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There’s yet Another Sticking Point in the Brexit Deal: Gibraltar

Brexit needs an explicit carve-out for Gibraltar, Spain’s foreign minister and prime minister said Tuesday.

Spain contests Gibraltar’s status as an Overseas British Territory and its government claims to be surprised that the draft Brexit text does not distinguish Gibraltar from the rest of the United Kingdom, El País reports.

Spain had agreed on a protocol with the United Kingdom that would handle some Gibraltar issues separately from the wider Brexit deal, it announced in October.

Today at The Economist’s “Spain Summit 2018” prime minister Pedro Sánchez, said that he would vote against the Brexit draft deal this Sunday if it failed to reflect Spain’s side deal with the U.K., El Mundo reports (in Spanish).

The text the U.K. government submitted to its own parliament for approval and to the European Union only addresses the status of Gibraltar through 2020, during the so-called transition period.

Diplomats have suggested that they could add a suitable annex to the draft deal, but they want to avoid re-opening the deal to additional demands from other countries, El País adds.

Spain’s foreign minister, Josep Borrell, told Politico today that it was the fault of EU negotiators, who neglected to include text already agreed between the U.K. and Spain despite multiple previous confirmations with European officials.

The European Commission’s chief spokesperson Margaritis Schinas said today that the EU is “working closely” with the member states to resolve the issue.