EU Wants Spain To Control How Brexit Affects Gibraltar

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According to the Guardian, the European Union has effectively handed the Spanish government a veto on Britain's future relationship with the European Union and given Spain a greater say over Gibraltar's future. There's a rock there you might have heard of.

The news is likely to infuriate London, which has insisted that its longstanding refusal to entertain Spain's ambitions of reclaiming sovereignty over Gibraltar, which was ceded to Britain in 1713, will not be affected by Brexit.

This is a disgraceful attempt by Spain to manipulate the European Council for its own, narrow, political interests.

Spain was accused of a "predatory" attempt to isolate Gibraltar in the Brexit talks after it was handed an effective veto over any final deal applying to the British territory.

Gibraltar isn't happy about that.

The residents, who are British citizens, voted 96% Remain in the June referendum.

The EU fueled that anxiety on Friday when it released a nine-page roadmap for the talks, which included a statement that no future agreement after Brexit between Britain and the bloc would apply to Gibraltar unless both the United Kingdom and Spain agreed.

Clare Moody, Labour MEP for the South West and Gibraltar, said it was a "shock" that the Rock was not mentioned in Mrs May's Article 50 letter.

Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson held talks with Picardo in an effort to reassure him of the UK's support.

However, Spain has continued to press its territorial claim.

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"The whole world and the whole European Union should know: this changes nothing in respect of our continued, exclusive British sovereignty", he said.

"There is absolutely no chance that Gibraltar is going to be bartering its British sovereignty, in exchange for continued access to the European Single Market or any one of the other advantages we enjoy as members of the European Union", Fabian Picardo said in NY last October.

Madrid is alleged to have pushed for the inclusion of the Gibraltar issue in the guidelines, which are to be refined at a summit of 27 European Union leaders at the end of April.

In a statement, the Opposition flagged how on Thursday evening the Attorney General Michael Llamas told the Gibraltar Federation of Small Businesses that he felt confident Spain would not want to be seen by its European partners as being unreasonable by vetoing an entire deal between the United Kingdom and the EU because of its position in respect of Gibraltar.

Many thousands commute between Gibraltar (where Britain's biggest bookmakers are based for tax and regulatory reasons) and Spain and border controls could be disastrous for the local economy.

Although May has since insisted her support for Gibraltar remains firm, some analysts suggest the prime minister's failure to mention the territory in her letter supports the idea that it is a colony, not an integral part of the United Kingdom. "The Chief Minister of Gibraltar has emphasised to me that they will bear any price before they give up their British sovereignty", he added.

The Vice Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Gibraltar, Andrew Rosindell, told the Telegraph that "An agreement without including Gibraltar means there can be no agreement".

Liberal Democrat MP Tom Brake said the decision "shows just how damaging the government's hard Brexit will be on this strategically-important British territory".

Sir Keir was also said to have emphasised that it was "vital that the sovereignty of Gibraltar is protected and that the interests of British citizens in Gibraltar are safeguarded".