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Report on Focus Group Meeting Friday 24February 2017

Report on Focus Group Meeting Friday 24February 2017

On 24th February 2017 the Foreign and Commonwealth Office hosted a Brexit Focus Group Meeting at the Centro Cultura in La Cala de Mijas.

Brexpats in Spain were invited to put a group of around 15 people together to attend the event. Our group consisted of a cross section which included retirees, small business owners, people with families as well as our lawyers and Giles Tremlett a journalist and author who writes for The Guardian and Economist. Giles travelled down from Madrid to be with us at the meeting. Also in attendance were participants from other Expat Groups, Local Businesses as well as Local Press.

Julia Longbottom, The Director of Consular Services travelled from London to Chair the meeting she was accompanied by Gerard McGurk Consular Regional Director for Southern Europe, Charmaine Arbouin Consular Regional Operation Manager for Andalucía and Rosslyn Lloyd Vice-Consul for Andalucía. A contingent from the Department for Exiting the European Union were invited to attend but were unable to do so. It is hoped that they will attend future such events.

The Mayor of Mijas, Juan Carlos Maldonado introduced himself to the meeting confirming his ongoing support for Brexpats in Spain and the British residents in Spain.

Whilst there are still “No Answers” the meeting gave a valuable chance for concerned British Immigrants to put their Brexit worries and views directly to a face from the FCO. Subjects raised included Pension, Healthcare, and Employment, Maintaining a Business, Education, Qualifications and Family Life.

Julia Longbottom took everything she was told on board and made a firm commitment to us to take it back to London and ensure that it is disseminated to the correct areas. She reiterated that there are no answers yet. She also made a commitment to ensure these Focus Group Meeting would continue.

The one thing that was prominent at the meeting was the need for good reliable and up to date information. There are too many rumours, conflicting press reports and Chinese Whispers. This was taken on board and will be worked on to find a suitable solution.

Following the Focus Group Meeting, Brexpats in Spain gave a presentation at the La Cala Town Hall on the subject of obtaining Spanish Nationality, Wills, Inheritance and Employment.

Our Mayor of Mijas Juan Carlos Maldonado introduced himself to the meeting confirming his ongoing support for British Immigrants in Mijas, Brexpats and the work we are doing .

It was explained that the basic requirement for applying for Spanish Nationality as they stand at the moment include: –

10 years continuous Spanish Residency, to sit a written examinations in Spanish on Spanish Culture and Language as well as a Spanish oral exam/interview.

It was also further pointed out that as of this moment Spain does not allow dual nationality with the United Kingdom.

Giles Tremlett gave a briefing on the work he is doing with other groups regarding British Rights in Europe after Brexit and is actively working to ease the requirements for obtaining Spanish Nationality as well as change legislation that precludes British Nationals from holding dual nationality with Spain. Interestingly, Great Britain allows a Spanish National to hold dual Nationality with the UK.

Victoria Westhead (Lawyer) then gave a briefing on employment. Since 1993 EU Nationals have had the right to come to Spain, seek employment and work in Spain with the ability to have qualifications endorsed throughout Europe. The only exceptions to this is non Spanish Nationals are not permitted to take positions in areas such as the Police or Armed Forces.

Obviously we want to conserve our rights in Spain and work to the Spanish Government confirming this post Brexit.

Sarah Hawes explained that there has been recent changes in legislation that now give the opportunity for British Residents in Spain to change their Wills to include a clause stating that they wish to have the inheritance laws of their county of nationality applied to their Spanish Will . It should be stressed that this applies only to the rule of inheritance, Spanish Inheritance tax rules would still apply. It should also be noted that if you were to choose to take Spanish Nationality under the present rules whereby Dual Nationality with the UK is not permitted then this option would not be available.

Milada Fitzgerald reiterated to the meeting that if you live in Spain more than 183 day you are automatically deemed to be a Spanish Resident and must complete a Spanish Tax Return on which you must declare all pensions, income and interest etc. regardless of where you are receiving them. The Tax return must be completed by the end of June each year with your declaration covering the previous calendar year. Milada also reminded the meeting that Inheritance tax exists between spouses in Spain, the level of which varies dependant on region.

