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Gibraltar talks with Britain cannot be ‘permanent’, Spain says

Spain said it could not negotiate “forever” with Britain over Gibraltar.

The UK has been in negotiations with Spain and the EU on Gibraltar for over a year.

they agreed on a provisional deal that was concluded New Year’s Eve It was founded in 2020 to ensure ease of movement of people and goods between Gibraltar and Spain, but has struggled to work out the practical details.

At a press conference on Wednesday, Spanish Foreign Minister José Manuel Alvarez and British Foreign Minister James Cleverley sought to underline that the two countries had achieved what the British minister called “important progress” at the talks. .

However, it could not hide the differences about who conducts passport checks at Gibraltar’s airport.

Alvarez showed some signs of displeasure with the Spanish side. “What is clear is that you can’t keep negotiating forever,” he said after meeting with his Cleverly in Madrid earlier in the day. “Nothing is agreed until everything is agreed.”

The two sides do not discuss diametrically opposed views of Gibraltar’s status on the world map.

But the narrower issue of relations with the EU remains a post-Brexit issue. The goal of the negotiations is to facilitate land travel to and from Spain by incorporating Gibraltar as a member state. EUschengen free movement area.

Officials in Gibraltar are part of the British delegation, while Spain is negotiating in tandem with the EU.

Alvarez said Spain’s priority is a “good deal for the good of all”. He said they were closer to an agreement than they were earlier in the day and that both ministers could agree to “move forward at a good pace.”

Describing his opponent as both a “friend” and an “ally”, he cleverly struck a slightly positive tone throughout.

Britain’s foreign secretary said negotiations were being conducted “in an optimistic and positive spirit” and that it was now in everyone’s best interest that the issue be resolved “adequately but quickly”. claimed.

However, he also admitted that “minor differences” remained, and said the two had promised to interact regularly.

Spanish Foreign Minister José Manuel Alvarez shows signs of frustration with Spain © OLIVIER HOSLET/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

Alvarez said Spain’s full proposal on Gibraltar’s EU relations had already been considered, but tactfully said, “If the proposal was fully acceptable, we would have accepted it.”

One area where “solutions need to be found”, the UK minister said, is how passport checks will be carried out for air or ship travelers traveling between Gibraltar and mainland Britain or other countries outside the Schengen area. The UK objected to Spanish authorities checking travel documents inside Gibraltar, instead using officials from the pan-EU border police Frontex. I hope that

“With the expansion of the Schengen area, it is clear that the authorized authorities, in this case the Spanish police, will have to carry out controls on behalf of the European Union,” Alvarez said.

Freedom of movement is essential for Gibraltar. Because the territory depends on about 15,000 workers who cross the border from Spain every day, as well as basic supplies such as food.

Spain is eager to see the Campo de Gibraltar neighborhood, one of the poorest regions in the country, benefit more economically from its proximity to Gibraltar.

https://www.ft.com/content/90d4dae4-5356-4923-94d5-0a9acd2dd0ec Gibraltar talks with Britain cannot be ‘permanent’, Spain says

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