The country’s foreign minister said Spain would not back the proposals at the European Council unless it received assurances that the agreement would not apply to Gibraltar.
But Downing Street said it would not exempt Gibraltar or any other British territory from the agreement – putting the two governments on a collision course ahead of the meeting this weekend.
“The negotiations between Britain and the EU have a territorial scope that does not include Gibraltar, the negotiations on the future of Gibraltar are separate discussions,” Spanish foreign minister Josep Borrell said on Monday morning in Brussels.
“This is what needs to made clear, and until it is clarified in the withdrawal agreement and in the political declaration on the future relationship, we cannot give our backing.”
Spain has long resented Britain’s claims on Gibraltar, a British overseas territory that is home to around 30,000 people, and has previously threatened to use Brexit to wrest concessions on the issue.
This a sign of just how weak the British position is.
There is no good ending for this for London.