Macron Breaks Taboo, Spain Makes Gibraltar Demands
Emmanuel Macron touched one third rail of French politics and didn’t die: labor reform. Now he is grabbing the other: agriculture.
French farmers rely heavily on EU agricultural subsidies and are generally less innovative (defenders would say more traditional) than their peers in Germany and the Netherlands, the two largest exporters of agricultural goods in Europe.
Macron has already opened the door to subsidy reform, arguing that, due to Brexit, cuts are inevitable.
At the same time, he has promised €5 billion in public investments to kickstart a “cultural revolution” in the sector.
That may not be enough to convince skeptical farmers while cutting EU subsidies will run into opposition from Italy, Poland and Spain. But it’s a start. Read more
Spain Promises Not to Hold Brexit Hostage to Gibraltar
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
Brexit Is an Opportunity to Take Back Control — For Spain
When Brexiteers said leaving the EU would be a chance to “take back control”, they presumably weren’t thinking of Spain. But Spain has been thinking about them.
Now that the United Kingdom has formally triggered its exit from the bloc, the Spaniards smell an opportunity to take back control of a territory they lost to Britain over 300 years ago: Gibraltar. Read more
Spain Unwilling to Keep Gibraltar in Single Market Under Brexit
Since Britons voted to leave the European Union in a referendum in June, Spain has ramped its rhetoric surrounding the territory of Gibraltar, a sliver of land that has been in British hands for centuries but to which Spain continues to claim sovereignty.
Earlier this month, the acting Spanish foreign minister, José Manuel García-Margallo, threatened to “put up the flag” on the Rock, hinting at a Spanish takeover.
He insisted that if Britain leaves the EU, “Gibraltar is out” as well, even though 96 percent of its residents voted to stay. Read more