Christmas Eve marked the moment the UK finally reached a Brexit agreement with the EU, full details of which have now been published. The so called ‘Free Trade Agreement: a new economic and social partnership with the United Kingdom’, is of most interest to UK nationals living in Spain and other EU countries, those planning to and those with other interests such as business or a holiday home.
The agreement covers not just trade in goods and services, but also a broad range of other areas such as, tax transparency, air and road transport, energy and sustainability, fisheries, data protection, and social security coordination.
Notable points for UK nationals in Spain or other EU countries in the agreement are that:
- It provides for zero tariffs and zero quotas on all goods that comply with the appropriate rules of origin.
- On transport, the agreement provides for continued and sustainable air, road, rail and maritime connectivity, though market access falls below what the Single Market offers. It includes provisions to ensure that competition between EU and UK operators takes place on a level playing field, so that passenger rights, workers’ rights and transport safety are not undermined.
- On social security coordination, the agreement aims at ensuring a number of rights of EU citizens and UK nationals. This concerns EU citizens working in, travelling or moving to the UK and to UK nationals working in, travelling or moving to the EU after 1st January 2021.
This agreement at least brings closure to the uncertainty that has been hanging for so long, and is good news in part for many British Nationals in Spain.
Zero tariffs and quotas at least means that goods won’t cost more due to tax, and UK vehicles brought to Spain won’t be subject to customs import taxes as long as they were originally UK or EU vehicles. As free movement will stop, there will be more checks on goods and people coming into the Spain and the EU from the UK.
The agreement on social security coordination will be welcomed by many who have moved to Spain to retire, or planned to, as many will have been relying on the reciprocal healthcare arrangement as their means of access to healthcare.
The deal also allows UK Nationals to visit EU countries for up to 90 days without the need for a visa. Longer stays will however require a visa, so there will be a new lengthy step in the process for UK Nationals who want to move to Spain.
Read more about the post Brexit visa requirements for UK citizens in the EU.