As post-Brexit trade talks stall, it’s unsurprising that Brits throughout Europe are again feeling anxious about their futures. But for those in Spain, there is reason to be optimistic, writes Sue Wilson of Bremain in Spain.
Following the seventh round of Brexit negotiations in Brussels in August, there’s been little to report and no progress. The main issues preventing agreement remain the same – fisheries, a level playing field and state aid. The only change is in the amount of time remaining to resolve those issues, and the political rhetoric.
French foreign minister, Jean-Yves Le Drian, recently said that the UK government was deliberately stalling the negotiations with its “intransigent and unrealistic attitude”. Downing Street responded by saying that the EU was “making it unnecessarily difficult” for post-Brexit trade talks to progress. A source close to lead negotiator, David Frost, said that he had “made clear to Barnier that as things stand, he would have to recommend to Boris that we go for no deal”.
With the endless chest-thumping and finger-pointing, it’s unsurprising that Brits throughout Europe are again feeling anxious about their futures. Uncertainty is always unsettling, but there is a familiarity to the situation we find ourselves in. In many respects, we’ve been here before.
In 2019, we were worried about the prospect of leaving the EU with no deal, no rights and no benefits. Thankfully, that worst-case scenario was narrowly avoided at the 11th hour, but the talk of no deal has returned.
This time around, we do have a deal – the Withdrawal Agreement (WA) – that protects many, if not all, of our treasured rights. Yet there’s still the threat of failing to agree a trade deal. According to Michel Barnier, a negotiated deal is becoming “unlikely”, thanks to the UK government’s unwillingness to compromise.
Unsurprisingly, the idea of losing EU citizenship rights stirs anger, sadness and fear in British citizens in Spain. We moved here in good faith, secure in the knowledge – or so we thought – that our rights would apply for life. We’re more familiar with those rights now than ever before, because many of them are being taken away. We took the benefits of EU membership for granted: not anymore.
However, one thing surely causes more anxiety than the loss of rights already removed, and that’s the fear of losing the rights already secured by the Withdrawal Agreement.
You can read the article in full over at The Local.