Events 2021

Events 2021

27th January

Online Event

19.30 – 21.00 GMT

Grassroots for Europe
Europe: Keeping the Flame Alive
Speakers: Will Hutton & Gina Miller
Book your place here


27th January

Online Event

20.00 GMT

Cambridge for Europe
Beyond the red wall: Voters, Views & Values after end of transition
Speaker: Deborah Mattinson of Britain Thinks
Register to attend here


26th January

Online Event

19.00 – 21.00 GMT

Oxford for Europe/Grassroots for Europe
Brexit – Expectations & Reality
Speakers: Ian Dunt & Tony Connelly
Register to attend here

Ian Dunt

18th January

Online Event

20.00 – 21.00 CET

Canberry Press
Brexit: What the hell happens now?
Speaker: Ian Dunt
Register to attend here


14th January

Online Event

20.00 – 22.00 CET

N.E. Surrey for Europe
Brexit and the current state of play
Speaker: Professor Catherine Barnard
Snr. Professor in EU law
Register to attend here

Catherine Barnard

4th January

Online Event

13.30 – 14.30 CET

LO Brussel
Brexit 2021: A Snapshot!
Speakers: Hans-Christian Gabrielsen, Wegger Chr. Strømmen, Judith Kirton-Darling
To sign up, email:

What does 2021 hold for those in Spain who fought against Brexit?

What does 2021 hold for those in Spain who fought against Brexit?

After months of bluster, grandstanding and tedium, the UK and EU have finally agreed a Brexit trade deal.

Although it’s far from ideal, and even further from the best deal possible – the one we already had – it’s a great relief all round not be crashing over the proverbial cliff edge. It seems a bad deal really is better than no deal after all.

I could complain about what we’ve lost, but it won’t change the situation we are facing. Instead, my New Year’s resolution is to move past old arguments and concentrate on constructive battles. I don’t mean that I’ll forget or forgive what has been stolen from us, and I’m certainly not ready to “suck it up”. However, our Brexit journey isn’t over with the new deal, as negotiations will likely continue for years to come.

When Michel Barnier and Ursula von der Leyen announced that a deal had been struck, their overall tone was one of regret. By contrast, and entirely as predicted, Boris Johnson’s approach was celebratory and triumphal.

Never one to focus on the details, it’s quite possible our prime minister doesn’t understand all the intricacies of the deal he just signed. This was apparent in his response to press questions about friction-free trade. He claimed that the tariff-free deal had no non-tariff barriers, when in fact there are many barriers to trade. With the UK leaving the single market and customs union, those barriers will include a multitude of customs and regulatory checks at borders.

EU Nov

By contrast, the EU is keen on details and has added legal clauses to protect the integrity of the single market, and the EU itself. Based on its recent experiences, the EU knows that Johnson’s good faith cannot be taken at face value.  Legal protection is evident in the deal with regard to the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). Should the UK attempt to diverge on human rights, the agreement will be “terminated on date of leaving ECHR”. Not for the first time, I’m grateful that our rights are protected by international statute, rather than UK law.

So, where does the current state of play leave campaign groups, such as Bremain in Spain? When the group was created on June 24th, 2016, our main aim was to stop Brexit. Obviously, we failed, but I don’t regret a single moment of that fight. The anti-Brexit campaign came close to securing a second referendum, and we know that we tried everything in our power.

It was sometimes a bitter struggle, but I’ll always remember the moments when we united with passion and hope. The feelings of camaraderie are still strong, as are the collective feelings of sadness, anger and disbelief.

With varying degrees of success, I have tried to understand the reasoning behind Leave voters’ decisions, but I’ve rarely felt that Remainers have been extended the same courtesy. The most vocal commentators are usually the extremists on both sides, but they don’t express the majority view.

You can read the full article over at The Local.

As the ‘moment of truth’ arrives our Brexit future is still uncertain

As the ‘moment of truth’ arrives our Brexit future is still uncertain

writes Sue Wilson from Bremain in Spain

On Sunday evening, the last trade deal deadline passed without progress, leaving us none the wiser as to whether the UK will leave the EU with a deal in just a few days time.

Although I understood the attraction of Boris Johnson’s “Get Brexit Done” catchphrase – particularly to Leave voters – it never appealed to me personally. Had the prime minister come up with a “get a deal done” catchphrase, I might have been converted!

Let me be clear (to use a phrase nicked from a former PM): I’m not saying that I’ve become a Brexit fan; just that the Brexit negotiations have been interminable! Deadlines have come and gone. When the chances of a deal were described as “very, very difficult”, our patience wore very, very thin.

