SPAIN’s Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez has called Brexit a “historic error” in a bid to warn against those wanting independence in Catalonia.
Mr Sanchez claimed Britain’s exit from the European Union (EU) will leave it with less influence on the world stage, branding Brexit a “tragedy”.
He said that the Brexit outcome is particularly important in Spain due to the number of Spanish people living in the UK, the fishing industry in Spain and the businesses sharing links to the UK.
He said: “Unfortunately, it was not possible to reject the request of the U.K. to withdraw from the EU.
“Brexit is a tragedy for the British and for the Europeans.”
Speaking to Catalonians, who voted for independence from Spain in October last year in a non-binding referendum, he said: “Let’s take note of foreign mistakes, let’s learn from the historic error which Brexit represents for the United Kingdom and think about the prosperity of our citizens.”
He added: “There are more things that unite us than those that separate us, let’s give priority to the union of Europe and Spain.”
In a cutting remark, Spain’s premier said people in the UK spend 24 hours a day thinking about Brexit and “the Europeans think about it for four minutes every trimester”.
Mr Sanchez said Spain will need to put emergency measures in place if there were to be a no-deal Brexit and called the EU divorce a “tragedy”.
Mr Sanchez told the UN Brexit brings an opportunity for a new relationship between the UK overseas territory Gibraltar and the EU.
Spain and UK authorities are exploring bilateral arrangements regarding Gibraltar following Brexit.
Mr Sanchez said: “The Gibraltar protocol is resolved, it’s been closed with the British government, and what we are doing now is working out the four memorandums for the bilateral relationship between the government of Spain and the UK.”
The International Air Transport Association has warned the number of flights between the UK and Spain could collapse by 95 per cent if no Brexit deal is agreed.