Surrounded by fences and against the dramatic backdrop of the Rock of Gibraltar, the border between Spain and Gibraltar has long set the pace of life on the southern tip of the Iberian Peninsula commutes by up to 30 a day000 cross-border commuters and tourists

The news that border controls could be a thing of the past following a last-minute New Year’s Eve deal between Britain and Spain met with amazement, relief and an intoxicating dose of caution on both sides of the land border

“It’s a historic day,” said Juan Lozano, president of an organization representing eight Spanish communities in the border area. “One that we will remember just as much as the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989”

Hours before Gibraltar was to become the only land border marked by a hard Brexit, Madrid and London signed an agreement of principle that would allow British territory to become part of the Schengen area

Such a move could change the area, Lozano told the Spanish news agency Efe. “It will make the fence that divided two communities and from which we have suffered for 300 years disappear”

Despite the cession of Gibraltar to Great Britain in 1713, Spain has long tried to reclaim the territory at times the border has become a peasant in the sovereignty dispute, especially in 1969 when the Spanish dictator Francisco Franco barricaded the border when the heavy iron gate became 13th Repealed years later, resulting in tearful reunions of long-separated relatives

In 2013, as part of a dispute with Gibraltar over an artificial reef, Spain stepped up its controls at the border and triggered blockades that lasted for months

On Friday, as the UK celebrated its first day outside the European Union’s legal framework, cameras set up at the Gibraltar border crossing showed little traffic.The day had started confused and it was reported that passports were being requested instead of official identification to enter Spain

The Prime Minister of Gibraltar noted the Brexit and the last-minute nature of the agreement with regard to the territory, as Spain had not yet received permission from the European Commission to allow British nationals to enter the country with only an identity card / p>

“An interesting irony that the problem is now on the limit not really Spain, but the European Commission. But I hope not for long, ”Fabian Picardo told the Gibraltar Broadcasting Corporation

In Gibraltar, the immediate relief of having avoided a hard border came with many questions that go unanswered. “Any collective sigh of relief must be tempered by a lack of knowledge of the exact arrangement,” the opposition Social Democrats of Gibraltar said in an explanation

The party did not consider the agreement to be legally binding as it has not yet been incorporated into a treaty by the European Commission “We welcome it for what it is – a first step that keeps alive the possibility of a safe and beneficial deal and prevents a hard Brexit ”

The request for further details has been confirmed by the Together Gibraltar party, which has a seat in the Gibraltar Parliament. However, in its statement on the deal, the party reserved its strongest words for Britain

“The party also wants to remind the electorate that we are in this position because Britain effectively threw Gibraltar to the Lions in June 2016,” it said

It went on, “They involuntarily tore us out of the EU, then vetoed our ability to access a trade agreement to Spain, and finally signed our own trade deal that allowed us to conclude an agreement with little or no negotiate leverage ”


World News – FI – Gibraltar celebrates “historic day” when the last minute deal was greeted with relief