Sue Wilson Writes: Brexit month is finally here – or is it?

Sue Wilson Writes: Brexit month is finally here – or is it?

Sue Wilson UK May 2018Sue Wilson, chair of Bremain in Spain, reckons that Brexit could be further away than at any time during the last 18 months.

Whether you’re excited or terrified about the prospect of looming Brexit day, recent developments may have led you to question whether it will happen, as scheduled, on March 29th.

Over the last few months, Prime Minister Theresa May has remained adamant that the UK is leaving on the stated date, even if that means leaving without a deal. In fact, she has reminded us that she intends to remove the United Kingdom from the European Union on March 29th over 100 times, with an increasingly insistent tone.

In the last few days, the tone of the rhetoric has noticeably softened. No longer are we “definitely” leaving this month – instead, there’s talk of the government ‘aiming’ to leave on March 29th, and it still being possible to do so.

Inevitably, any talk of moving the goalposts with the exit date leads to discussions of a delay and extension to Article 50.

May is now openly discussing the possibility of an extension, although her preference is for just two months. As has frequently been the case with Brexit, May has misjudged her authority – any decision on the length of an extension will not be hers to make.

The EU favours a longer extension period: in fact, up to two years. According to Michel Barnier, the EU might consider a “technical extension” – however, only if May’s deal is passed by parliament, and solely for ensuring that the necessary legislation is passed.

The EU proposal seems to be to remain in the EU for what would have been the transition period, while simultaneously being able to start discussions on future trading arrangements. This would allow time for a rethink and, perhaps, a softening of May’s red lines, should her deal fail to be accepted by parliament on March 12th when it returns to the House of Commons for the ‘meaningful vote’ mark II.

Read full article in The Local

Brit expats fear they could DIE abroad with Brexit split

Brit expats fear they could DIE abroad with Brexit split

While the political jostling continues between Westminster and Brussels, Brits living in Spain are scared stiff about how they will live from day to day after Brexit finally happens.

There are officially around 300,000 British citizens in Spain but it has been claimed that this could be three times higher with many not registered.

It estimated that there are around 70,000 pensioners and they along with those who have suffered ill-health that are most worried about the chaos.

It has been reported that this actually saves the NHS about £450 million a year with a parliamentary select committee reportedly told in 2017, that Spain charges an average of £2,300 per pensioner compared to £4,500 by the NHS.

Campaign group ‘Bremain in Spain’ feel the worries of expats are being ignored.

“For those with chronic illnesses, removal of their healthcare would be huge – someone with cancer, for example, would need many expensive drugs and would not qualify for private insurance,” said chairwoman Sue Wilson.

Read article and see video in The Daily Star (Never thought I would be saying that!)

Brits welcome Spain’s No-Deal Brexit contingency law

Brits welcome Spain’s No-Deal Brexit contingency law

It should particularly reassure then tens of thousands of British pensioners who retired to Spain and who rely on access to local hospitals and doctors.

Campaigners who have been fighting to protect the rights of European citizens post-Brexit described the new law as “positive”.

“EuroCitizens welcomes the publication of the Royal Decree today by the Spanish Government, which will clarify the situation of the 314,000 Britons in a no-deal scenario,” the organization’s chair, Michael Harris told The Local.

“We will analyse the text in depth to see the implications for different groups of UK residents. Next week, we are having a meeting with civil servants from various Spanish ministries and we will follow up on any queries that might arise.”

Meanwhile, Sue Wilson, chair of Bremain in Spain, said a lot of their members would be sleeping better as a result of the Royal Decree.

“This news will provide great relief for those that have been living in limbo for so long. A no-deal Brexit is the worst case scenario, and the outcome that Brits in Spain fear the most,” she said.

“To know that the Spanish government has our backs and has plans in place to protect us in every eventuality, will allow many to sleep better tonight.

“Whilst I still believe that a no-deal Brexit can’t happen, we’re grateful that every contingency has been covered. We only wish our British government were as keen to protect our rights and freedoms as the Spanish government obviously are,” she said.

Read the full article in The Local


Bremain in Spain chair ‘disappointed’ after British High Court refuses appeal on Brexit referendum

Bremain in Spain chair ‘disappointed’ after British High Court refuses appeal on Brexit referendum

Sue Wilson, head of Bremain, said hearings at the Court of Appeal had shown there was a need to review the 2016 referendum result.

Wilson is the lead claimant of the UK in EU Challenge, a legal appeal launched with backing from expatriates in Spain, France and Italy.

“We still believe another referendum is likely and hopefully this will be conducted in a fair, legal and honest manner under increased scrutiny,” Wilson said.

The Court of Appeal’s Lord Justice Hickinbottom and Lord Justice Haddon-Cave ruled in favour of an earlier decision not to permit an appeal.

