Spain set to gain veto over Gibraltar's status in EU Brexit talks

Spain set to gain veto over Gibraltar's status in EU Brexit talks

Dastis has said he will not allow Gibraltar to achieve anything in the Brexit negotiations that undermines Spain's sovereignty claim or her economic interests.

The clause says that once the UK leaves the bloc, "no agreement between the European Union and the United Kingdom may apply to the territory of Gibraltar without agreement between the Kingdom of Spain and the United Kingdom".

It hands Spain, which has long held ambitions to reclaim sovereignty of the territory, significant power over Gibraltar's future.

It says: "After the United Kingdom leaves the Union, no agreement between the EU and the United Kingdom may apply to the territory of Gibraltar without the agreement between the Kingdom of Spain and the United Kingdom".

Since last year's referendum, Spanish politicians have made several comments which suggest that the government will take steps towards keeping Gibraltar within the EU.

"He said: "[This] was the predictable machination of Spain that the people of Gibraltar foresaw and one of the reasons why we voted so massively to remain in the EU.

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Gibraltar's chief minister Fabian Picardo has warned against Gibraltar being used as a bargaining chip during Brexit negotiations.

Gibraltar rejected the idea of Britain sharing sovereignty with Spain by 99 percent to 1 percent in a 2002 referendum, but voted overwhelmingly to remain part of the European Union in last June's Brexit vote.

Thousands commute between Gibraltar and Spain every day, making open borders a crucial issue of the rock's politics.

The residents, who are British citizens, voted 96% Remain in the June referendum.

Beside Gibraltar, the Council guidelines include other United Kingdom border issues affected by Brexit, including between Nothern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, where "flexible and imaginative solutions will be required", to avoid a hard border, the text says.

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Known as "the rock", Gibraltar is home to 30,000 people.

Yet members of Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy's cabinet have acknowledged the difficulty of reaching an agreement on joint sovereignty with London that will also be accepted by the 32,000 inhabitants of Gibraltar.

MP Jack Lopresti, chairman of the UK's All-Party Parliamentary Group on Gibraltar, said Spain was using Brexit as "a "figleaf for troublemaking".

"We have been firm in our commitment never to enter arrangements under which the people of Gibraltar would pass under the sovereignty of another state against their wishes, nor to enter into a process of sovereignty negotiations with which Gibraltar is not content", she said.

"Theresa May must urgently produce a plan that protects the citizens of Gibraltar, including their businesses and communities".

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