Gibraltar gridlock: Border talks to pause during Spanish general election

ministers talking at conference

A change in government could lead to a change in Gibraltar policy. Photo credit: José Manuel Albares

THE ongoing negotiations between Spain and the United Kingdom regarding Gibraltar’s post-Brexit status have hit a roadblock due to the recently-announced Spanish elections. 

The elections, which have been announced for Sunday, July 23, could bring about a change in national leadership.

When the European Union and the UK finalised their Brexit agreement, they failed to address the pressing issue of Gibraltar’s border conditions. As a result,  negotiations have been ongoing for two and a half years, with 13 formal rounds of talks held since October 2021.

However, with the Spanish democratic process now in full swing, sources from the Gibraltar government have confirmed that both the UK and the EU have agreed to suspend further formal meetings until a new Spanish government is established. Informal discussions, however, are expected to continue.

A potential change in leadership adds complexity to the discussions, as new conditions may be introduced.

The main point of contention is the interpretation of sovereignty, with Spain accepting Gibraltar as a British territory under specific terms. Meanwhile, the UK maintains that the Spanish presence on the Rock violates its sovereignty.

Spain’s Minister of Foreign Affairs José Manuel Albares has been actively working to overcome the issue of Gibraltar’s border. Though progress has been made, no specific deadlines for an agreement have been set.

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