Spain to seek talks on joint sovereignty of Gibraltar

25 November, 2018, 19:20 | Author: Frank Williams
  • Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May leaves after a press conference following a special meeting of the European Council to endorse the draft Brexit withdrawal agreement

On Sunday, the leaders of the 28 European Union countries are expected to meet in Brussels at a carefully choreographed summit to approve Brexit plans and an accompanying political declaration on the future ties between Britain and the 27 European Union nations that will say goodbye officially in March.

European Council President Donald Tusk has recommended that the EU approve the Brexit deal at a summit on Sunday.

After "difficult but fruitful negotiations" over the last week to clarify the future of Gibraltar post-Brexit, Sanchez said he is satisfied to have received a declaration from the European Commission and the European Council, as well as a written confirmation from the United Kingdom government that the future of the British territory at the southern tip of Spain will become a bilateral issue.

The European Commission chief warned the United Kingdom parliament it should not count on any renegotiation ahead of Britain's departure in March, as European Union leaders on Sunday approved a landmark agreement on Britain's exit.

"Some said it [Brexit] would not cost anything and it would actually bring about some positive financial elements for the United Kingdom", he said.

Other EU leaders also stressed that this deal is their final offer.

May, who hopes to seal the divorce agreement and outline of future ties with Europe at a Brussels summit Sunday, faces a daunting challenge winning the support of Britain´s parliament.

"I don't think (the EU) are going to come to us and say, 'We'll give you a better deal, '" she added. This is the best deal possible given the circumstances. "In parliament and beyond it, I will make the case for this deal with all my heart and I look forward to that campaign".

"I believe that the British government will succeed in securing the backing of the British parliament", Juncker said, declining to comment on what might happen if May fails.

The deputy leader of the Democratic Unionist Party in Northern Ireland has used a party conference speech to try to persuade Prime Minister Theresa May to change course on Brexit.

Gibraltar, a rocky outcrop home to a port and around 30,000 people, is a British territory claimed by Spain and a bone of contention as London negotiates a new relationship with Brussels after Brexit on March 29.

Gibraltar deal clears way for Sunday Brexit summit

Portugal's foreign minister said Saturday he backed the Brexit deal, including Spain's request to have its say on the future of the disputed British territory of Gibraltar.

If EU leaders sign off on the deal, it needs to be approved by the European and British Parliaments - a tough task for May, whose Conservatives lack a majority in the House of Commons.

May insists her deal delivers the on the things that matter most to pro-Brexit voters - control of budgets, immigration policy and laws - while retaining close ties to the U.K.'s European neighbors.

A diplomatic source said the minutes of Sunday's summit meeting of the 27 leaders would record those concerns, although it was not clear if they would be made public.

"There is no Plan B", said Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte.

The U.K. Telegraph reported that the British government has conceded in writing that no part of any future trading agreement can apply to Gibraltar without the agreement of the Spanish government - leading to fears that the Spanish may use that power to extract a deep range of concessions on issues such as taxation and fishing.

Twenty-seven European Union leaders have endorsed a deal that sets out the terms of Britain's departure on March 29 and sets a framework for future ties.

The UK is scheduled to leave the European Union on 29 March 2019.

Parliament's vote could open the door to a "brighter future" or condemn the country to more division, she said.

The Government will put forward a new piece of legislation: the EU (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill.

Senior Conservative backbencher Iain Duncan Smith was one of those criticising the Prime Minister's deal Sunday morning, telling media outlets in a series of interviews that after so much had been given away to the European Union it would be hard for him and others to vote to ratify the deal in Parliament.

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