Madrid (AFP) – Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez officially announced in Madrid on Saturday that Spain had obtained "an agreement on Gibraltar" and would vote "in favor of Brexit".
"I have just announced to the King of Spain that Spain has reached an agreement on Gibraltar" after obtaining from the United Kingdom and its European partners the guarantees it demanded, said Mr. Sanchez, in a televised address.
"Therefore, the European Council will be held tomorrow (Sunday), Europe and the United Kingdom have accepted the demands of Spain, Spain will veto and vote in favor of Brexit", a- he added very clearly.
Madrid wanted to ensure that the agreements between London and the 27 would not weaken its claim in this territory of just 6 km2 and where live 30,000 people, in the extreme south of the Iberian Peninsula, it has yielded to Great Britain in 1713.
Spain's determination to secure these "guarantees" cast doubt over the success of the Sunday's EU summit on Brexit, which must seal a historic divorce agreement between the EU and the UK.
After 17 months of negotiations, both sides managed to finalize a "withdrawal treaty" from the UK and then a "political declaration" outlining London's future relations with the EU.
But Spain had threatened to vote against the treaty if it did not get a veto over the implementation of any future agreement between the EU and London in Gibraltar.
"Once the UK's withdrawal from the EU has occurred, Gibraltar's relationship with the EU (?) Will come through Spain," said the Spanish Socialist leader, who has been in power since June.
"We have secured sufficient guarantees to be able to envisage a solution to a conflict that has lasted for more than 300 years between the United Kingdom and Spain," he added.
According to Mr Sanchez, Spain's position is thus strengthened for future negotiations, when it comes to "talking about shared sovereignty and other things with the United Kingdom".
Among the guarantees, he cited "a joint declaration by the European Council and the European Commission in the framework of the withdrawal agreement" and the fact that "the British Government recognizes this interpretation in writing".
In London, the British government spokesman reaffirmed British sovereignty over Gibraltar but at the same time said in a statement that he would not seek to settle relations between the EU and Gibraltar without the agreement from Madrid.
London states that it does not consider that Article 184 of the EU's "exit treaty" "prejudges the territorial scope of the agreements" which will govern relations between the EU and London in the future .
Madrid feared that, without this clarification, Article 184 would allow London and Brussels to regulate relations between the EU and the British territories, without consulting Spain on aspects affecting Gibraltar.