British prime minister Theresa May has defended the agreement reached with the European Union this Sunday in a press conference in Brussels after the 27 remaining member states of the European Union approved the agreement reached for UK withdrawal. According to the British prime minister, "the best possible deal" has been achieved and she stressed that the British once again have "control" of their "borders, money and laws".
May said that she did not herself feel especially sad, the adjective mentioned by most of the European leaders, and she explained that she would "speak directly to the British people" to explain the deal, with a campaign that will take her all over Britain.
Regarding Gibraltar, May was clear: Its "sovereignty will not change", making a clear reference to the words of Pedro Sánchez, who himself asserted that "Spain has more strength than ever in the European Union". The British PM thanked the Gibraltar chief minister, Fabian Picardo, for the role he had played in the negotiations with Spain and reasserted that London would continue negotiating for "the entire UK family, including Gibraltar".
May ratified the message given this Sunday by the British government through a press statement directed to the British - and especially, Gilbratarian - public in which she underlined that the position of her executive "has not changed, and will not change" with respect to British sovereignty over Gibraltar.
The UK's position on Gibraltar's sovereignty has not changed and will not change. Read more: https://t.co/THo4MaPKwb— UK Prime Minister (@10DowningStreet) 25 de novembre de 2018
In the message, the British government expressed its satisfaction at having resolved the "concerns" expressed by Spain, which had wanted to confirm that the commitment to negotiate the future relationship, outlined in article 184 of the Brexit document, did not mean that this relationship would automatically have the same territorial scope as the rest of the withdrawal agreement. Had this been the case, future negotiations on Gibraltar might have only been possible as part of the broader Brexit negotiations between the United Kingdom and the EU as whole, which was what the Spanish government said it feared.
"That was never the intention of that Article and so we are pleased to provide the clarity that the Spanish are seeking", affirms the press release, following Saturday's briefer clarification by the UK of the specific point that Spain had raised.
"Unwavering" British sovereignty
The UK message goes on to say that the clarification "does not change the UK's commitment" to negotiate a future relationship that works for "the wider UK family, including Gibraltar".
"Our position on sovereignty is - and will remain - unchanged", advises the note, reasserting that no discussion on sovereignty would be entered into with Spain, except with the consent of Gibraltar. The UK commitment to what this "double lock" is "absolute and indestructible".
For his part, Fabian Picardo expressed his satisfaction that the legal text of the Brexit agreement had not been modified, since the clarification on article 184 is not included in the text, but rather as an independent written document. "This is what the Spanish government repeatedly sought. But they have not achieved it. The United Kingdom has not let us down. Theresa May has not let us down", he said.