News World EU struggles to agree on Gibraltar before Brexit summit

EU struggles to agree on Gibraltar before Brexit summit

European Union negotiators meet on Friday to try to clear the last hurdle before a Sunday summit is due to endorse the Brexit deal, but Spain’s eleventh-hour objections over Gibraltar mean the final text could not be ready until the last minute.

Four months before Britain leaves the EU, the legal divorce treaty and an accompanying political declaration on the two sides’ future ties are ready to be rubber-stamped by British Prime Minister Theresa May and the leaders of the 27 union states staying on together after Brexit.

Spain has asked for changes to the withdrawal treaty and the declaration on a new EU-UK relationship to make clear any decisions about the disputed British overseas territory of Gibraltar would only be taken in direct talks with Madrid.

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said on Thursday that Spain will veto the draft deal on Britain’s exit from the European Union, if there are no changes made.

“After my conversation with Theresa May, our positions remain far away. My government will always defend the interests of Spain. If there are no changes, we will veto Brexit,” Sanchez said in a tweet.

Under EU rules, the withdrawal treaty is adopted by qualified majority and not unanimity, so a single state cannot block it. EU leaders, however, seek unity on this most politically sensitive matter.

The Brexit package faces vehement opposition in the British parliament, which must vote in favour for it to take effect. Otherwise Britain risks crashing out of the bloc on March 29, 2019, without an agreement to mitigate economic disruptions.

Determined not to allow any redrafting of either of the two texts and risk derailing the fragile process, EU states have instead proposed to address Spain’s concerns in a separate statement by the 27 leaders on Sunday that would not be part of negotiations with Britain.

The national leaders’ EU negotiators – or ‘sherpas’ – meet at 0900 GMT on Friday in Brussels and May will then come for talks with the head of the bloc’s executive, Jean-Claude Juncker, on Saturday evening, just hours before the summit.

EU diplomats hope a text could be agreed by Friday evening but they also fear Sanchez would want to make a case of discussing it at the top level on Sunday to show determination and win points with voters at home ahead of a December regional election.

The Brexit deal covers financial settlement, expatriates’ rights and the sensitive Irish border, as well as setting a blueprint for future trade and security ties. It must also be backed by the European Parliament to come into force next year.


Top Stories

Greece, Cyprus had highest number of dentists among EU states in 2018

Among the EU Member States, Greece and Cyprus had the highest numbers of licenced to practice dentists per 100,000 inhabitants in 2018, according to...

NASA Space Apps Challenge to be held virtually in Limassol

The prestigious NASA Space Apps Challenge will be held in Limassol again this year, albeit virtually due to coronavirus restrictions. The challenge will take place...

Cape Greco becomes main point of entry for migrants this year

Ayia Napa's Cape Greco has become the main point of entry by sea for migrants this year with 10 out of a total of...

Only Cyprus, Finland, Latvia and Liechtenstein on Ireland’s “green list”

Ireland on Thursday removed Germany, Poland and Lithuania from its travel "green list", leaving just four countries exempt from a 14-day quarantine for arriving...

Committee on aid allocation to Greece’s Attica wildfire victims takes action

A special committee tasked with the implementation of Cyprus’ decision to donate €11m to victims of the devastating wildfire in Greece’s Attica region two...



Sheftalies, a very tasty dish from the charcoal grill, are minced meat shaped into small sausages and wrapped in “panna” (suet). Panna is a...

Spicy grilled soutzoukakia

Place all ingredients for soutzoukakia in a bowl and mix well, preferably using a food processor, until well combined. Using the mixture, form cigar-shaped...


Pork souvlaki: Put the meat and all the other ingredients in a bowl (not metal) and mix well. Cover the bowl and keep in...

Pastelli (Carob Toffee)

The nutritional sweet of Pastelli is made with the syrup of carob pods, produced by boiling their pulp until it forms a thick, sticky...