Spain welcomes post-Brexit negotiations to address Gibraltar status
Spain’s foreign minister Arancha González has welcomed post-Brexit talks with the UK and said it was an “incredible opportunity” for the countries to discuss the status of The Rock.
Arancha González is on board with the proposals by Gibraltar’s government for establishing a free-movement area with Spain and suggested that traditional concepts of sovereignty were less important than taxes and fighting contraband in the strait.
Fabian Picardo, Gibraltar’s chief minister, called for a special deal in which Gibraltar would become part of Europe’s Schengen free-movement area.
González said that Spain needed to focus on “21st century sovereignty” and practical issues that would strengthen ties with the territory.
“We have an incredible opportunity to fix a number of things that we have not been able to fix in the last 300 years,” she told the Financial Times. “At the end of the day, whatever agreement we find [...] will have to work for them [for Gibraltar] and it will have to work for us; that’s the only red line in reality.”
González said: “You do not want a zone of unfair competition next to your border.”
Gibraltar’s economy is closely tied to Spain's with about 15,000 people crossing the border to work each day.
EU member states have agreed that Madrid will have a veto over any future agreement between the bloc and the UK if it affects Gibraltar
Spain is still seeking to regain sovereignty over Gibraltar since 1713 when it ceded the right to use a small part of the area to the UK under the Treaty of Utrecht.