viernes, 30 de noviembre de 2018
This meeting was held a couple of weeks ago in Madrid (22/11/18). John Carrivick, John Richards and Nigel Aston met Tim Hemmings (Deputy Head of Mission), Lorna Geddie (Regional Consular Policy Advisor) and Sarah-Jane Morris (HMCG) at EuroCitizens request to receive an update on HMG´s perspective on specific Brexit arrangements.
1. Tim Hemming commented that the Political Declaration had been sent from the Council of Ministers to HMG in the hours preceding our meeting. No analysis had been undertaken given the tight time frame and Lorna would revert once this could be done, focussing on Citizens´ Rights, but would wait until the 25 November Council meeting outcome. Tim stressed that the declaration covered the future, was non binding, that the drafting had been undertaken mainly by the "27". He thought that it contained mention of ongoing mutual recognition of qualifications and that seems to be borne out by the text
(https://www.instituteforgovernment.org.uk/explainers/framework-uk-eu-future-relationship - see under Services),
2. There was some discussion of potential (albeit unlikely) vetos from Spain (Gibraltar) and France (fishing rights). The meeting took place before the reported exchange between the UK and Spanish PMs. Tim felt the issues were mostly between the respective Spanish and French Governments and Taskforce 50 and the other states within EU27
3. In discussion of the Withdrawal Agreement, the Embassy confirmed that on residence requirements everyone legally residing in the EU and, inter alia in the UK, by the end of the transition period were covered and asked EuroCitizens to continue to promote the need to register as a resident to their members. Recent comments by the UK PM on immigration to the UK applied only to individuals seeking residence after that date (although the PM afterwards in fact regretted her use of certain language during Question Time).
On political rights, separate to both the Withdrawal Agreement and Future Political declaration, Tim confirmed there seemed to be a general willingness to extend current municipal voting rights under a bilateral agreement but less clarity about whether people would be able to stand as candidates.
4. John R summarised at a high level and in general terms EuroCitizens´ recent meetings with Spanish ministries.
5. With respect to the possibility of a no deal it was clear that there is a general feeling this is unlikely. HM Embassy detect that Spain is planning for a deal. The UK has made overtures to the effect that citizens´ rights should be protected in the case of a no deal. Recent pronouncements by Spanish Ministers was attributed to the fact that the Commission had requested EU27 to analyse their respective positions in the case of a no deal. Lorna highlighted that the Commission had published the week before a report on preparedness in the event of a no deal scenario, which included some information relevant to citizens.
6. The Embassy said that HMG was looking at the issue of national competences to determine where subsequent bi-lateral agreements would operate rather than multi-lateral cross EU agreements. The implementation would apply either on a negotiated agreement or no deal situation.
7. The Embassy invited EuroCitizens to continue highlighting the pressure points that citizens face. The issue of building up residence periods to qualify for permanent residence was cited.
8. The Embassy recognise the importance of rights of continuing Onward Movement. They emphasised that the UK wanted this in the future arrangements agreement and advised EuroCitizens to continue lobbying the Spanish administration on its importance to secure their support in the drafting.
lunes, 26 de noviembre de 2018
|Speaker John Bercow Photo: The Guardian AP|
EuroCitizens has participated in British in Europe campaigns involving the lobbying of Members of Parliament. Whilst some MPs have been very sympathetic to us, many people in our group have either received no reply or been directly told that the MP cannot deal with the query as the person writing is no longer resident in the constituency. EuroCitizens Secretary Nigel Aston thus wrote a very reasonable letter about this subject to House of Commmons Speaker John Bercow. Apparently, there is nothing he can do about the refusal of MPs to answer us as he 'has no responsibility for the way in which MPs choose to deal with constituency affairs' (see correspondence below).
We will follow Mr Bercow's suggestion to write to the Electoral Commission but our only hope seems to be the Overseas Electors' Bill, a private member's bill plodding very slowly through the House of Commons. It has the support of the government, but it appears that the Labour Party is against it so the initiative might well go the same way as other attempts to restore our vote.
Remember that, after March 29, we will lose all our political rights as EU citizens and thus be unable to vote anywhere. What makes this situation even worse is the fact that our concerns can be ignored by MPs. We are completely on our own now.
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miércoles, 14 de noviembre de 2018
For British citizens in Spain a deal is much better than a no-deal scenario as it protects some of our key rights like residency in our host country, healthcare for UK pensioners and social security coordination — while losing other ones like freedom of movement and the ability to deliver cross-border services.
However, we cannot fully evaluate the agreement until we have seen the final text. And on many issues that affect us, and the UK as whole, this will be a blind Brexit with almost everything to be negotiated after the UK has left the EU and thus in an even weaker position than now. In addition, huge uncertainty still remains over whether the deal will actually go through a) the cabinet b) the UK parliament c) the European Parliament.
Because of all this, EuroCitizens will continue to fully support British in Europe in lobbying for the ring-fencing of Citizens' Rights, to work for any possible strengthening of the CRs section of the Withdrawal Agreement and to fight for a People's Vote for All with the option of Remain on the ballot paper. At the same time, we will continue to engage with the Spanish central government to find out what the Withdrawal Agreement will mean for us practically in terms of our lives as Third-Country Nationals and what contingency plans there are for a no-deal Brexit.
