The Catalan government has expressed “concern” for a possible no-deal Brexit between the 27 member states of the European Union and the United Kingdom.
In a statement issued on Friday November 23, Quim Torra’s executive urges for the EU and the UK to maintain “the best possible relations,” while expressing its “disagreement” with Spain’s intention to oppose the agreement over the Gibraltar issue.
“It is necessary to continue having good relations,” writes government
In the text, the government goes on to warn of the consequences that this lack of understanding could bring for the 18,800 UK citizens living in Catalonia, as well as the 19,300 Catalans living in the UK. “It could affect the institutional, economic, and cultural relations between Catalonia and the United Kingdom,” it reads.
The Catalan government further notes in the statement that over 2,000 Catalan businesses export regularly to the UK, and that in 2017 a record 4,031 million euros in exports were reached. Meanwhile, UK investments in Catalonia summed to 1,371 million euros in the last five years, reads the text.
“It is necessary, therefore, to continue having good relations with the United Kingdom to preserve and continue promoting effective, open, and beneficial external action for both parties,” says the document, which was the initiative of Catalan president Torra, after having discussed it with the rest of his executive.
The rock: a disputed territory
Gibraltar may be at the very southern tip of the Iberian Peninsula and mainly run its own affairs, but it’s classified as a British Overseas Territory, home to some 30,000 British citizens—who in referendums chose to remain as such, and also, who voted remain in Brexit. The Rock, as it’s known for its most recognizable attribute, has been a disputed territory for centuries.
In the past week, Spain’s government criticized UK Prime Minister Theresa May’s recent Brexit draft agreement with the EU. The contentious issue is regarding Gibraltar: Spain wants to have veto power on any issue agreed between the UK and the EU affecting the Rock. And it wants it in writting.
And while May expressed “confidence” on Thursday at finding an agreement, president Pedro Sánchez tweeted their “positions remain far away” and threatened to vote against the text during a summit on Sunday.