los intereses de España, amenaza a las libertades en Gibraltar
The post-Brexit deal on Gibraltar reached by London and Madrid allows Spain to “regain prominence” on the Rock for the first time in more than three centuries, Spain’s Foreign Minister Arancha González Laya told the Spanish parliament Wednesday. Spain will be able to prevent “uncontrolled” development of Gibraltar’s relationships with the Gulf, Russia and China to protect Madrid’s interests, she said. The bilateral agreement has yet be converted into an EU-U.K. international treaty. More from Cristina Gallardo. 21-I-2021, politico
Spain and UK strike deal to avoid hard border in Gibraltar after Brexit
LONDON — Spain and the U.K. have struck an eleventh-hour deal to avoid a hard border in Gibraltar as the Brexit transition draws to an end.
Under the terms of the deal, Gibraltar will be part of the Schengen passport-free area with the sponsorship of Spain, the country’s Foreign Minister Arancha González Laya announced Thursday. This is necessary because unlike Liechtenstein, for example, Gibraltar is not an independent state.
This means British citizens will need to go through a Schengen border post to enter Gibraltar through its airport and seaport. During a four-year transition, the European Border and Coast Guard Agency, called Frontex, will patrol both access points.
The patrolling of the border posts had been one of the most controversial points of the negotiations over Gibraltar’s future, with Spain insisting that Frontex should report to the Spanish authorities. González Laya, however, declined to reveal any more technical details or the terms of the deal after the transition ends, saying she wants to brief the Spanish parliament first.
“We have reached an agreement in principle with the United Kingdom that will lay the groundwork for a new relationship,” González Laya said at a press conference. The Spanish minister added all parties had understood the need to cooperate with each other, and to leave their “inalienable” sovereignty disputes aside.
The negotiations have lasted months and turned sour at times. As of Wednesday, the U.K. Minister for the European Neighborhood Wendy Morton said that no deal had been struck yet. González Laya acknowledged that there was a “very intense evening and a very long night” before a deal was struck in the early hours of Thursday morning.
Although the U.K. and the EU have concluded a future relationship agreement, the future of Gibraltar had to be settled in parallel negotiations between London, Madrid and the Rock.
The deal reached Thursday has been submitted to the European Commission, which must transform it into an international treaty between the EU and the U.K., in a process that González Laya expects to last about six months. There will not be changes at the border during this period, the Spanish minister said.
U.K. Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab confirmed in a statement that the U.K., Spain and Gibraltar had reached agreement on a “political framework” to form the basis of a separate treaty between the U.K. and the EU on Gibraltar.
“We remain steadfast in our support for Gibraltar, and its sovereignty is safeguarded,” the statement said. “I am grateful to Foreign Minister Laya and her team for their positive and constructive approach. We have a warm and strong relationship with Spain, and we look forward to building on it in 2021.”
Gibraltar’s Chief Minister Fabian Picardo said the deal will allow for “maximized and unrestricted mobility” of people between Gibraltar and the Schengen area.
“This has been a difficult process. We have been battling the tide of history, but with this agreement in principle we hope to start to see the future come into view. We are at the beginning of the creation of an area of shared prosperity,” he said.
Picardo praised Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez for “insisting that he wanted to go beyond the eternal issue of sovereignty,” and British premier Boris Johnson “who has not forgotten Gibraltar in the Brexit negotiations.”
Picardo said Gibraltar might reach additional deals with Spain in the future, but this should not be interpreted as the Rock drifting away from the U.K.
“This is the beginning of us building a stronger relationship with the European Union and with our neighbor Spain in a way that doesn’t in any way cliff us away from the United Kingdom which is our principled relationship, the relationship that we want to nurture and grow, and we want to see endure in the best way possible,” he said.
Post-Brexit Gibraltar deal lets Spain ‘regain prominence,’ says Spanish minister
The post-Brexit deal on Gibraltar reached by London and Madrid allows Spain to “regain prominence” on the Rock for the first time in more than three centuries, Spain’s foreign minister said on Wednesday.
Arancha González Laya told the Spanish parliament her country would be able to prevent “uncontrolled” development of Gibraltar’s relationships with the Gulf, Russia and China to protect Spain’s interests on the Rock, which was ceded to Britain after the war of the Spanish Succession in 1713.
Addressing the national parliament’s joint committee on the EU, González Laya said the agreement — which is not legally binding yet and must be converted into an EU-U.K. international treaty — guarantees Madrid will be able to prevent Gibraltar from acting in ways that threaten Spain’s interests, especially in economic and foreign affairs matters.
“Gibraltar has connections with the Gulf, Russia and Chinese economic players, especially Hong Kong, which could have developed in an uncontrolled manner in detriment of our country’s interests,” she said.
The minister argued that without a deal on its post-Brexit status, Gibraltar’s tech and internet companies “could have operated without restrictions and eventually cause damage to the Spanish Treasury and several economic sectors in the absence of fair competition rules.”
A no-deal scenario, she continued, would have seen Spain lose “its capacity of influence and control over this territory for at least one generation.” Instead, the country will now “regain prominence” in the area with a “clear plan for the future,” she added.
Spain hopes the agreement means Gibraltar “will not be a matter of confrontation" between it and the U.K. at least for as long as both countries park their differences over the sovereignty of the territory, González Laya said.
However, Gibraltar’s Chief Minister Fabian Picardo warned Tuesday that the territory could yet face the effects of a Brexit no-deal. Speaking to the House of Lords EU committee, he warned that several pitfalls could scupper upcoming treaty negotiations between the European Commission and the British government.