27 FEBRUARY 2017
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Spain has signalled that it will not accept any deals brokered between the EU and the UK which grant Gibraltar the same rights as UK mainland airports, reports the Financial Times. The stance may complicate Britain's aviation negotiations with the EU. At the same time Spain will not move regarding its own enclaves in North Africa, Ceuta and Melilla.
Spain refuses to acknowledge the UK's de-facto flight rights to the British Overseas Territory, claiming that it is occupied illegally. "A deal that is applicable to the airport of Gibraltar would imply recognition of the legal right of the UK to the territory," an unnamed Spanish diplomat is reported as saying.
The London-Madrid dispute has frequently held up agreements between European Union states, with Spain insisting that Gibraltar should be excluded from any EU aviation legislation. The UK maintains that there is no legal basis to do so.
The Spanish intransigence backfires with the town Algeciras reputably one of the poorest in the south. Every day 6,000 people cross the border into Gibraltar for work and the airport terminal remains only half completed with direct access to Spain not available.
The EU has not previously forced a Spanish climb down. Nothing looks likely to change.
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