Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez met his UK counterpart Boris Johnson this Monday, 14 June, at the Nato summit in Brussels to discuss bilateral relations, the pandemic and the future agreement between the EU and the UK over Gibraltar.
Pedro Sánchez himself said later on Twitter that the meeting had allowed them to discuss "the need to further strengthen bilateral relations, enhancing areas such as security and defence, and to promote the agreement between Spain and the UK on Gibraltar."
Sánchez was referring to the agreement reached in principle on 31 December, which set the foundations for the future negotiations between the UK and the EU over Gibraltar, establishing that the Rock would become part of the Schengen area.
Spanish government sources said that the meeting had been friendly, with both parties "aware of the importance of the relationship" between the two countries in all fields. They stressed the "privileged, historical relations" and the shared interest to deepen that relationship in areas such as security and defence.
Sánchez and Johnson also spoke about the fight against the Covid pandemic and the vaccination progress, said the sources.
The British government also reported on the meeting along the same lines, saying, "The leaders discussed their shared commitment to deepening the already strong UK-Spain bilateral relationship across a huge range of issues including trade, defence and security. They also said they would continue to work together to tackle Covid."
According to London, Johnson and Sánchez agreed that the political agreement reached on 31 December on Gibraltar "provided a framework for a future agreement with the EU" and the UK PM thanked Sánchez for his "pragmatic approach" on this issue.
"The leaders also agreed that the UK and Spain both have a role to play in bringing prosperity to the whole region," said the statement from Downing Street.
On the subject of the Northern Ireland Protocol, Johnson said that a constructive way forward needs to be found which preserves both the Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement and the territorial integrity of the UK.
Neither of the two governments confirmed whether the leaders had spoken about the current travel restrictions imposed due to the Covid pandemic.
The British government continues to advise against travel to Spain, with this country still in the UK's ambar list of countries with quarantine required for travellers arriving from Spain.