HomeWorldGibraltar's future hangs in the balance as Spanish region demands meeting

Gibraltar’s future hangs in the balance as Spanish region demands meeting


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Post-Brexit disputes over the future status of Gibraltar could be about to erupt once more. This is despite Spain, the UK and the European Union issuing a joint statement stating they had agreed “general political lines” on the future status of Gibraltar in mid-April.

The issue of the post-Brexit relationship between the British territory and Spain has not yet been resolved, despite the UK officially leaving the European Union in 2020.

But a promising meeting attended, among others, by UK Foreign Secretary Lord David Cameron and Gibraltar’s Chief Minister Fabian Picardo on April 12 raised hopes the border issue for the territory would be put to rest within months, if not weeks.

However, the government of the southern Spanish region bordering Gibraltar, Andalusia, has poured cold water on the enthusiasm regarding the deal. It has requested an “urgent” meeting with Spain’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs before the signing of any agreement.

The region has lamented a “lack of transparency” from the parties involved in the negotiations, and argued that Andalusian representatives or officials from the Cadiz province as well as the mayors from the Spanish county closest to the British territory – Campo de Gibraltar – should also take part in the talks.

The Counsellor of the Presidency, Antonio Sanz, said: “I do not believe that any agreement can be signed without the Junta de Andalusia or the mayors of the area because, obviously, this lack of transparency is not positive for the negotiation.”

He continued: “This is the first time in history that Gibraltar is sitting at a table with two sovereign states and neither the municipalities nor the Junta Andalusia are present.

“We are concerned about the lack of transparency on the part of the government, which is trying to take for granted an agreement that we do not know anything of. The Junta de Andalusi­a does want an agreement, but not just any agreement.”

A similar criticism was raised also by Jose Ignacio Landaluce, the mayor of one of the cities in Campo de Gibraltar.

In statements to Canal Sur TV he said people want a deal to be struck, but “not just any agreement”.

The mayor went on to say the deal must bring benefits to all those involved, particularly as he claimed Campo de Gibraltar has “put up with a lot of actions that are harmful to us from Gibraltar”, such as the problems with tax dumping, tobacco smuggling, or water pollution.

He believes a good deal should, among other terms, require Gibraltar to make commitments on taxation, the environment and equality between all workers, both those living on the Spanish side of the border and those in the British territory.

One of the major sticking points in the post-Brexit deal has been who should control the airport in Gibraltar, which is also home to an RAF base, as well as how to police Gibraltar’s border with Spain.

The joint statement shared on April 12 by the EU, Spain and the UK read: “Discussions took place in a constructive atmosphere, with significant progress achieved.

“General political lines have been agreed, including on [the] airport, goods and mobility. Negotiations will continue over the coming weeks to conclude the UK-EU agreement.”

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