Gibraltar has accused Spain of manipulating the EU for its own political interests as Brexit negotiations begin. Saskia O’Donoghue reports
GIBRALTAR, SPAIN; BRUSSELS, BELGIUM (Reuters) – A storm is brewing between Gibraltar and Spain
and it could provide a rocky start for Brexit negotiations.
The European union offering Spain ‘a right to veto’ over the future relationship between Gibralter and the EU in an attempt to smoothe things out.
The enclave on Spain’s southern tipm known affectionately as ‘the rock’, has been ruled by Britain for 300 years
but Spain claims of sovereignty over it – a long standing point of contention for the EU.
Rows betwen Spain and Britain have previously held up entire EU deals.
And the Spanish have frequently irritated EU partners with attempts to use EU negotiations to put pressure on Gibraltar.
Gibraltar famously rejected Britain sharing sovereignty with Spain by 99% to 1% in a 2002 referendum.
They’re also very pro-EU, voting 96% to 4% to remain in the bloc in last June’s referendum.
Gibraltar has accused Spain of taking advantage of Brexit, and manipulating the European council for its own political interests.
The EU’s latest decision could dash Gibraltar’s hopes of winning a special status.
EU diplomats have criticised the British government for their treatment of Gibraltar since June’s vote.
One senior official saying that Theresa May’s government doesn’t ‘give a damn’ about the enclave and that ‘no one is going to blame the Spanish for taking advantage’.
Whatever happens, Gibraltar’s position in Europe could be changed forever.