How many ways can politicians, or the media, say it’s the 11th hour in the talks? In case you missed any of them, a few of my personal favourites are: last chance saloon, on a knife edge, moment of truth and end of the road.

Following the latest round of talks, Chief Negotiator, Michel Barnier, said the EU remained committed to achieving “a fair, reciprocal and balanced agreement”, and that talks with the UK’s chief negotiator, Lord Frost, had reached a “crucial moment”.

In response, the UK accused the EU of making “unreasonable demands” and stated that a “substantial shift” was required in the EU’s position. Whitehall sources said no-deal was increasingly likely. If that sounds familiar, it’s because we’ve been here several times before. Unsurprisingly, it’s still about fish and the level playing field.

Despite the final, final, final deadline having passed, the talks are continuing still. Sunday’s deadline, set by the EU, offered the last opportunity for the European parliament to ratify any agreement before the transition period ends. While talks are continuing, a last-minute deal is possible, but it’s unclear what it would entail. Until any deal can be ratified, there could be contingency plans implemented, or a brief period of no-deal, and the accompanying chaos.

As if Brexit problems aren’t enough, a new strain of Covid – thought to originate in Kent – has thrown the UK’s plans into disarray. The new strain, which has been around since September and on the government’s radar since October, apparently spreads more rapidly.

Thankfully, it’s no more lethal than the original strain, and there’s no reason to expect it wouldn’t respond to the vaccine. However, it has caused widespread concern across Europe.

You can read the article in full over at The Local

Whether leave or remain it’s time to accept the bureaucracy in Spain

Whether leave or remain it’s time to accept the bureaucracy in Spain

With a “no deal” Brexit looking more and more likely, Sue Wilson of Bremain in Spain, reflects that those best prepared to face it are the ones who least wanted it.
Well, here we are, just three weeks from the end of the Brexit transition period, and still none the wiser about what the future will hold. Despite Boris Johnson’s dinner date in Brussels on Wednesday, we are no closer to knowing whether it’s deal or no deal. Where’s Noel Edmonds when you need him?

British citizens and businesses are finally waking up to some truths about Brexit. While many unknowns remain, dependent on whether there’s a deal, we are aware of many of the realities. Life outside the single market and customs union, with or without tariffs or quotas, has taken away our freedom of movement and will cause significant economic harm.

As we grapple with the necessary paperwork required to make ourselves legal and secure in Spain, some are dealing with the new landscape better than others.

For those who still have a vote, our viewpoint re the Brexit referendum is relevant to our post-Brexit position. It has been suggested that Remain voters are better prepared and adjusted for the transition process. Not that I’m suggesting it’s about the skills we possess. Rather, it concerns our perceptions of what Brexit entails.

If you voted leave in 2016, for whatever reason, you possibly believed that your life in Spain would not change significantly. After all, that’s what the Leave campaign said – especially Michael Gove. Regardless of whether Leave voters have changed those Brexit expectations, there’s no doubt they better understand what will change and what they must do.

For the people who insist that Brexit is the best thing since sliced bread, the villain is the EU, and their rules are unfair. How dare those pesky foreign bureaucrats make them apply for a new driving licence or register with the local authorities! They forget that the UK helped write EU rules and knows what they are, even if they act like they don’t.

A mountain of paperwork can be daunting, even for those who are familiar with the processes. While some paperwork is new and Brexit-related, much of it has always been the legal requirement here in Spain. The difference is that people can no longer turn a blind eye to the requirements.

Leave voters are entitled to be angry about the impact of Brexit on their lives – deal or no deal – but they are not alone. Remainers are also angry and have been since 2016. For five years, we’ve known what to expect from Brexit. We were accused of ‘project fear’, pessimism and talking down the country.

You can read the article in full over at The Local

The New Normality

The New Normality

After 14 weeks of strict lockdown measures, the initial ‘state of alert’ officially ended at midnight on June 21. The new phase, known as the “new normality”, saw the lifting of mobility restrictions, but with some health and safety measures remaining in place.

With infection levels under constant review, those measures could change at any time, either on a regional or national basis.

Bremain will endeavour to keep you informed of ongoing developments, as and when they happen. Stay safe!

Updated 26/10/2020

Check back with us regularly for the LATEST NEWS updates re: changes to safety measures, travel arrangements, quarantine and much more


DECEMBER 10: Spain relaxes the Covid test requirements for air passengers to allow for TMA tests

From today, arrivals at Spanish airports will be able to present results of a Transcription-Mediated Amplification (TMA) test, as an alternative to a PCR test. The TMA option is in response to complaints that the PCR are more expensive, and results take longer.

A negative test, of either kind – taken in the 72 hours prior to travel – must be presented on arrival. Failure to do so could result in a fine of up to 6000 euros.

