UK and EU reach draft deal on Gibraltar's post-Brexit status

31 December 2020, 15:24

File photo: A view of Gibraltar from La Linea, Spain
File photo: A view of Gibraltar from La Linea, Spain. Picture: PA

By Megan White

Gibraltar's border with Spain will remain open following the end of the Brexit transition period after the UK and EU agreed a draft deal.

Gibraltar, whose sovereignty is disputed by Spain and Britain, will remain subject to the rule of the free-travel Schengen area, Spain's foreign minister said.

The Rock's status was not covered in the trade agreement reached by Boris Johnson on Christmas Eve, prompting concerns about what would happen when the transition period ends at 11pm on Thursday.

Arancha Gonzalez Laya announced that the "agreement in principle" means people in Gibraltar "can breathe a sigh of relief".

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said: "Today, working side by side with the chief minister of Gibraltar, and following intensive discussions with the Spanish government, we reached agreement on a political framework to form the basis of a separate treaty between the UK and the EU regarding Gibraltar.

"We will now send this to the European Commission, in order to initiate negotiations on the formal treaty.

"In the meantime, all sides are committed to mitigating the effects of the end of the transition period on Gibraltar, and in particular ensure border fluidity, which is clearly in the best interests of the people living on both sides.

"We remain steadfast in our support for Gibraltar and its sovereignty. I am grateful to foreign minister Laya and her team for their positive and constructive approach.

"We have a warm and strong relationship with Spain, and we look forward to building on it in 2021."

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