Explaining the European Union’s Changing Position towards the Gibraltar Question after the Brexit Referendum
AbstractHaving previously remained impartial on the Gibraltar question between Spain and Britain since both were member states, the European Union suddenly changed its position after the Brexit referendum in favor of the Spanish government at the expense of breaching international law. In doing so, the European Union, for the first time, created a foreign policy on the long-standing Gibraltar question. This article explores the reasons behind the creation of this foreign policy in support of Spain. The European Union feared that the idea of Euroscepticism may escalate among remaining member states after the Brexit referendum because of wide-spread claims that it would dissolve in the near future, fuelled by far-right political parties. The European Union therefore created a foreign policy regarding Gibraltar in Spain’s favor in order to promote a “sense of community” for thwarting a further rise in Euroscepticism. While making its analysis, the article applies the assumption of social constructivism that ideas shape interests, which then determine the foreign policy choices of actors.
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