Read more on this story in El Pais here

Read the official Ministry of Health press release here


DECEMBER 4: Regulations & recommendations on celebrating Christmas this year

Health Minister, Salvador Illa, has announced rules & recommendations for a safe Covid-free Christmas. Between 23rd December & 6th January movement between autonomous communities is limited, except for grouping of family & friends.


  • On Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, News Years Eve & New Years Day, meetings will be restricted to 10 people (including children)
  • Curfew on Christmas Eve & New Years Eve will be extended to 1.30 am.
PCR Test
PCR Test
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Some autonomous communities may enforce stricter measures, so check with your local authorities.

A good source of information for regional updates is the N332 Road Safety Association – view their Facebook page here

For more on this story read El Pais here

NOVEMBER 12: Travellers will need a negative PCR test result before arrival in Spain

From Monday 23 November, the Spanish government will require passengers arriving from at-risk countries to provide proof of a negative PCR test before allowing their entry into Spain. The test must be taken no more than 72 hours before departure & will only apply at airports, not at land borders.

The measure – which will affect most EU countries – will apply to over 60 countries worldwide that have high infection rates.  Further details of countries affected will be available shortly.

For EU/EEA countries, the authorities will use data provided by the European Centre for Disease Prevention & Control – you can view their ‘risk map’ here

For other countries, the restrictions will apply to countries with an infection rate of over 150 in 100,000.

PCR Test
PCR Test

You can read the full press release from the Ministry of Health here

To read more on this story, see the article in El Pais here

OCTOBER 30: Most Spanish regions set to close borders ahead of All Saints weekend

With the exception of Extremadura, Galicia & the Canary Islands, all Spanish regions have announced plans to close their borders before the holiday weekend. The closures will limit travel across the country, in an effort to curb the spread of the virus.

To interact with a map of Spain for further information, visit La Sexta here

For more on this story, read the article in El Pais here

The situation is very fluid at present, so please check in regularly for the latest updates

Map 29-10-20

OCTOBER 30: Congress votes to extend ‘state of alarm’ until 9 May 2021

Last Sunday, Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez announced a new ‘state of alarm’ & his intention to seek parliament’s approval to extend it for six months. Today, following a two-day debate, Congress has voted for that extension.

The ‘state of alarm’ will enable regional governments to enforce the new curfew and mobility restrictions.

For further information, read the article in Spain in English here

Spanish Parliament

OCTOBER 25: Prime Minister approves a new state of alarm

The Spanish Cabinet have approved a new national state of alarm, providing a legal framework for regional authorities to curb public mobility. In a bid to combat the spread of Covid, socialising at night will be restricted.

Although the measures are initially for 15 days, the government has made clear its intention to keep them in place until April 2021.

The new restrictions are:

  • A curfew from 23.00 to 6.00 daily (with flexibility to add/subtract 1 hour either way)
  • Travel restrictions between regions, unless justified

For the full story, read El Pais here

To view the press statement from President Pedro Sánchez, visit the government Facebook page here

    Spanish Gov

    OCTOBER 23: New Covid measures put in place across 2214 municipalities

    Due to the rise in infection rates, new restrictions are being put in place in many towns and municipalities across the country. The restrictions, which will affect areas with 500+ new cases per 100,000 population, over the last 14 days, will include curfews and “perimeter confinement”.

    For further information, and to identify areas affected, click here.

    You can also find information relating to specific areas, on the Road Safety Association Facebook page.

    Read articles in El Pais covering the following topics:

    • 7 million Spanish residents now facing perimetral lockdown here
    • Valencian Community, Andalusia & Castilla y León announce curfews here

    11 autonomous authorities are so concerned about rising infections they are calling on central government to declare a “State of Alert”. An urgent ministerial meeting is being convened by Prime Minister, Pedro Sánchez, on 25 October. Read more on this story in El Pais here

      Spain Map

      AUGUST 25: Autonomous regions can request ‘state of alert’; contract tracing support from military & government app

      • In a press conference today, Prime Minister, Pedro Sánchez offered regional premiers the authority to request their own ‘state of alert’, firmly putting the authority back with the regions. Sánchez said the progress of the coronavirus curve was worrying and that it “needed to be tackled”.
      • In Catalonia and Madrid – two of the worst affected areas for new cases – the Prime Minister has offered the support of the military to aid with contract tracing.
      • Regional authorities are being encouraged to roll out the use of a new contract tracing app, created by the government. If widely used by the public, the ‘Radar Covid’ app is expected to reduce the impact of the pandemic by 30%. The app does not require the supply of personal data, so personal privacy is protected.