Brexpats in Spain President, Anne Hernández, then closed the meeting thanking everyone for their attendance.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Brexit | European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill

Brexit | European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill

MPs are to continue considering the European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill in a Committee of the whole House on Wednesday 8 February 2017.

Remaining stages on the Bill are also scheduled to take place on Wednesday 8 February.

Committee of the whole House: Wednesday 8 February 2017

Today’s debate is expected to start at approximately 12.45pm after the Ten Minute Rule Motion on Sexual Offences (Amendment).

Timings are approximate as Parliamentary business is subject to change.

The amendments selected by the Chairman of Ways and Means will be discussed in a wide-ranging debate covering priorities for negotiations with the EU on the UK’s withdrawal, and other issues not covered fully in earlier debates, such as implications for Gibraltar and membership of Euratom. This debate will last for up to five hours from the commencement of proceedings.

READ MORE

PUTTING PEOPLE FIRST IN BREXIT

PUTTING PEOPLE FIRST IN BREXIT

SUMMARY: One million UK residents in Spain and other EU countries today demand that the millions of people left in Brexit limbo (including 3 million European in the UK) be put top of the agenda by the EU and UK government. For the first time, BREXPATS IN SPAIN and other groups of UK residents from across Europe have come together to lobby governments. Today they publish an alternative white paper for the UK government, calling on Theresa May to make an immediate agreement to preserve the rights of those in place in the UK and EU before Brexit her main priority during negotiations. One third of UK citizens in the EU – 300,000 people – live in Spain.

On the eve of the Government’s White Paper publication, UK citizens living in the EU present their ‘UK Citizens in Europe – Towards an Alternative White Paper’.

This is the biggest group of British citizens’ organisations in Europe working together for the first time to call for their serious concerns to be acted on before Article 50 is triggered. The groups represent thousands of British citizens living and working across the continent.

‘UK Citizens in Europe – Towards an Alternative White Paper’ sets out clear concerns about being able to live, work, run a business or study in the European countries where many have made lives for themselves and their families.

Authors, Jane Golding and Jeremy Morgan QC added:

“Following the Supreme Court ruling, UK MPs have both the opportunity and the clear responsibility to make approval of the bill to trigger Article 50 conditional on safeguarding the rights and livelihoods of over a million UK citizens living in Europe (as well as around 3 million EU citizens in the UK). This should happen at the earliest opportunity.” (J.Golding)

“Our paper shows that the complex position of individuals who have moved to another EU country. It is clear that unless all rights are preserved, many people will have no choice but to give up their homes and their lives and return to their country of origin” (J.Morgan)

The signatories of the Alternative White Paper are:
BREXPATS IN SPAIN, EuroCitizens (Spain), Bremain in Spain, Brits in Europe (Germany), British Community Committee of France, Expat Citizen Rights in EU (ECREU) on behalf of 6,000 members from 25 EU Countries (France), Fair Deal for Expats (France), RIFT (Remain in France Together), Brexpats Hear our Voice (Belgium), British in Italy, and New Europeans (UK).

For further information email us on info@brexpats.es or speak to the authors contact:

Jane Golding +49 171 1487159 jama.golding-wilkens@t-online.de
Jeremy Morgan +39 368 8714943 jeremymorganit@gmail.com
Daniel Tetlow: +49 1573 370 4205 daniel@kamanga.net

Transcript of the Petitioned Parliamentary Debate on EU 2nd Referendum

There has been a lot of discussion about the nature of the wildly untrue statements and promises that were made during the referendum campaign. It genuinely scares me that Members of Parliament—honourable Members of Parliament—can sit here in an open forum and say, “Yeah, but people tell lies in general elections and council elections. It is just part of the system.” It should never be part of the system. It is appalling that a Member of this Parliament was found by a court of law to have told a blatant lie, but the law does not provide for that person to be forced to seek re-election through a by-election. There is something fundamentally wrong if the political system not only tacitly but now explicitly accepts that telling lies is an accepted part of the political process.

