August 20, 2019

Between a Rock and a Hard Place

“GIBRALTAR—Ever since the Brexit process began two-and-a-half years ago, there has been much hand-wringing about the prospect of a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland if the United Kingdom leaves the European Union without a formal exit agreement. This is especially true now, following the emphatic defeat of U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit deal in the British Parliament on Jan. 15, and the amendments to it that were voted on in London earlier this week. But there is another British territory sharing a border with an EU country that has received far less attention.

Indeed, the future of Gibraltar, a British overseas territory on the Iberian Peninsula’s southern tip, is as uncertain as ever. The Spanish government has proposed that Spain and Britain share sovereignty of this disputed patch of land—an idea that, in theory, has considerable advantages. Despite the centuries-old dispute between Spain and the U.K. over Gibraltar, as well as the territory’s pre-Brexit resistance to the prospect of Spanish rule, it might be time for all involved parties to consider the controversial notion afresh.”

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