Change of British government appears to have slowed talks between UK and Spain down. | POOL


The Spanish government wants to open a “new relationship” with the United Kingdom - after Brexit and with a new British government - in which a definitive agreement on Gibraltar is reached soon within the framework of the European Union and the best conditions are created for citizens residing in the respective countries.

Spain understands that there are two levels to these ties, according to diplomatic sources: the EU level, in which “it will be difficult to have a healthy relationship if the Brexit agreement is not fulfilled”, and the bilateral level, which especially affects the many citizens living in both countries.

The sources stressed that the new Prime Minister, Liz Truss, is “flexible in the good sense of the word”, and hoped that the deal would be “less showy and vehement” than with her predecessor, Boris Johnson.

Nevertheless, they recalled that Truss, who took over the leadership of the country just twelve days ago, “embodies the spirit of Brexit”, so no major alterations are expected in London’s stance.

With regard to a hypothetical “time horizon” for a definitive agreement between the EU and the United Kingdom, they explained that a deadline cannot be set “because everything related to Brexit ends up blowing up, there are many hurdles”.

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Nevertheless, they stressed that an agreement must be found as soon as possible, because “on the one hand, the dialogue is already sufficiently mature, and on the other, although our will is the best, the temporary contingency measures are temporary and contingency, they cannot be a stable framework”.

Diplomatic sources acknowledged that the unanimous demand that the Brexit agreement - which came into force in January 2021 - be scrupulously complied with “takes a bit of strength away from us to move forward in the bilateral relationship”.

“In mobility, we want the same rights for those who were already living here before Brexit. And for those who arrived after Brexit, we want the situation to be as similar as possible to what it was before Brexit, for example, with the recognition of driving licences”, they added.

Alongside mobility, the Spanish government considers security and defence and trade policy to be the three pillars of the future bilateral relationship.

The Foreign Office sees the relationship between the two Royal Houses and the large number of citizens living in the respective countries as “two cards we have to play” in future ties with the UK.

And the sources explained that the Spanish Foreign Minister, José Manuel Albares, has arranged to meet his new counterpart, James Cleverly, for their first bilateral meeting within the framework of the forthcoming Spanish-British Tertulias.