EU trying to ‘undo’ gains made in Brexit says Sammy Wilson
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Despite the post-Brexit agreement on Gibraltar, one expert has attacked the EU for its “cynical” approach to the British overseas territory. While the EU has criticised the UK over the Northern Ireland Protocol, Dr Lee Rotherham, Director of The Red Cell a Brexit think tank, outlined the outrageous U-turn from Brussels. Following the introduction of a new proposal from the EU, Dr Rotheram claimed diplomats in Brussels can no longer be trusted.
Writing for CapX, he said: “The full story behind this border U-turn will be a scandal.
“Either Madrid has covertly lobbied to overturn its own agreement; or a Commission that claims to represent a ‘rules-based organisation’ and says that Brexit agreements aren’t up for revisiting is being hypocritical, overturning a prior agreement hoping to deliver a permanent border crisis for it to use to its own institutional ends.
“Both prospects are cynical, selfish, and deceitful.
“Whatever the train of events though, it transpires that the diplomats and politicians who cannot be trusted over Brexit turn out to be on the other side of the Channel.”
This week, the EU presented a plan whereby the Spanish government would have greater authority in managing the border.
In the agreement signed in December, the EU’s border force, Frontex was given the role but will now operate on an assistant basis.
A governing body will also be created to oversee the operation but Dr Rotheram claimed it is unclear what form it will take and what enforcement powers it may have.
Such is the alteration in the role of the Frontex force, Dr Rotheram claimed the EU has “breached” good faith following the negotiations with the UK in December.
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Following the release of the EU’s mandate, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab claimed he had been left “disappointed” by the proposal.
Mr Raab also accused the EU of undermining the UK’s sovereignty following the release of the draft mandate.
He said: “The UK, with Gibraltar, and Spain carefully agreed a pragmatic Framework Agreement, in full consultation with the EU Commission.
“The Commission’s proposed mandate, published today, directly conflicts with that Framework.
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“It seeks to undermine the UK’s sovereignty over Gibraltar, and cannot form a basis for negotiations.
“We have consistently showed pragmatism and flexibility in the search for arrangements that work for all sides, and we are disappointed that this has not been reciprocated.
“We urge the EU to think again.”
In response, vice-president of the EU Commission Maros Sefcovic said: “By putting forward this draft mandate, we are honouring the political commitment we made to Spain to start the negotiations of a separate agreement between the EU and the UK on Gibraltar.
“This is a detailed mandate, which aims to have a positive impact for those living and working on either side of the border between Spain and Gibraltar, while protecting the integrity of the Schengen Area and the Single Market.”
Gibraltar was left out of the Trade and Cooperation Agreement in December but a deal was reached to allow the free movement between the British territory.
Gibraltar’s airport and port became the EU’s external border, with checks undertaken by the EU’s Frontex border agency.
As part of the agreement, Gibraltar would also be able to join EU programmes and policies.
Despite ceding Gibraltar to Britain in 1713, Spain has long sought to reclaim the territory on the southern tip of the Iberian peninsula.
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