Meetup between Brit diplomats and expat campaign groups disappoints

Published:  8 Oct at 6 PM
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Last week’s meeting in Madrid between leaders of UK expat anti-Brexit campaign groups and Britain’s Minister for Exiting the European Union Robin Walker seems to have been yet another unsuccessful attempt to clarify UK expatriate concerns.

British expats living, retiring and working in Spain may well consider the sudden interest in their cause by UK parliamentary lawmakers is a perfect example of ‘too little, too late’. The meetup, held at the British Embassy in Madrid, involved Spanish business leaders, Spanish politicians and representatives from Bremain in Spain, Brexpats in Spain, ECRU groups and EuroCitizens.

Issues under discussion included essential health and social care provisions for British expats in post-Brexit Spain, pension problems, residency, voting rights and onward movement. According to a spokesperson from the British Embassy, the aim of the meeting was to update the campaign groups as to the state of the ongoing negotiations as well as to give insight into the UK’s diplomatic work in Spain.

During the meeting, Walker told the media he values the opportunity to hear expat concerns over all the issues under discussion, and is taking into due consideration the uncertainty still felt by the majority of UK residents in the country. He stressed the British government’s top priority had always been to secure citizens’ rights, quoting the draft Withdrawal Agreement as an example of the government’s determination.

He added Theresa May had promised all EU expats now living in the UK would be able to remain post-Brexit, perhaps not the wisest comment given the resentment the PM’s statement engendered in British expats across a number of EU member states. Anne Hernandez, president of Brexpats in Spain, reiterated that Theresa May’s failure to even mention the plight of British expats in her statement was an indication of her total lack of concern for Britons overseas.
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