Spanish decree reassures Brit expats but caveat still cause for concern

Published:  6 Mar at 6 PM
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Remain campaigners based in Spain are welcoming the Royal Decree protecting British expats’ rights.

After more than two years of worry and fear, British expats living, working and owning SMES in Spain can now relax, secure in the knowledge they will be able to access the country’ s excellent healthcare options, their pensions and their unemployment benefits. According to Spain’s foreign minister, the aim of the decree is to ensure Britons and their families are protected from the effects of a hard Brexit, and for their lifestyles to continue as they’ve always been. However, the decree is conditional on the same rights being provided for the Spanish expatriate community living and working in the UK.

Chair of the campaign group Bremain in Spain Sue Wilson told local media Spain’s action has proved what her group has always believed – that the Spanish authorities value Britons’ contributions to society and have their best interests at heart. The only caveat in the decree is that, should the British government fail to announce reciprocal arrangements within the next two months, it will be suspended. Wilson said the caveat is raising alarms with a number of Bremain in Spain’s members, even although they state they’ve faith in the Spanish government. It’s the British government’s reaction they’re unable to trust, quoting the Windrush scandal and the increase in hostility towards expatriates in the UK as examples.

However, following the announcement of the Royal Decree, British lawmakers sent a letter to the EU requesting an agreement protecting all British expat rights in the event of a no-deal crash. UK Brexit secretary Stephen Barclay is said to be especially concerned about the provision of UK expat healthcare post-Brexit, even although a good number of EU member states including Spain have guaranteed UK expats’ rights should a no-deal exit be the final curtain to this long-running drama.
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