ARANCHA GONZALEZ LAYA, Spain’s Foreign Minister, has warned against a no-deal Brexit as negotiations in Brussels near their deadline.
The Minister said that ”we need a deal as negotiations continue”, addressing the fact that Spain has some of the closest ties to the UK among the EU’s 27 states. Over 350,000 British expats live in Spain, and the country enjoys huge trading and economic ties with the UK. She also raised the issue of Gibraltar, which will ”become the external border” of the EU.
”We looked at the consequences of what a no-deal would mean”, said Laya, ‘We all know what it would mean for shipments of fruit and vegetables, we all know what it will mean for the activities of banks and automobile factories.’ She adds that because of these vital economic factors it is ”our obligation to find a deal”.
Laya asserts that the EU and UK must find a deal that is ”balanced”, saying ”we owe it to our businesses and we owe it to our people today. Adding more turbulence to the current extremely volatile economic and social environment will only make matters worse”.
The Minister says that a no-deal Brexit ”will have an impact for Gibraltarians as well as for Spaniards in the region”. In the Leave referendum, 96% of Gibraltar residents voted to remain in the EU. Half of the Rock’s workforce commute across the border from Spain, while Gibraltar also imports all of its food which could face delays if a no-deal scenario creates border issues.
London and Brussels negotiators are currently working against the clock to strike a deal before the December 31st deadline, with key issues such as fishing rights standing remaining difficult for either side to compromise on.
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