Spain warns of no EU summit on Brexit without deal on Gibraltar
Story Code : 762944
If there's no agreement over Gibraltar, "there very probably won't be a European Council summit,” Sanchez said at a press conference in Cuba.
Earlier in the day, Spanish officials in Brussels said PM Sanchez might not attend the summit if London fails to put into writing a promise that no future agreement between Britain and the EU that applies to Gibraltar can be signed without first being negotiated on a bilateral basis with Madrid.
Spain is seeking a guaranteed veto on post-Brexit relations between the EU and Gibraltar, the British enclave on Spain's southern tip, and has threatened to scupper the draft Brexit deal if it doesn't get its way.
That would effectively give Madrid the power of veto over any future relations between the EU and the disputed enclave.
Current "guarantees are not enough and so Spain maintains its veto on the Brexit deal," Sanchez said.
An original clause in the deal Britain has drawn up with the EU gave Spain the guarantees it seeks, but that has since disappeared from the final draft.
Although the EU Council’s legal service has tried to reassure Spain that the current text does not preclude this, Madrid wants that veto power clearly spelled out.
The issue is very important to the Spanish PM as his tough stance on Gibraltar is seen by EU diplomats as a chance to win votes in upcoming regional elections in Spain.
Even though no single state, including Spain, can effectively block an EU majority approved Brexit, EU leaders have struggled to achieve a unified stance due to the matter’s high political sensitivity.
The British Overseas Territory of Gibraltar is a strategic enclave located on Spain's south coast and it has voiced interest in gaining control of Gibraltar.
Madrid and London have been engaged in a sovereignty dispute over the territory for centuries.
Gibraltar has been under British rule for three centuries.