Albares, Cameron and Brussels see “significant progress” towards the agreement on Gibraltar

The Minister of Foreign Affairs, José Manuel Albares, during the press conference this Friday in Brussels

It has been a unprecedented format meeting in which the foreign ministers of Spain and the United Kingdom participated for the first time, together at the same table, Jose Manuel Albares and David Cameronthe vice-president of the Commission in charge of relations with the British, Maros Sefcovicand the Chief Minister of Gibraltar, Fabian Picardo. And it has achieved the objective for which it was convened: unblocking the dialogue on the status of the Rock after Brexit.

At the end of a meeting that lasted more than three hours, all parties signed a joint statement that speaks of “significant advances” on the path towards an agreement between the EU and the United Kingdom on Gibraltar, which would mean the removal of the fence. Progress affects most sensitive points of the negotiation, on which “general political lines” have been agreed: airport, goods and mobility (i.e. border controls).

Today is not just another trading day. Today has been a very important day, where we have achieved important advances and in which we all agree to continue working in the coming weeks to conclude” the Treaty, Albares said in a brief press appearance. “We have all shown our commitment to reaching an agreement in relation to Gibraltar,” he added.

[Bruselas admite que la negociación sobre Gibraltar está bloqueada y enfurece a Albares]

Neither party has wanted to explain what they consist of. the progress achieved so as not to jeopardize the final stretch of the dialogue. “We have agreed not to go into details about what these agreed political lines are, because at the moment the negotiation is at its peak and we want to protect it and ensure that it reaches a successful conclusion,” the head of Spanish diplomacy justifies.

“This agreement, which will be good for the entire population of Campo de Gibraltar, including the 300,000 Spanish citizens who live there and who are the ones who guide what we are doing at all times, perfectly safeguards our position of sovereignty“says Albares. Both Madrid and London have decided from the beginning of the negotiation to put aside the dispute over sovereignty for the sake of the agreement.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs, José Manuel Albares, during the press conference this Friday in Brussels


Gibraltar's Chief Minister hopes that the Treaty can be concluded in a matter of “weeks” and, in any case, before the mandate of the current Commission expires (which is scheduled to happen in the fall). “There are many parts of the agreement that I believe we can already consider are there, but others that are not yet, and we are going to get there,” Picardo indicated.

“The negotiations have been held in a constructive atmosphere and significant progress has been made. They have agreed general political lines, including about the airport, goods and mobility. “Negotiations will continue over the coming weeks to conclude the EU-UK Agreement,” reads the joint statement.

“Participants agree that it has been a productive day. The meeting has reaffirmed the shared commitment to finalize an EU-UK Agreement that ensures a future of prosperity for the entire region,” continues the statement signed by all parties.

“This agreement will bring confidence, legal security and stability to lives and the quality of life of people throughout the region, without prejudice to the legal positions of each of the parties,” the text concludes.

David Cameron and Fabián Picardo have agreed on a common position before meeting with José Manuel Albares and Maros Sefcovic

David Cameron and Fabián Picardo have agreed on a common position before meeting with José Manuel Albares and Maros Sefcovic

British government

Spain and United Kingdom reached an agreement on New Year's Eve 2020 to tear down the Gibraltar fence once Brexit is completed. The priority objective was facilitate the transit of the more than 10,000 Spanish workers who cross the border every day and create an “area of ​​shared prosperity.” The controls would be moved to the port and the Peñón airport and would be exercised by Frontex during a transitional period of four years.

This agreement should have been quickly translated into a new Treaty between the European Union and the United Kingdom on the Rock, negotiated by the Ursula von der Leyen Commission. However, negotiations between Brussels and London have now lasted more than two and a half years and 18 rounds of dialogue have been held at a technical level without definitive results.

Another of the vice presidents of the Commission, Margaritis Schinas, admitted last week that the talks were blocked and that an agreement was unlikely to be closed within the expected time frame, that is, before the June elections. Following his statements, the Community Executive decided to call this meeting at the highest political level with Albares, Cameron and Picardo to try to unblock the dialogue.

Four years after the United Kingdom left the European Union, the status of Gibraltar is the only issue with Brexit that has not yet been resolved.

Source link