positions were “distant” from one another.
“After my conversation with Theresa May, our positions remain distant. My government will always defend Spain’s interests. If there are no changes, we will veto Brexit,” Sanchez said.
After my conversation with Theresa May, our positions remain far away. My Government will always defend the interests of Spain. If there are no changes, we will veto Brexit.
— Pedro Sánchez (@sanchezcastejon) 22, 2018
May told parliament that she had been “absolutely clear” when speaking to Sanchez that her government should defend Britain’s sovereignty over Gibraltar.
“Our future relationship with the EU must work for the whole family of the United Kingdom,” she said.
The comments come as officials from Gibraltar travelled to Madrid earlier this week and agreed a series of deals covering arrangements after Brexit.
They agreed to make changes designed to end tax fraud there and curb the smuggling of tobacco and other goods from the British enclave to Spain.