Spain may derail Brexit deal over Gibraltar’s future

The Brexit summit on Sunday hangs in balance as Spain seeks UK’s written promise before the European Council that Madrid will have a say over Gibraltar’s (above) future, according to reports.

Spanish EU affairs minister Luis Marco Aguiriano opposes EU’s “treacherous” act of adding a clause to remove Madrid’s veto power over Gibraltar after Brexit.

Aguiriano and other Spanish officials are planning to veto the Brexit if London ignores Madrid’s demands on Gibraltar, a disputed British overseas territory which lies on Spain’s southern coast.

Spain has a long-standing claim on The Rock which was ceded to the British crown in the 1713 Treaty of Utrecht.

Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez tweeted that the positions of Britain and Spain are miles apart after talks with his UK counterpart Theresa May. His government insists that Gibraltar should not be included in a UK-EU free trade agreement. Gibraltar’s place has to be decided through bilateral talks between Spain and the UK.

Although Spain does not have unilateral veto power, it is feared that other EU members may not approve the Brexit deal without Spain’s support.

But May is confident of resolving the issue on Gibraltar.

Gibraltar’s chief minister, Fabian Picardo, too is hopeful of a breakthrough soon.

A former Labour minister Lord Hain on Friday suggested a solution by sharing sovereignty of Gibraltar by Spain and the UK.

Britain is set to leave the EU on March 29 after a historic referendum.