Gibraltar, a rocky speck of British soil clinging to Spain’s southern tip trumped fishing and even trade rules on Friday to become the last sticking point in preparations to endorse Britain’s EU exit deal.
As senior diplomats from European Union member states met Friday to put the finishing touches to plans for Sunday’s summit to give the Brexit divorce papers the nod, “The Rock” loomed over their efforts.
Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez has threatened to “veto Brexit” if it is not made clear that Madrid and London must resolve their differences over Gibraltar before any eventual future partnership bilaterally.
In Madrid’s view, neither the 585-page withdrawal deal nor the accompanying 27-page framework for future ties guarantees this, so diplomats are trying to negotiate another text to clarify the issue.
“Gibraltar is the only open issue,” a European diplomat said as the so-called “sherpas” met in Brussels to finalise preparations for Sunday’s summit between British Prime Minister Theresa May and her 27 EU colleagues.