ALFONSO DASTIS, Spain’s Foreign Minister, has totally dismissed the notion that his country would take steps to block an overall agreement on Brexit in the light of possible disagreements over Gibraltar.
He went on to say that any discussions about the British colony would be purely bilateral.
On being asked whether Spain would veto any general agreement between the EU and the UK when Brexit negotiations get fully underway, Dastis said: “I think no: this does not depend only on us, it depends on the United Kingdom and above all on an agreement being reached.”
Dastis further confirmed that “what is fundamental, and what we expect the United Kingdom to understand, is that there is a structural relationship between the United Kingdom and the Europe Union.
“The question of Gibraltar does not have any reason to be the first or most important thing in the framework of this discussion,” he said, adding that it will be necessary to first “clarify this framework” regarding future relations and later “we will see how this applies to Gibraltar. Yes, it will be a bilateral discussion, but not immediately and it will not be one of the urgent issues.”
When pressed on if Michael Barnier, the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator, will be authorized to address the topic of Gibraltar with his British counterparts, Dastis said: “It is not a matter of authorization. The guidelines say what they say, and we are not going to put in a strict and rigorous plan, and verify the instructions day to day.”
The EU 27 guidelines state that “no agreement” after Brexit between the EU and Britain could apply to Gibraltar without a bilateral agreement between Madrid and London.