May 23. 2024. 7:44

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EU Commission, Spain, UK seek final agreement on Gibraltar

Spain, the United Kingdom, and the European Commission hope to reach a final agreement on the future status of Gibraltar “very soon”, perhaps as early as this Friday (12 April), Spain’s Minister of Foreign Affairs José Manuel Albares told Onda Cero radio in an interview on Thursday.

Albares will meet in Brussels on Friday with his British counterpart David Cameron, and the Vice-President of the European Commission for Interinstitutional Relations Maroš Šefčovič, to define the status of Gibraltar, a British overseas territory on the southern tip of Spain, after Brexit.

According to the Spanish official, it could be a matter of hours before the three parties involved can reach a pact, which will determine the legal and political status of Gibraltar, whose sovereignty has been claimed by Spain for centuries, following the UK’s official exit from the EU in 2020.

“I believe we are already very close to an agreement and of course what all parties can see is that there is a very positive dynamic and that we are very close to everything being agreed,” Albares (PSOE/S&D) told Onda Cero.

However, despite the optimism, the minister stressed that “nothing is agreed until everything is agreed”.

“We have to see what relationship we have with Gibraltar and where, for example, immigration control is placed,” he warned.

The imminent agreement with the United Kingdom, Albares said, contemplates the possible elimination of the fence that separates Gibraltar from the Spanish municipality of La Línea de la Concepción in Cádiz, Andalusia, because what is being sought is “freedom of movement”, the minister stated.

“The situation is beginning to be sufficiently mature” (for the agreement), the minister said, considering that “perhaps tomorrow (Friday) will not be the final day (…) but almost”.

To the Spanish authorities, Gibraltar is a British colony on Spanish territory that should be returned to Spain.

For the UN, Gibraltar is a “non-self-governing territory awaiting decolonisation”, which should take place through bilateral negotiations between Spain and the UK, negotiations that the UN has been recommending continuously since 1965.

Negotiations between the three parties have taken two years and 19 rounds of contacts have been held so far.

Read more with Euractiv

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