Gibraltar excluded as expat campaign groups reject Friday agreement

Published:  11 Dec at 6 PM
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In spite of the EU and UK seemingly reaching agreement over the fate of EU and UK expats, it seems the Rock may be excluded from any deal and its British residents left to face post-Brexit life without a transition period.

Brussels bureaucrats appeared to state Gibraltar would need an agreement with Spain over the Rock’s future in order to prevent its crashing out of the customs union and the single market on March 29, 2019. The protection afforded last Friday to expats living in EU states and EU expats in Britain will, it seems, not be extended to Gibraltar without Spain’s full agreement. Given the fact that Spain has been attempting to get its hands on the Rock for many years, the agreement may well be unlikely.

As Friday’s news sinks in across expat hubs in Europe, not everyone is thrilled with the supposed guarantees of rights to remain, work, live and bring in families. Several anti-Brexit protest groups are describing the agreement as ‘selling expats down the river’, rather than giving them at least some respite from the uncertainty and fear generated by the referendum result.

Campaigners including British in Europe are ignoring the positive points and concentrating on what might still go wrong, seemingly in fear they will continue to be ignored by those negotiating Britain’s withdrawal. Chair of British in Europe Jane Golding told the media the result was ‘even worse than was expected’ as regards rights, even although last–minute concessions over allowing families of EU expats to live in the UK was an addition to the rights already agreed.

Golding believes the ‘grubby bargain’ will have a serious impact on UK expats’ lives, and other groups are concerned citizens rights will be hidden underneath trade deal discussions. Given that free movement of UK citizens living in the EU following the final divorce date wasn’t mentioned and is a major concern for many UK expats working in EU member states, it seems there is still much to be settled.

However, moving on to crucial trade discussions right now is important for UK businesses and the financial sector, and may even give UK-resident Brexiteers a clearer idea of exactly what they voted for.
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