Spain yesterday acknowledged a “tripartite” Brexit relationship between Gibraltar, London and Madrid and said a protocol for the Rock’s inclusion in any UK/EU Withdrawal Agreement and transitional arrangements was “practically sealed”.
Addressing the Congress in Madrid, Spanish Foreign Minister Josep Borrell said that despite continued uncertainty about the prospect of the UK and the EU reaching agreement on the wider Brexit deal, Gibraltar “will not be a problem”.
He drew a distinction between the protocol on Gibraltar – which will ensure any withdrawal agreement and transition period is applied to the Rock – and the five separate memorandums being negotiated on practical issues including tax transparency, law enforcement cooperation, tobacco, the environment and the airport.
The memorandums “may or may not” be agreed, but in any case are separate to the protocol, Mr Borrell told Spanish MPs.
“[The protocol] is almost resolved and if we end up resolving it, it will be thanks to the valiant efforts of a group of civil servants who I want to pay tribute to, because they have worked their heart out in endless negotiations to achieve an agreement that protects Spain’s interests in this tripartite relationship between Gibraltar – which we naturally don’t recognise – the United Kingdom and Spain,” he said.
He later added: “If we’re talking about the protocol that accompanies the Withdrawal Agreement, well that protocol is practically sealed.”
“It is practically sealed and my negotiators have instructions not to allow it to be reopened over their dead bodies.”
“The withdrawal protocol is sealed, it’s in green, and if tomorrow we had to sign the Brexit agreement, it would be signed and Gibraltar would not be a problem.”
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