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EU Parliament committee approves post-Brexit visa waiver law amid row over Gibraltar status

The British, Gibraltar and European Union flag flutter in the wind on the frontier of the enclave | Matty Cardy via Getty Images

EU Parliament committee approves post-Brexit visa waiver law amid row over Gibraltar status

Spain and Britain have long clashed over the sovereignty of Gibraltar.

By

4/3/19, 2:13 PM CET

Updated 4/3/19, 2:36 PM CET

After weeks of stalled negotiations, a reshuffled European Parliament committee passed a draft text Wednesday which would grant Britons visa-free travel to the European Union after Brexit.

A draft law, which legally describes Gibraltar as a British “colony,” was approved after Claude Moraes, a British MEP and chair of the European Parliament’s committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE), was removed from his role as the file’s rapporteur, Reuters reports.

In the uncertain run-up to Brexit, EU countries had urged the European Parliament to ratify a draft law that would allow Britons visa-free travel to the EU for a maximum of 90 days, as long as the same conditions applied to EU citizens visiting the United Kingdom. But there was no consensus on the wording of the text, which, at Spain’s request, labels Gibraltar a British “colony.”

The impasse was broken after Moraes was replaced as rapporteur this week — a rare step in the Parliament — by Bulgarian MEP Sergei Stanishev — a move described by the British MEP as an act of “bullying.”

“I was not prepared to see Spain hold this file hostage in the European Council with an addition that described Gibraltar legally as a colony,”

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