If the UK votes to leave the European Union next Thursday, it would be “perfectly possible” in legal terms for Spain to close the border with Gibraltar, Spain’s acting Foreign Minister, José Manuel García-Margallo, has said.
The Spanish minister quickly qualified his statement during a debate on Thursday night and insisted this was not an option that his government had considered.
But his comments during a live discussion on 13TV will act as a stark reminder of the potential risks facing Gibraltar in the event of a Brexit.
Sr García-Margallo was responding to a question on the border posed by a panellist who wanted to know whether, in legal terms, it would be easier to close the border if the UK was outside the EU.
It would “perfectly possible,” the minister said.
“Once it is out [of the EU] and it is an external border, you have no type of restriction to establish controls in whatever way you want to.”
Prodded by the moderator on the same point, Sr García-Margallo quickly added: “I’m not saying that we’ve thought of doing so.”
“What we have said is that we would offer the formula of joint sovereignty…” he said.
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