Spain's Socialist Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said in November that Madrid would seek a discussion over joint sovereignty of Gibraltar, a British territory since 1713, once Britain leaves the European Union on March 29th.
Spanish conservative parties have also called on Madrid to use Britain's looming departure from the bloc to push its claims over Gibraltar, a small peninsula attached to Spain which has long been a major point of contention in Anglo-Spanish relations. Spain has long claimed sovereignty over the territory, which is home to around 30,000 people.
“If anyone in Spain, in any part of the political spectrum, believes that we will ever compromise on our sovereignty they are wrong. The concept of joint sovereignty or any dilution of our sovereignty is a dead duck,” Picardo said in a televised New Year's address.
“It's as dead as a dodo. If anyone seriously thinks they can advance the concept of joint sovereignty, they are flogging a dead horse. They should not waste breath talking such nonsense. They should not waste ink writing such nonsense. Neither through threats nor inducements will we ever waiver. Brexit changes nothing in this respect.”
The idea of joint sovereignty is not new and such a proposal was etched out between Britain and Spain in 2001 and 2002. But it was binned after Gibraltarians rejected it in a November 2002 referendum.
“The Rock”, as Gibraltar known by locals, is due to leave the EU along with Britain.