Spain threatens to reject Brexit deal over Gibraltar


"What is being negotiated has a territorial scope that does not include Gibraltar. the future negotiations on Gibraltar are separate".

Ministers from the EU27 formally approved the draft deal during a meeting with Barnier in Brussels on Monday. He added, "we have divorce papers on the table".

"In particular the member states support the draft withdrawal agreement". "And that is what has to be made clear".

Borrell, however, didn't refer to the all-important term, "veto", which would see Spain block approval of the withdrawal agreement. He wants Gibraltar's future to be dealt with separately by Madrid and London.

"This is what needs to be made clear, and until it is clarified in the withdrawal agreement and in the political declaration on the future relationship, we can not give our backing". Mrs May has said this is like that for her.

With resistance growing to the withdrawal agreement in London, the European Union remains stoic on whether the deal will make it to the end of the week.

Spain said last week that it welcomed the inclusion of a protocol on Gibraltar in the draft Brexit agreement and that it would be positive for residents there.

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Despite mounting political pressure back in the UK, Prime Minister May remains as optimistic as her European counterparts.

An EU diplomat said the issue could go as far as the Sunday summit of all EU leaders aimed at rubber-stamping the Brexit deal, where other outstanding points are fisheries and a limit on any extension of a post-Brexit transition phase.

A series of debates will take place in the UK's legislative house over the coming weeks, with a vote on the agreement happening before Christmas.

An exceptional Brexit summit will take place in Brussels this Sunday (25 November), attempting to reach consensus on the agreement, which, with Spain's stance on Gibraltar becoming clear on Monday, may be more hard than was thought at first to achieve.

These agreements will be negotiated between Brexit day on March 29 and December 2020 - extendable once - and will enter into force at the end of the period.

Before this date, both parties will also have to finalise the Joint Political Declaration, a separate document about future relations between the United Kingdom and the EU.