Britain and Spain poured cold water yesterday on reports that they would resolve a dispute concerning Gibraltar at the European Union Summit in Portugal. A deal would unblock long-delayed European Union legislation on takeover bids, European company statutes and other issues. European Commission officials in Brussels last week said a deal was close. But both sides said yesterday that it was not quite in place yet. The stumbling block is Spain's fear that the authorities in the British colony would appoint separate bodies on issues such as takeover disputes to further strengthen their hand. Asked if Britain and Spain would get together to reach an accord at the two-day European summit, Britain's junior Foreign Office minister Keith Vaz told Reuters: “I shouldn't think so. “Talks are continuing but it is not on the agenda for today.” A Spanish government source took a similar line. “Neither the UK nor Spain are happy about bringing our bilateral problems into the EU system,” he told Reuters.

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