‘Declaration of WAR!’ Britons fume as Spain makes Gibraltar power grab with EU

Picardo: Nothing will cleave Gibraltar from the UK

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Express.co.uk readers have fired back at reports Madrid called on Slovenia to rush through the wrangling over the post-Brexit treaty covering Gibraltar. After the UK left the EU, Gibraltar agreed to apply “substantially” the same duties and trade policy measures as the bloc.

The European Commission published a 26-page proposal for the EU’s negotiating guidelines in late July, but it must be approved by the European Council before the talks can begin.

The draft proposal has sparked outrage as it suggests Spanish border guards could be deployed in the region for the first time in more than 300 years.

The EU, backed by Madrid, has also ignored a provisional agreement thrashed out between the British and Spanish governments last year over the post-Brexit future of Gibraltar.

Senior EU diplomats are currently pouring over EU plans before giving Commission negotiators the go-ahead to attempt to secure a deal.

On Monday, during a meeting between Spain’s foreign minister Jose Manuel Albares and his Slovenian counterpart Anze Logar, Gibraltar’s status was brought up.

Mr Albares said: “I have expressed to my colleague my desire that the presidency pushes for the approval of the negotiating mandate for an agreement between the EU and the United Kingdom on Gibraltar, so that it is adopted as soon as possible.

“For us, for Spain, this is evidently a priority issue.”

Mr Albares also met with Spanish MPs to discuss the post-Brexit talks over Gibraltar, and noted the UK was Spain’s fifth-largest partners and “one of our main interlocutors” outside of the EU.

He added: “The final agreement must have Spain’s prior approval and I can assure you that our country will only accept an agreement that adequately protects our interests and our position on sovereignty.”

Express.co.uk readers have fired back at the reports, saying Gibraltar’s population should decide whether the Rock is part of the EU or not.

One said: “Surely it is up to the people of Gibraltar whether they want to be part of Spain.

“For Spain to simply take over Gibraltar without the people’s consent would be a declaration of war.”

Another mockingly said: “Spain wishes to unilaterally overturn an International Treaty, eh?”

More Express.co.uk readers have fired shots at Brussels and Madrid for “bullying tactics”.

One said: “The Gibraltarians, Catalans and the Scottish and other peoples have the final say.

“This is simply the EU supporting an anti-democratic Spanish Government’s bullying tactics.

“The UK is responsible for the defence of British Overseas Territories and so if push comes to shove, the Royal Navy will have the final say.”

Another simply added: “Gibraltar have their own government, the UK will back them, not Spain or the EU.”

Gibraltar was ceded to the UK under the Treaty of Utrecht of 1713 and was a fortress city for centuries.

It comes after Sir Joseph John Bossano vowed to not give Spain “one millimetre” of The Rock as he slammed any attempts by Madrid to use Brexit to take its sovereignty.

Any attempt by Spain to muscle in and try to exploit the situation for its own advantage will be met with stiff resistance, he said.

The Rock’s Minister for Enterprise, Training, Employment and Health and Safety added: “Gibraltar will be Spanish over my dead body — and as the freedom fighter that I am, I still have a lot of years of fight left in me”.

Sir Joseph went on to say that he believed the pair should have a “mutually beneficial economic relationship”.

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