UK reaches draft agreement with EU on Gibraltar’s post-Brexit status

UK reaches draft agreement with EU on Gibraltar’s post-Brexit status

"Spain, as member-state representing the [European] Union, will be responsible for enforcing Schengen [border controls] and will be assisted by [EU border agency] Frontex for around four years, conducting controls both in Gibraltar's port and airport", boasted Spanish foreign minister Gonzalez Laya.

The approximately 15,000 people, mostly Spaniards, who cross the border to work in Gibraltar each day will be able to continue to enter quickly without joining potentially long queues for passport checks as long as they have registered their status.

The deadline for Gibraltar remains January 1, when a transitionary period regulating the short frontier between Gibraltar and Spain expires.

Spain's foreign minister Arancha Gonzalez Laya said it would mean people living in the territory "can breathe a sigh of relief".

Together Gibraltar has said it supports the in-principle Brexit agreement announced on Thursday "in principle", but said that it will review this support when the details are disclosed in full.

"We're going to avert the worst effects of a hard Brexit", Picardo said.

The Gibraltar deal will mean the European Union sending Frontex border guards to facilitate free movement to and from Gibraltar, during a transitional period, pending a treaty.

Spain's Pedro Sanchez said it marked the start of "a new era" that would allow for "the removal of barriers", while Britain's Boris Johnson "wholeheartedly" welcomed the deal, stressing the UK's commitment to "the protection of the interests of Gibraltar and its British sovereignty".

"There will be complexity to come, " he told a news conference, adding that "we may end up with a deal on the (free) movement of people but not goods".

Officials from Madrid and London had until 11pm in the United Kingdom - when the Brexit separation comes into force - to find an agreement.

"We remain steadfast in our support for Gibraltar and its sovereignty".

She said she expected the treaty to be signed within six months.

Home to around 34,000 people, Gibraltar relies on access to the European Union market for its economy. In the 2016 Brexit referendum vote, 96 percent of Gibraltarians voted for Britain to remain in the EU.

The territory was ceded to Britain in 1713, but Spain maintains its claim to sovereignty over it.

On Wednesday Spain issued a decree with a package of temporary mitigation measures to ease the transition process for United Kingdom citizens and Gibraltarians, including the continued validity of United Kingdom driving licences for six months and the possibility of using Spanish hospitals, providing the British government offers reciprocal rights to Spanish nationals visiting the UK.

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