Friday’s agreement in Brussels addressed the issue of Northern Ireland but not the question of Gibraltar.
Gibraltar is a British colony since the Treaty of Utrecht in 1713. However, Spain now sees a historic opportunity to revisit the status of the territory in view of its de facto veto in Brexit negotiations.
“No agreement between the EU and the United Kingdom may apply to the territory of Gibraltar without agreement between the Kingdom of Spain and the United Kingdom,” the deal specifies according to El Pais.
The British overseas territory means that London must now engage in bilateral negotiations with Madrid. And the EU 27 will have to oblige Spanish demands throughout the negotiations.
95% of Gibraltarians voted to remain in the EU, as the colony’s social and economic life is organically interwoven with neighbouring Cadiz region.
The Spanish parliament is working towards a common bipartisan position on Gibraltar, which is currently not part of the UK but an overseas territory. Spain has withdrawn demands for full sovereignty or co-sovereignty. However, there will be fierce bilateral negotiations over the future status of the territory.
The colony’s Chief Minister Fabian Picardo was “enraged” by Theresa May’s failure to include an explicit reference to Gibraltar when she triggered Article 50 last March, according to the Gibraltar Chronicle.