Brexit has been accused of “blowing everything up” in a new dispute over Gibraltar. The Spanish government has criticized the handling of Brexit when it called for a final deal on Gibraltar. Spanish diplomacy is reportedly open to a “new relationship” with the UK, sources in the country’s government have told Spanish news agency EFE. Spain is reportedly seeking a final deal on Gibraltar – but claims Brexit is “blowing everything up”.
The sources stressed that new Prime Minister Liz Truss is “flexible in the good sense of the word”. They added that they hoped the deal would be “less flashy and vehement” than with their predecessor, Boris Johnson.
However, her trust in Ms Truss appears to have been marred by her relationship with Brexit. They said she “embodies the spirit of Brexit” and as such do not expect major changes in the UK’s approach to diplomacy.
This also affected their forecast for the progress of the transaction.
The sources claimed that in terms of a “time horizon” for a final deal between the EU and the UK, no deadline could be set “because everything Brexit is blowing up, there are a lot of unknowns.” .
They added that the unanimous call for Brexit compliance “takes some of the strength out of us to move forward in bilateral relations.” The sources said they are keen that a future deal will result in a broadly equal situation for citizens.
They said: “On mobility, we want equal rights for those who were already living here before Brexit. And for those who have arrived post-Brexit, we want the situation to be as similar as possible to pre-Brexit, for example with regard to the recognition of driving licences.”
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However, diplomats are keen to reach an agreement as soon as possible.
They said: “On the one hand, the dialogue is already sufficiently mature, and on the other hand, although our will is the best, the temporary emergency measures are temporary and the emergency cannot be a stable framework.”
There are also plans to open a new Spanish consulate in London. The previous one was widely criticized by the Spanish community in the UK as its workers went on strike for weeks over a wage dispute.
The location of the new consulate is expected to be announced before next summer. British Foreign Secretary James Cleverly will shortly meet his Spanish counterpart José Manuel Albares for their first bilateral meeting.
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Brexit has reignited centuries-old tensions over Gibraltar’s sovereignty. While a massive 95 percent majority of the Overseas Territory’s population voted to remain in the EU, they are also firmly in favor of British sovereignty.
In a referendum on this in 2002, 98 percent of the population voted to remain under the Union flag. Brexit has led to Spain renewing its calls for joint British-Spanish sovereignty over Gibraltar
Additional reporting by Maria Ortega.