PRESS RELEASE 211
Ministers for Foreign Affairs of Spain and United Kingdom review state of negotiations with the EU on Gibraltar
16/12/2021

​The Minister for Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation, José Manuel Albares, met last night with his British counterpart, Elizabeth Truss. This is the first visit to Spain by the British minister since her appointment in September. The two ministers held a meeting on 1 December on the side-lines of the meeting of NATO foreign affairs ministers in Riga.

The meeting particularly addressed the negotiations between the European Commission and the United Kingdom on the future Agreement between the European Union and the United Kingdom on Gibraltar. The first four rounds of negotiations made significant progress.

The two ministers exchanged opinions on aspects of the negotiations, which are being carried out based on the Commission’s mandate and on the proposals presented by the United Kingdom. They considered that these negotiations have been very productive and reflect the interest of the parties in reaching an agreement as soon as possible.

The process has developed more slowly than expected due to the complexity of the issues addressed and the situation of the Covid-19 pandemic. The negotiations covered all areas involved, including the free movement of people, the exchange of goods, the conditions for free competition, environmental questions, the coordination of social security systems and citizens’ rights, without losing sight of the fact that the future agreement must respect the acquis communautaire and the legal positions of Spain and the United Kingdom. According to the Commission, the negotiations could reach a final stage very soon with a view to an agreement being reached in the first quarter of 2022.

The two ministers also reviewed the state of negotiation of other questions of a bilateral nature, which are important for developing and complementing the Agreement between the European Union and the United Kingdom.

The two ministers addressed the extension of the validity of the Memoranda of Understanding between Spain and the United Kingdom on Gibraltar on the matters of Police and Customs Cooperation, Environmental Cooperation, Tobacco and Other Products, which expires on 31 December 2021, with a view to guaranteeing a framework of suitable cooperation until the signing of the new Agreement between the EU and the United Kingdom on Gibraltar and the opportune complementary bilateral understandings.



International and bilateral agenda

During the meeting, the two ministers also referred to various issues on the international agenda, such as NATO and the holding of the Madrid Summit in 2022, the Indo-Pacific region and climate change, with close attention to the results and the positive commitments adopted at the recent COP 26, successfully organised by the British Government in Glasgow, strengthening global supply chains, together with gender issues and feminist foreign policy.

At a bilateral level, the two ministers underlined the close economic and trade relations, the role of our companies and the importance of contact between our societies. In this regard, the efforts should be underlined made by both governments to improve the mobility of our citizens, particularly of our young people, in the wake of Brexit. A working group between the two countries helps contribute to this, which has already held three meetings and seeks to step up contact between our citizens.

 

 

 

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