Davis’s Gibraltar Gaffe Adds Last-Minute Brexit Glitch

(Bloomberg) -- The European Union’s plan to endorse a post-Brexit transition deal this week encountered a last-minute hitch when Spain raised concerns about the treatment of Gibraltar.

The Madrid government is worried that the deal, reached between the U.K. and EU on Monday, failed to make sufficiently clear that the 21-month phase doesn’t cover the British territory off the Spanish coast unless Spain explicitly agrees.

The issue has flared up intermittently during the Brexit negotiations and got a new lease of life when, in welcoming the transition deal, U.K. Brexit Secretary David Davis said that, in his view, the transition agreement “does cover Gibraltar.”

Spain wants reassurances before it allows EU leaders to issue a statement confirming the transition deal at a summit on Friday, an EU official said. The official played down concerns that the issue will derail the deal.

“No agreement between the EU and the U.K. can apply to the territory of Gibraltar without a bilateral agreement,” the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, told reporters in Brussels on Tuesday. “I know these discussions are under way and are making headway.”

©2018 Bloomberg L.P.