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Spanish PM opposes EU talks with Scotland after Brexit

Spain's acting premier Mariano Rajoy said on Wednesday that Madrid would Madrid would oppose Scotland having any role in talks between Britain and the European Union after the Brexit vote.

Spanish PM opposes EU talks with Scotland after Brexit
Sturgeon met Martin Schulz in Brussels on Wednesday. Photo: AFP

Spain has consistently opposed Scottish independence for fear of setting a precedent for its own separatists, especially in Catalonia, its richest region.

“The Spanish government is opposed to any negotiations with anyone else but the British government,” Rajoy said after 27 EU leaders – excluding Britain – met in Brussels to discuss the Brexit vote.

“The United Kingdom leaves and with it, all those who make up the United Kingdom,” he said.

Rajoy was speaking just hours before European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker was due to meet Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.

Sturgeon has said she is ready to defend Scotland's place in the EU by all means, including another independence referendum if need be.

She agreed to hold talks with Gibraltar, a nation which also overwhelmingly voted Remain, about exploring their options together.

European Council President Donald Tusk, however, declined to meet the first minister as it was “not the appropriate moment”, a source in the council said on Tuesday.

While Britain as a whole voted 52-48 percent to leave the EU, Scotland voted 62-38 percent to remain.

Scots rejected independence in 2014 but since last Thursday's Brexit vote, there have been calls for another referendum to give Scotland the option to remain in the EU.

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BREXIT

Reciprocal healthcare agreements between Spain and Gibraltar end

The Spanish government has confirmed that it will not extend its reciprocal healthcare agreements with Gibraltar, meaning that from July 1st 2022, it will come to an end.

Reciprocal healthcare agreements between Spain and Gibraltar end

When the UK left the EU on December 31st 2020, both sides agreed that the UK’s EHIC European healthcare cards could still be used until their expiry dates.

This card provided British travellers with free state-provided medical care in the EU in case of emergencies.

Beyond their five year period of validity, EHIC cards are no longer valid and travellers have to apply for the new Global Heath Insurance Card (GHIC) instead. 

Spain made a separate agreement with Gibraltar under its Royal Brexit Decree in which unilateral arrangements would be maintained in the territory and extended until June 30th 2022.

During the meeting of the Spanish Council of Ministers on Tuesday, the Spanish Government decided not to extend the agreement further, meaning that residents of Gibraltar will no longer be able to benefit from it.

In a statement the government of Gibraltar said: “It would have been HMGoG’s preference for these arrangements, which deeply affect citizens on either side of the border on matters as essential as healthcare, to have been maintained. Indeed, HMGoG was prepared to continue with them”.

“However, because reciprocity is a key element to these arrangements which cannot work without coordination and provisions for reimbursement of costs etc., HMGoG is left with no option but to discontinue them also in so far as treatment in Gibraltar is concerned,” it continued. 

What does this mean?

Gibraltar residents insured under Gibraltar’s Group Practice Medical Scheme will, after 30th June 2022, no longer be able to access free emergency healthcare in Spain during a temporary stay in the country. 

Those who are residents in Spain who travel over to Gibraltar will not have access to free healthcare on The Rock either. 

As a consequence, if a resident of Gibraltar falls ill or has an accident while over the border in Spain or the same for a Spanish resident in Gibraltar, they will have to pay for healthcare.

The government of Gibraltar is encouraging its citizens from July 1st 2022 to have appropriate travel insurance with medical cover each time they visit Spain.

This means that even those who are hopping over the border for few hours such as for a shopping trip or going out for dinner will have to make sure that they have adequate health insurance. 

“Where medical attention is required the costs incurred may be considerable, so you should ensure you have adequate insurance cover or alternatively the means to pay,” the Gibraltar government said in their statement.

  

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