Support for British councillors in Spain post-Brexit grows

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QUESTIONS: Fernando Maura (right) shows his concern for the future of British representation. Photo Credit: Ciudadanos

ONE of the unresolved issues that are likely to affect the status of some UK citizens living in Spain post-Brexit is whether or not they will be allowed to remain or stand as local councillors.

This, along with voting rights (as this goes hand in hand) was originally planned to be part of the first phase of Brexit negotiations that came to an end shortly before Christmas.

However, the European Union (EU) decided that it is something that was “out of the remit” and should, therefore, be left to individual countries to negotiate with the UK and come to a bilateral agreement.

But the question for many is… when?

There are currently 37 British local councillors in Spain and the Ciudadanos (Cs) political party are the latest to make official representations to the government asking them how they plan to resolve the situation, bearing in mind that officially the individuals will no longer be European two months before the next municipal elections.

The UK leaves the EU on March 29, 2019 and it’s understood the elections are planned for May 26.

Fernando Maura, a Spanish MP from the Cs, sums up the scenario that those serving British councillors are facing, as well as those that are planning to stand for the first time.

“They could face the situation of losing their job before the end of their term of office,” said Maura.

He also points out that to take part in the May local elections in Spain, the lists of candidates must be registered three months in advance (by the end of February) and places them in an even greater uncertainty.

“In one moment they could be on an official list to stand for office, only to risk having that right taken away from them because they are no longer officially eligible,” he concluded.

Maura is asking the government if it has yet planned any “concrete measures” to guarantee this right to vote and stand for council, bearing in mind that such a decision would equally guarantee Spaniards voting in the UK.

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