Spain says it needs to reach Gibraltar accord with UK by mid-October … AFP
Spain says it needs to reach Gibraltar accord with UK by mid-October
Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said Thursday his government was aiming to reach an agreement with the UK over the post-Brexit future of the territory of Gibraltar by
the middle of next month.
“We need to reach an agreement on Gibraltar by mid-October,” Sanchez told reporters after meeting his EU counterparts at an informal summit dominated by Brexit and migration.
“We have still some complications but I think that the willingness of the British government and the Spanish government is to reach an agreement,” Sanchez said.
In April 2017 the EU agreed to give Spain the right to veto any future post-Brexit relationship between the 27-member bloc and Gibraltar.
The territory has been under British control since 1713 but Madrid has long wanted it back.
Spain has nevertheless tried to reassure the territory’s inhabitants that it won’t use the negotiations over Gibraltar to try to get the territory back or to make their lives more complicated.
However, Sanchez said disagreements remained around the perennial Spanish accusations that Gibraltar acts as a tax haven and worries over tobacco smuggling over the border.
“We have some differences on environmental cooperation, judicial and policial cooperation, free movement, tobacco, and taxes,” Sanchez said.
“It is not everything. We are very close to reaching an agreement,” he added.