Why Gibraltar was a sticking point in Brexit negotiations

World Today

Why Gibraltar has been a sticking point in Brexit negotiations.01

The European Union and Britain have reached a deal over Gibraltar. Spain will have a say in the future of that disputed British territory, and Madrid will no longer oppose the Brexit withdrawal agreement. CGTN’s Kevin Ozebek reports with the latest.

But why was Gibraltar a sticking point in Brexit negotiations? CGTN’s Al Goodman explains the history and the current issues at hand.

Follow Al Goodman on Twitter @algoodmanspain

The Rock of Gibraltar may be sturdy and firm. But getting a deal on the future of this tiny British outpost in the Brexit talks has been anything but.

Disagreements cropped up right down to the negotiating deadline between the European Union and Britain.

Spain ceded Gibraltar to Britain 300 years ago after a war, but hasn’t renounced its claim to the territory. The Spanish government is especially concerned with future of Gibraltar.

Just days ago, Spain threatened to vote against the draft Brexit deal unless it has a say on future trade or security deals involving Gibraltar.

But just weeks ago, Spain said it mostly agreed with the Gibraltar portion of the Brexit deal. It reportedly protects the rights of 8000 Spaniards who cross the border daily to work here in Gibraltar.

For now, the draft Brexit deal leaves out the thorny issue of Spain’s push to have joint control of Gibraltar’s airport, which Britain has opposed.

Gibraltar, with a population of about 32,000, wants to be fully included in Britain’s exit deal from the European Union. After asking people on High Street, it’s clear they don’t want any Spanish control.

“We’ve been British for all my life, and we’re going to stay like that. For another 300 years,” said one retired Gibraltar resident.

“We are very, very British,” his wife added, “And we’ve been born here and I’m sorry, that’s it.”

The Rock has stood the test of time. Some are wondering if the provisions about Gibraltar, in the Brexit deal between the European Union and the UK, will have the same durability.

Spain, among others, will be watching closely.

Remi Piet shares the latest on a Brexit deal

For more insights on the latest Brexit deal proposal, CGTN’s John Terrett spoke with Remi Piet. Piet is a research associate at the University of Miami’s European Union Center.