Gibraltar ready to stand firm as trade negotiations with the EU begin.

The British Overseas Territory does not fall under the UK’s Trade and Cooperation Agreement. Separate negotiations with the EU are scheduled to take place in order to reach a post-Brexit agreement. Madrid, Gibraltar, and London wanted to have talks about a cooperation treaty by June’s end.

The timeline was delayed because the European Commission had not yet completed seeking a mandate form the European Council, despite London and Gibraltar having already concluded their negotiations mandate.

Fabian Picardo, warning that the future negotiations with the bloc could be difficult, stated after the mandate was completed, it could include aspects that are not to the Rock’s liking.

He added: “We must all realise that when the mandate does emerge, it will be the EU’s opening position, it will not be the treaty itself.

“As an opening position, it will contain the EU’s initial approach to the treaty.”

“We have long experience over different governments of having to take the EU on in respect of some of aspects of its approach to Gibraltar, and we will not be afraid of doing so now.

“In any event, and despite our continued optimism, we will continue to plan for all eventualities.”

A government source added: “Ms von der Leyen’s remarks seem to signal that they [the EU] will be difficult to deal with.

“We will stand by Gibraltar and will be prepared to take them [the EU] head on to achieve the best deal possible.”