Saturday, 11 November 2017

Brexit Outreach Meeting

Brexit negotiations meeting

You are invited to a meeting for British residents regarding Brexit negotiations, to be held on
Thursday 9th November,   at 19:00 hours (7.00 p.m.)
in the Sala de Plenos at Calvia Town Hal
Lloyd Milen, Consul General and Lucy Gorman, Vice Consul, will speak to attendees about the progress of Brexit negotiations and the future relationship between the UK and Spain.

 The main focus of the visit will be the subject of citizens’ rights and how that is one of the main priorities for the British Government in the negotiations with the EU.

REPORT: 
Brexit Outreach Meeting

Thursday 9th November,   at 19:00 hours (7.00 p.m.)
in the Sala de Plenos at Calvia Town Hall

The British Consul-General, Lloyd Milen, presided at the Meeting accompanied by Vice-Consul Lucy Gorman and Martin Standish from the U.K. Department of Health.

Mr.Milen opened the meeting by saying that the main focus would be the subject of citizens’ rights and how that is one of the main priorities for the British Government in the negotiations with the European Union.  He emphasised that while there was a great deal of speculative reporting in newspapers and other news media about the negotiations, anyone interested should go to the internet site  www.gov.uk  and use the search box to find the specific information on the U.K. Government´s position.  The website is updated whenever new information is obtained.

Vice-Consul Lucy Gorman gave a short update on the work of the consular office in Palma, emphasising that its main function was to provide help to vulnerable British nationals;
provide aid to the bereaved families of deceased British nationals;
and provide welfare help to British nationals in need.
The consular service could not help to free prisoners from jail, nor could it issue passports, neither could it provide a translation service or issue notarised copies of passports or other documents. These services can be obtained from private companies.

At this point Lloyd Milen said he had been requested by Calvia Town Hall to give a plug on behalf of the Padrón de habitantes system.  It was estimated that less than half of British nationals living on the island were registered on the Padrón.  Without registration, it was not possible to access the services available to residents.  Mr. Milen strongly recommended that everyone should sign up for the Padrón – there was no downside to being registered.

Citizens Rights

Mr.Milen spoke about a recent interview with the Spanish Foreign Minister on the Andrew Marr Show on television, in which the Minister emphasised the strong desire of the Spanish Government that British nationals living or working in, or travelling to, Spain should be able to do so as freely after Brexit as they do at present.  This was a view shared by other countries, such as Italy,  also.  The U.K. Government had made an offer on citizens´ rights but as yet no agreement has been reached.  The E.U.´s initial offer of maintaining citizens´ rights as they are prior to Brexit was not acceptable to the U.K. Government.

A general Q & A session then ensued.

On the subject of taxation, Mr, Milen reminded the audience that this was a matter for individual countries and would, therefore, remain the same after Brexit.

Queried about Health Services,Mr. Standish said the U.K. Government  wanted to see a like-for-like replacement for the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC).  It was very hopeful that this would be the case.  The Government was committed to continuing the payments it made to fund the access to Health Care of British nationals living in the E.U..  Currently, for example, the U.K. paid €3,880 annually to the Spanish Heath system for each British national registered with the system.

On pensions it was expected that combining years accrued in different countries would continue after Brexit.  It had been decided that after Brexit, pensioners living outside the U.K. in E.U. countries, would be treated exactly as those pensioners living in the U.K..  The so-called Canadian Rule, whereby a pensioner living in a country outside the E.U. had their pensions frozen at the time of leaving the U.K. woud not apply.


Asked about Dual Nationality, Mr. Milen said the U.K. had no problem allowing dual, or even multiple nationalities  but other countries took a different view.  Spain for example, does not recognise dual nationality and  a British national could become a Spanish citizen only by surrendering British citizenship.

On the subject of British-flagged boats in Spanish waters, Mr. Milen could only say that this and like matters, such as fishing rights, is still to be decided. 

A new British Passport was already under design and would probably look very similar to the one in use before Britain joined the E.U..  Questioned about the longevity of current passports, Mr. Milen said that after Brexit they would continue to be valid until their normal expiration date.
Voting.  At present British nationals who have lived outside the U.K. for 15 years or more are denied a vote in U.K. elections.  Legislation to amend this position had been in preparation but was not enacted in time for the Brexit vote or for the general election.  It was expected that it would come into effect presently. 
There was a short discussion on seasonal workers and Mr. Milen emphasisd that they should endeavour to be properly employed and pay correct taxes as a way to ensure their employment rights.
The Meeting concluded.

The information below was copied from www.gov.uk
Present Status of U.K. nationals
There will be no change to the rights and status of UK nationals living in the EU while the UK remains in the EU.
·         UK nationals can continue to travel freely within the EU using a UK passport
·         there continue to be no visa requirements for UK nationals entering another EU country
·         UK nationals can continue to access healthcare during temporary visits to EU countries using the European Health Insurance Card
·         UK nationals retain their legal status as EU citizens and can continue to work and live in EU countries
·         UK nationals can continue to receive healthcare in EU countries
·         UK nationals can continue to retire and collect their pensions in EU countries

The UK government’s offer for EU citizens is:
·         People who have been continuously living here for 5 years will be able to apply to stay indefinitely by getting ‘settled status’. That means these citizens will be free to live here, have access to public funds and services and go on to apply for British citizenship.
·         People who arrived before the cut-off date, but won’t have been here for 5 years when we leave the EU, will be able to apply to stay until they have reached the 5 year threshold. They can then also apply for settled status.
·         Family dependants who are living with, or join, EU citizens in the UK before the UK’s exit will also be able to apply for settled status after 5 years in the UK.
The cut-off date will be agreed during the negotiations but we are clear that it shouldn’t be earlier than 29 March 2017 (the date Article 50 was triggered) or later than the date the UK leaves the EU.


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