UK and Spain move towards agreement with Gibraltar –

Officials from the UK, Gibraltar and Spain continue to move towards an agreement on the status of Gibraltar, the rocky enclave in the far south of Spain, following the latest round of talks in London between representatives in charge of the dossier and those of the European Commission on Thursday and Friday (26 and 27 January).

Spain and the UK are currently negotiating the agreement that will govern the EU’s relations with Gibraltar after Brexit and have been doing so since a pre-agreement was reached at the end of December 2020, just hours after the UK’s withdrawal. of the European Union.

In early January, Gibraltar Prime Minister Fabian Picardo said agreements on immigration and the movement of goods were the top priority.

At the end of last year an agreement in principle was reached between the United Kingdom and Spain, by virtue of which the “maximum and unlimited mobility of people between Gibraltar and the Schengen area”, the removal of the barrier at the land border and the transfer of customs controls to the airport and port of Gibraltar will be conditional on the presence of Spanish and Gibraltarian police. This presence will be supervised by Frontex, the European border agency, for four years.

The border between Spain and Gibraltar is crossed every day by 15,000 workers, including 11,000 Spaniards, according to figures from the Cross Frontier Group, an organization made up of companies and unions.

Relations between Gibraltar and Spain have functioned on the basis of agreements ad hocand there is no deadline to conclude an agreement on a new treaty.

However, general elections are scheduled for this year in Spain and Gibraltar; there is a sense of urgency to move forward; Political analysts believe that the conservative Popular Party and the nationalist Vox would be much more bellicose with the status of the Rock than the socialist government of Pedro Sánchez.

Spain’s far-right party Vox has already called for the border with Gibraltar to be closed.

The Spanish Minister of Foreign Affairs, José Manuel Albares (Spanish Socialist Workers Party, PSOE), said that the negotiations “can’t last forever”which led Gibraltar to draw up contingency plans for a non-negotiated agreement.

Cross Frontier Group expressed concern last week that “The current state of affairs on this issue and the uncertainty generated by the contradictory news emanating from the negotiation process is subjecting the citizens of our region to stress that we believe must stop immediately”.

also asked “the dismantling of the border post for citizens and goods” in a joint letter addressed to the negotiators.

“We are working intensively to secure an agreement that can help ensure the future prosperity of Gibraltar and the region”a UK Foreign Office spokesperson told EURACTIV. and to add that “The UK’s support for Gibraltar remains unwavering and it will not accept anything that compromises sovereignty.”

The Rock of Gibraltar in troubled waters

The representatives of the Royal-Union, of Gibraltar and of the European Commission met jeudi et vendredi, dans la cadre de la dernière tentative visant à sortir de l’impasse le statut du Rocher de Gibraltar, ancienne navale base, à l’extremité sud from Spain.

[Édité par Anne-Sophie Gayet]

Jamie Franklin

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