THE British Ambassador to Spain has welcomed Spain’s Royal Decree on Brexit contingency measures, providing assurances to citizens and business alike.

It follows last month’s announcement by Spanish PM Pedro Sanchez, and this week’s approval by his ministers, the Consejo de Ministros, of the Royal Decree covering Spain’s Brexit contingency measures.

It includes important provisions regarding citizens’ rights and business, and Simon Manley, British Ambassador to Spain, said: “The UK Government’s top priority remains securing a deal with the EU that wins the support of the UK parliament.

“However, like any responsible government, ours is planning for every eventuality.

“It has already announced a series of Brexit No-Deal contingency measures, and has published extensive advice to business and citizens. It has also guaranteed the rights of EU nationals living in the UK.”

“I am pleased to see the Spanish Government announcing a series of detailed, Brexit contingency measures, should the UK leave without a deal.

“The Royal Decree offers important assurances on issues like residency and access to healthcare, for more than 300,000 British nationals who have chosen to make Spain their home, and for the many millions of British tourists who visit Spain each year.

“I welcome, too, the announcement on Customs procedures to avoid potential obstacles to the free movement of goods, which will be important to both British and Spanish businesses, who trade in or between our two countries.”

Manley added: “It is also welcome that the Spanish Government has made clear that the measures will apply to Gibraltar, with special consideration for maintaining flows across the border.

“This will provide some certainty to citizens and businesses in Gibraltar and Spain, and helps to protect the close, economic and social relationship between the Campo de Gibraltar and Gibraltar.”

Health Minister Stephen Hammond said: “This is a positive step forward in securing an agreement, which will enable British expats to access Spanish healthcare in the same way they do now.

“This should also give reassurance to the millions of British tourists, who travel to Spain every year using the EHIC scheme, for free or reduced medical costs, if they need to see a doctor or nurse.

“Our next priority will be to continue our work with other EU member states, so that healthcare access for all UK and EU nationals are protected in a no deal scenario.”

The British Embassy in Madrid, and our network of consulates, have held over 100 outreach events across Spain in the last two years, to explain the implications of Brexit to UK nationals living here, and to answer their questions.

“Through these events, and through our digital channels, we have underlined the importance of British nationals living in Spain being correctly registered.

“It has long been the case that British nationals who live in Spain for more than three months of the year, should hold a certificate of registration from Extranjeria.

“Spain announced this week that, through the Royal Decree, UK nationals living in Spain will maintain their legal residence status after 29th March, and that they, and their family members, will have until 31st December 2020 to get a Foreigner’s Identity Card.

“Further information on the process for obtaining this card will be released in due course. It is essential that all British nationals living in Spain check their residency status and ensure they are correctly registered.

“We have further information on our Living in Spain guide about how to register as a resident, and details of upcoming outreach events. These pages are regularly updated and UK nationals can sign up for email alerts for the guide, to ensure they are informed of the very latest information, as soon as it becomes available.”

On healthcare, the UK has offered to fund healthcare in Spain for UK nationals, who would benefit from the S1/EHIC schemes, until 31st December 2020 on a reciprocal basis. The UK is also protecting healthcare for Spanish nationals in the UK.

Through the Royal Decree, the Spanish Government says it will introduce measures to protect healthcare for UK nationals in Spain, whether they be resident or visiting, utilising the pre-existing reimbursement mechanisms.

Under the reimbursement mechanisms, the UK Government paid Spain £250m last year for the healthcare costs of British nationals in Spain, and the Spanish Government paid the £4m for the healthcare costs of Spanish nationals in the UK.

Meanwhile, Spanish PM Sánchez has pledged that if the European Union agrees to extend Brexit beyond the 29th March deadline, Spain will not stand in its way.

But he is still keen to know what Britain intends to do with the extra time. “Postponing the uncertainty, indefinitely, by postponing the deadlines, is unreasonable,” he said.

Among the battery of measures in the new, “No-Deal Brexit” law, a bilateral agreement between Spain and the UK means British nationals living in Spain will still be able to vote in their local council elections, on 26th May, as will Spaniards living in the UK.

A “special raft of assistance” will be in place for Spanish companies and associations involved in export and import, who may be adversely affected by Brexit has been arranged.

British nationals, with “permanent” residence of over five years, will have an automatic right to remain in Spain in the event of a no-deal Brexit, and those who have not been in the country that long will be able to acquire settled status after five years.

Legal and financial advisors, or gestores, will be able to advise individuals in this respect.

Sánchez’s new healthcare law from last July stipulates that medical attention and treatment is free of charge and universal to anyone living in Spain, legally or not.

The deal Theresa May is attempting to get through Parliament includes a bilateral agreement on healthcare for British pensioners living in Spain: the UK will continue to pay, per head, a sum to Spain to cover treatment.

But if Britain crashes out without a deal, this will not apply, although Sánchez stated months ago that nobody would be excluded from free healthcare if they were resident in the country. It’s a pledge which also covers “illegal” immigrants.




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Posted by on Mar 8 2019. Filed under Local News, Home Page Featured. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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