The GSD has rejected Spain’s attempt to “hijack” the European Council on the Gibraltar issue, adding that nothing in the letter sent by the UK to defuse the Brexit row over Gibraltar’s future justified Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez’ “triumphalist” statement on Saturday afternoon.
But the Opposition also expressed concern about the latest developments and said the UK Government must now make a clear statement as to any private assurances that may have been given to Spain to justify his statements.
The GSD said the UK’s letter to the EU on Article 184 of the draft Withdrawal Agreement showed that Gibraltar must remain “very vigilant” as to its involvement and role in negotiations on the UK’s future relationship with the EU.
“Future beneficial agreements should – if Gibraltar wishes – apply to Gibraltar and we cannot be excluded or subjected to bilateral side deals with Spain,” the GSD said.
“Nothing in the UK’s letter justifies Spain saying it has been agreed that Art 184 will not apply to Gibraltar and if anything else has been said to Spain by the UK this should be made clear.”
“We welcome the statement in the UK’s letter that they will include Gibraltar in negotiations on the future relationship.”
GSD Leader Keith Azopardi added: “There is no place for subjecting our rights as a people or our inclusion in the negotiations on a future relationship with the EU to bilateral discussions between the UK and Spain.”
“This is unacceptable in principle and if Spain makes the mistake of seeking to pursue sovereignty ambitions in the context of future negotiations with the EU then it will simply receive the clear and resounding answer of the people of Gibraltar that we reject those ambitions again.”
“There must be nothing in the political declaration that accompanies the Withdrawal Agreement or amendment to the Withdrawal Agreement itself that goes beyond the text of the letter of the UK to the EU or suggests that art 184 does not apply to Gibraltar or that future negotiations are subject to bilateral agreement between UK and Spain.”