Spain rejects European Union offer to create separate declaration on Gibraltar after Brexit

Anti Brexit campaigner demonstrates in Westminster in London

The leader of the small Northern Irish party propping up Prime Minister Theresa May's British government said it cannot support her Brexit divorce deal as it now stands, and warned that it could cost May their government cooperation agreement.

Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said on Thursday Spain would be against the Brexit package on Sunday if it is not changed.

European Union diplomats were meeting Friday to finalise the draft divorce agreement between Britain and the bloc, amid a warning from Spain that it will oppose the deal if it isn't guaranteed a say over the future of Gibraltar.

"We have a promise, a commitment, from the British government saying they are ready to. guarantee that they will go along with the clarification we have requested", he said.

But leader of the opposition Jeremy Corbyn said agreement amounted to "26 pages of waffle" and was the "blindfold Brexit we all feared".

"We have demanded that it be published by the British authorities before the European Council on Sunday", Luis Marco Aguiriano Nalda, state secretary for European affairs, told reporters in Brussels.

After enduring another parliamentary grilling at prime minister's questions in London, the British leader will cross the Channel to visit EU Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker.

The EU's 27 national negotiators are due to meet again on Saturday.

Again on Friday, a Spanish government source told Reuters: "We don't have enough guarantees on Gibraltar and the future relationship with the European Union, and our veto to the Brexit deal and the political declaration remains".

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"This declaration establishes the parameters of an ambitious, broad, deep and flexible partnership across trade and economic cooperation, law enforcement and criminal justice, foreign policy, security and defense and wider areas of cooperation", according to the document.

In an update of the withdrawal agreement, both sides have agreed that the post-Brexit transition period may be extended from its current end date of December 31, 2020 "for up to one or two years".

Last year's European Union guidelines on the Brexit negotiations effectively gave Spain veto powers over future relations between the bloc and the British overseas territory.

"There are alternative arrangements that can be put in place without the need for the backstop", Jeffrey Donaldson of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) said in parliament.

Prime Minister Theresa May welcomed business and civil society leaders from Northern Ireland to Number 10 Downing Street today, telling them: "Your voices are incredibly important".

The European Union's fallback proposal aimed at avoiding a hard Border between Ireland and the United Kingdom would effectively keep Northern Ireland aligned with the customs union and single market.

"There are some issues now regarding Gibraltar with Spain, but I hope that we can keep the unity among the 27", he said.

Spain doesn't have a veto on the withdrawal agreement, which does not have to be approved unanimously.

A last-minute complication arose this week when the Spanish government threatened to veto any agreement unless it received assurances on future negotiations over Gibraltar, a British outpost that Spain sees as rightfully part of its territory.

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