Spanish Brexit negotiator suggests British expats should keep their EU rights

Spanish Brexit negotiator suggests British expats should keep their EU rights

Madrid is seeking a Brexit deal that will allow British expatriates to remain in Spain with full access to their EU benefits.

Jorge Toledo, the Spanish secretary for the EU and the chairman of the working group on Brexit, indicated that his government would “in principle” support the agreement with the UK, so that Britons living in Spain continue to enjoy their EU rights.

Speaking to the Times, Toledo said: “We are broadly in favor of retaining a reciprocal agreement on questions like healthcare and freedom of movement.

“As regards the rights of EU citizens in the UK and the rights of UK citizens in the EU, Spain is in favor of these rights in the future but the modalities and conditions will and should be a matter of negotiation.”

Diplomatic sources, cited by the Times, also suggest that the Spanish government would prefer an agreement that will preserve the status quo in Northern Ireland, where the free movement of labor and goods is safeguarded by the EU.

Madrid’s apparently lenient stance towards British expats might be explained by the significant presence of Britons in Spain.

According to Foreign Office statistics, about a million UK citizens reside in Spain, making it the largest British expat community in the EU.

Following the Brexit referendum, a number of British expatriate groups began to lobby the UK government to ensure they keep their EU rights in the aftermath of Britain’s formal withdrawal from the bloc.

Sue Wilson, a campaigner for ‘Bremain in Spain’, welcomed Toledo’s statement:

“I am delighted to hear this positive news from Spain. It is good to know that on this side of the negotiating table at least our fears and concerns are being taken seriously and there is a genuine desire to see us protected.

Lib Dems support the idea that individual UK citizens who want to should be allowed to keep their links with the EUhttps://t.co/FxdhctBXoA

— BremainInSpain (@BremainInSpain) 19 March 2017

“We would love to believe that the British government has our best interests at heart too. However, they have done nothing to demonstrate this despite continuing to say that they are acting in our best interests.

“If that were true they would have unilaterally safeguarded the rights of EU citizens in the UK by now, as their exiting the EU select committee recommended,” Wilson added.

Earlier this month, British MPs rejected a House of Lords suggestion that the government must guarantee that the rights of EU citizens residing in the UK will remain unchanged post-Brexit.

Prime Minister Theresa May also announced that the government will trigger Article 50 on March 29, initiating the process for Britain to leave the EU and launching formal negotiations with European leaders, where the issue of expats’ rights is likely to be top of the agenda.



Add Comment

all comments

  Other news

more
CCTV captures 'appalling' cyclist hit-and-run

CCTV captures 'appalling' cyclist hit-and-run..

21-Jul, 09:00

It happened at the same junction where a car being followed by police...

Winston Churchill tried to cover up royal family’s ‘Nazi connection’

Winston Churchill tried to cover up royal family’s ‘Nazi connection’..

20-Jul, 12:32

Britain’s wartime Prime Minister Winston Churchill desperately tried to...

Summer childcare

Summer childcare..

20-Jul, 12:51

Keeping your children entertained during a long summer holiday is never...

BBC bosses make a HUGE declaration about Jodie Whittaker's pay packet as they confirm she will recieve salary 'parity' with former Doctor Who Peter Capaldi

BBC bosses make a HUGE declaration about Jodie Whittaker's pay packet as they confirm she will..

21-Jul, 02:10

After Jodie Whittaker was announced as the first ever female Doctor Who...

Bad weather hampers search for missing US climber

Bad weather hampers search for missing US climber..

22-Jun, 08:25

The Russian Emergencies Ministry says the search for a missing American...

Ready to serve: Businesses find vets are dedicated, capable

Ready to serve: Businesses find vets are dedicated, capable..

24-May, 12:33

Clinton Smith hires veterans because he knows military service has helped...

I’m Sorry Kang Nam Goo Episode 51

I’m Sorry Kang Nam Goo Episode 51..

28-Feb, 22:12

The following I’m Sorry Kang Nam Goo Episode 51 English Sub has been...

What US options are 'on the table' with North Korea?

What US options are 'on the table' with North Korea?..

20-Mar, 23:20

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has signaled that the U.S. will take a...