The court heard from Jessica Simor QC, acting on behalf of the claimants, that it was unreasonable for Prime Minister Theresa May to proceed with Article 50.

Sir James Eadie QC, First Treasury Counsel acting for the government, said the court had no scope to intervene now that Parliament had taken over the Article 50 process.

It comes after an Electoral Commission referred Leave campaigns to police after finding they spent more than the legal limit during the 2016 campaign.

Article from the Euro Weekly News
Sue Wilson Writes: Remainers must forgive fellow Brits in Spain who fell for the Brexit lie

Sue Wilson Writes: Remainers must forgive fellow Brits in Spain who fell for the Brexit lie

There’s no doubt that Brexit has caused a deep rift in society, often dividing colleagues, friends and families. In this week’s column Sue Wilson from the Bremain in Spain campaign group says remain voters must forgive fellow Britons in Spain who fell for the Brexit lie.

When I speak to people in the UK, I’m commonly asked: “Is it true that some Brits living in Spain voted for Brexit?” People seem genuinely surprised when I confirm it’s true. They frequently ask: “Isn’t that like turkeys voting for Christmas?”

The next question is, inevitably: “But why?” I’ve pondered that many times over, as have other pro-EU campaigners living in Europe.

In my role as chair of Bremain in Spain, a campaign group that works to stop Brexit, with a membership of Remainers, it would be easy to ignore the question altogether. Spending so much time in a Remainer “echo chamber”, I could almost forget the Leave side. However, it’s important to understand opposing views.

The reasons why some Brits in Spain voted Leave are the same reasons that Brits in the UK voted for Brexit. Whether they believed Turkey was about to join the EU (it isn’t), that the UK doesn’t control its borders (it does), or the infamous lie mounted on the side of the red bus, I believe most people wanted what was best for the UK. They voted for a better life for themselves and their families, even if Brexit could never deliver it.

I frequently hear of conversations – sometimes heated, sometimes fatal – between families, friends and colleagues, on different sides of the debate. The divisions created by Brexit are deep and strongly-held. They run against previous groupings that were based largely on socio-demographic background and political inclination. Many people have lost some old connections and have replaced them with strong, new ones, forged in unlikely places.

A common belief of Leavers in Spain is that Brexit would change nothing – life would continue as before. In some ways, that could be true for Brits living in Spain, especially for those with disposable income and/or a bolthole in the UK. In the event of Brexit, especially a hard one, we would avoid the immediate issues faced by UK residents, such as food shortages and price increases.

However, the impact could be felt re travel/visa requirements, the potential further devaluation of sterling, or a reduction in our rights and freedoms. Some of these could have significant consequences for us.

The truth is that we don’t know all the implications – we don’t even know what Brexit might look like at present. Furthermore, a forthcoming snap election in Spain could impact the Brexit bilateral negotiations. I have a good understanding of the situation, but even my crystal ball can’t predict the future under these circumstances!

Read Sue’s full article in The Local

Costa Collateral: The sad fate of Britain’s Brexpats

Costa Collateral: The sad fate of Britain’s Brexpats

It is a typically tranquil winter afternoon at the Chambao de Vicente restaurant.

Its rustic terrace spills out onto the golden sands of the Playa La Herradura, a beach running parallel to the small Spanish Costa del Sol town of the same name.

The clientele is a mix of both immigrants – British, Germans and Swedes – and Spaniards, their jovial laughter perforating the sound of the nearby rolling waves.

Yet, once lunch has been cleared, the sleepy restaurant wakes with a jolt as a group of British diners gathers to unfurl a European Union flag.

“We want to stay with you!” whoops one woman.  “Yes,” exclaims another, “Bollocks to Brexit!”

The good-natured gang are received well by other patrons, many of whom rush over to be photographed with the Brits.

The group are members of Bremain in Spain, an organisation set up in the wake of the Brexit referendum in June 2016.

Bremain in Spain not only campaigns for the UK to Remain but also lobbies British, Spanish and EU politicians to protect the rights of British immigrants in Spain.

Membership of the group has swollen over the last few months to include more than 5,000 activists with the increase attributed to concerns that Brits in Spain have been all but forgotten by Theresa May. A number of other worried groups exist across the country.

Just the day before the lunch in La Herradura, the Brexpats in Spain organisation held two public meetings in the towns of Benalmadena and Mijas.

“We had two informative public talks on the coast, both attended by more than 200 worried Brits,” explains Sharon Hitchcock, a volunteer for Brexpats in Spain.

“During our meetings we have found that there are a lot of confused people who are finding the whole process quite overwhelming.”

More Brits call Spain home than any other country in the EU27 – 310,000, although this figure is thought to be as low as a third of the actual number, with temporary residents, dual nationals and those not registering with the Spanish authorities making up the rest.

Read the full article in The New European