Will Spain demand Gibraltar back as part of a Brexit deal?

As I understand it all 27 EU member countries have to agree to any trade deal with the UK. As you can imagine many see this as an opportunity to screw a deal out of the UK.

One long-running dispute is Spain wanting their territory of Gibraltar back. The Guardian reports:

The EU has put the future of Gibraltar at stake in the coming Brexit negotiations, effectively backing Spain in its centuries-old dispute with the UK over the British overseas territory.

After lobbying from Spanish diplomats, a clause has been inserted in the EU’s draft Brexit negotiating guidelines that appears to allow Spain to exclude Gibraltar from any transitional single market access arrangement or future trade deal with the UK if it is not satisfied with the status of the territory.

This suggests that unless Britain is willing to let its citizens on “the rock” be subject to an inferior economic future than those in the UK, the EU has effectively handed the Spanish government a veto on Britain’s entire future relationship with the bloc.

“The union will stick up for its members, and that means Spain now,” a senior EU official said.

The news is likely to infuriate London, which has insisted that its longstanding refusal to entertain Spain’s ambitions of reclaiming sovereignty over Gibraltar, which was ceded to Britain in 1713, will not be affected by Brexit.

It is frankly bonkers that the UK still has Gibraltar. You could understand if it was an Island but the area is part of the Spanish mainland:

There is one thing in the UKs favour – trade. As The Spectator reports:

A free-trade deal with Britain is certainly in the interests of Spain and Italy, who run a trade surplus with Britain. For Germany, which exports €50 billion more to the UK than Brits buy from Germans, it’s a no-brainer. Cars, chemicals and machinery — these strong export sectors for Germany are all at risk if Britain copies EU tariffs on cars and imposes its own regulation on hazardous chemicals. And French farmers and winemakers will lobby just as hard: they don’t want to see British duties on beaujolais and camembert. More economically significantly, the French government has strong invested interests in the British nuclear and transport sectors, including rail and automotive.

Interesting times indeed.

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