As the EU-27 prepares for the November 25 Brexit Summit, the bloc’s has found itself the position of having to provide Spain with further details about the status of Gibraltar, the British Overseas Territory sandwiched between the Spanish and Moroccan coasts.
Spain’s Foreign Minister Josep Borrell requested that the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier modify Article 184 of the Withdrawal Agreement in order to guarantee that future negotiations about the status of Gibraltar are not included in the pact.
Borrell made clear Spain is not in a position to sign off on the document given a lack of clarity on the situation of Gibraltar, which Madrid has claimed ownership to since the early 19th century.
According to diplomatic sources, Spain was unaware of this article until November 14, when Barnier and the European Commission had published and handed out the draft text to the EU’s members.
According to New Europe’s information, a meeting to solve the issue was arranged between diplomats on the premises of the European Council in Brussels in order to achieve the sort of clarity that Madrid has demanded. An EU source said numerous ministers had agreed that the Spanish issue had to be addressed before the upcoming Brexit Summit.
“What is being negotiated has a territorial scope that does not include Gibraltar,” said Borrell, adding that “future negotiations on Gibraltar are a separate issue and that is what has to be made clear.”
EU officials are looking for a way to settle the Gibraltar issue without having to completely alter the text and, thereby, opening the door for other EU members to make last-minute demands that could potentially jeopardise the implementation of the deal.