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Brits welcome Spain's No-Deal Brexit contingency law

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Brits welcome Spain's No-Deal Brexit contingency law
Photo: Aliced/Depositphotos
16:27 CET+01:00
A new Royal Decree announced by Pedro Sanchez's government on Friday has come as a huge relief to those Brits worried that a hard deal Brexit would jeopardize their rights to live in Spain.

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".

READ MORE: Spain guarantees residency for 400,000 Brits even with Hard Brexit

"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.

But some feared that the law could stall and they could yet be deprived of the rights they currently enjoy as residents in Spain, if the UK failed to offer Spaniards resident in UK the same deal.

“It is dependent on UK making reciprocal measures for Spaniards in the UK. Thus far from a done deal,” one reader commented on The Local Spain's Facebook page.

But as the UK has already reached an agreement with the European Union on citizens' rights, the reciprocity issue seems unproblematic.

One commentator pointed out that the whole agreement could be derailed very easily.

"We are already seeing stories of EU citizens many years resident in UK married working with British grandchildren being refused settled status. There only needs to be one Spanish case and this all falls apart," said a member of Bremain in Spain on their website. 

Others felt that although the Royal Decree had brought a reprieve, it might just kick the problem down the line.

The royal decree talks about a transition period lasting until December 312020, and some are concerned this means that rights will only be ring-fenced until then.

“This isvery worrying as it means we will carry on having sleepless nights about eventually having to buy private healthcare when we will all be older, it will be more expensive and we will maybe have pre-existing conditions that won't be covered,” wrote one anxious reader.  

“This only moves the problem down the road in the event of a no deal.”

OPINION: Remainers must forgive fellow Brits in Spain who fell for the Brexit lie

 
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