Michel Barnier predicts UK will cave in to EU’s demands over Gibraltar
The head of the EU’s Brexit negotiating team has predicted the UK will give in to the EU’s demands over Gibraltar.
Michel Barnier said the EU could use the “lever of unanimous solidarity” from the remaining countries in the bloc to get the access Spain wanted from Gibraltar.
Madrid has already demanded joint control of Gibraltar’s airport, cross-border cooperation on smuggling and an end to what Spain sees as the Rock’s tax haven status.
“This lever is there and the British know it well,” Mr Barnier said, “and I think that the lever of solidarity which we have given to Spain will be effective.”
Relations between Britain and the EU became strained after Brexit Secretary David Davis said the UK’s access to the single market and customs union would also apply to Gibraltar at a press conference.
“Mr Davis can explain what I want, but I know what's in this agreement,” Mr Barnier told Spanish newspaper El Espanol.
“I am the representative of Spain in this negotiation, as well as the other 26 countries,” he said before agreeing the Spanish demands were reasonable.
The EU has already given Spain a veto applying to Gibraltar over any final Brexit period as well as the looming transition period.
Spanish officials could effectively halt Brexit negotiations if they do not get the deal they want with Gibraltar, an area whose sovereignty has been contested for centuries.
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