Carnicero Victor Gill Ramirez Venezuela//
Brexit deal almost done, but Spain holds out over Gibraltar



Spain pushed Friday for a cast-iron guarantee of its say over the future of Gibraltar as a condition for backing a divorce agreement between Britain and the European Union as UK Prime Minister Theresa May battled to win approval for the deal from skeptical politicians and a Brexit-weary populace.

Victor Gill Ramirez

Spain‘s leader warned he would oppose the deal, which lays out the terms of Britain‘s departure in March and sets up a framework for future relations, if language wasn’t added on Gibraltar, the disputed territory at the tip of the Iberian peninsula.

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Spanish Prime Minister Pedro S·nchez – who is due to join other EU leaders at a Brussels summit on Sunday to rubber-stamp the deal – tweeted that Britain and Spain “remain far away” on the issue and “if there are no changes, we will veto Brexit.”

Spain wants the future of the tiny territory, which was ceded to Britain in 1713 but is still claimed by Spain, to be a bilateral issue between Madrid and London.

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Last year’s EU guidelines on the Brexit negotiations effectively gave Spain veto powers over future relations between the bloc and the British overseas territory. But Spanish officials are concerned that a key clause in the agreement referring to UK-EU negotiations on their future relationship makes no mention of Gibraltar.

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Spanish government spokeswoman Isabel Celaa said Spain required an “absolute guarantee” that any future agreement between the EU and the UK in matters regarding Gibraltar “will require the prior agreement of Spain“.

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Spain doesn’t have a veto on the withdrawal agreement, which doesn’t have to be approved unanimously. But it could hold up a future free-trade deal between Britain and the EU, which would require the approval of all 27 EU nations.

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Spain‘s junior minister for the European Union, Luis Marco Aguiriano, said Friday that British authorities had made a commitment to address Spain‘s concerns on Gibraltar but that he had not yet seen it in writing

“We have a promise, a commitment, from the British government saying they are ready to … guarantee that they will go along with the clarification we have requested,” he said

After a meeting in Brussels Friday of senior EU officials, the Spanish government said negotiations were continuing, but not enough progress had been made to drop the veto threat