Gibraltar status agreement reached in Brexit talks, says Spain

Issue between London and Madrid 'will no longer be a problem', Pedro Sanchez says

Samuel Osborne
Friday 19 October 2018 17:00 BST
Gibraltar status agreement reached in Brexit talks, says Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez

The status of Gibraltar after Brexit has been resolved, Spain’s prime minister has said.

Speaking at the conclusion of an EU leaders’ summit in Brussels, Pedro Sanchez said the issue between the Britain and Spain “is resolved” and “will no longer be a problem” for the UK’s plans to leave the EU.

Gibraltar will leave the EU along with the UK on 29 March next year.

The status of the British overseas territory on Spain’s southern coast, and that of two British sovereign areas in EU member Cyprus, will form part of any overall divorce agreement with the EU.

“Gibraltar will no longer be a problem in arriving at a Brexit deal,” Mr Sanchez said.

Spain’s prime minister Pedro Sanchez holds a news conference at the European Council summit in Brussels (EPA)

However, he said Britain and Spain were still holding separate bilateral talks regarding Gibraltar, focusing on matters such as workers’ movements across the border, environmental issues and tax affairs.

The EU’s guidelines on negotiations for Britain’s future relationship with the bloc had granted Spain veto rights over the issue of Gibraltar, making it a potential difficulty.

Spanish navy illegally sail into British waters near Gibraltar

The tiny territory, which sits on Spain’s southern border, has been controlled by London for three centuries, against Madrid’s wishes.

Mr Sanchez said Britain had displayed a positive attitude towards the negotiations, but added that the two countries had yet to sign off on any agreement.

“If we reach an agreement [soon], great. If not, it doesn’t matter because we’ve got time to reach one,” he said.

Additional reporting by agencies

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