SPANISH Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez has warned he will “veto Brexit” over Gibraltar.
What could this mean for Theresa May’s Brexit deal and can Spain really kill Brexit? Here’s everything you need to know.
Gibraltar is emerging as a sticking point for Spain in relation to Brexit[/caption]
Will Spain veto Theresa May’s Brexit deal?
Mr Sanchez says the future relationship to be negotiated between the EU and UK shouldn’t apply to Gibraltar and that it should be decided separately between Spain and Britain.
But Theresa May rejected his idea, warning the plan must apply “to the whole United Kingdom family” – a group which includes the British Overseas Territory.
Mr Sanchez said: “After my conversation with Theresa May, our positions remain far away. My Government will always defend the interests of Spain. If there are no changes, we will veto Brexit.”
Will the EU agree?
The Spanish government does not have the power to veto the UK’s departure from the European Union, nor can it singlehandedly block the withdrawal agreement.
It can vote against the withdrawal agreement, but would require support from other countries to block it because the deal will be approved by qualified majority voting at the European Council.
The one area where Spain can cause significant problems for the UK’s departure, however, is in the case of the future trade agreement – which Theresa May says should be signed within the 21-month transition period that starts next March.
Every national legislature and government in the EU would have to agree to such a trade deal. There is plenty of precedent for this: in the past EU-wide deals have been blocked by entities including the parliament of Wallonia, a Belgian region.
The UK has held Gibraltar since 1704 and it was formally ceded as territory in a treaty in 1713. It is a self-governing British overseas territory.