If you were a 100% “Bremainer”, then you might have woken up feeling slightly better than usual today. Despite the ever imminent approach of Article 50’s implementation, one of the UK’s European neighbours is pushing to keep Britain in the party – as Spain propose to the EU that Gibraltar be put under the joint sovereignty of both nations.
The process was initially mentioned in July 2016, where Spain “formally invited the United Kingdom to negotiate a deal which would allow Gibraltar to still work under EU treaties and remain a sovereign state of the UK” according to the Spanish Ambassador to the EU, Román Oyarzun.
Apart from Northern Ireland, this is the only other mention in recent history of a territory being controlled by two countries. On the face of it, it seems like a brilliant idea – keep EU laws in place, yet make it significantly easier for British citizens to come in and out of the EU – or at least that is the dream Spain is going to try to sell to the UK.
You can’t have your cake and eat it…or can you?
We have heard for quite some time that “Brexit means Brexit”, but with this potential collaboration, the gibraltareños might actually get the best of everything, as Oyarzun also mentions that the deal will “look at giving increased autonomy to Gibraltar, making it easier for the region to fit into the Spanish political system. Both the UK and Spain will have a say on how to tackle the peninsula’s issues with regards to the economy, asylum seekers and trade, as well as other factors.”
Oyarzun does not want to impose this deal on Gibraltar, something Prime Minister Fabián Picardo has made clear: “we [Gibraltar] voted to remain under British sovereignty twice in 1967 and 2002, yet overwhelmingly voted to remain in the EU in the latest referendum.”
More to follow…