miércoles, 13 de diciembre de 2017

SPANISH FOREIGN MINISTER DASTIS MEETS REPRESENTATIVES OF 500,000 SPANIARDS AND BRITONS AFFECTED BY BREXIT

On Tuesday 12 December, various associations (the3million, Españoles en el Reino Unido, EuroCitizens and British in Europe) met the Spanish foreign minister in Madrid. Alfonso Dastis and his team listened to the concerns of these groups that represent many of the 300,000 Britons in Spain and 200,000 Spaniards in the UK and there was a frank and fruitful discussion.

Camilla Hillier-Fry (EuroCitizens) highlighted the disappointment of citizens after the provisional agreement between the UK and the EU on 8 December left outstanding issues that affect people’s daily lives. Silvia González (the3million) listed the key problems: the lack of ring-fencing of an agreement about citizens’ rights; no right of return after an absence of more than five years; restrictions on the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice; no family reunification of future spouses and partners; the problems created by the UK’s proposal to include EU citizens under their present immigration procedures for third country nationals.

Michael Harris (EuroCitizens) mentioned that, due to reciprocity, the same immigration process would probably be applied to Britons in the EU, which would increase citizens’ difficulties in securing their status. He strongly criticised the EU’s current position limiting current freedom of movement rights for British residents in EU27 countries; it would be catastrophic for many families whose livelihood depended on this mobility. Ignacio Madariaga (Españoles en el RU) raised the issue of the loss of voting rights for both British and Spanish citizens. He also asked the Spanish government to study the implementation of double nationality for Britons in Spain and the spouses of Spaniards living in the UK. He made a series of practical suggestions. For example, the Spanish government could ask the UK to accept the Spanish Embassy’s register of citizens as valid proof of residence for the application process.

The ministry took note of the associations’ concerns and promised to bear them in mind, although he pointed out that negotiations are in the hands of the European Commission. Mr Dastis said that some of the citizens’ demands could probably be met, but he saw problems for others, such as the life-long right to return, except in well-documented cases. He admitted that issues such as double nationality and the vote in local elections could be agreed bilaterally between Spain and the UK. Finally, he expressed his desire to maintain as fully as possible the current status of Spaniards in Britain and Britons in Spain.

4 comentarios:

  1. It's not the bilateral right to vote in local elections which would be an issue (after all, Norway and various other countries have signed agreements to this), it's the right to stand for local office ('el voto pasivo') which will most likely be lost. One way or another, the various British councillors and candidates scattered across the Costas would need to know.

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    1. At last, the subject of voting rights and the right to stand for local office is being raised; and yes, it affects me and my future plans and many others. The question is WHEN these bilateral negotiations are planned to take place. Will it be before the UK leaves the EU and in time for the May 2019 municipal elections or after, when it'll be too late. Many thousands of us would then be totally disenfranchised in both the UK and Spain and, in the case of standing for council, prevented from 'working' in Spain...which is another potential legal minefield.

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  2. I think if you can stand in an election, you can be a candidate too. But we need to check. Agree about the deadline and the danger of disenfranchisement for May 2019.

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    1. You may remember they changed the Constitution in 1992 to give EU citizens 'el voto activo y pasivo' (although Rubalcaba put a block on the municipal vote until the elections of 1999). Norwegians have just 'el voto activo'. https://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sufragio_pasivo

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