Gibraltar row erupts as Dominic Raab blasts EU over border guard demand for Brexit deal
Picardo: Nothing will cleave Gibraltar from the UK
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Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab accused eurocrats of failing to respect an 11th-hour deal struck between the UK and Spain on New Year’s Eve over the region’s future. In a 26-page document, EU leaders called for a string of conditions on the British Overseas Territory. The European Commission – backed by Madrid – is demanding that EU border guards should be stationed at Gibraltar’s port, airport and waters to enforce the bloc’s rules.
Brussels is also calling for Gibraltar to remain inside its single market for goods and the Schengen free-travel area, as well as follow tax rates set by Madrid.
Mr Raab said the EU’s draft mandate was not a basis for negotiation and urged Brussels to rethink its plans.
He said: “The UK, with Gibraltar, and Spain carefully agreement a pragmatic Framework Agreement, in full consultation with the EU Commission.
“The Commission’s proposed mandate directly conflicts with that Framework. It seeks to undermine the UK’s sovereignty over Gibraltar, and cannot form a basis for negotiations.
“We have consistently showed pragmatism and flexibility in the search for arrangements that work for all sides, and we are disappointed that this has not been reciprocated. We urge the EU to think again.”
Gibraltar’s Chief Minister Fabian Picardo also lashed out at Brussels for its hardline demands.
He said: “The draft EU mandate is a matter for them, of course. But I must say that on the basis of the current draft, there is no possibility of this forming the basis for an agreement.
“We will work closely with the United Kingdom, especially Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, to continue to seek the best possible outcomes for Gibraltar.”
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