Britain has vowed to fight for Gibraltar’s sovereignty after Brussels demanded Spanish boots on the ground as the price of a post-Brexit trade deal. The EU urges Gibraltar to remain within its internal market, the Schengen Free Travel Area, as well as to comply with tax rates set by Madrid. Under the plans, Spanish police would also be able to enter the British outpost undisputed if they are in “pursuit of a criminal”.
The EU draft mandate states: “Monitoring will take place in the port of Gibraltar, airport and waters carried out by Spain in application of the relevant EU rules.
“Spanish border guards would have all the necessary powers to carry out border control and surveillance.”
EU Vice-President Maros Sefcovic, the EU’s negotiator, said Madrid “fully intends” to ask the EU’s Frontex border force to help carry out the checks.
The top Eurocrat added: “It is about cooperation in the region, it is not about sovereignty or jurisdiction.”
Sir. Raab said the EU’s draft mandate was not a basis for negotiation and called on Brussels to reconsider its plans.
As tensions rise and status as Gibraltar continues to be a major point of contention in relations between Britain and Spain, undiscovered reports revealed Madrid’s anger over Earl and Countess of Wessex in 2012.
Eight years ago, Prince Edward and his wife, Sophie Rhys-Jones, visited Gibraltar.
While enthusiastic residents hung flags and went out to welcome the couple, however, Spain’s former Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Garcia-Margallo counted on their parade, making it clear that the Spanish government was fiercely opposed to the three – day visit.
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Spanish fishermen claimed the right to fish in Gibraltar’s waters in breach of a 1999 decision.
About 59 Spanish boats based in the rocks were affected by the ban on using their nets there.
Despite this, the residents of Gibraltar were determined to pull all the stops next to the royal couple.
As part of a packed three-day itinerary, the earl and countess laid the foundation stone for Gibraltar’s Diamond Jubilee Monument, attended a Queen’s birthday parade, toured Main Street in front of thousands of Gibraltarians and visited the headquarters of British forces.
They also met the late Aurelio Montegriffo, who had eaten with the Queen when she visited Gibraltar in 1954.
On Spain’s reaction, Mr Montegriffo said: “It’s just ridiculous. Everyone here is so excited. Why should they be so foolish about it?”
The month before Prince Edward’s visit, in the shadow of the fishing dispute and the planned royal visit, Queen Sofia of Spain withdrew from attending an anniversary luncheon at Windsor Castle – a move that came at the request of the outraged Spanish government.