During the discount period, Spain with U.K They reached a painful agreement on New Year’s Eve last year Dismantle Gibraltar Gate Once Brexit is complete. The main goal is Facilitate the transit of more than 10,000 workers who cross the border every day to create a “shared prosperity zone.” Control will be transferred to the port and airport of El PenonBoth parties believe that the agreement will not change Gibraltar’s sovereignty dispute at all.
This political agreement should have led to a new EU and UK treaty on the rock, Negotiated by the Ursula von der Leyen committee, Should be ready within a maximum of six monthsHowever, nearly a year later, negotiations on Gibraltar between Brussels and London reached a deadlock.
First, the EU’s approval of the negotiation authorization was delayed for 9 months: no White Smoke until October 5. since then There were two rounds of dialogue, but no specific results: The first time is from October 11th to 13th, and the second time is from November 10th to 12th. Next Thursday, December 2, Third round, Which does not expect an agreement. In fact, an additional round has already been scheduled for the week of December 13.
At the same time, the situation on the border is unresolved.Madrid and London have reached an agreement Keep status quo Before Brexit And continue to promote the daily transit of workers as much as possible. Once the UK clearly leaves the EU and subsequent trade and cooperation agreements do not apply to rocks, this should be theoretically impossible.
“There is no law to support this. Gibraltar has not passed legislation to enforce stricter controls. If an agreement is not reached in the end, we will have to do so.with Spain has not fully implemented the Schengen border law“The Chief Minister of Gibraltar explained last week, Fabian Picardo, Appeared in the House of Commons. If there is no agreement with the European Union, the control of the land border between Gibraltar and Spain will have to be tightened significantly.
The role of Frontex
What are the main obstacles in the negotiation?At first, London was angry with Brussels’ initial proposal, namely Spain is responsible for controlling and monitoring the borders of ports and airports Gibraltar.Government Boris Johnson Condemning this would be equivalent to Undermining British sovereignty over the rock.
After the protests in the United Kingdom, the governments of the European Union corrected the negotiation authorization and specified that the European Border and Coast Agency (Frontex) will control it for the first 4 years. As agreed by Madrid and London.
“Both the British government and the Gibraltar government have made it clear that Spanish agents are conducting front-line Schengen border control in Gibraltar. This is unacceptable. That’s why we welcome recognition of the role of Frontex,” said the UK’s Minister of European Affairs. Wendy Morton, exist A letter To the House of Commons.
However, although the most important issue seems to have been resolved, Morton explained in his letter There are still many differences between the UK and the EUIn particular, the British government does not want Spain to be ultimately responsible for issuing Gibraltar’s short-term and long-term visas and valid residence permits, as stated in the Brussels negotiation authorization.
The authorization further states that Spain will work with the United Kingdom to review asylum applications filed in Gibraltar. Morton refused to accept and replied that Locke is now processing asylum applications filed in his territory in accordance with international law.
Finally, the Johnson administration believes that the EU’s measures on the issue of police cooperation are excessive and undermine Britain’s sovereignty over Locke. London also opposed Rock must apply EU law on internal market and customs union issues to facilitate the flow of goods, and Any intervention by the Luxembourg Court (CJEU) in dispute settlement.
Will an agreement be reached?
In addition to the specific issues of this complex negotiation, the dialogue on Gibraltar has always been The dispute between Brussels and London over the Northern Ireland Protocol worsensThe two sides have now reached a ceasefire agreement, but it does not rule out the imminent resumption of hostilities, leading to a full-scale trade war. A scene that would complicate any agreement on the rock.
The British Minister of European Affairs assured that she remains “fully committed” to the dialogue to reach an agreement with the European Union on the Gibraltar issue. At the same time, the UK is preparing for “all possibilities”, Including “no agreement” with Brussels“We firmly support Gibraltar, and we will not accept anything that may put British sovereignty into question,” he said.
The European Commission avoided providing details about the status of the negotiations, but also said it would continue the negotiations until the end.
As far as the Chief Minister of Gibraltar is concerned, he still claims to be “optimistic”. “I think it is possible to finalize the agreement before the end of the year“, assured in the House of Commons.