31st March 2017, 14:12
No Brexit agreement between the EU and Spain will apply to Gibraltar after the UK leaves without the bilateral agreement between UK and Spain. That is one of the 26 negotiating guidelines set down by Council of the European Union President Donald Tusk in his reply to Theresa May.
The guideline reads: "After the United Kingdom leaves the Union, no agreement between the EU and the United Kingdom may apply to the territory of Gibraltar without the agreement between the Kingdom of Spain and the United Kingdom."
On Wednesday, Prime Minister Theresa May announced to the House of Commons that she had triggered Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, and officially notified the European Union of its intention to leave. There was no mention of Gibraltar in her statement.
However, Donald Tusk, the President of the European Council, has made no such omission. Point 22 of his 26 guidelines asserts that no deal between the UK and the EU will apply to Gibraltar, unless Spain and the UK reach a bilateral agreement.
This opens the door for the European Union to reach a deal with the UK which Spain doesn’t have to veto on the issue of Gibraltar. But Spain has successfully achieved a veto over any deals applying to Gibraltar, and according to the EU guidelines, the UK will have to negotiate these directly with Spain.
In answer to GBC questions, a Downing street spokesperson said the Prime Minister is absolutely steadfast in its support for Gibraltar, and the UK Government is clear that Gibraltar is covered by its exit negotiations. The spokesperson went on to say that the UK Government is committed to involving Gibraltar fully in its work, and would never enter into sovereignty negotiations under which its people are not content.