May says rejecting her deal could mean no Brexit

Ann Santiago
November 22, 2018

Before the phone call, Mr Sanchez said his government was "annoyed" that the divorce agreement being prepared for Britain's exit from the European Union doesn't specify that Gibraltar's future must be decided directly by officials in Madrid and London.

Pedro Sanchez telephoned Theresa May yesterday (Wednesday) and told her Spain would vote no to the agreement unless it states Madrid and London will talk exclusively about Gibraltar post-Brexit.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel says she hopes Spanish reservations about the status of Gibraltar after Britain leaves the European Union can be overcome by the time EU leaders meet Sunday to sign off on the draft Brexit deal.

"As of today, if there are no changes with respect to Gibraltar, Spain will vote no to the agreement on Brexit". Madrid wants guarantees that it alone can decide on the future of Gibraltar in direct talks with Britain.

"We will get a deal that works for the whole United Kingdom family".

Diplomats in Brussels said Britain was also seeking an easy flow of goods after Brexit, a position which was too close to the privileges allowed only for countries that sign up to European Union single market rules, including free flow of people and services.

Spain said last week that it welcomed the inclusion of a protocol on Gibraltar in the draft Brexit agreement, but Borrell said at a news conference later on Monday that the document introduced "a certain confusion" on the issue.

Ms May and Mr Juncker were expected to cover fishing rights and the movement of goods after Brexit, as well as the duration of the transition period and the British territory of Gibraltar, which lies on an outcrop off Spain. The territory was ceded to Britain in the early 18 Century.


Mr Kurz told the Austria Press Agency in remarks published Thursday that his trip to London is created to help May build support for the deal, which faces opposition in the British Parliament.

May fended off a barrage of criticism from both opposition and government legislators Wednesday during her weekly Commons question-and-answer session dominated by Brexit.

May met European Commission head Jean-Claude Juncker for about an hour and a half to try to win commitments aimed at helping her appease rebels at home opposed to her draft Brexit treaty.

This comes ahead of Sunday's summit of European leaders in Brussels. Also this should be understood as a "political message", said the DUP politician Sammy Wilson.

The Reuters news agency reported further bad news from the Prime Minister's deal Thursday, an analysis of the text showed the government's negotiators had secured no improvements to the proposed future relationship regarding financial services with the EU.

Diplomats in Brussels said they thought Sanchez was trying to score points with voters before a high-stakes regional election in Andalusia on Dec 2.

The International Monetary Fund last week said the biggest threat to the U.K.'s outlook is the possibility of a no-deal Brexit, which would disrupt asset prices and have a "large negative impact" on growth.

The withdrawal agreement has drawn strong opposition from United Kingdom lawmakers - especially pro-Brexit politicians who want Britain to make a clean break with the EU.

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