BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Spain will revive its bid for shared sovereignty over Gibraltar as soon as Britain has left the European Union, the nation’s prime minister stated on Sunday, including Madrid had the help of the bloc to resolve the 300-year-old dispute.
The European Union flag, the Gibraltarian flag and The Union Jack are seen flying, on the border of Gibraltar with Spain, within the British abroad territory of Gibraltar, traditionally claimed by Spain, November 25, 2018. REUTERS/Jon Nazca
Speaking after an EU leaders’ summit, Sanchez stated Spain’s place over Gibraltar, a British territory since 1713, was stronger after the settlement of a Brexit deal on Sunday as a result of Spanish coverage successfully grew to become EU coverage.
“We are going to resolve a conflict that has been going for over 300 years,” Pedro Sanchez advised a news conference, including he had stated the identical factor to British Prime Minister Theresa May, who met the EU’s 27 leaders to endorse the withdrawal treaty that she’s going to now put to the British parliament.
Asked if Spain would search a dialogue over joint sovereignty as soon as Britain leaves the bloc on March 29, 2019, Sanchez stated: “We will discuss all issues.”
The small peninsula connected to Spain is a significant level of competition in Anglo-Spanish relations. Spain has lengthy claimed sovereignty.
Gibraltar residents rejected shared sovereignty with Spain in a referendum in 2002. “The Rock”, as it’s recognized by locals, is because of go away the EU together with the United Kingdom.
May advised reporters on Sunday that “Gibraltar is British” and that when she negotiated for Britain, she did so for the territory, however declined to enter extra particulars.
However, on condition that 96 % of its inhabitants voted in Britain’s 2016 referendum to stay within the EU, the temper was now totally different, Spanish officers stated.
“This puts Spain in a position of strength in negotiations with the United Kingdom over Gibraltar that we have not had until now,” Sanchez advised reporters after the summit.
He was referring to a 1986 settlement when Spain joined the bloc and needed to adapt its Gibraltar coverage to British coverage inside the EU. He stated that state of affairs was now being reversed, a view additionally shared by many within the bloc, one EU official stated.
Signalling such help, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker stated many Europeans didn’t realise the significance of Gibraltar for Spain.
“We all lose (with Brexit), especially the United Kingdom, but regarding Gibraltar, Spain wins,” stated Sanchez, who made no try to cover his delight throughout the news conference.
Shared sovereignty in Gibraltar, home to 30,000 folks, a British naval base and an airport partly contested by Spain, might echo related preparations in Europe resembling Andorra and the Isle of Man, stated Ignacio Molina, an analyst on the Elcano Royal Institute think-tank in Madrid.
“There could be a special postal service embedded into both Spanish Correos and Royal Mail, local number plates with the European flag, healthcare provision in Spain, possible Spanish police action in Gibraltar,” he stated.
“Of course, the airport would be shared, there would be no control of persons at the border,” he added.
Gibraltar’s airport dispute centres round sovereignty over a slender strip of land connecting Gibraltar to Spain. Spain says the isthmus was not included within the treaty ceding Gibraltar to Britain and has at all times been Spanish territory.
Additional reporting by Foo Yun Chee and Alastair Macdonald; Editing by Mark Potter