LONDON, Jan 30 (Reuters) - The chief minister of the British territory of Gibraltar has said he can choose elements of any Brexit deal Britain agrees with the European Union so as to avoid those he considers detrimental.
Fabian Picardo told The Independent newspaper that Gibraltar’s constitution gave it the ability to determine which parts of any final divorce deal concluded with the European Union it would keep.
“We will be able to determine whether aspects of what is agreed will be implemented in Gibraltar or not,” Picardo said, referring to the constitution of the tiny enclave on the southern tip of Spain known as “The Rock”.
“It is clear that we do have a Brexit veto for Gibraltar, in Gibraltar.”
No one from Britain’s Brexit department was immediately available for comment.
As Britain negotiates a new trading deal with the EU, there are deep splits across the country about what sort of agreement should be sought with the bloc.
An analysis compiled by British officials which was leaked on Monday suggested that Britain would be worse off under three Brexit scenarios considered.
Gibraltar, which Spain ceded to Britain in 1713 but wants back, voted 96 percent in favour of staying in the EU in the 2016 referendum and Picardo said the enclave had autonomy in areas including those relating to business and social care, meaning it set different tariffs in some sectors.
The UK says it will seek a one-size-fits-all trade agreement with the EU which will be applicable to all parts of the UK, despite regional differences.
Gibraltar’s stance reflects other divisions within the regions of the United Kingdom. The devolved government in Scotland also wants to retain membership of the EU’s single market and customs union and has tried to further the possibility of a differential deal.
Like Gibraltar, Scotland voted to keep its EU membership while Britain as a whole voted to leave, straining relations between London and Edinburgh. (Reporting by Elisabeth O‘Leary; editing by Michael Holden)