The negotiators of the European Union and the United Kingdom to define Gibraltar’s relationship with the Twenty-seven will meet again this Thursday in Brussels to continue discussions at the highest political level, in a meeting attended by the vice president of the European Commission in charge of affair, Maros Sefcovic, and the British Foreign Secretary, David Cameron; as well as the head of Spanish diplomacy, José Manuel Albares, and the chief minister of Gibraltar, Fabián Picardo.

It is about “continuing the discussions”, community sources have informed Europa Press, in “the same format” that took place on April 12, when Sefcovic, Cameron, Albares and Picardo met in the community capital to unravel the negotiations, after two and a half years of talks and 18 negotiating rounds without definitive progress.

Diplomatic sources have in turn confirmed Albares’ trip and pointed out that the objective of this second meeting is to “advance the main lines” of an agreement that aims to bring “prosperity, confidence, legal security and stability to citizens of all the Campo de Gibraltar”.

In the joint statement from Sefcovic and Cameron after the April meeting, both noted “significant” progress in the talks and agreement on the guidelines that include provisions “on the airport, goods and mobility.”

This Thursday’s meeting takes place in parallel to the third meeting between London and Brussels to take stock of the application of the framework agreement that regulates bilateral relations since the divorce of the United Kingdom and the 27 was completed, confirming the “close relationship” between the two parties and address other issues such as support for Ukraine, the British Government said in a statement.

As far as Gibraltar is concerned, whose Chief Minister traveled to London this Tuesday to prepare for the meeting, the British Government points out that it will be a matter of “discussing progress”, without further details.

On April 12, Brussels and London staged the political thaw of the talks after two and a half years of technical negotiations without concrete progress. The meeting also took place days after the unrest created in the Spanish Government by the statements of another community vice president who questioned the agreement options before the European elections of June 9 took place.

Cameron and Sefcovic then avoided appearing at the end of their meeting but assured in a joint statement that there had been “significant” progress that allowed them to agree on “general political lines, including on the airport, goods and mobility. Albares and Picardo also attended the meeting in ” a four-player format that will be repeated” this Thursday, community sources point out.

The April statement also included a commitment to continue negotiations during the following “weeks” in order to “conclude the EU-United Kingdom Agreement”, without giving more details about the calendar or clarifying whether there would be new meetings at the political level to reach an agreement that resolves the ‘limbo’ in which the Rock finds itself in its relationship with the bloc since Brexit was consummated.

The approach, however, raised alarms in London and the deputies of the committee monitoring relations with the European Union in the House of Commons warned last week in a letter of their “concern” about the risk that agreed upon involves a transfer of sovereignty by the United Kingdom, given that Gibraltar will have to align itself with part of the community acquis under the scrutiny of the Court of Justice of the EU (CJEU). In their letter, the deputies called for the negotiations to be suspended.

Since the start of the talks, the aim has been to abolish the Fence and the ‘de facto’ entry of Gibraltar into Schengen, for which border controls will have to be moved to the port and airport. The United Kingdom rejects that Spanish agents carry out these controls, hence a proposal is on the table so that during a transitional period of four years this task falls to the European Border Agency (Frontex).

Another of the thorniest aspects of the negotiation, of which hardly any details have emerged in the more than two years that have passed, is that of the Gibraltar airport. The airfield is built on the isthmus that connects the Rock with the rest of the peninsula and is disputed territory.

Spain has been demanding shared use of the facilities so that the entire region can benefit from it, but the United Kingdom is flatly opposed, considering that it clashes with its position regarding sovereignty.