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The Spanish government is working urgently to agree a deal with Gibraltar in order to prevent the disruption for workers who cross into the territory for work. If no deal is reached, there could be serious disruption to the 15,000 people who cross the border to work in Gibraltar every day. Negotiators on both sides are hoping a deal can be reached by mid-November before three-way talks between Spain, Gibraltar and the UK.
Any overarching deal with the EU will not include Gibraltar, meaning Spain and the UK must agree a treaty separately.
However, any decision from the Spanish government to move the British Overseas Territory into alignment may once again flare up tensions over Gibraltar’s sovereignty.
Arancha Gonzalez, Spain’s foreign minister told the Financial Times: “On the Spanish side, we will leave no stone unturned to get to a deal.
“If we don’t do this the border of Europe will be Gibraltar, with all the consequences that this has, but if we invest in a deal, we can create this space of shared prosperity that we have been talking about for a while.
“On the big sovereignty issue, we know where things stand — we will not renounce sovereignty, nor will the UK — but, below that, on the things that matter for everyday life, we know that we can make it smoother, we can make it simpler, we can make it less costly.”
Gibraltar’s chief minister Fabian Picardo said: “It is becoming a tighter and tighter timetable and we need to step up a gear.
“We are ready to deliver a deal so long as it is sovereignty neutral and positive for all sides.”
Commenting on the deal, a spokesperson for the UK Government claimed ministers are working hard to find a solution.
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The spokesperson also insisted talks will fulfil the wellbeing of the territory.
Gibraltar has been classed a British Overseas Territory since 1713 under the Treaty of Utrecht.
Its sovereignty since then has been fiercely protected by UK officials, although House of Commons Speaker, Sir Lindsay Hoyle has stated residents should be given the chance to decide on their future if they want to.
Speaking earlier this month, he told Spanish news agency, EFE: “Only the people of Gibraltar have the right to decide over their own future.
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“It’s not that I believe we have a right on Gibraltar, far from it.
“It’s not our right to give away and it’s not our right to keep.
“If the people of Gibraltar decide next week that they want to join Spain, who would I be to stop it?
“There is a shared border, which is economically important for both parties.
“I believe that this relationship must be preserved and built on it.”
In 2002, the territory voted 99 percent to reject any shared sovereignty between the UK and Spain.
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