UK election unlikely to impact Brexit negotiation says expert ahead of Madrid visitMember News
The head of the UKs first Centre for Brexit Studies believes the countrys snap general election will make no difference to its Brexit negotiation position and that Gibraltar remains a problematic issue ahead of talks.
Speaking before a visit to Madrid next week (April 24-26) Professor Alex de Ruyter, Director of the Centre for Brexit Studies at Birmingham City University, said the likelihood of a Conservative victory in the election meant Britains bargaining position was unlikely to change.
Birmingham City University
Professor de Ruyter, who will be in Madrid for a British Council event, also believes that the status of Gibraltar is likely to prove a sticking point in negotiations.
He said: Barring an outcome such as a Labour-Liberal Democrat coalition, possibly supported by the Scottish National Party which current polls suggest is extremely unlikely there will be no change in the UKs approach to Brexit negotiations, or relative bargaining position.
For the EU, the most pressing concerns will be the outcome of the French Presidential elections in May in which two candidates have expressed anti-EU views, and then German elections later in the year.
What will be more interesting will be the regional breakdown of the vote in the UK, particularly with Scotland and Northern Ireland. Both of these recorded strong remain votes in the 2016 referendum and a repeat performance for Remain parties will only serve to increase tensions within the UK.
The status of Gibraltar is particularly problematic for negotiations, with Spain effectively being given a veto over access to any deal between the UK and the EU for Gibraltar if the Spanish government is not satisfied with sovereignty arrangements over Gibraltar. Professor Alex de Ruyter
Similarly, the Spanish government dropping objections to an independent Scotland being allowed to apply to join the EU, and the EU insistence on no hard border between the UK and Ireland have also served to cloud the UKs negotiating position.
The Centre for Brexit Studies is already carrying out research into how Britains vote to leave the European Union will impact Gibraltar.
Research will examine how Brexit will effect links between defence organisations of different countries and avoid Gibraltar becoming a security risk - particularly in relation to illegal immigration, and drug and human trafficking from North Africa to Spain.