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The Minister of Foreign Affairs, José Manuel Albares, at a press conference on Monday. EFE
Spanish foreign minister rules out agreement on Gibraltar until after the UK elections
Gibraltar talks

Spanish foreign minister rules out agreement on Gibraltar until after the UK elections

Albares, who is meeting with mayors from the Campo de Gibraltar this Tuesday, believes it unlikely that the pact will be concluded before 4 July

Miguel Ángel Alfonso

Tuesday, 4 June 2024, 11:48

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The agreement between the EU, Spain and the United Kingdom on Gibraltar is unlikely to be agreed before a new UK government is formed following the 4 July general election. The person responsible for dampening hopes this time was the Spanish Minister of Foreign Affairs, José Manuel Albares, at the press conference he gave on Monday together with his Egyptian counterpart, Samé Shukri, on a visit to Madrid for the recognition of the Palestinian state.

"As soon as the new government is at the helm of the United Kingdom, I will meet with my new colleague to make the final push to achieve this agreement," he said.

Albares, who met with his British counterpart David Cameron last week on the sidelines of the informal meeting of Nato foreign ministers in Prague, insisted that the "technical negotiations" are continuing. However, the possibility that a new British government other than Rishi Sunak's will emerge on 4 July could only add uncertainty to a negotiation that has been dragging on since the UK's exit from the EU on 23 June 2016.

Technical talks

Along these lines, the minister stressed that after the last meeting held in Brussels on 16 May, with Cameron and the Vice-President of the European Commission in charge of the issue, Maros Sefcovic, in which the Chief Minister of Gibraltar, Fabian Picardo, also took part, it was agreed "to move forward with this technical work once the political framework is more or less in place".

Among the issues still pending, the EU's proposal for the Frontex Agency to take charge of border surveillance, in order to avoid the presence of Spanish officers on the Rock, as requested by London, remains unresolved. The control of Gibraltar's airport and the proposal for tax harmonisation to bring the British colony into line with other European regions have been other matters on the table during the talks.

Albares is to meet in Algeciras with mayors from the Campo de Gibraltar and Andalusian government minister Antonio Sanz this Tuesday, 4 June, to inform them about the progress of the Gibraltar negotiations

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