When we have seen and evaluated the final text, we will put out another more detailed statement.
lunes, 12 de noviembre de 2018
|Meeting in Madrid to discuss Citizens' Right (Nigel Aston on the right)|
Liberal Democratic Party leader Sir Vince Cable was in Madrid 8-10 November for the annual congress of European Liberal parties (ALDE). EuroCitizens' secretary Nigel Aston was able to meet Sir Vince, who was accompanied by LibDem President Sal Brinton and MEP Catherine Bearder (South East England), and put across our concerns both with respect to the current draft Withdrawal Agreement (WA) and our position in the case of a No Deal Brexit. Representatives of Remain in Spain also attended this informal meeting.
Nigel particularly highlighted the absence of Freedom of Movement and related themes from the WA, along with ongoing issues of treatment of spouses and partners post Brexit (a particular concern also of the Bremain in Spain representatives). Sir Vince and his colleagues appeared to understand our concerns in full and we were met with a completely sympathetic hearing. Interestingly Sir Vince felt that the risk of a "No Deal" is relatively low, a view expressed also by Sir Keir Starmer, Labour spokesperson on Europe, in an interview with "The Sunday Times" on 11 November.
In the light of recent attacks on EU nationals (including Spaniards) in the UK, we were asked about victimisation of UK nationals in Spain. We were glad to say that, at least for now, these are a rarity.
The Liberal Democrat party, of course, is a proponent of the Peoples´ Vote on the terms the UK Government achieves in the current negotiations with the EU. It is vitally important that those of us eligible to vote in the UK (less than 15 years away from the UK) ensure NOW that we are on the relevant electoral roll and in a position to receive a postal vote.
viernes, 9 de noviembre de 2018
According to an article in Expansión, the Spanish government is planning to pass a law (by decree) to give them special powers in the event of no deal between the EU and the UK. This follows similar moves in both Germany and in France where legislation is currently going through the senate.
The Spanish law would appear to allow UK citizens to enter Spain without a visa after 29 March and to avoid the situation of Britons in Spain becoming illegal immigrants overnight. The government would also be able to put in place measures to enable Britons to continue using Spanish healthcare, presumably through both the EHIC card (UK tourists) or the S1 system.
jueves, 8 de noviembre de 2018
El martes 30 de octubre tres representantes de EuroCitizens, una asociación que pertenece a la coalición British in Europe, se reunieron con Manuel Alhama, Subdirector General de Relaciones Internacionales, Inmigración y Extranjería en el Ministerio de Interior y un equipo de funcionarios de otros departamentos del mismo ministerio. Recibimos algunas noticias tranquilizadoras para los 300.000 británicos en España. El señor Alhama comentó el principio de la reciprocidad en el trato de los españoles en el Reino Unido y los británicos en este país, pero subrayó la voluntad del gobierno español de respetar los derechos de las personas y evitar demoras y complicaciones.
El primer tema tratado fue el nuevo procedimiento de registro y documentación, al amparo del Acuerdo de Retirada, de los ciudadanos británicos ya residentes en España, a partir del 29 de marzo 2019, fecha fijada para la salida del Reino Unido de la Unión Europea. Los ministerios del Interior y Trabajo, Migraciones y Seguridad Social , están elaborando un plan de acción para llevar a cabo el cambio de estatus de los británicos de ciudadanos europeos a nacionales de un tercer país. En este sentido, entre otras medidas, se tienen previsto los recursos necesarios, especialmente en las zonas con mayor población británica como Levante y Andalucía oriental, a fin de concluir la actualización administrativa a la mayor brevedad posible. Los británicos residentes y que ya se encuentren registrados deberán solicitar la nueva tarjeta identificativa de extranjero (TIE), sin necesidad de aportar más documentación. Este documento incluirá la información sobre el estatus especial del titular como protegido por el Acuerdo de Retirada. El gobierno español anunciará todos los detalles de esta operación cuando esté firmado el Acuerdo de Retirada.
Por lo que respecta a los derechos políticos, las negociaciones entre el RU y España han avanzado en el plano político, quedando pendiente la redacción y firma de un tratado internacional que, en términos de reciprocidad, permita el sufragio activo (el derecho a votar en los procesos electorales municipales) tanto de los españoles residentes en Gran Bretaña, como de los brºitánicos en España. Por eso, se espera que, si hay suficiente voluntad política, el sufragio activo (el derecho a votar) podría ser confirmado antes de las próximas elecciones municipales de mayo de 2019. Por lo que respecta al sufragio pasivo, se ve bastante más complicado conseguir el derecho de presentarse como candidato tan rápidamente. No obstante, aclarar que la Junta Electoral ha informado que los británicos que son residentes legalmente seguirán en el censo hasta el 30 de marzo del próximo año.
Por último comentamos el escenario de una salida del Reino Unido sin acuerdo que abriría una segunda fase de preparativos. En este caso, algunas competencias, como la necesidad o no de un visado Schengen, atañerán a la Unión Europea mientras que otras, como la sanidad y las pensiones, serán competencias nacionales.
Agradecemos al señor Alhama y a los demás asistentes por su comprensión por la ansiedad e incertidumbre que sufren los ciudadanos afectados (tanto españoles como británicos) en este momento. Nuestro próximo paso como asociación será buscar una reunión con el Ministerio de Trabajo, Migraciones y Seguridad Social.