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You are here: Home The Brexit debate Bremain in Spain on the Brexit transition period, agreed thanks to another May U-turn

Bremain in Spain on the Brexit transition period, agreed thanks to another May U-turn

22 March 2018
by eub2 -- last modified 22 March 2018

When Michel Barnier and David Davis appeared at a press conference in Brussels on Monday, to announce that a Brexit transition deal had been agreed, there was a general acceptance that significant progress had been made. To many, it seemed like a major step forward. The money markets reacted immediately, with Sterling increasing in value to its highest level in three weeks. Bremain in Spain, a group campaigning for the rights of British citizens in Spain and the EU, comments on the latest developments.


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From Brits in Spain, the reaction was of fear and foreboding. Not only did citizens' rights barely receive a mention but the implication was, yet again, that outstanding issues were resolved. Davis said: "In only a few weeks we have managed to finalise the chapters on the financial settlement and citizens' rights — delivering on our commitment to provide certainty to citizens."

Sue Wilson, Chair of Bremain in Spain, says: "The news that nothing will change for those exercising their EU citizenship rights during transition was welcome but there was little else to smile about. Davis implied that all citizens' rights issues were settled, not for the first time and probably not for the last. However, the same important issues are outstanding now that were outstanding back in December. Nothing has changed, including the level of insecurity we all feel."

Wilson continues: "For months now, we have pointed out that many important issues are still unresolved, such as our freedom of movement. They were not resolved even when we were supposedly number one priority in the negotiations. Many people are understandably worried that they will be completely lost when the talks move to trade."

She adds: "So much time has been wasted. May has made so many U-turns that she must be dizzy. Had she made all these concessions a year ago, then perhaps citizens' rights really would have been sorted out by now."

"May's biggest concession appears to be her acceptance of the EU's 'Plan B' for the Irish border - namely that if all else fails, and to prevent a hard border, then the border would be moved to the Irish Sea. Just last month, May categorically stated that she would never agree to this option, adding that no Prime Minister ever would agree to such a thing. It is clear that the DUP will never accept it, so May is left trying to find the impossible solution - no hard border or customs union."

Wilson concludes: "Yet again, May has boxed herself into a corner and her red lines are fading fast. It's not beyond the realms of possibility that she'll change her mind about the customs union and single market. She will be under increasing pressure from parliament to do so, and it may be the only solution that squares the impossible circle that is the Irish border. Once we reach that point, the question becomes: what is the point of leaving the EU at all?"

Bremain in Spain is a group campaigning for the UK to remain in the European Union and to protect the rights of British migrants living and working in Spain. Run by a team of volunteers and chaired by Sue Wilson - a resident of the Valencian Community - the group advocates a tolerant and outward-looking society. It believes this is best achieved by the UK remaining a member of the EU. Bremain in Spain is part of the British in Europe coalition of 10 UK citizens' groups across the EU. It is also affiliated to Britain for Europe and European Movement.

Bremain in Spain
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