|Sarah-Jane Morris and Julia Longbottom Photo: EuroWeekly News|
As well as discussing the issues outlined in the report handed to the Ambassador, the EuroCitizens reps brought up matters relating to the implications of Brexit on our personal situations, such as the increased cost of students resident in Spain studying at UK universities, health care, permits to reside and work in Spain for employed and self-employed UK citizens, problems with recruiting UK staff for British schools and language schools, pension rights, the cost to British and international schools of the greater difficulty to study at UK universities.
The Embassy representatives listened attentively to all our concerns and were sympathetic, and repeated that our situation and that of EU nationals in the UK is a priority for the British PM, and that the Spanish authorities at national, regional and local level also want to resolve these matters early on in the Brexit negotiations once article 50 has been triggered.
We reiterated our request that the Consulate provide a helpline for UK citizens in Spain. We also discussed how the statistics for British nationals resident in Spain may be inaccurate, as many people who should register don’t, and also many people who have valid residential papers in Spain have left the country .
Julia Longbottom mentioned that the FCO and DEXEU were grateful for our Brexit report and that it had received highly complimentary comments from London and that our position is well-articulated therein. Sarah-Jane asked us to keep up-dating and adding to the report, and inform her of these changes.
The Consul asked us what the final objective of the Eurocitizens’ campaign is, to which a member replied that we are aiming to retain all of our present rights as EU citizens, and also be granted the possibility of holding dual nationality by Spain.
Sarah-Jane also urged Eurocitizens to pressure and lobby the Spanish authorities as much as possible to achieve our aims, including their acceptance of dual nationality for UK citizens. She also mentioned that a white paper on ‘votes for life’ is in preparation to be put forward to Parliament during this legislature, so maybe one day we will be reenfranchised.