The last negotiation will start in Brussels to end Gibraltar's gate

Five and a half years after the referendum, and despite the consummation, Brexit remains a perpetual problem that gives headaches in Brussels, causes attacks of

The last negotiation will start in Brussels to end Gibraltar's gate

Five and a half years after the referendum, and despite the consummation, Brexit remains a perpetual problem that gives headaches in Brussels, causes attacks of anger in Paris and generates constant and recurrent crisis in London, Belfast and Dublin. This week, with the eyes of the continent placed in Northern Ireland and the protocol that threatens to become uncovering the thunder box, the novelty is nevertheless much more to the south: Gibraltar.

The UK withdrawal agreement, which cost centuries to negotiate and that it had to be modified in extremis when Boris Johnson replaced Theresa May, was a huge legal document, but that was added three special protocols: one about Ireland, to avoid the Hard borders and guarantee the maintenance of peace. Another for Cyprus, with the aim of protecting the interests of the Cypriots who live and work on the so-called sovereignty areas. And another over the Rock, who tried to facilitate "close cooperation between Spain and the United Kingdom on the application of the provisions relating to the rights of citizens under the withdrawal agreement."

This Monday, the European Commission and the United Kingdom began the umpteenth, and hopefully, last stage of the negotiation. The departure was already closed, but the trade and cooperation agreement signed with London does not cover Gibraltar, so it is necessary to specifically address the situation now, almost a year after Moncloa and Downing Street will set a lowest pact. The objective: eliminate the gate and most controls, but keeping Gibraltar outside the Schengen space.

Spain and the United Kingdom have been discreping centuries, and the EU has always had a complicated role because it was a problem between two partners. The Brexit changed the rules, but not all. The 27 and the institutions told Spain that from now on I had its support, solidarity, its support, but no white letter. That is why Spain can aspire to certain claims, but the issue of sovereignty has never been on the table. Tax issues, free displacements, from the airport, to fight against smuggling, but not the fat prize ... now. "The agreement should be understood without impairment of the issues of sovereignty and jurisdiction and should not affect the legal position of the Kingdom of Spain regarding sovereignty and jurisdiction with respect to Gibraltar," says the role

Last week, the Council, the capitals, fixed by without FU position on the errand that is now given to the European Commission to negotiate directly with the British Government. The Ursula von Der Leyen team presented a proposal in July, 27 pages, and after much debate and some modifications received the approval, and for that reason this week the exchanges begin. Community sources explain that nothing is expected of this first two-day contact, little more than exposing positions, red lines, work methods, calendars.

Spain trusts that everything is reasonably fast. In England the position is much more critical and threaten to burst everything, as in Northern Ireland. The Government denounces the proposal approved last week (which has not been made public) by the 27s by considering that "undermines the sovereignty" of the Peñón, and ensure that it breaks the signed with Spain in the New Year's Eve of 2020 regarding border control.

Spain has always aspired that its agents be part of the process, but the United Kingdom and Government of Gibraltar oppose. The idea that was on the table, says London, is that Frontex agents, the European Agency, were responsible for the work exclusively, but the 27 have endorsed in this to Madrid and advocate for leaving it in the hands of our country's police. "As regards control of external borders, in circumstances in which greater technical and operational support is necessary, any Member State, including Spain, may request FRONTEX assistance in complying with its obligations. The Commission recognizes That Spain has already expressed its full intention to request assistance to Frontex, "explains the von der law team. But the philosophy that underlies departure is that the Spanish border guards would have the competences to do the controls, including denegations of entry. And also, the expedition of visas would be the unique responsibility of Spain.

The gate is the key issue, but not the only one. Spain is played a lot, because thousands of people cross every day from the field of Gibraltar and there are jobs and the economic survival of the area, so an agreement is essential. The language used by the technical services of the Commission, with a lot of lobby in Spain, is ambiguous enough and opens the door to which the help of the European Border Guards and Costa Guards is requested, but it does not detail when, how or what You can do Spain alone.

The negotiation guidelines that are on the Board offer proposals to eliminate the physical checks and controls of people and goods on the land border by guaranteeing the integrity of the Schengen space and the single market, which is the enormous problem that is being seen right now in Ireland from North. But also vital issues are addressed in asylum, visas, residence permits, police cooperation, exchange of information, the functioning of land and air transport, the rights of cross-border workers or environmental standards.

Updated Date: 15 October 2021, 09:30

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