Spain and UK reach draft deal on post-Brexit status of Gibraltar

British overseas territory had been left out of deal announced on Christmas Eve

Negotiators from the UK and Spain have reached a draft agreement on the post-Brexit future of Gibraltar.

“Today is a day for hope,” Spain’s foreign minister, Arancha González Laya, said on Thursday. “In the long history of our relations with the UK, related to Gibraltar, today we’re facing an inflexion point”.

As part of the deal, the British Overseas Territory located on the southern tip of the Iberian peninsula would be able to join European Union programmes and policies such as Schengen, González Laya told reporters.

With just hours left before Brexit was set to come into force, negotiations over the future of the territory had come down to the wire. “The final countdown” is how Fabian Picardo, Gibraltar’s chief minister, had started off the day on Twitter.

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The Brexit deal announced on Christmas Eve between the UK and EU did not cover Gibraltar. Instead the fate of the territory was the topic of months of parallel negotiations that focused on preserving free movement across the shared border with Spain while steering clear of the centuries-old sovereignty dispute between London and Madrid.

Read more: The Guardian