A post-Brexit passport check row has left Gibraltar in limbo as discussions between the UK and Spain have failed to reach a resolution.
The British overseas territory has been the centre of talks between the UK, EU and Spanish officials since 2020.
Three years ago, a temporary agreement was reached which allowed most people crossing into Gibraltar to be waved through after showing ID cards or passports.
The Spanish government has since demanded that anyone wishing to cross the border must be checked by Spanish officials on the mainland.
UK officials, however, have resisted any form of having Spanish officials checking passports and have said it must be continue to be done by Frontex, the EU border agency.
“To have fluidity of movement between Gibraltar and Spain there have to be Schengen controls at the airport,” a Spanish official involved in the talks told the Financial Times.
“There is no doubt. It is the only way. The passport checks have to be done by the Policía Nacional.”
UK officials have suggested Spanish border guards process travellers flying to the enclave from UK airports, similar to what French officials do in London for Eurostar trains to Paris and Brussels.
This week Foreign Secretary James Cleverly and Chief Minister of Gibraltar Fabian Picardo met to discuss the territory which Spain ceded to the UK in 1713.
The pair agreed to work “constructively towards an agreement” with Mr Cleverly adding: “The UK’s commitment to Gibraltar remains as strong as ever. We continue to work side-by-side to conclude an EU treaty as soon as possible.
“Throughout the negotiations we have presented proposals that maintain the careful balance of the December 2020 Political Framework and could unleash economic growth for everyone in the region.”
A large amount of workers cross the border to work in Gibraltar while many from the territory also travel into the mainland to shop and use the beaches and golf courses.
Jose Manuel Albares, Spain’s foreign minister, said his government could not negotiate “eternally” with the UK last December, while in London it is feared that if the Spanish conservative People’s party wins a general election, it will make any agreement even more difficult.
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