viernes, 11 de junio de 2021

AN MBE FOR SERVICES TO BRITONS AFFECTED BY BREXIT

 

A personal view from Mike Harris, Vice-chair of EuroCitizens

 

I was down at the allotments and almost dropped the hoe on my foot when HMA Hugh Elliot rang to offer me an MBE. It was, he explained, for campaigning with EuroCitizens and British in Europe for the rights of UK citizens in Spain and the EU. When Hugh mentioned a ceremony at Buckingham Palace I baulked. I don't do aeroplanes, I gasped, almost confessing that I don't do Queens either. Hugh replied that the ceremony could also be done in Madrid and, while we chatted horticulture, I imagined a party on the ambassadorial lawn with as many EuroCitizens present as possible.

 

Our committee supported my idea to write something about it. Everything somehow got more complicated as I entered the long dark night of the soul of the leftist offered membership of the British Empire, with its long and bloody past. Surely it hasn't even existed for fifty years? And wasn't Brexit, so damaging for us Britons in the EU, fuelled by imperial nostalgia and fantasies of 'Empire 2.0'? And wasn't it the current government that got us into this mess in the first place? And what about....?

 

Of course, such misgivings are common, and many have rejected honours for similar reasons. Others, like Professor David Olosuga, finally accepted - in his case on the grounds that the contributions of non-white people have been under-recognised. Whilst in no way comparing our position to that of ethnic minorities, British emigrants in Europe have also been long ignored by UK journalists and politicians (because most of us cannot vote).

 

I returned to my initial gut reaction in the allotment, thought of our brave little group getting back together again after this damned pandemic - and that coming on top of years of uncertainty. It has been such a long road since we first met in the shoddy back room of a bar in Lavapies. There have been great moments, the anti-Brexit demonstrations in London, our own at the Plaza Margaret Thatcher and our 24-hour vigil outside the Embassy in Madrid. Even our singsong on Brexit night alleviated our sadness about this most futile and destructive act.

 

It's true that campaigning has been gruelling, we have not got everything we wanted by any means and there is still work to do. However, we have done our best as a committee with the support of our small but loyal and generous membership. We have worked closely with other groups in Spain* and have received constant backup from the brilliant British in Europe*. All this has enabled us to punch above our weight and make a real difference to people's lives, I think.

 

So why turn down the possibility of a glass of Foreign Office red when there's so much to be proud about?   

 

 

 

* Congratulations to Jane Golding and Fiona Godfrey on their OBEs - they more than deserve them. The only pity is that the UK Embassy in France did not recognise the fantastic work of BiE's Kalba Meadows and Kathryn Dobson and that the Embassy in Rome did not do the same for Jeremy Morgan and Zoe Adams.


* Congratulations also to Debbie Williams (Brexpats Hear Our Voice), Anne Hernández (Brexpats in Spain) and Sue Wilson (Bremain) who have also been awarded MBEs. Again, all three awards are well deserved.

lunes, 17 de mayo de 2021

HELP US TO FIGHT FOR YOUR RIGHT TO COMBINE DIFFERENT STATUSES

 

https://sede.policia.gob.es/portalCiudadano/extranjeria/EX19.pdf

 Are you the spouse or the dependant of an EU citizen as well as being protected by the Withdrawal Agreement? If so, please write and tell us about your situation (eurocitizens2016@gmail.com). Under EU law you should have the right to enjoy both statuses which give you advantages but, currently in Spain, this is not possible. We think this is unfair.

 

The right to residence of a number of UK residents in Spain is protected by the terms of the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement (WA) as well as through status as a dependant of a Spanish or EU national (with residence rights in Spain).  However, in practice, it is impossible, for the moment, to reconcile the two.

 

The benefit of dependency status is that a degree of freedom of movement is preserved - you can reside in another EU country as a dependent and would not lose the right to reside in Spain after an absence of five years or more.  However, in such a case, the rights are held as a dependent and not as an individual, as per the WA. Recognition of more than one status can thus be a valuable means of securing the full rights of residency to which someone may be entitled.

