Relations between the United Kingdom and Spain continue to be tense over the future of Gibraltar.
Officials from the UK and the European Commission have held preliminary talks but proposals by the Commission have been questioned by the UK and Gibraltar as conflicting with agreements already reached.
The talks surround removing physical checks and controls on persons and goods at the land border between Spain and Gibraltar.
But Gibraltar’s Chief Minister Fabian Picardo said some of the plans were unacceptable including having Spanish officers stationed in the British overseas territory.
“The Commission’s proposed mandate, published today, directly conflicts with that framework. It seeks to undermine the UK’s sovereignty over Gibraltar, and cannot form a basis for negotiations.”
The Gibraltar leader said his territory and the UK had “consistently showed pragmatism and flexibility in the search for arrangements that work for all sides, and we are disappointed that this has not been reciprocated.”
“We urge the EU to think again,” he stated.
Meanwhile, in an indication of the depths of hostility over the issue by some Spanish politicians, the General Secretary of the Spanish Vox parliamentary group, Macarena Olona, has threatened that her party would try to “suffocate” Gibraltar.
Speaking at a press conference, Ms Olona declared: “I come to say this loud and clear: Gibraltar is Spanish...We must stand up to recover Gibraltar."