EU chief says Brexit text on future ties agreed

Jermaine Castillo
November 22, 2018

Spain's prime minister warned Tuesday that Madrid would vote against the Brexit deal agreed between London and Brussels if it does not guarantee Madrid's veto over Gibraltar's future status. But her exit plan faces further threats as a group of European Union nations demand further concessions from Britain. Madrid has never dropped its claim of sovereignty over the rocky outcrop at the tip of the Iberian Peninsula.

Spain maintains a claim to Gibraltar after it was ceded to the British crown under the 1713 Treaty Of Utrecht, and through the Brexit negotiations Spain has conducted separate talks with the United Kingdom government over the future of the border.

Speaking about the confidence-and-supply arrangement, she added: "It's not dying but we need to see a rethink in relation to this withdrawal agreement".

The meeting with Juncker lasted just over 90 minutes.

Mrs May is to meet Austria's chancellor to build support for her Brexit plan ahead of the Sunday summit. But Gibraltarians, who voted nearly unanimously to remain in the European Union in the 2016 referendum, are fiercely loyal to Britain and have resisted Spanish claims.

The BBC understands the intention is still to present a completed text to leaders at Sunday's summit but opinions differ over how easy it would be to solve the outstanding issues.

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During an event organized in Madrid by The Economist magazine, the Social Democrat leader stated that Spain will reject London's withdrawal pact from the European Union - a process known as Brexit - if no clarifications are made about Gibraltar's status.

Germany has much more restrictive rules on dismissing workers than Britain.

Tusk said he sent the draft to Britain's 27 European partners and that it still requires "the endorsement of the leaders".

Telling the news cameras that she had tasked British negotiators to work overnight to get an agreement on the draft document, Theresa May said: "this is the right deal for the UK".

Prime Minister Theresa May is battling to keep her Brexit deal alive as she readies to return to Brussels for last minute negotiations.

MADRID has been warned that Gibraltar will not be excluded from the negotiations on the UK's future relationship with the EU. "With Brexit only a few months away, something has got to give", he said.

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Spain's demands on Gibraltar are the latest push by European Union states to obtain more on national interests ahead of Sunday's summit of European Union leaders, but diplomats said there was little concern these would scupper prospects for a deal.

Speaking to lawmakers in Berlin, Merkel said that while her government backs the agreement "we still have the reservations of Spain and I can't say how we will solve this issue".

Ms May must show that she has left nothing on the table if she is to convince British members of parliament to ratify the deal in the coming weeks. That 585-page legal treaty deals with the terms of Britain's departure, including what the country owes the EU.

It is understood the sticking points are Gibraltar, goods and fisheries.

Pedro Sanchez telephoned Theresa May yesterday (Wednesday) and told her Spain would vote no to the agreement unless it states Madrid and London will talk exclusively about Gibraltar post-Brexit.

Gibraltar's Chief Minister Fabian Picardo on Monday issued a statement regretting the Spanish position.

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