Spain will have the last word on who can enter Gibraltar under the terms of the preliminary post-Brexit deal announced this week, Spain’s foreign minister has said, in an assertion that was swiftly challenged by Gibraltar’s chief minister.
The agreement in principle – struck just hours before Gibraltar was poised to become the only frontier marked by a hard Brexit – will allow the British overseas territory to join the Schengen free movement area with Spain acting as a guarantor.
Gibraltar’s port and airport would become the external borders of the Schengen area, with checks undertaken by the EU’s Frontex border agency for an initial period of four years.
“Schengen is a set of rules, procedures and tools, including its database, to which only Spain has access. Gibraltar and the United Kingdom do not,” Arancha González Laya told Spanish newspaper El País in an interview published on Saturday. “That is why the final decision on who enters the Schengen area belongs to Spain.”