LONDON Gibraltar’s leader scolded EU Council President Donald Tusk on Monday for giving Spain a right of veto over the future relationship between the British enclave and the European Union after Britain leaves the bloc.
The future of Gibraltar, a rocky British outpost on Spain’s southern tip, has become the first major dispute of the exit negotiations since Prime Minister Theresa May filed the formal divorce papers on March 29.
According to the EU’s draft joint position on the exit talks, “after the United Kingdom leaves the Union, no agreement between the EU and the United Kingdom may apply to the territory of Gibraltar without the agreement between the Kingdom of Spain and the United Kingdom”.
“Mr Tusk, who has been given to using the analogies of the divorce and divorce petition, is behaving like a cuckolded husband who is taking it out on the children ,” Gibraltar’s Chief Minister Fabian Picardo told Reuters in an interview.
Picardo said Spain was trying to bully Gibraltar and that the EU was allowing the bullying to happen. He said the British Overseas Territory would not allow itself to become a bargaining chip in the Brexit negotiations.
“We are not going to be a chip and we are not going to be a victim of Brexit as we are not the culprits of Brexit: we voted to stay in the European Union so taking it out on us is to allow Spain to behave in the manner of the bully,” he said.
Picardo said the EU should remove the reference to Gibraltar, which overwhelmingly voted to stay in the EU, from the draft guidelines.
“Removal of the reference to Gibraltar would be a sign of good faith and good will,” he said.
(Reporting by Guy Faulconbridge)