A third of United Kingdom companies could 'shift operations abroad' after Brexit

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EU officials at the council agreed on Friday that United Kingdom nationals should be allowed to have visa-free access to the bloc even if no deal is agreed before Brexit, but it would only be in place if the United Kingdom offered the same to European nationals.

In a 2002 referendum on whether Britain and Spain should share sovereignty over Gibraltar, 99 percent of voters said no.

"The Union position. was the British position".

The row highlighted strains over the territory on Spain's southern coast as Britain quits the Union and the remainder of the EU states swing the bloc's policies behind Spain, which is taking advantage of Brexit to ramp up its claim to The Rock.

Business secretary Greg Clark has warned that a no-deal Brexit would be a "mistake that we would regret for ever". European Union diplomats point to the territorial issue as one of those that could fray the unity the 27 have shown in negotiations so far.

Its government expressed anger over the EU's description, saying the "legal status of Gibraltar is not a matter of argument, it is a matter of fact".

Gibraltar is listed on the list of non-self-governing territories maintained by the United Nations.

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Meanwhile, Arnaud de Bresson, chief executive of French business network Paris Europlace, said about 260 businesses, which principally operate from the United Kingdom, are "in the phase of confirmation and implementation" ahead of moving some operations to France.

"This demonstrates the importance of annual attendance at the sessions of the C-24 in NY each June, which the GSLP/Liberal Government is committed to and which the GSD administration had abandoned".

"The use of such language, were it to materialise in the final documents, does not assist the creation a climate of understanding and trust between Gibraltar and Spain as we prepare to leave the European Union". "This is totally out of place in today's modern Europe", Gibraltar said.

The final text of the proposal for visa-free travel has yet to be rubber stamped.

Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar will meet European Council President Donald Tusk and the head of the bloc's executive, Jean-Claude Juncker, in Brussels next week to discuss the latest Brexit developments, Varadkar's office said on Friday.

The EU proposed allowing visa-free travel for Britons in November.

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