Where are we now?

Where are we now?

Where are we now?

If you are wondering what Bremain will be up to in the coming weeks and months, I wanted to give you a taster of what we’ll be fighting for and against.

Our mid to long term goals will be discussed at length at the forthcoming Bremain Council Strategy meeting at the beginning of March. However, we have already agreed on some goals, including in the short term.

Firstly, let me answer a couple of questions that have been raised on specific topics.

Will Bremain be fighting to Stop Brexit happening on 31st January?

In a word, no. Apart from our belief that this is an impossible goal that would waste time and resources, there is another important factor – the default to no Brexit would be a no deal Brexit. It would be counter-productive to prevent the ratification of the Withdrawal Agreement that protects many, if not all, of our important rights.

Is Associate EU membership a possible option for retaining freedom of movement?

Sorry to say but we honestly don’t believe so, though we are closely monitoring any developments. The topic has been broached many times before with the EU27 and has proved unpopular, partly as it smacks of exceptionalism, but also because of the treatment of EU citizens in the UK, which has not encouraged EU states to look kindly on us. Why should British citizens be granted the benefits of club membership without joining the club? In addition, this idea has already been tested, and rejected, by a European court in the Netherlands. It is hard to see how any new legal attempt will stand any more chance of success unfortunately. As the EU President said just today, whilst the EU is “very open” to such ideas, the UK will have 3rd country status and any advantages for British citizens would have to be negotiated as part of a deal that encompasses the free movement of goods, capital and services.

 

Votes for Life 2020

Bremain Campaigns

Our focus will remain, as it always has, on fighting the damaging aspects of Brexit. This does not mean helping members with applications for residencia or Spanish driving licences. There are plenty of more qualified groups than ours that do this type of work already.

We may not be able to stop Brexit, but we can certainly help mitigate the damage. The main ways we can do that are by campaigning to:

  • Prevent a no-trade-deal Brexit at the end of 2020
  • Extend the transition period, ideally until the end of 2022
  • Hold the government to account and prevent further erosion of democracy and our rights
  • We still have important rights at risk thanks to Brexit, such as freedom of movement. Whilst we still retain those rights during the transition period, there is still hope of further negotiations to change our future.
  • In addition, Bremain will continue to lobby for the restoration of our democratic voting rights by reinvigorating our Votes for Life campaign.

 

Thank you for joining us on our journey, and for all your support.

Look out for details of our forthcoming Annual General Meeting in March (most likely in the Malaga region), if you would like to take part.

Be assured that Bremain are still here, still committed and motivated, and still up for a fight! We hope you are too!

Sue Wilson – Chair

Withdrawal Agreement and Bill

Withdrawal Agreement and Bill

What is the difference between the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement and the Withdrawal Agreement Bill?

There is a great deal of political jargon to get your head around the difference between the two so we hope that this post will help you to get a better understanding of both. In a nutshell, the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement (WA) Is the international treaty agreed between the UK and the EU. The Withdrawal Agreement Bill (WAB) is the piece of legislation which Parliament needs to pass in order for the Withdrawal agreement to become UK law. There may be amendments to the WAB in either chamber but these are unlikely to pass due to the government majority. 

Collectives vow to keep fighting to protect citizens’ rights in Brexit deal

Collectives vow to keep fighting to protect citizens’ rights in Brexit deal

As Britons living in Spain and across the EU27, as well as EU citizens living in the UK, come to terms with the reality of Brexit following last Thursday’s election, groups representing them are beginning to plan for the future.

Far from giving up, collectives including Bremain in Spain, British in Europe and The Three Million, which represents EU citizens in the UK, issued statements to assure followers that they will be continuing to campaign on their behalves.

British in Europe and The Three Million issued a joint statement in which they stated, “We will renew our campaign for both the UK and all the EU27 to automatically guarantee our rights.”

While Sue Wilson, chair of Bremain in Spain, which is part of the British in Europe umbrella group, said, “We must now accept that the UK will start the process of leaving the EU on 31st January, unless there’s a Christmas miracle.”

A statement issued by the group went on to say, “This is not the end of the road for Bremain. The nature of our fight will change, but our goals and our ethos will not. We still believe, and always will, that the UK’s place is at the heart of the EU.”

