Tuesday, 18 December, 2018

Final Brexit deal is within grasp, says PM after breakthrough in Brussels

Spain PM Pedro Sanchez Threatens Brexit Deal Over Gibraltar Spain PM Pedro Sanchez Threatens Brexit Deal Over Gibraltar
Jodi Jackson | 23 November, 2018, 00:42

Spain is the only among 27 countries that has voiced opposition to the deal because it deems unclear the wording of how Gibraltar, the British territory at the southern tip of the Iberian Peninsula, would be dealt with.

Her remarks appeared mainly aimed at Spain, which has raised concerns about the treatment of Gibraltar in the proposed text, and France, which is leading calls for improved access to British fishing waters.

"Until we have the future declaration and we know what it says, whether we agree or not, we are not going to approve the withdrawal agreement either", Borrell said.

The deal on future relations comes after Britain and the European Union agreed on a divorce deal that settles the terms of Britain's exit.

Before the start of Brexit negotiations in June 2017, the European Union agreed that no agreement between the bloc and Britain would apply to Gibraltar without Spain's approval.

An EU diplomat said the issue could go as far as the Sunday summit of all EU leaders aimed at rubber-stamping the Brexit deal, where other outstanding points are fisheries and a limit on any extension of a post-Brexit transition phase.

After a Reuters report that negotiators from the European Commission and Britain had agreed a draft declaration on future ties, Tusk confirmed the deal had been agreed in principle.

Theresa May will return to Brussels on Saturday after a meeting with Jean-Claude Juncker failed to finalise a key Brexit agreement.

Separately, Madrid and London reached four agreements governing the relationship between Spain and Gibraltar after Brexit covering tobacco smuggling, police cooperation, the rights of cross-border workers, the environment and one tax agreement, the Spanish government said yesterday.

Speaking outside her Downing Street residence, May said Thursday that the deal "delivers on the vote of the referendum" and will give Britain control of its borders, money and laws.

"I regret to say that a pro-European government like Spain's would vote no to Brexit unless there are changes" to the terms of the agreement concerning Gibraltar, Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said. "And that is what needs to be made clear", Borrell said.

Opposition Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn branded the agreement "half-baked" - and said his party could negotiate a better one - while Conservative Andrew Rosindell urged May to ditch the plan and remove "the tentacles of the European Union over our cherished island nation".

The text said the post-Brexit relationship would respect "the integrity of the union's single market and the customs union, as well as the UK's internal market, and recognise the development of an independent trade policy by the United Kingdom beyond this economic partnership".

Conservative lawmakers loyal to May also warned that defeating the agreement could mean that Brexit never happens, because Parliament would halt Britain's departure rather than accept a chaotic "no-deal" exit.

"They want a good deal that sets us on course for a brighter future".

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