Spain had launched the ultimatum: the United Kingdom had until midnight on December 31 to negotiate with Madrid and avoid a “difficult Brexit” in Gibraltar, after the British colony was excluded from the post-Brexit agreement concluded between London and Brussels.
The pact between the two countries was concluded “in extremis” and there is already a principle of agreement, following negotiations by videoconference between the two delegations which lasted in the morning. The announcement was made on Thursday by Spain’s Foreign Minister Arancha González Laya.
Gibraltar remains an integral part of the EU agreements, including the Schengen area, “El País” advances. Spain will be responsible for the application of the rules of free movement between the 26 countries of the territory, but during a transitional period of four years, this control will be carried out by the Frontex agency.
“The practical result is that the fence will be demolished, which will facilitate mobility,” said Arancha González Laya. “We are breaking down barriers to build an area of shared prosperity”, defends the Spanish Foreign Minister, adding that the principle of agreement “constitutes a solid basis on which to build the future relationship between Spain and the United Kingdom “.
This will lead, in practice, to at least a strange situation: Spanish citizens will be able to enter the British colony without needing a passport, unlike the British, because they go to a territory covered by the Schengen area, which they have decided to give up.
Madrid and London are currently working out details on how to control Gibraltar’s land border.
After having reached the principle of the agreement between the two countries, the Spanish Minister of Foreign Affairs expects the European Union to consolidate it into a treaty within six months.