“The UK and Spain: Beyond Brexit”.
On Tuesday 17th October we attended the event organised by the British Embassy in Madrid. Guest speaker was Tim Hemmings who is Deputy Head of Mission at the British Embassy in Madrid since June 2016. Tim was keen to point out that he was a diplomat and not a politician. Pancho Hernadez Mayor of Tias opened the meeting and welcomed the guests and thanked the British Embassy for the invitation.
Tim said that he would address the meeting in 3 ways
Process: – he likened the exit to “a divorce” triggered by article 50
Substance: – looking at citizens rights
Questions and answers:
The meeting was very interesting and he explained the “process” and “substance” very clearly and constructively. He stressed that this was a negotiation period at that many things had already been discussed and that some progress had been made in Brussels, which was not always reported by the press.
Citizens rights are fundamental, as are issues such as healthcare, pensions, security, safety, prisons and the right to remain living in foreign countries.
There is a 21 page document available to view on line which highlights what progress has been made. If the subject is highlighted in Green it shows it had been agreed. Amber indicates legal mechanisms and Red not agreed.
There followed a fairly lengthy Q&A session which covered many topics including; pensions, healthcare, free movement rights, freedom of workers, future generations rights, passports and voting rights.
It was a very informative meeting but as Tim pointed out there is still a long way to go and he is not a clairvoyant and if at the end of the implementation period if negotiations have not been finalised but are near completion then all parties can agree to extend the period. He was asked if he thought “Brexit” would not happen or if Spain would leave the EU to which his answer was no, but who knows.
We feel everyone felt the meeting was very worthwhile and although nothing is guaranteed in gave some reassurance that we are being taken into consideration during the negotiating process. Thanks to Tim Hemmings and the British Embassy team.