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Brussels – The Government of Spain is hopeful that in the coming days the European Union and United Kingdom can close an agreement defining the block’s relationship with Gibraltar, an agreement that would come four years after the United Kingdom’s departure from the EU.

The agreement sought by the EU and United Kingdom must resolve the limbo in which Gibraltar, a British colony since 1713, finds itself in its relationship with the block since the completion of Brexit, in 2024.

Brussels has been negotiating with London since October 2021 on the basis of the so-called New Year’s Eve Agreement, sealed between the Spanish and British government on December 31, 2020. The memorandum foresees the elimination of the Fence and the de facto entry of Gibraltar into Schengen, whereby border controls must be relocated to the port and airport.

The United Kingdom rejects that Spanish agents carry out these controls, hence, on the table is a proposal for a four-year transitional period during which this task would fall on the European Border Agency (Frontex).

In statements to Europa Press before the informal meeting of European Affairs ministers held in Brussels, the Spanish State Secretary for the European Union, Fernando Sampedro, explained that the meeting two weeks ago between Spain and the United Kingdom, which also included the participation of the European Commission, served to agree on the general lines of the agreement.

“These lines allow us to be working these days on preparing the agreement with great hopes of being able to close it in the coming days,” said Sampedro, who noted that, “if all goes well,” another ministerial meeting can be expected with the presence of the EU’s chief negotiator, the community vice president Maros Sefcovic, to seal the pact.

Two weeks ago, Sefcovic; the British Foreign Minister leading the British delegation, David Cameron; the head of Spanish diplomacy, José Manuel Albares, and the Chief Minister of Gibraltar, Fabián Picardo, met in the European capital.

This meeting was the first held at such a high level since negotiations began about two and a half years ago, a period during which 18 rounds of technical-level contacts have taken place. (April 30)