Spain and the UK have reached a “principle of agreement” that will allow Gibraltar to join the Schengen Area, avoiding creating a border in the enclave.
Gibraltar had been the “loose end” of Britain’s divorce from the EU, and was tied up almost at the last minute. The diplomatic chiefs from the UK and Spain spent last night in a video conference to reach an understanding on the borders of British territory in the far south of Spain from January 1.
The agreement allows Gibraltar to join the Schengen area for freedom of movement, which practically eliminates any border controls when entering the territory through Spain. Every day, thousands of Spaniards living outside Gibraltar cross the border to work – and the wages are much higher. However, Britons who want to enter the Rock, which is still part of the UK, must present passports when entering the Schengen Area.
The agreement stipulates a four-year implementation period during which external controls will be implemented by Frontex, the European Union's border agency, under the supervision of the Spanish authorities. El Pais.
The agreement does not affect Spain's claim to Gibraltar, which was ceded to the United Kingdom in 1713.
The Gibraltar issue has always been dealt with in parallel with the more general negotiations on the post-Brexit relationship between London and Brussels, and was therefore not included in the agreement reached on Christmas Eve. Since June, delegations from the two countries have been negotiating the future borders of the territory known as “The Rock” from 2021 onwards.
On Thursday morning, less than 24 hours before the end of the transitional period, the two ministers finally announced an agreement. Spanish Foreign Minister Arancha González Laya praised the “Day of Hope.” “In the long history of our relations with the United Kingdom regarding Gibraltar, today we face a turning point,” he said.
His British counterpart, Dominic Raab, also welcomed the agreement, which he said served as a “political framework” for a “future separate treaty between the United Kingdom and the European Union regarding Gibraltar.” “All parties are currently committed to mitigating the effects of the end of the transitional period in Gibraltar and, in particular, ensuring border fluidity,” the minister said.
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