The treaty of Utrecht specifies that if Britain wants to get rid of Gibraltar, Spain gets first dibs.

"And in case it shall hereafter seem meet to the Crown of Great Britain to grant, sell or by any means to alienate therefrom the propriety of the said town of Gibraltar, it is hereby agreed and concluded that the preference of having the sale shall always be given to the Crown of Spain before any others."

If Britain wanted to keep Gibraltar in the EU, effectively under British control, and didn't want Spain to get it:

Could it be removed from the jurisdiction of the UK but remain under the jurisdiction of the Crown?

Could Parliament sell it for an amount that Spain simply does not have? (e.g. the Queen trades Canada for it)

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    effectively under British control is contradictory with independent country.
    – SJuan76
    Nov 21 '18 at 8:43
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    Also, it is not clear if the new country would considered a part of the EU, since it would not be the succesor state of the UK and it is not party to the EU treaty and it is not listed in it.
    – SJuan76
    Nov 21 '18 at 8:54
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    Gibraltar is a British Overseas Territory, and not part of the UK. Could you clarify how "independent but under british control" differs from the current arrangement
    – James K
    Nov 21 '18 at 8:54
  • It would be interesting to know if the provisions of the Treaty of Utrecht would still be considered binding. Somewhat similar is how the UK honored the terms of its 1898 treaty with China when it returned Hong Kong to Chinese control in 1997. But Utrecht was significantly longer ago.
    – Stuart F
    Nov 22 '18 at 13:43
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    Canada is not under the control of the UK parliament, so it could not be exchanged for Gibraltar or any other territory without the consent of Canada. Canada is not going to agree to be placed under the sovereignty of the Spanish crown.
    – phoog
    Nov 23 '18 at 20:45

The current status of Gibraltar is "British Overseas Territory". It is not part of the UK, but it is part of the EU. The UK controls Gibraltar's Foreign and Defence policy, but it is self-governing in other matters.

There is no indication that the UK government wishes Gibraltar to remain in the EU, nor is there any indication that the EU would be willing to consider it for membership. Spain would never allow for it, and Spain does have a veto on new members.

There is every reason to believe that the UK government would be happy to allow the Gibraltese to reunite with Spain, if that wish was clearly expressed, but several referenda have been held that show that the Gibraltese want to remain linked to Britain.

If both the EU-27 and the UK (and the Gibraltese) wanted Gibraltar to remain in the EU this could be negotiated. It would be a novel arrangement. While it is possible for an overseas territory to not be a member (the arrangement of, for example, Jersey, the Falklands and Greenland), and it is possible for an overseas colony to be in the EU (for example, the French colonies like Martinique) there is no example in which a colony is a member, but not the controlling state. Nevertheless, with political will, this could be negotiated.

But, since the UK, the EU and Spain would all be against such a position, it will never happen.

It is also unlikely that it could be "sold for a price that Spain doesn't have." Spain is a large economically developed country. Who else would want to buy Gibraltar at an artificially inflated price?

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    Martinique, like Guadeloupe, and a few other territories are not "colonies" of France. They are departments on an equal footing with Calvados or Cantal. They send representatives to the Assemblée Nationale and to the Senate, they vote in Presidential elections. Nov 23 '18 at 21:13
  • That is the current legal framework, however they were formed by colonisation and hence are both departament and colonies. Regardless, it doesn't affect the point of the answer, if Spain, the UK and the rest of the EU wanted a special arrangement for Gibraltar, one could be found. But no party it, so it won't happen
    – James K
    Nov 23 '18 at 21:52
  • But what about the question? you've not answered what was asked.
    – Pelinore
    Dec 15 '18 at 7:35
  • I believe I have. "Could Gibraltar be effectively under British control, but part of the EU" Yes, if all parties agree to such an arrangement. But the parties don't agree on this, so it won't.
    – James K
    Dec 15 '18 at 8:04
  • Ah, that's not what I read as the question, I read it more as could it be hived off into a separate (entirely independent) country/nation but still under the crown (ie: as Canada & Australia were), I may have placed too much emphasis on the strap-line (or is it better referred to as the title?) & not enough on text below it? the bulk of the text below the title I felt was a secondary or subsidiary question regarding if doing so could be considered to contravene The treaty of Utrecht making doing so either impossible or else problematic.
    – Pelinore
    Dec 16 '18 at 13:23

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