October 22, 2021

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The European Commission has been instructed to hold talks with London in Gibraltar

The European Commission has been instructed to hold talks with London in Gibraltar

Brussels / Luxembourg, 5 October (TASR) – The European Council on Tuesday approved the start of negotiations on an agreement between the Union and the United Kingdom regarding Gibraltar and adopted the necessary negotiation guidelines.

On this basis, the European Commission (EC) has an mandate to initiate formal negotiations with the United Kingdom on the Gibraltar issue. At the same time, the Commission must determine which of its teams to hand over the role of negotiator. Maros Sefovich, vice president of the European Commission for Corporate Relations and Strategic Perspectives, was considered one of the candidates. The Slovak European Commissioner represents the EU on the Joint Committee established by the agreement on the UK’s exit from the EU.

In this context, Seprovich told the media on Tuesday that the EU was ready to begin talks with British partners in Gibraltar.

“These talks are aimed at promoting prosperity and cooperation in the region, not sovereignty or jurisdiction. Our goal is to have a positive impact on people living and working on both sides of the Spanish-Gibraltar border. A decision that will ensure the integrity of the Schengen area and the EU single market.” Sephovich explained that EC would work closely with Spain during these talks.

The purpose of the talks was to establish a broad and balanced agreement between the European Union and the United Kingdom in Gibraltar, taking into account the specific geographical location and characteristics of Gibraltar.

Gibraltar was not included in the scope of the post-Rexide trade and cooperation agreement agreed between Brussels and London by the end of 2020.

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On 31 December 2020, Spain and the United Kingdom signed a Memorandum of Understanding on the possible legal framework for the Gibraltar Agreement. Based on this understanding, Spain called on the European Commission to begin negotiations on such an agreement on behalf of the European Union.

On July 20, the Commission approved the opening of negotiations with the United Kingdom in Gibraltar and recommended the EU Council (Member States) for consideration and approval.

The EU Council also noted that the agreement between the Union and the United Kingdom did not address the region’s sovereignty and jurisdiction.

TASR Reporter Jerome Novak