 

With the support of the European Commission, we have lobbied the Spanish authorities to recognise that a citizen could be entitled to more than one status.  This would confer both individual rights, as a WA beneficiary, whilst acknowledging supplementary rights as a dependent. However, the authorities have shown intransigence, saying that only one status (and thus only one NIE - foreign citizen identity number) can be recognised.  We have pointed out that in practical terms the issue could be resolved by an annotation to the Third Country residence card (TIE), maintaining just the one NIE but they are not prepared to shift their position.  In turn, the Commission have made clear that they will only intervene formally on the basis of examples where citizens have been refused multi status.

 

We are trying to identify examples where this has happened.  Please let us know if you or someone you know has encountered this difficulty and would be prepared to allow details to be passed to the Commission in order to take formal action.

miércoles, 28 de abril de 2021

SURVEY ABOUT THE FUTURE NEED FOR BRITISH IN EUROPE


The EU wide coalition, British in Europe, (of which EuroCitizens is an affiliate) has launched a survey to form a picture of UK citizens across the EU, EEA and Switzerland.  This will greatly help in defining future activity to protect and represent the interests of British citizens abroad.

Please do complete the survey (should take no more than 20 minutes) via the following on-line link.  The survey will be undertaken and registered completely on-line. Full details are provided within the survey.

https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/BiE2021

jueves, 11 de marzo de 2021

GETTING IN TOUCH WITH EUROCITIZENS: INFORMATION PROVISION VS. PROBLEMS RELATED TO THE WITHDRAWAL AGREEMENT

 


EuroCitizens is a group campaiging for the rights of UK nationals in Spain and we are still working on the vital issue of the combination of statuses. However, we do not have the resources of a citizens' advice organisation so we cannot supply information about residence application procedures, driving licences etc. What we can do is pass on the problems experienced by Britons covered by the Withdrawal Agreement to the UK Embassy and to the Spanish Government.
 
1) Information provision:
 
If you need information about applying for the TIE and other issues related to residence, travel, healthcare etc. please look through the following websites:
 



2) Problems related to the Withdrawal Agreement (WA):

If you have experienced problems while applying for the new TIE or if you are affected, as a beneficiary of the WA, by issues related to travel or living in Spain, please write to us at
eurocitizens2016@gmail.com
. We will get back to you as soon as we can.

viernes, 29 de enero de 2021

HOW TO DEMONSTRATE THAT YOUR GREEN EU CERTIFICATE IS STILL A VALID RESIDENCE DOCUMENT

 

At the beginning of January there were cases of UK residents in Spain not being allowed to travel with their green EU residence certificates. Hopefully this situation has been sorted out thanks to clarification from the Spanish government to airlines and border guard. 

However, since then we have heard about examples of UK residents in Spain who have had their EU certificates rejected as valid documents in different scenarios such as notaries, banks and estate agents. 

Because of this, we suggest that you print out a copy of the document above and wave it vigorously in front of any jobsworth whom you might encounter. If you still have problems, please write to us at:

eurocitizens2016@gmail.com

Under the declaratory system, which Spain chose to use to register its UK citizens covered by the Withdrawal Agreement, the green EU certificate remains valid indefinitely. Of course, having lived in Spain for some time, we all know that a biometric ID card is a more useful document than a passport and a scruffy piece of green paper. But the choice of applying  for a TIE or not is a personal one.

If this situation changes at any moment, we will alert you.  

 

jueves, 28 de enero de 2021

29/01/21: EUROCITIZENS GROUP MEETING ON ISSUES RELATED TO THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE WITHDRAWAL AGREEMENT IN SPAIN

 

Zoom link to the meeting:

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/84827744521?pwd=SitkbVhQNVF1QWFCdkNqZXVoc0JkQT09

Meeting ID: 848 2774 4521
Passcode: 583453

The agenda is as follows

1. General update including UK Embassy in Spain
2. Representations to Spanish authorities
3. British in Europe update
4. Financial position
5. EuroCitizens in 2021
6. AOB

With respect to item 5, the Committee make a recommendation on activity set out below and we will welcome your endorsement.

