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‘We’re very close to the deal’ on Gibraltar – Albares
Spain’s Minister for Foreign Affairs, Jose Manuel Albares, said this week that “we are very close to the deal” on Gibraltar’s post-Brexit relations with the EU.
He was speaking to the Reuters news agency on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos.
“I see a constructive spirit from the British side on the agreement related to Gibraltar,” he told Reuters.
“I think we are very close to the deal. Nothing is agreed until everything is agreed, but from the meetings I had with (British Foreign Secretary) James Cleverly I see that we both want the agreement and are really working on it.”
He did not give Reuters a timeframe for reaching agreement, however.
“My experience with Brexit is that any timetable has never been respected,” he said.
Last December Mr Albares said UK/EU negotiators would meet “as many times as necessary” to achieve the “shared objective” of a treaty that would lay the foundations for an area of shared post-Brexit prosperity between Gibraltar and the Campo.
But he cautioned too that the talks “cannot be prolonged indefinitely”.
He was speaking after the UK, Spain, Gibraltar and the European Commission all publicly reaffirmed their commitment to achieving a treaty “as soon as possible”, despite remaining complex areas of disagreement that have so far made that goal unattainable.
On Wednesday, Chief Minister Fabian Picardo, who had just returned to Gibraltar after meetings in London on the treaty negotiation, also signalled progress in resolving the remaining issues in the negotiation, although he offered little detail.
“I think that we are now converging on where the landing points for all of those particularly concerning issues are,” he told GBC.
But he cautioned too that the discussion touched on issues that were “very, very complex” in order to ensure a deal that was acceptable to all sides.
Read more in the Gibraltar Chronicle