The Gibraltar Government is “very optimistic” that the UK, EU and Spain will sign a “safe and secure treaty” after their leaders met in Madrid before leaving for the UK.

It comes after Chief Minister Fabian Picardo led a delegation including Deputy Chief Minister Joseph Garcia and Attorney General Michael Llamas to the Spanish capital.

Llamas then heads to London to take part in the next formal round of negotiations with the EU, with the other couple joining via video link.

“The Government remains fully committed to a positive, safe and secure treaty for Gibraltar and is very optimistic that such a treaty will be agreed,” a spokesperson told Olive Press.

The latest round of talks came as a leading Spanish think tank advised Madrid to sign an agreement “as soon as possible”.

Last week the Elcano Royal Institute published its annual report ‘Spain in the world’ signed by 34 co-authors.

The institute said that, as the UK’s ‘key partner in many business sectors’, a deal would be in its favor and, if hard borders were established, would threaten ‘10,000 Spanish jobs’.

“Spain has too close a relationship with the UK and needs smooth trade, stable investment and a cooperative relationship with Gibraltar,” the report says.

Spain’s foreign minister said his government was “very close to an agreement” with the UK at last week’s Davos economic forum.

José Manuel Albares added that the UK was acting in “a constructive spirit”, suggesting that the two-year wait for an EU treaty could be coming to an end.

Meanwhile, Picardo told the GBC that the details of the draft treaty were “mind-blowing”.

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