 

 

Although the Referendum is only a show of hands to indicate the feeling of the British public (at best that something is wrong with the state of British politics and the people it is meant to protect), and though the campaigning of the Leave party was based on blatant lies, false-promises and self-interest, it is still maintained that the Referendum is a binding result that the Brexit vote has been made. It hasn’t. Yet even Labour’s Barry Gardiner, despite raising some sensible points such as the close margin, the rights of Expats and Immigrants alike, the disenfranchising of youth and long-term expats etc, still had this to say to strengthen the lie that it has:

“However, we must be clear that the British people decided in the referendum that our relationship with the EU, and its balance of rights and responsibilities, was wrong and needed to be addressed.”

 

I keep getting this feeling we are being steam-rollered by our own government into accepting what was not a clear instruction from the British people as something that was…

“I conclude by saying that turnout was high, our instructions from the British people are clear and we are moving ahead… While respecting the views of the millions who signed the petition, we must also respect the millions more who voted on 23 June and the clear mandate that was given, not merely after a few weeks of campaigning but after a debate that exercised this House and our nation for decades… I must be clear on behalf of the Government that we will respect the outcome of the referendum, treat it as an instruction from the British people and carry out the mandate they have given us.”

Read the full Transcript on www.parliament.uk
Or watch the video here

BBC Radio Leeds – Appeal for Contacts

BBC Radio Leeds – Appeal for Contacts

We have received this email from Sue. If any of you who are from the areas she mentions and are prepared to help, please either pm me your contact details or email us at info@brexpats.es

Thank you in advance because we are doing all we can to raise awareness of our situation.

Dear Brexpats

I am a producer at the BBC Local Radio Station for West Yorkshire, BBC Radio Leeds.

I stumbled across Brexpats on the Internet and would be interested in making contact with members who were originally living in or from West Yorkshire (Leeds, Bradford, Huddersfield, Wakefield and Halifax).

Would you be able to help me with this please?

Best wishes

Sue McGorrigan
BBC Radio Leeds Weekends

UK to have 18 months to strike Brexit deal

UK to have 18 months to strike Brexit deal

UK to have 18 months to strike Brexit deal

The UK will have less than 18 months to finalise its exit from the European Union once talks begin and won’t be allowed to pick and choose what it likes, said the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator on Tuesday.

Michel Barnier said that formal procedures such as parliamentary approvals across Europe will cut into the two-year period that Britain was expecting to have to negotiate the terms of its exit.

In his first press conference since taking the post, Barnier said: “Time will be short. It is clear that the period of actual negotiations will be shorter than two years.”

This comes after Theresa May voiced her intention to invoke Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty by March next year. A step that will officially start the 2-year countdown for the EU-UK divorce.

Still, Barnier warned that the effective negotiating time will be less, as an agreement will have to have been reached by October 2018, so as to ensure it is in place and enforced by March 2019 – exactly two years from the triggering of Article 50.

“The European Union is ready to receive the (article 50) notification,” Barnier said. “Keep calm and negotiate.”

However, May might find it difficult to trigger article 50, after a court last month decided that Parliament had to give its backing to such a move. The government is contesting the ruling in the Supreme Court, with critics warning of the serious societal instability if the ruling goes against the people’s vote to leave the EU.

Should it confirm that Parliament is to be involved in the process, May’s plans to begin the exit discussions could be delayed indefinitely.

Barnier, who spoke in English and French, said that Britain cannot “cherry pick” policies from the EU, asserting that the single market and its four freedoms, namely freedom of movement, are “indivisible”.

Craig Webb

Associate Wealth Manager
deVere Spain (Marbella)

The “Overton” Window

The “Overton” Window

I have never considered myself a ‘political animal’ and anybody who knows me finds my involvement, albeit on the fringe, quite incredible. But, as a member pointed out to me the other day, I have dipped my toe in the political world and, to be honest, I am finding it a rather interesting learning curve.

