Spain’s foreign minister has said he is ready to restart Gibraltar talks with new UK foreign secretary
José Albares (pictured below), Spain-s newly reappointed foreign minister, and the new UK foreign secretary Lord Cameron, will soon meet to discuss the status of Gibraltar which is at present in limbo. There remains an outstanding agreement between the UK and the EU on the status of Gibraltar after Brexit.
Lord Cameron re-joined the UK government after a seven-year hiatus last week and reportedly contacted the Spanish government on Tuesday to converse with Albares regarding the resumption of talks concerning the ‘rocks’ status.
Albares confirmed to the press that “Our teams are looking to set up a time,” pointing out that both men are due to see each other at a Nato summit next week. Albares said he hoped for a Gibraltar agreement as “soon as possible”. However, the minister stopped short of giving timescales.
There are still several unresolved issues, most notably how to manage border controls at Gibraltar’s port and airport in order to preserve free movement with Spain.
The situation between Spain and Gibraltar is currently in a state of flux. The UK and Spain have been negotiating the agreement that will govern the EU’s relations with Gibraltar following Brexit ever since a pre-agreement was reached on December 31, 2020.
Spain and the EU are prepared for all possibilities – including a hard Brexit – when it comes to the bloc’s relationship with Gibraltar. The Spanish foreign minister, José Manuel Albares, has said that Spain doesn’t want a ‘no deal’ scenario and that the government of Spain and the EU are ready for any scenario.
However, the issue of who will carry out passport checks on travellers who arrive at the airport in Gibraltar has seemingly stymied the talks, leaving parties walking away from the latest proposal on the table despite reports of constructive talks and goodwill from both sides.
About four-fifths of the population are Gibraltarians, which includes those born in Gibraltar before 1925 and their descendants, as well as the spouses of Gibraltarians. The remainder are resident aliens and the families of British military personnel. Most Gibraltarians are of mixed Genoese, British, Spanish, Maltese, and Portuguese descent. Moroccans and Indians predominate among the resident aliens.
About four-fifths of Gibraltarians are Roman Catholic. The Anglican bishopric also covers communities in southern Europe, mainly in Spain’s Costa del Sol. The small Jewish community is of Sephardic descent. English is the official language of government and education, though most Gibraltarians are bilingual in English and Spanish, and many speak an English dialect known as Yanito (Llanito), which is influenced by Spanish, Genoese, and Hebrew.