European Council President Donald Tusk and Prime Minister of great Britain Theresa may met on Thursday, April 6, in London. It was the first official contact between the two politicians since the beginning of last week procedure Brexit — British exit from the EU.
According to TASS, following the results of negotiations in the Prime Minister’s residence in Downing street, the politicians refrained from comment. “Smooth as usual”, — said Tusk to the question about how the conversation took place between him and the Prime Minister may. In this regard, the impression about the meeting can be built only on the basis of statements by official spokesmen of politicians or the words of sources in both delegations.
The morning of April 6, before a meeting with Tusk, may said details of negotiations on Brexit to discuss at the meeting will not be: “We will discuss the beginning of negotiations and move forward.”
The talks in London lasted about two hours. “Donald Tusk and Theresa may has agreed to reduce tension in the ensuing discussions, the terms Brexit, which is problematic when talking about complex issues, such as Gibraltar,” — reports Reuters words of the representative of the EU. The source also added that the talks were held “in a good and friendly atmosphere.” Reuters an anonymous source in one of the delegations noted that Mei and Tusk agreed to be in constant communication to maintain a constructive approach.
As reports “RIA Novosti”, the representative of the Prime Minister after the talks told journalists that they discussed the programme of the upcoming April 29 meeting of the European Council. In this extraordinary summit of 27 EU leaders should discuss and agree on the principles of the negotiation position of Brussels in the process of Brexit.
In addition, the representative Downing street said: may the negotiations said that the position of London on Gibraltar will remain unchanged. “London will seek the most favorable conditions for Gibraltar after the withdrawal of Britain from the EU. No negotiations on the sovereignty of Gibraltar without the decision of people to not be”, — said the representative of the Prime Minister.
The diplomatic crisis over Gibraltar flared up at the end of last week. After March 29, the British government sent to Brussels the official notification of the beginning of the procedure Brexit, Tusk released a draft of the negotiation position of the EU document, which will be discussed on April 29. Among the 26 items of the draft was a provision stating that any decision on the status of Gibraltar, overseas territory of the UK, cannot be made without taking into account the position of neighbouring Spain.
As noted by British experts, the provision for the participation of Spain in itself is meaningless: each of the countries of the EU already, in essence, has veto power in determining the final agreement on the terms Brexit. However, the attraction of Madrid to the solution of the Gibraltar issue has caused a wave of discontent in London — both on the part of government officials, and on behalf of independent politicians. Thus, the former Chairman of the British Conservative party, Lord Michael Howard explicitly threatened Spain with war, comparing the protection of British Gibraltar with the conflict over the Falkland Islands in 1982.
As the only British overseas territory, where the inhabitants are British subjects and have the right to vote on purely British polls, Gibraltar last summer voted against leaving the EU with a score of 96%. At the same time, the vast majority of Gibraltarians do not intend to secede from Britain, as evidenced by the data of the previous referendum (99% against total or partial transfer under the control of Spain).
As noted by the British Independent, the Prime Minister may have ruled out any military solution to the Gibraltar problem, but still not condemned the statements of Lord Howard.
The question of Gibraltar is now most acute, but not the only problem in the context of a start Brexit. Thus, on 5 April the European Parliament adopted the negotiating principles, where the cornerstone was set for the civil rights of Brits in EU and Europeans in UK. According to the bargaining position of London, this issue should be discussed during negotiations with Brussels. The proposal to include a provision on the rights of EU citizens as a mandatory item of the final transaction by a majority of votes of the house of Commons it was not supported. Critics may argue that the government is turning citizens ‘ rights into a bargaining chip in negotiations with the EU.
Negotiations on Brexit could begin only on may 22, when the European General Affairs Council will meet to adopt the document on the basic provisions of Brexit. This was reported by Bloomberg, an anonymous European official. According to him, any negotiations that will take place until may, will “discuss the format, but not content”. The source also stressed that in Brussels and developing an emergency action plan in case if a compromise between Britain and the EU established two years will not be found.