Euro Citizens 2021 - Recommendation to members

  1. With the end of the transition period, focus has turned to implementation of the Withdrawal Agreement (WA).  EuroCitizens was established as a lobbying organization but there is now no impending legislation on which  we can usefully intervene. This raises the question of what role (if any) might be taken by EuroCitizens.
  2. The Committee believes that  EuroCitizens can make an ongoing contribution to the cause of citizens’ rights in a number of ways
    1. Monitoring the on-going introduction of WA provisions post the end of the transition period with intervention/lobbying when serious issues are identified. Two obvious areas are health and social security - the latter particularly as it is impacted by the broadbrush provisions of the Immigration Act. Referrals of issues encountered by members and others remain essential to this monitoring.
    2. Providing comment and information on issues post transition where such issues fall within our protection of citizens’ rights remit.
    3. Offer information on the practical consequences of Brexit, in the citizens’ area, as these emerge post transition. This includes both the consequences of the WA for those protected by it and the generality of UK citizens moving to Spain but not covered by the WA. 
    4. On-going collaboration with British in Europe (BiE) as a key voice of the UK community in Spain. BiE will continue to be our voice in discussions in London and Brussels, now raising issues on WA implementation. Possible alliance with other organisations that emerge dedicated to political campaigning for example on wider citizens issues, eg votes for life, or nascent efforts to rejoin the EU (or the single market).

 
The committee recommends adoption of these points a-d.  The committee feels that EuroCitizens should not have a role in advising individuals on a case by case basis - assistance should be restricted to pointing individuals in the direction of appropriate advice eg the British Embassy.
 
The committee also recommends that, subject to adoption of the above, a review is conducted each quarter (commencing end March 2021).


jueves, 14 de enero de 2021

AS A UK CITIZEN PROTECTED BY THE WITHDRAWAL AGREEMENT, WILL I STILL BE ABLE TO PROVIDE SERVICES IN ANOTHER EU COUNTRY?

Photo: creativeword.uk.com
 

One of the worst aspects of the Withdrawal Agreement is that there is no clause about whether or how Britons resident in the UE can provide services around the EU (physically in situ, or online). British in Europe campaigned hard on this point and, thankfully, an explicit exclusion of UKinEU service provision was removed from an earlier draft of the WA. However, the resulting situation is both ambiguous and complex. BiE has participated in a special working group to find out what we will and will not be able to do now that we are in the 'sunny Brexit uplands' (see statement below). We thank the team for all their work on this issue which is of cardinal importance to many of our members. 

Statement Cross-Border Services Working Group 14/01/21: 

The Cross-Border Services working group believes that in most cases, the remote rendering of services by British nationals resident in an EU member state to people and entities in other member states will still be possible now that the Brexit transition period has come to an end.

However, in some cases there will be restrictions due to issues such as professional qualification requirements.

The physical rendering of services by Brits in an EU member state will be possible in certain circumstances in accordance with the free trade agreement between the EU and UK along with existing provisions for third-country nationals such as fixed-term secondment through a company established in an EU member state.

Whether and how this is permitted will depend greatly on factors such as your sector, experience, form of establishment, and target country, so it is important to check out the conditions for your specific situation and to establish whether a visa will be required.

Note that in numerous service sectors such as media and arts & culture, service providers are effectively left with a "no deal" scenario which means that they are subject to baseline conditions for third-country nationals and the requirements of the national legislation of EU member states.

If in any doubt, service providers should take individual legal advice to ensure that their activity is permitted.

The European Commission’s EU-UK trade agreement explainer contains a section on services, including certain sector-specific information.