Anne Hernández, president of Brexpats in Spain, which represents people regardless of their views on Brexit but stands to protect people’s rights, said she was personally “resigned” to Brexit but added, “With all my determination to get the best possible outcome for us as citizens in the EU.” Hernández said, “We shall be needing the support of Spain and I am doing all I can, as I have been from the very beginning since the referendum, to reciprocate their help.”

Taken from The Sur

¿Qué? podcast, S03E12: The effects of the UK general election, and Spain’s dwindling bars

This week on the final episode of our ¿Qué? podcast for the year, we talk to Britons in Spain about how their lives will be affected by the reelection of the Conservative Party at the recent polls, and discuss what Spanish villages are doing to ensure their local bar stays open

¿Qué? is a podcast that tries to explain to an English-speaking audience the curious, the under-reported and sometimes simply bizarre news stories that are often in the headlines in Spain.

Go to the podcast here

Spain keeps a close eye on the UK General Election results

Spain keeps a close eye on the UK General Election results

As the UK went to the polls on Thursday, not only were Britons living in Spain watching closely, but also Spanish citizens residing in the UK.

The UK media claimed the 2019 General Election was “the most important in a generation” and news was coming in by midmorning of unprecedented numbers of people forming queues outside polling stations, following reports of a surge in people registering in the weeks leading up to the vote.

Anti-Brexit groups were calling for voters to vote tactically in order to get the pro-Brexit Conservatives out of government.

Britons in Spain, many of whom were unable to vote having lived abroad for more than 15 years, were well aware that the outcome of the election will affect how and when Britain leaves the EU, and therefore could make a difference to their future rights.

Anne Hernandez of the association Brexpats in Spain said on Thursday: “Our futures are dependent on today’s vote and our 9,000 members are worried.” She added, “Despite being a general election, it is being labelled the Brexit election because our futures here could all change at the drop of a hat in a no-deal.”

Sue Wilson, Chair of the association Bremain in Spain, said, “Brexit has been the most damaging and painful experience that many Brits in Europe have ever experienced. Yet, even after three and a half years of living in limbo, we absolutely do not want to ‘Get Brexit Done’ – rather, we want to ‘Get Brexit Gone’.” She went on to say, “This election is the most unpredictable in living memory.”

Michael Soffe, long-term Malaga resident and businessman, also expressed his concern and frustration at how the outcome of the election could affect British residents in EU countries. “I and many other disenfranchised voters are watching the proceedings today, consigned to the sidelines yet again, no vote on our futures,” he said on Thursday. “If a Tory government is returned I have a feeling that the whole ‘leave with no deal’ scenario will be back on the table again in a year’s time as the chances of having a trade deal in a year are not realistic.”

Full article in The Sur

Meeting with the British Ambassador to Spain

Meeting with the British Ambassador to Spain

On Wednesday 27 November, the British Ambassador, Hugh Elliott, hosted an information event for British citizens in Valencia at the Casino de Agricultura. Also attending were the British Consul, Sarah-Jane Morris, and other Embassy staff.

I had been invited to attend the event on behalf of Bremain in Spain, along with Debbie Williams of Brexpats – Hear Our Voice and Molly Williams of Young European Voices.

 

 

Hugh and Sarah-Jane Morris
Hugh and Molly Williams

Prior to the evening event, we were also invited to lunch with the Ambassador, along with representatives of local charities who support British residents in the Valencian Community. The lunch was a 5-course affair, with a main course of a typical Valencian paella.

At the evening event, the Ambassador and his staff spoke about the importance of Brits making sure that all their paperwork is in order as well as the implications of Brexit and the forthcoming election for our situation here in Spain. The Embassy is extremely well-informed and keen to help and support the local British community in whatever way it can.

Debbie Williams and Sue Wilson
Paella Valenciana

The audience was invited to ask questions and offered the opportunity to speak to any one of us individually afterwards. Topics covered included healthcare, applying for residency, Spanish driving licences, aggregation of benefits, recognition of qualifications, dual nationality and much more.

For further information on these, or any other topics relating to living in Spain, you will find a wealth of information in the Embassy Living in Spain guide. You can also sign up for updates and be notified whenever anything changes.

We will continue to work with the Embassy to ensure that you are kept informed and that our issues are brought to their attention. Please make sure that your own paperwork is in order and encourage friends, neighbours and colleagues to do the same – thanks!

Sue Wilson, Chair Bremain in Spain

Sue and Hugh
Hugh and the Paella Valenciana