Removing a mention of Gibraltar from a formal treaty has finally allowed European sanctions against North Korea and Iran to be applied – in line with United Nations measures.
Under a compromise reached between London and Madrid, the British foreign ministry is now listed in the treaty as the competent authority for the overseas territory.
As Spain still disputes the colony’s sovereignty, it had objected to naming Gibraltar as an authority for the possible freezing of bank assets there.
The EU agreement to implement UN sanctions on Iran kept the door open to fresh talks on defusing a stand-off over what Western powers suspect is a covert Iranian bid to make atom bombs.
Diplomats said the EU measures would include travel bans on Iranian nuclear officials and call on states to prevent Iranian nationals from studying sensitive technologies on their soil.
UN restrictive measures against Pyongyang include an embargo on the sale of arms and luxury goods, after North Korea tested a nuclear weapon last autumn.