Any Brexit deal must work for Gibraltar too, Downing Street said yesterday following reports in the Guardian newspaper earlier this week that Spain could block the Rock from any transitional arrangements which apply to the UK after leaving the European Union.
Number 10 said it wanted a deal that works for “all parts of the UK family” as Theresa May seeks to negotiate a trade agreement with Brussels and an implementation period to allow businesses to adjust to the new arrangements after Brexit day in March 2019.
The Brexit guidelines drawn up by Brussels state that any trade deal between the UK and EU can only apply to Gibraltar if Madrid agrees.
Spanish sources earlier this week told the Guardian newspaper that provision would apply to any implementation period as well, potentially meaning that Gibraltar could suffer a hard Brexit even if the UK continues to enjoy terms similar to its current arrangements during the transition process.
“I think the situation with Gibraltar is crystal clear,” the Spanish government source said to the newspaper.
“Gibraltar became associated with the EU project because of their dependence in the UK. This is going to stay until March 2019. In 2019 when the UK leaves the EU, Gibraltar will leave with the UK.”
But a Number 10 spokesman yesterday said the Government would not comment on an anonymous claim but added: “Broadly speaking we are seeking to engage with all EU member states and we are determined to get a deal that works for all parts of the UK family.
“That deal must work for Gibraltar too.”