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Spain to pass new law to protect rights of Britons in case of no-deal Brexit

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Spain to pass new law to protect rights of Britons in case of no-deal Brexit
File photo of Pedro Sanchez in Parliament. Photo: AFP
15:46 CET+01:00
Spain is poised to approve a new law containing contingency plans in the event that Britain crashes out of the European Union on March 29th without ratifying the Withdrawal Agreement.

Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez told the Spanish parliament on Wednesday that a Royal Decree would be signed on Friday at the cabinet meeting that would “prepare for all eventualities of a messy Brexit”.

Discussing the likelihood that Brexit may be delayed he said he would not oppose such a move but wanted any postponement to yield concrete results.

"Although Spain will not oppose granting a possible extension, this must have an assured perspective of resolution," he said.   

"Prolonging uncertainty by postponing deadlines is not a reasonable alternative nor is it desirable."

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But Brexit remains shrouded in uncertainty Spain will push forward and prepare for a the worst case scenario - a no-deal.

"The government works with certainties and not speculations", he said outlining that these refer to a "scenario with only two possibilities", an orderly withdrawal based on a "meticulously ordered" agreement, or an "abrupt withdrawal, without any agreement".

The measures contained within the new law will be temporary and in some cases subject to reciprocal measures put in place by the British government towards Spaniards in the UK.

But what will reassure those Britons worried about their future status, certain guarantees have been made - albeit on a reciprocal basis.

The new law will guarantee the existing rights of Britons who are legally resident in Spain on March 29th during a transition period that will last until December 31st 2020.

In a draft seen by The Local, the new law will protect access to healthcare and social security, including the validity of the S1 certificate that ensures pensioners the right to free healthcare in Spain.  

It will also provide a grace period for people to transfer their driving licences from British issued ones to Spanish ones.

Important for those who regularly travel over the border between Spain and Gibraltar, the new law will guarantee free passage until a permanent agreement is made.

READ ALSO: The ultimate No-Deal Brexit checklist for Brits in Spain

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