The EU has added Gibraltar to its blacklist of countries with poor safeguards against money laundering. The Rock was added to the list together with the Democratic Republic of Congo, Mozambique, Tanzania and the UAE.
The EU Commission also removed Nicaragua, Pakistan and Zimbabwe from the list, highlighting the progress made by these countries in tackling money laundering.
EU banks have to carry out strict checks on operations and transactions made to and from the blacklisted countries.
Gibraltar had already been added by the UK Government to its Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing (High-Risk Countries) list, in July 2022.
Gibraltar is currently the only part of Britain which is still part of the Schengen area.
While a free trade deal was struck between Britain and Brussels in 2020, Gibraltar’s own future has been the subject of drawn-out negotiations with little progress.
Last week, James Cleverly hinted that a breakthrough is coming in trade talks for post-Brexit arrangements between the EU and the Rock.
“Significant progress has been made. including discussions on the text of the treaty and its implementation,” he said.
But Spain still claims it should take control of Gibraltar’s external borders.
Mr Cleverly also welcomed “important discussions” with European Commission vice-president Maros Sefcovic on post-Brexit arrangements for Northern Ireland. He tweeted: “Thank you, Maros Sefcovic – more important discussions today.
“We are determined to find a solution to the protocol that, above all else, protects the Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement. Our teams continue to meet and I look forward to speaking again soon.”
It comes after officials from both sides met in London last month for crunch talks in London as they sought to find a breakthrough in discussions on the status of Gibraltar, a British overseas territory.
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“This requires Spain to take control, on behalf of the Schengen area, of Gibraltar’s external borders and, to this end, to be able to exercise certain functions and powers necessary to protect the integrity and security of the Schengen area,” it added.
Madrid continues to claim it has ownership of Gibraltar despite ceding it to Britain in 1713.
About 15,000 people commute daily from Spain to Gibraltar, which has a population of about 32,000.
Spain has been repeatedly accused of attempting to use Brexit to wrestle control of the small 2.6 square mile area, despite the majority of Gibraltar residents supporting remaining under the jurisdiction of the UK.
Britain and the EU set a deadline of the end of 2022 in order to give a hard end date to talks.