THE SPANISH Prime Minister doubled down yesterday on his threats to vote against the Brexit agreement unless concessions are made regarding Gibraltar, the UK overseas territory situated on a peninsula to the south of Spain.
Madrid maintains its claim to the land, which was ceded to the British crown in 1713. It therefore takes issue with Article 184 of the Brexit deal which states that the EU and UK will seek to “negotiate rapidly the agreements governing their future relationship”. Spain believes this is too ambiguous and wants to ensure this does not apply to Gibraltar.
Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez said yesterday: “Article 184 - is not acceptable for Spain.
“We have asked the European Commission and Britain to look into this, and we are conscious that this is an essential point and if this is not resolved then unfortunately Spain will not be able to vote in favour of it.
“Our European colleagues know this and the British Prime Minister too.
“What we are going to do is to defend the interests of Spain until the end.”
The current plan would see Gibraltar leave the EU along with the UK at the end of March, despite 96 percent of its population voting to remain in the EU.
However, Spain wants to ensure it can engage in bilateral talks with the UK over Gibraltar’s future.
Its position could threaten the withdrawal agreement, which must be approved by 20 of the 27 EU countries and at least 65 percent of the EU population.