EuroCitizens has received an update from the British Embassy in Madrid about local voting rights of UK nationals in Spain to clear up some of the confusion caused by recent articles in the press.
As some of you might have read, the European Court of Justice recently ruled on the case of a UK national, living in France, who contested that she should be able to vote in local elections in France. She lost the case, on the basis that UK nationals are no longer EU citizens. The ruling set out that UK nationals no longer have the right to stand and vote in local elections on the basis of EU law. Some media articles have picked up the ruling and suggested it affects UK nationals across the EU.
It is important to highlight that the judgement does not affect UK nationals’ right to vote and stand in local elections in Spain. That is because these are provided by the bilateral agreement between the UK and Spain, which allows UK nationals who have lived in Spain for more than 3 years to vote and stand in local elections
More information on voting rights in Spain (and the treaty) is available on our Living in Spain guide. As the guide highlights, UK nationals who wish to vote in next year’s local elections will need to register on the electoral roll at their town hall within the dates specified by the electoral authorities (we expect these to be between December 2022 and January 2023). There is therefore no action that UK nationals need to take now.
It is, of course, important to ensure that there is a good understanding of the process for standing and registering to vote in local elections. The Embassy is already working on these issues and will be formally following up with the relevant Spanish authorities during the course of June.