Gibraltar has Brexit problem?

The people of Gibraltar have some concerns about Brexit

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Will Gibraltar be a problem for Brexit?

By Joe Harker

The process of the UK leaving the EU continues and remains a complicated series of negotiations. There are many things to consider as the final deal is worked out and one important part could be Gibraltar, a British overseas territory with a border to Spain.

The deals made for Brexit will impact Gibraltar and there are a number of issues concerning the island's different requirements from the UK.

The Daily Telegraph reports that Gibraltar could veto parts of the Brexit deal if it worries that its sovereignty is threatened.

They do not want to be controlled by Spain, with 98 per cent wanting to stick with the UK, but they are big opponents of Brexit as 96 per cent voted to remain in the EU and Gibraltar had one of the highest amounts of voter turnout. It is a place that wants to stay with the UK and remain in the EU which is unlikely to be possible.

The Daily Express shouts a warning that Brussels could support Spain over Gibraltar, which was conquered in 1704 by Britain during the War of Spanish Succession and officially ceded in perpetuity in 1713. They warn that the EU could side with Spain in any future disputes over Gibraltar's sovereignty which could increase the pressure on the UK if the issue comes up again.

Alfonso Dastis, Spain's Foreign Minister, insists that Brexit will not have an effect on life in Gibraltar. He instead said the Spanish government's priority was working out some "small irritating problems". Many living in Gibraltar had been worried that the Brexit deal the UK secures could make it harder for them to cross the border into Spain. He said: "People will be able to keep living in one place and working in another.

"We don't have any intention of making life difficult for people, or closing any barriers or complicating mobility."

Writing in The Independent, Sean O'Grady wonders why there hasn't been more discussion about Gibraltar. Much has been made of the issue with the Irish border and the consequences of hard Brexit, but O'Grady suggests that Gibraltar will be an even more difficult situation. He wrote: "If we end up with a hard Brexit, that means a hard border between Gibraltar and Spain.

"It would be even worse for Gibraltar than Northern Ireland, as almost everything Gibraltar needs relies to an extent on Spanish cooperation."

Will Gibraltar be a stumbling block to Brexit, or will the pessimists find far more smooth sailing than they expected?

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Gibraltar will be a bigger problem for Brexit than Ireland

Gibraltar. It’s always an afterthought in the Great Brexit Debate, but, as Ken Clarke remarked recently on the BBC’s Sunday Politics, it will “make the Irish problem look like a picnic”.

It’s a pity more people don’t pay attention to the Gib issue, because it represents an even bigger problem for a smooth Brexit or transition deal than Northern Ireland does. At least with the Irish border the problem has been faced up to because it was a condition of the Brexit divorce settlement and the start of talks on post-Brexit trade. This timing has meant that a lot of the trickier questions and vital dangers about a return to violence have been placed centre stage.

It has in fact pre-empted much of the second round of talks on what the eventual UK-EU relationship will look like. For that much we should be grateful.

Now is the time to pause and consider the analogous problem of Gib: the other coming UK-EU land frontier and one where British territory also has an historic claim placed on it by a foreign power, namely Spain.

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