Spain threatens to veto Brexit deal over Gibraltar

Spain threatens to reject Brexit deal over Gibraltar

Spain said last week that it welcomed the inclusion of a protocol on Gibraltar in the draft Brexit agreement, but Mr Borrell said that the document introduced "a certain confusion" on the issue.

According to Article 184 of the draft divorce deal, "the European Union and the United Kingdom shall make every effort, in good faith and with full respect for their respective legal systems, to adopt the measures necessary to negotiate rapidly the agreements governing their future relationship".

The UK government has been locking horns with Madrid over the future of Gibraltar, and, most recently, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said they will have no option but to vote down the deal - which needs the unanimous approval of all European Union member states - unless changes are made "with respect to Gibraltar".

As no political declaration on Britain's future relationship with the bloc after it leaves has been presented, he said "We can not judge the whole without knowing the parts".

"This is fundamental for us from the point of view of identity, of the country".

"If on Sunday in the @EUCouncil the Brexit deal does not recognize that Gibraltar's situation must be negotiated directly between Spain and the United Kingdom, this government will not accept it", Sanchez said Twitter.

But Gibraltarians, who voted nearly unanimously to remain in the European Union in the 2016 referendum, are fiercely loyal to Britain and have resisted Spanish claims.

Spain threatens to reject Brexit deal over Gibraltar
The Latest: Merkel concerns by Gibraltar impasse on Brexit

"I think the United Kingdom will split apart before the Kingdom of Spain".

"As of today, if there are no changes with respect to Gibraltar, Spain will vote no to the agreement on Brexit", Sanchez said.

Regardless of any future talks regarding Gibraltar, the much disputed territory is set to leave the European Union along with the United Kingdom in March, despite the fact that 96 percent of its population voted against Brexit.

Spain do not have the legal ability to veto the Brexit deal as settlement comes down to a 'qualified majority'.

"It does not come as a surprise that Madrid should seek to raise new Gibraltar issues at the last minute on our neogotiations to leave the EU".

"We will get a deal that works for the whole United Kingdom family". "Raising issue at the 11th hour is a well-known tactic that has been used by Spain in the past while were in the EU", Picardo said.

He said Spain's position "does little to build mutual confidence and trust going forward".

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