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13th March 2018, 00:12

Brexit offers Spain & U.K. chance to explore “imaginative solutions” to Gibraltar’s sovereignty, says influential Spanish think tank

Brexit offers Spain and the U.K. a chance to explore “imaginative solutions” to Gibraltar’s sovereignty, according to an influential Spanish think tank.

A policy paper by Elcano Royal Institute, whose biggest donor is the Spanish government, also says Spain should use the bilateral Brexit negotiations with Britain to try to eliminate what it calls Gibraltar’s “privileged” fiscal, customs and business arrangements.

The 30-page report says Spain wants to protect its strong economic relations with the U.K.. Elcano said it is in the mutual interest of both the UK & Spain to explore ways for Gibraltar to retain a link to the European Union via Spain after the U.K. formally breaks away next year.

While the Gibraltar issue isn’t a top priority for the central government in Madrid, the report said it was the most “significant and difficult peculiarity”.

One option could be reaching an agreement which would include the expansion of a special taxation area around Gibraltar or the joint management of its airport. Spain could decline to insist on raising its flag on the Rock as a way to reduce opposition from Gibraltarians, who overwhelmingly say they want to be part of the EU but not Spanish, the report said.