Treaty “tango” delay fuels speculation

The recent call by Spain for the EU Commission to intensify the negotiations on Gibraltar can be interpreted in different ways. The first is that a helpful Madrid wants to push matter forward to a satisfactory conclusion. The second is that they are already setting a narrative for the blame game to follow in the event that the process were to collapse.

It will have seemed odd to the impartial political observer to hear Foreign Minister Albares urge the Commission to get on with it. The reason for this is very simple. Spain has boasted from the outset of the negotiations on a Gibraltar treaty that, in effect, it was Madrid and not Brussels in the driving seat. In other words, the impression has been given continuously that it was Spain setting the agenda, setting the pace of the discussions and effectively in control of what Brussels could and could not do. The logical conclusion for anyone following the progress of the negotiations, therefore, is that in the scenario described by Madrid itself, Brussels simply does not have the power or the ability to delay matters.