Published: Thu, November 22, 2018
Markets | By Erika Turner

Spain PM vows to vote down Brexit divorce bill over Gibraltar

Spain PM vows to vote down Brexit divorce bill over Gibraltar

Madrid wants a veto over applying any agreement on post-transition relations to Gibraltar but Ms May told MPs that Britain "will not exclude Gibraltar from our negotiations on the future relationship".

The agreements provide a framework for cooperation with Spain on issues including citizens' rights, tobacco, the environment, police and customs matters, and taxation. Madrid has never dropped its claim of sovereignty over the rocky outcrop at the tip of the Iberian Peninsula.

European Council president Donald Tusk announced that the text had been agreed in draft form by EU and United Kingdom negotiators and "agreed in principle at political level".

Future negotiations on Gibraltar are separate negotiations.

Asked if she would back another referendum, like some of her fellow Remain-voting Tory MPs on the backbenches, Ms Rudd said: "I don't think we are looking at another referendum".

The meeting with Juncker lasted just over 90 minutes.

"On Saturday I will return to Brussels for a further meeting with President Juncker where will discuss how to bring this process to a conclusion in the interest of all our people".

The British delegation have insisted that despite no deal being reached yet, the summit could still go ahead as planned.

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

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

Britain wants to leave at the end of March 2019, the European Union.

Last week, negotiators agreed a draft withdrawal deal with Brussels, though it still needs to get through the House of Commons and requires the unanimous approval of all European Union member states.

Critics of the agreement struck by May believe it gives away too much to the EU, including control over locking the United Kingdom into a Customs Union in future.

May is facing widespread opposition in the British Parliament over the divorce agreement, which was agreed last week. "As it stands, the [Spanish] government will vote against the Brexit agreement", he said.

The deal, which spells out the conditions of Britain's exit next year, needs to be approved by the European and British Parliaments.

His words are in line with those of Foreign Minister Josep Borrell, who was surprised that the divorce deal did not specifically recognize Madrid's negotiating capacity with regard to its future relationship with Gibraltar outside the EU.

The Reuters news agency reported further bad news from the Prime Minister's deal Thursday, an analysis of the text showed the government's negotiators had secured no improvements to the proposed future relationship regarding financial services with the EU. That 585-page legal treaty deals with the terms of Britain's departure, including what the country owes the EU.

But Spain is threatening to vote against the agreements on Sunday because of a lingering dispute over the future status of Gibraltar.

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