Spain was standing between Theresa May and a Brexit deal as it threatened to derail an EU summit on Sunday if it does not get new assurances on having a say in the future of Gibraltar.
As talks among Spanish, British and EU officials continued on Saturday, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said he was ready to thwart his British counterpart May’s hopes of seeing EU leaders sign off on promises of close ties with London after Britain leaves the bloc in March if he did not get his way.
EU diplomats and officials said there was still no clear breakthrough on Saturday morning, hours before some of the other leaders must set off for Brussels ahead of Sunday’s breakfast summit — few will be happy if plans change.
Brussels diplomats and representatives of other governments across Europe said they did not believe Madrid would upset the careful choreography of Sunday’s summitry, when May and her 27 EU peers will fly in for a couple of hours in the morning. But they also heard strong words from Spanish ministers that left them unwilling to call Sanchez’s bluff without further talks.