Spain will not hold the Brexit negotiations hostage to discussions about Gibraltar, the country’s foreign minister, Alfonso Dastis, has told ABC newspaper:
I do not want to jeopardize an agreement between the European Union and the United Kingdom by subjecting it to a need to alter Gibraltar’s status at the same time.
Dastis did say he hopes the Gibraltarians will consider sharing sovereignty with Spain, but his statement appears to be a climb down.
Spanish prime minister Mariano Rajoy earlier said he would not allow Gibraltar to remain in the European single market if Britain leaves.
A European Council negotiation document published by the Financial Times read that “no agreement between the EU and the United Kingdom may apply to the territory of Gibraltar without the agreement between the Kingdom of Spain and the United Kingdom.”
This was interpreted in Britain as giving Spain a veto over the terms of its exit. Read more
Janan Ganesh wonders in the Financial Times if, rather than economic pain, relatively good times led to victories for Brexit and Donald Trump.
The median Briton, he points out, has no recollection of national crisis: no devaluation, no three-day workweek, no conscript war, none of the floor-to-ceiling greyness of the postwar years, when austerity entailed the rationing of basics and not just tight public-sector pay settlements.
The worst ordeals were an invasion of Iraq conducted by an all-volunteer army and a crash in which unemployment peaked at 8 percent.
To remain vigilant after such a benign experience of history is too much to ask, argues Ganesh. Read more
One Year After Referendum, Brexit Questions Remain Unanswered
What’s going to happen to Britain’s £700 billion trade with the EU?
How many planes will be allowed to fly across the Channel once Britain exits Europe’s open-skies regime?
How long is it going to take to assess and renegotiate 759 international treaties Britain is currently part of as a member of the EU?
What will happen to the European Health Insurance Card and the 27 million Brits who have one?
The deadline for a Brexit deal is March 2019, but some of these questions need to be answered sooner. Businesses want to make plans. Airlines, health insurers, hospitals, logistics companies and merchants can’t wait and hope for the best. Read more
Conservatives Have Neglected Their Responsibility to the Union
After a disappointing election result, pragmatists in Britain’s ruling Conservative Party pinned their hopes on Philip Hammond to save them from a “hard” exit from the European Union.
It seems they miscalculated.
In an interview with the BBC’s Andrew Marr, the chancellor ruled out continued membership of both the European single market and the customs union.
He also reiterated the Conservatives’ commitment to reducing annual immigration to the tens of thousands, a target the government has missed for years and which is inconsistent with a Norway-style deal. Read more
Defeat Makes It Harder for May to Navigate Brexit Demands
Theresa May’s election defeat has left her Brexit strategy at the mercy of a divided Tory Party.
May called the election to strengthen her hand but now has even less room to maneuver.
Her Conservatives went down from 330 to 317 seats on Thursday, nine short of a majority. She is forced to rely on the hard-right Democratic Unionist Party of Northern Ireland and its ten lawmakers to stay in power.
As a result, both pragmatists, who campaigned against Brexit, and hardliners, who want a complete break with the EU, can hold the government hostage. Read more