January 23, 2021

Borrell clarifies that there are issues to be resolved on Gibraltar but says that they will not prevent the agreement on Brexit

Borrell clarifies that there are issues to be resolved on Gibraltar but says that they will not prevent the agreement on Brexit



The Minister of Foreign Affairs, EU and Cooperation, Josep Borrell, has assured this Monday that there are still things to resolve about the so-called "irritants" on Gibraltar, which affect issues such as taxation, tobacco smuggling or airport sharing. del Peñón, but has insisted that these will not prevent closing an agreement on Brexit.

Borrell has distinguished the Protocol that accompanies the exit agreement, "which establishes the conditions of application of the Treaty to Gibraltar" and that "is practically" in the process of "a solution" of the five annexed memoranda negotiated by Spain and the United Kingdom in a manner "bilateral".

Those memorandums are those that try to "solve the irritants" about Gibraltar, that is, "the elements of discord" on issues that affect tobacco smuggling, the airport, dumping, fishing issues, customs or financial relationships but they are out of the exit agreement.

"The memorandums of understanding last night were still being negotiated, but not being part of the withdrawal agreement, because if they were not finished that would not prevent Brexit," the minister explained at a press conference at the end of the meeting with his colleagues. EU counterparts in Luxembourg in which they have not addressed the ongoing negotiations to negotiate an orderly exit agreement from the UK's bloc.

"The important thing is that there is agreement on the protocol because if there was not, there would be no agreement on the treaty", he insisted. Borrell has once again insisted that, in his opinion, "there is still time" to reach an agreement on the Brexit – after remembering that "there is still" the possibility of holding a new summit "at the end of November" – but He recalled that it must be agreed "in sufficient time and form" so that it can be "ratified before the deadline" of March 30, when the United Kingdom will leave the bloc.

Borrell said in the morning that Gibraltar will not be "a stone in the road" to agree the terms of Brexit after ensuring that the Protocol on the Rock that will be annexed to the exit agreement "has been agreed with the United Kingdom", while claiming "Do not dramatize" if an agreement is not reached this week on the Brexit at the summit of the leaders because "there is still time".

A spokesman of the British Government has assured that they have maintained "constructive exchanges on the Protocol" and see "hope to reach an agreement soon".

"If tomorrow there were agreement on the Brexit I think Gibraltar would not be a problem because the protocol that accompanies the agreement is in very good ways of solution," said the minister.

"Now we are negotiating more things, that does not mean that we have solved all the problems, but they are two different things", he said.

Thus, Borrell has made it clear that although the memoranda under negotiation to resolve "many problems" with Gibraltar will be approved "now or not, they do not affect the treaty corpus" of exit from the United Kingdom. "It leads to a series of bilateral agreements that are not part of the withdrawal agreement," he insisted.

When asked why the Protocol is specifically lacking, Borrell explained that it is "technical considerations on different aspects" of the movement of people, taxation and other issues. "Nothing a holder does," he assured, insisting that the Protocol does not pose "any major difficulty."

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