      Sign up to the new app (currently available in Andalusia, Cantabria, Aragón & Extremadura):

      AUGUST 14: Health Minister announces new measures to curb the spread of the virus

      Minister of Health, Salvador Illa, today announced a ban on smoking in outside public spaces and closure of nightclubs, discos & music bars.

      Illa said that smoking is only allowed in open public spaces as long as a safe distance of 2 meters can be maintained.

      In hospitality premises, a minimum safe distance of 1.5 metres must be maintained at bars & tables, with a maximum of 10 people only at each table.

      All establishments, including bars and restaurants, will have to close at 1:00 am & no new patrons will be allowed entry after midnight.

      AUGUST 7: Guidance for wearing masks

      The Spanish government has issued advice about wearing masks, in order to keep the population safe from coronavirus.

      Valencia Masks
      • Wash your hands first
      • Make sure your mask is in good condition
      • Wear the mask the right way round:
        • Metal strip at the top
        • Coloured side on the outside
      • Make sure to cover your nose, mouth & chin
      • Ensure the mask fits correctly, with no gaping
      • Don’t touch the mask while wearing (except for the straps)
      • Replace mask after a maximum of 4 hours wear

      JULY 18: Wearing of masks now mandatory in the Valencian Community

      Following the example set by many other Spanish regions, the wearing of masks became mandatory today in the Valencian Community. The decision was taken due to the four-fold increase in the number of infections of 20 to 40-year olds.

      Masks will be compulsory at all time, with the following exceptions:

      • on the beach or in a swimming pool
      • in outdoor areas such as the countryside or the mountains
      • in bars & restaurants
      • for those with respiratory problems
      • whilst taking part in sports activities
      Valencia Masks
      Valencia Masks

      JULY 14: Many Spanish regions implement mandatory face coverings

      A number of regional governments are making the wearing of face masks compulsory in public spaces. The following regions have either made face coverings mandatory or are about to:

      • Aragón, Asturias, Cantabria, Navarre, La Rioja, Catalonia, the Balearic Islands, Extremadura, Andalusia & Murcia

      In the Valencia region, the option is being seriously considered – a decision will be reached shortly.

      For more on this story, read El Pais:


      June 30: Spain prepares to open its borders

      As part of reciprocal arrangements between the European Union & 15 other countries, Spain will open its borders from July 1.

      The named countries have been selected based on the epidemiological situation in each country, which must have a similar or lower contagion rate than the European average for every 100,000 inhabitants for 14 days. 

      The named countries are: Algeria, Australia, Canada, Japan, Georgia, Morocco, Montenegro, New Zealand, Rwanda, Serbia, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia and Uruguay. China will also be included, but only if visitors from the EU receive reciprocal treatment.

      For more on this story, read El Pais:


      June 21: All of Spain enters the ‘New Normality’

      The ‘state of alert’ has officially ended after 24 weeks of lockdown measures. Whilst many restrictions have been removed, 4 essential rules remain:

      • Social distancing of 1.5 meters
      • Compulsory wearing of face masks when social distancing measures cannot be maintained
      • Hand washing/sanitising
      • Hygiene in public & private spaces

      Travel between provinces is now allowed, and travel from EU countries/UK is now permitted, without quarantine, with the exception of Portugal (to follow shortly).

      June 21: Brits can visit Spain without quarantine

      Spain’s Foreign Minister, Arancha Gonzalez, has announced that with immediate effect, British citizens can travel to Spain from today, without facing quarantine measures. British visitors will need to:

      • Provide contact information & any history of Covid exposure
      • Undergo a temperature check & a visual health assessment

      For full travel details re Spain, checkout this EU webpage, updated in real time – use the icons on the right to scroll around transport options:

      Currently this decision is a unilateral one, & we await confirmation regarding quarantine measures for Brits returning from Spain to the UK.


      Read more on this story in El Pais here:


      Spanish Department of Health travel page has useful travel/health information about including the online travel form:

      Worldometers monitor the number of cases & death tolls, by country:

      Institute for Health Metrics & Evaluation (IHME) COVID-19 death toll projections for Spain:

      For updates about the lockdown rules – Boletín Oficial del Estado:

      The Spanish government website has all the latest news from Spain, in English:

      N322 Road Safety Association has a wealth of information about lockdown measures on their Facebook page:

      European Commission coronavirus home page:

      WHO specific information on Spain:

      WHO specific information on UK:

      Spanish Ministry of Health, Consumer Affairs & Social Welfare:

      Spanish Ministry of the Environment:

      UK Foreign Office travel advice for Spain:

      Brits in Spain (British Embassy in Madrid) Facebook Page:

      Brits in Spain website: