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Brexit

European Commission ‘examining’ Gib agreement, will seek EU mandate for treaty talks

Photo: Mauro Bottaro/European Commission

The European Commission has confirmed that it is ‘examining’ the New Year’s Eve agreement on Gibraltar and will seek a mandate from the European Council to begin formal negotiations for a UK/EU treaty on the Rock’s future relations with the bloc.

This comes after the UK and Spain communicated to the Commission the political framework agreement on Gibraltar reached on New Year’s Eve.

"We are now examining the agreement reached in principle between Spain and the United Kingdom on New Year's Eve regarding Gibraltar,” said Daniel Ferrie, the Commission’s spokesman on EU-UK negotiations, in response to a question from reporters during a briefing earlier this week.

“I don't have a specific timeline to provide you with right now but we are working on this…with a view of going to the Council to get a mandate to begin formal negotiations."

The in-principle agreement announced on New Year’s Eve paves the way for a treaty between the UK and the EU that will allow for the maximum fluidity for people across the border, potentially goods too.

The treaty, if successfully negotiated, would mean the territory of Gibraltar becomes part of the Schengen area, with the port and airport becoming external frontiers of the EU.