As President of my large (500 properties) community for what will be my 11th year now, I suppose I have always been involved at local level with town halls and I have quickly learnt the influence and clout that local borough councils have here. It’s quite unlike the English mayors who, although respected, are always busy opening fêtes and attending receptions; the mayors in Spain are responsible for the municipal budget. Now, bearing in mind they are voted in and might have little experience of budgets and public spending, that probably can cause problems because as we know, there has been so much corruption but the public is now better educated and less afraid to voice their doubts or disagreement, to ‘blow the gaffe’ so to speak!

So, the Referendum is called, I am already angered that I am not allowed to vote in something so historical as to whether the UK exits the EU and that is something that will affect my life and that of my family here in a fellow member state but I’ve lived in Spain for more than 15 years so wasn’t permitted to vote. Again, anybody who knows me will agree that when I get the bit between my teeth, I won’t willingly spit it out! Hence my involvement with Brexit and why I decided, with a couple of friends, to set-up our group BREXPATS IN SPAIN. However, I don’t think anybody will challenge me when I say that I am extremely democratic and respecting of others. That is something I find difficult to accept – the ‘them and us’ that Brexit has seemingly created. I might not like the result but I do respect it. As an educationalist and eternal student, I know how important it is to listen and learn. That’s the only way one can make an informed judgement. Human nature causes us to instantly form an opinion but it takes a humble person to learn and actually then admit to being wrong. I’m not perfect, of course, I wouldn’t be human, and I shall make mistakes or sometimes even say something I regret but I am never too big to admit that mistake and to learn from it but I will always stand my ground and defend the innocent, gullible or defenseless.

I was talking to a young man the other day and commenting that until the political parties can unite within, it is making it so difficult for us to feel a sense of loyalty to any one party. Gone are the days when we inherited our parents’ political view and unquestioningly voted for that same party because our ideals have changed. I said that my parents used to vote Labour then I came along, a bit of a rebel I suppose, because I bucked the family trend and decided to vote Conservative! Even at that young age I must have been destined for a career in education because my parents also changed their opinion and ended up voting Conservative too! And I said I wasn’t a political animal – I must be deluding myself! Anyway, this young man told me about the Overton Window so I decided to look into it. Joseph Overton devised the window back in the 90s for use in the media to explain the public’s acceptance or expectations of something. It identifies concepts as being Unthinkable, Radical, Acceptable, Sensible and Popular. Used in politics it ranges from the left (Socialist or Labour) to Right (Conservative) and the window should sit comfortably somewhere in the middle. Originally the left-wing supporters were the blue-collar workers of low economic earners and as the scale moves to the right, it goes to the right-wing status of the white collar more affluent society in the mid/upper class. The window defines what policies we will comfortably accept and vote for.

 

Over the years our perceptions have been awakened. We challenge, we do not just unwittingly accept, we aspire for better things rather than the humdrum 9 to 5 existence, we are more ambitious, and what was considered as acceptable, moderate or popular can now be perceived as radical or aspirational. In marketing terms, an aspirational brand is defined as something that a large section of a target audience wishes to own but given its limitations, might never own though still believe it is possible.
As a lecturer of tourism I can equate this to what I have seen with locals of very low incomes in tourist destinations who are envious of the wealthy tourists so try to emulate them. Years ago, my South African family told me how it was very much the done thing for the black locals to carry a briefcase! They probably had little in it but it served as a status symbol to show how well they were doing.

 

On the other side of the coin, to enable the poor locals to equal the wealthy visitors to their country, they prey on them or even steal from them. All quite unacceptable but further proof that our ambition has taken us beyond that comfortable middle line of the Overton Window.

Now we are experiencing this in the political world. Not content to settle on what we have, we are all aspiring for something that might improve our personal circumstances but we are divided in our opinions of how we should achieve it and until the very politicians of the same party can unite I fear that we will continue to succumb to the aggression, bitterness and hatred for those who do not share our opinions and delay our ever achieving it!

The Overton Window should have stamped out unethical journalism but given that the press is politically-biased it doesn’t leave much room for independent, unbiased reporting! The press today seems to delight in fuelling our dislike for others, propagating hate and the resulting attacks ensue. In my opinion, it really does have a lot to answer for!

Sadly, Joseph Overton omitted one very important word when he devised that window – the one word that should have been at the very centre of that scale, that of RESPECT!