EU leaders will approve a post-Brexit transition offer to Britain on Friday, summit chair Donald Tusk said on Wednesday after reservations expressed by Spain over Gibraltar had held up the confirmation.
Telling reporters that he had “good news” for British Prime Minister Theresa May, Tusk said: “I have just recommended to EU27 leaders that we welcome, in principle, the agreement on transition.”
The executive European Commission struck a deal on Monday with British negotiators on a 21-month, status quo transition to follow Britain’s exit from the EU next March. Tusk sought the consent of all 27 other member states to ensure leaders would endorse the interim accord at Friday’s summit.
However, Madrid had voiced concern about how the interim accord would affect its demands for a final say on how Brexit affects the British territory of Gibraltar on Spain’s south coast. Diplomats had been discussing how to ensure Spanish consent to endorsing the deal until shortly before Tusk spoke.
Tusk said he was sure that the new wording of the summit’s formal endorsement of the deal, including on Gibraltar, would now be agreed by Spain and meet with British consent.