Spain’s EU secretary accused the U.K. of “maliciously” altering a section of the Brexit divorce treaty relating to Gibraltar and said Madrid would block a deal unless the text is modified.
Luis Marco Aguiriano, the secretary of state for the EU, said Spain will not support the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement or the Political Declaration if parts of the texts related to Gibraltar are not clarified.
He also said he believes the draft Brexit text has been altered “maliciously and under cover of darkness.”
“If this government obtains sufficient clarity, validated legally, with respect to the implications of the famous Article 184, it will support the texts at the next European Council. If not, then no,” Aguiriano told the country’s parliament, according to Efe. A summit of EU leaders on Brexit will take place in Brussels on Sunday.
Aguiriano was referring to an article in the Withdrawal Agreement.
Madrid has demanded tighter wording in the text to make clear that negotiations on the future relationship between Gibraltar and the EU will be conducted separately to those between the U.K. and EU — and that they can only proceed with Madrid’s approval.
Aguiriano claimed that this article is “unknown to all except for whoever introduced it, almost as if maliciously and under cover of darkness.” He also claimed Spanish foreign affairs officials only found out about it on Wednesday night when the draft Withdrawal Agreement was published.
He added that the foreign ministry under Josep Borrell had since consulted with legal experts and determined that both texts should clarify the point about Gibraltar negotiations.
“It has to be crystal clear that whatever future relationship between the EU and the United Kingdom should take into account the approval of Spain,” Aguiriano added.
“This requires clarification, in black and white, that there is no possibility that it could be understood as we fear,” he said, saying there should be “no risk” of a misunderstanding.
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