As the final countdown to Brexit ticks down, the UK Government has just published a policy paper containing what we would say is very important information for UK Nationals in Spain. The policy paper explains the UK Governments announcement on what would happen to citizens’ rights in the event of the UK leaving the EU without a deal, both for EU citizens in the UK and UK nationals in the EU.
It starts by stating that the UK and EU have agreed a good deal for citizens, (Well thanks for that, I think you’ll find quite a lot of us were quite happy with the one we already had). Anyway we know the agreed ‘deal‘, does protect the rights of UK nationals in Spain and other EU countries and vice versa. However we also know, with events of the last few weeks and the political mayhem of this week, that the chance of the deal not happening are very high.
The Government says it has ‘engaged extensively with UK Nationals in the EU over the past two years’, we really don’t agree with that. The policy paper simply proves that they’ve not given enough consideration to the rights of UK nationals in Spain and the EU. It confirms their admission that in the event of no deal, the rights of UK nationals in Spain / EU cannot be guaranteed, and shows that the Government is planning for repatriation of UK nationals who are unable to remain in EU countries post Brexit. It states:
. . . the UK cannot act unilaterally to protect the rights of UK nationals in the EU and that is why we have always prioritised reaching a reciprocal agreement with the EU. The Withdrawal Agreement is the only way the UK Government can guarantee the rights of the one million UK nationals living in the EU . . .
If, however, UK nationals were unable to continue to live their lives as they do now in a ‘no deal’ scenario and returned to the UK to live, there are a number of steps the Government would consider to address concerns that have been raised.
For all intents and purposes, this document shows that UK nationals in Spain and the EU, have not been on the Governments agenda. The Government has left it to the 11th hour to start thinking about about the rights of these citizens, has no plan, and seems to think that offering assistance to help UK National settle back in the UK, is a gesture that should be appreciated. Well it’s not, we actually just want to carry on living our lives in Spain and the EU as we have been.
Brexit, which ever way it pans out, strips UK nationals of their EU citizenship. The so called ‘deal‘ goes someway to preserve rights previously afforded to those of us living in Spain as EU citizens. Unfortunately this paper confirms that no deal will potentially leave many very high and dry.
Read the paper here: