Turismo, finanzas, mercado inmobiliario, brexit, Gibraltar, medios, política y corrupción son algunos de los temas que se trata este boletín informativo

02/05/17. Opinión. El periodista Lenox Napier repasa la actualidad española en su boltín semanal Business Over Tapas, al que puede suscribirse por 60 euros anuales. Puede obtener más información en su web (AQUÍ) o en su perfil (AQUÍ) en Facebook. EL OBSERVADOR / www.revistaelobservador.com ofrece este contenido cuatro días después de su lanzamiento...


SO many worries of previous years are now being repaired in Spain. Unemployment is down (although, many jobs created are the sometimes slightly spurious public sector jobs) and property sales are rising. Tourism is sky-high and there is confidence in the Market again. Business is good. There’s just that one last concern of Spaniards to be fixed...

WE had corruption in the banks – best remembered with the unaccounted ‘black credit cards’ for the chosen few. We had cash hidden in offshore accounts and in Swiss banks; we saw the fallout from the declaration of foreign assets; we read of los pringaos – those whose jobs depend on their fevered political support for their bosses; the cops who stole the drugs they confiscated; the fake stories in the Media used to attack or ruin rivals in business or politics. We learned an awful lot about Venezuela.

GOOODNESS (and despite fears about the probity of some of the judiciary), we even put a few of those bankers in jail. Finally.

BUT above all, we learned a lot about our political leaders. Party treasurer Luis Bárcenas, Ex vice-president (and IMF chief) Rodrigo Rato, Ex-president of the Madrid region Ignacio Gonzalez, the ex-president of Valencia Francisco Camps... all in jail and perhaps waiting to join them are many more, including a few from the PSOE such as Manuel Chaves and Pepe Griñán. We even have the President of the Nation Mariano Rajoy called by the court to give an explanation on improper party funding.

THERE was (and is) so much political corruption in Spain,  a political party was recently invented in a Madrid classroom on the back of an anti-corruption platform, which in a couple of years has become the second largest party in the country.

THERE were more resignations and arrests this week. The most important of the former was
the departure of Esperanza Aguirre (probably the cleverest of the PP leaders) and the arrest in Barcelona on Wednesday of Jordi Pujol’s eldest son (also called Jordi) for money laundering. It is no secret that the father (whose home and offices were being searched by the police on Wednesday) has sensitive material on Madrid politicians, material that he has threatened to go public with in an evident blood-bath. Will he? Not yet probably.

AN apparently unconcerned President Rajoy is on an official tour of Latin America at the moment, ‘sending a few selfies back to Spain’, says El Español here.

THE majority opposition parties could (and should) call for a motion of censure and topple the government. But there’s a problem – with the socialist supporters watching anxiously over their party’s implosion, there’s no PSOE leader around...


EL Mundo looks at the beach-front property market. These homes suffered a large drop in value following the ‘crash’ of 2007, and still today are around 45% cheaper than they were a decade ago. Prices are nevertheless rising again.

‘BRITONS are buying fewer houses in Spain since last year's vote to leave the European Union, put off by a slump in the pound and uncertainty about Britain's future relationship with the bloc. A Spanish property association said on Monday that the British, tens of thousands of whom have retired to the sunny Mediterranean coast, are still the biggest foreign buyers of Spanish homes. But, having accounted for more than 21 per cent of purchases by foreigners in 2015, they made up just 19 per cent of 2016's total, the Association of Land and Commercial Registrars said...’.
Found at The Business Times.

FROM Business Times
comes: ‘Spain As Retirement Capital Starts To Wane. The attraction of retiring to Spain for Britons has been lost following the start of Brexit, says a new study. The historic vote to leave the European Union and doubts triggered over the status of expats once Brexit is finalised has led to a flood of inquiries about moving into British care homes and retirement villages. And one care chain has seen registrations surge by 300% since the referendum in June 2016. At the same time, the number of Britons considering a move to Spain has plummeted, according to a survey by retirement care and housing provider Anchor...’.

‘IN 2013, the Spanish government introduced legislation offering residency permits to large investors and highly qualified professionals. Three years on, 2,236 investors have benefited from the proposal, bringing in €2,160 million, of which 72% has gone into property. The total number of people granted residency in Spain under the so-called Entrepreneur’s Law is now 27,301, including family members...’. From El País in English

Stücklin from Spanish Property Insight
explains in a useful article how mortgages work in Spain, beginning with ‘Mortgage rates in Spain are at or close to historic lows, and new mortgage lending is growing at a fast clip. With money so cheap, and the Spanish property market in recovery mode, there are good arguments in favour of using a mortgage to buy property in Spain today. And cash buyers from the UK might now need to consider a mortgage after Brexit reduce the value of their potential equity...’.

THE SAREB (Spain’s ‘bad bank’) is putting homes for sale across the country at reduced prices. In Almería, there are three hundred for sale along the coast, says La Voz de Almería


ACCORDING to a study by Trivago, city hotel prices in Spain increased by 7% compared to April 2016, from an average 111 to 119 euros per night. Among the cities studied, Lérida (62 euros), Lugo (64 euros), La Coruña (66 euros), Castellón (66) and Vigo (68) are the cheapest. By contrast, Barcelona (168 euros), Palma (161), Seville (148), Madrid (126) and Cordoba (122) are the cities where it is more expensive to spend the night...’. From Nexotur here.

CRUISING, where your wardrobe travels with you. Univisión, an American Spanish-language channel, looks at the cruise industry from another point of view. Bad practices, low wages, careful legal protection, environmental issues (in one week, a cruise ship of 3,000 passengers plus crew will produce 370,000 litres of liquid waste and eight tons of solid waste, which is emptied into the sea). El País has the story here.


‘CO-housing’ has arrived in Spain, says E&N here. In co-housing, residents have their own home, but live in a community sharing services and entertainment. Kitchens can be shared for example. Ecohousing has a map of current projects in Spain here. These would be for Spanish-speakers, but is there room for similar societies with other EUROOPEAN languages? Another rather fuller article on this phenomenon is at Mayores UDP here.


FROM The Corner: ‘Spain’s 2017 Budget Leaves Little Room For Manoeuvre. The state can only freely make decisions about 39% of what it raises or borrows. Public investment in infrastructures decreased to 7.5 billion euros, 21% lower than in 2016 and a third of what was invested in 2009. At the beginning of this month, Spain’s Finance Minister Cristobal Montoro – who has sucked the most out of the budgets – presented the one for 2017. No less than 40% is earmarked for pensions which are only going up 0.25% per pensioner (3.1% in total for the increase in the number of beneficiaries). Furthermore, if we add to the 139 billion euros for pensions the 32 billion euros corresponding to interest on debt (which we need if we want to keep on borrowing to pay teachers, doctors and policemen at the end of the month), plus the 18 billion euros cost of unemployment insurance, then it turns out the minister has already committed 58% of spending. It’s a budget which leaves little room for manoeuvre...’.

ELECTRICITY firms will be required to give three warnings and then wait at least four months before cutting off power due to non-payment, according to a draft law sent to Spain's 17 autonomously-governed regions by the central government. Two months' grace after the three warnings will be given to the average householder, but those listed as 'vulnerable' or who are in receipt of social service funding, or registered with the electricity board for benefits reducing their bills due to poverty, will get a four-month breathing space to try to find the money before they lose their connection...’. From Think Spain

THE AVE is 25 years old. There are 3,240 kilometres of active rail within the service and 357,500,000 passengers have used the service since it began with the Seville to Madrid link in April 1992. El País
recalls the rise of the high-speed train. The Government has announced an extra investment in the system of 1,300 million euros for 2017.

JUST how safe is Spain’s banking system, asks Wolf Street ominously
here. Many local branches have been closed in 2016 and an average of six have been closed, daily, since 2008 with 81,575 redundancies. Cinco Días has the numbers here.

‘A new report shows that 27.9% of the population in Spain is at risk of slipping into poverty or social exclusion. The figure, which was arrived at by examining declared income from 2015, is slightly better than the 28.6% that was registered using 2014 data, but it is still far from the 26.7% recorded in 2010. At the height of the crisis, in 2013, the percentage of at-risk individuals reached 29.2% of the population...’. From El País in English

'BOTH Rajoy and Foreign Minister Alfonso Dastis and Economy Minister Luis de Guindos have made it very clear that Spain's future lies in a functioning EU. The last thing Spain would want is for the Iberian Peninsula to lose strength. It is true that Spain exports about 7,000 million euros in products to the United Kingdom and that is a good business. But it exports 110,000 million to France, Italy, Germany, Portugal and the Benelux countries. So the future of Spain at this time is in developing better economic relations with its partners in the EU...’. From an interview with ex-foreign minister for the UK Denis MacShane, as reported by El Español and developed by Lenox on his blog


THE Government soldiers on as the party burns. El Diario says: 'Somewhere between incomprehension and disbelief over recent police operations and various judicial processes concerning several ex-leaders of the Popular Party, members of the conservative formation admit that they are in "total shock" while the Government attempts to builds a defensive strategy based on "good economic forecasts." With the arrest this week of the ex-president of the Community of Madrid, Ignacio González, and the court summons to the president of the Government, Mariano Rajoy, to declare in the trial of the Gürtel case, along with everything that is happening with Rodrigo Rato, Esperanza Aguirre and the political scandal in Murcia, for the PP has been "a total shock."...'.

THE Minister for Justice Rafael Catalá sent an SMS message in November to the ex-president of the Madrid region and now jailed Ignacio González which said: ‘Best wishes. Let’s hope this whole thing dies down’. It was about something else, says the ministry.

THE Operación Lezo, with sixty figures under interrogation, including Ignacio González and Eduardo Zaplana, is explained in detail at El Confidencial

AS the PP is swamped with fresh problems, Ciudadanos is preparing itself as the choice party of the centre-right. Analysis at El Diario

HOW much longer can Rajoy last, asks El Diario

‘THE Spanish King Felipe VI has rescheduled his royal visit to Britain due to UK's early election on June 8th. ... The Spanish king and his wife Letizia had been scheduled to visit Britain on June 6-8, but will now do so a month later, on July 12-14...’.
From The Local.


‘THE judge is investigating Zaplana, López Viejo, Villa Mir and the father of Ignacio González in the Lezo case. Judge Eloy Velasco instructing the Lezo Case is investigating the former Work Minister, Eduardo Zaplana, vice-councillor of the presidency of the Madrid Community and implicated in Gürtel Alberto López Viejo and the businessmen Juan Miguel Villa Mir (OHL) and Joaquin Molpeceres (Licuas, Desprosa) and the father of Ignacio González, Pablo González Liberal for the embezzlement from the Canal de Isabel II to presumably finance the PP campaign costs in Madrid...’. From Typically Spanish here.

IGNACIO Gonzalez says he was warned to watch his step by the Secretary of State and following this, had decided to not use his own phone for any compromising conversations. His phones, it turns out, had been tapped by order of Judge Eloy Velásco. More
here. The Government agent in question was the Minister for Justice Rafael Catala. As inquiries into the Caso Lezo continues, an early item finds 23.3 million euros missing from the Region of Madrid accounts. This went to ‘swell’ the value of a Brazilian company implicit in the sale of the Madrid water company (here).

EL Plural
shows a photograph of José María Aznar’s final cabinet, with red rings around the heads of those of the fourteen ministers currently in prison, or under investigation or in other hot water. These amount to eleven of them.

‘THE PSOE and Ciudadanos have jointly presented on Wednesday afternoon in the Congress a letter for the reprobation of the State Attorney General José Manuel Maza and the Anti-Corruption Prosecutor, Manuel Moix, "according to their apparent activities on the part of both of them to obstruct and impede the performance of prosecutors in charge of certain legal cases for corruption-related offenses".  In the proposal signed by the spokesmen of both political groups, the Government is urged to proceed to the cessation of Maza while Moix is required to resign, with the Executive asked to provide an immediate replacement. Among the reasons provided to request these changes, reference was made to various actions of the special prosecutor against corruption and organized crime, which, in the opinion of the two parties, were only made to put sticks in the investigative wheels...’. More on this at Público
here. El Mundo also has the story here. This version, showing how Moix tried to fire the judge in charge of the Lezo case, is at Yo Me Tiro al Monte.


‘AN Interview with James Watts, an entrepreneur moving to Barcelona from the UK. Barcelona is attracting growing numbers of so-called ‘Brexit expats’, who are deserting the UK after discovering the city’s numerous business and lifestyle benefits. Entrepreneur James Watts is one of them’. An item from Lucas Fox here.


‘...MR. Picardo is forthright in his rejection of Spain’s co-sovereignty offer: “People born a particular way can’t be changed because they’re offered a deal. Brits don’t become Germans if they’re offered a good deal, and Gibraltarians don’t become Spaniards because the deal on the table is commercially attractive.” Mr. Picardo, whose grandmother was Spanish, says that “the terms put to us in respect of joint sovereignty actually represent the full hypocrisy of the Spanish position.” He explains that many of Spain’s attacks against Gibraltar are aimed at its financial-services sector. Even though Gibraltar is highly regulated and a financial services centre ranked alongside London and Frankfurt, Spain claims the territory allows money laundering. “And what’s the first line of their offer of joint sovereignty? That we can keep the financial-services sector that’s so anathema to them when it’s not in a joint-sovereign Gibraltar!” says Mr. Picardo...’. Excerpt from ‘Gibraltar Braces for Life After Brexit’ at The Wall Street Journal. (Thanks to Ian)


SPANIARDS who are returning home thanks to the Brexit, says El País with appropriate relish.

‘DESPITE the vow by the Conservative party in their 2015 election manifesto to guarantee votes for life for expats, long-term residents in Spain and other countries will once again be disenfranchised on June 8 in the UK’s snap general election. A press officer for the ministry for constitutional affairs in London told Costa Blanca News on Wednesday that the franchise will be the same as for the 2015 general election’.
Found at The Costa News.

‘A majority of Britons oppose a unilateral guarantee for EU citizens living in the UK to be able to remain in the country after Brexit, a Sky Data poll suggests. Some 55% oppose such a deal; 44% say that they should only get it if UK citizens in other EU countries get the same guarantee, as the Conservatives have argued; while 11% do not think EU citizens should be given such a guarantee even then...’.
From Sky News.

‘BREXIT deal will be vetoed if citizens' rights are not protected, the President of European Parliament says. Antonio Tajani says the issue is a 'red line' and its exclusion will derail any agreement’. Feature at The Independent

'THERE is no British exodus. Spanish business leaders have blasted claims Britons are leaving Spain in their tens of thousands because of Brexit’.
Headline from The Express. A quote: ‘...Despite this Britons are being refused their basic rights to ascertain their legal status as the EU continues to dig its heels in...’. As always, the ‘comments’ are refreshing.

TWO Spanish brothers resident in Manchester perform their Brexit song


CANAL Sur, the public broadcaster in Andalucía, will cost the Region’s citizens twelve million euros a month in 2017, says El Mundo. Hope it’s worth it!

El País now sells less than 100,000 copies a day, says PR Noticias here.

OVER nineteen million Spaniards use some form of social media networks,
says Media-Tics.

‘THE restrictive 'gag law' (‘Ley Mordaza’) is a threat to press freedom in Spain, warned Reporters Without Borders (RSF) in its annual report on the state of the media across the world. Although Spain has risen up the rankings of RSF’s World Press Freedom Index 2017 to 29th place, improving its position by five points, this is due to a worsening of freedoms in other nations rather than an improvement in Spain itself. The Citizen Security Protection Law, usually referred to as the “Gag Law” because of its restrictive impact of freedom of expression and information, began affecting the work of journalists in 2016, recognised the report...’. More at The Local

AN ex-pat newspaper in Almería called The Sol Times has been bought by a rival publisher and closed down.


ANYONE discussing French politics only a few years ago and certainly before, would never have predicted the recent outcome of the French elections. The ones who proceed following last Sunday’s vote to the second round are: a never elected candidate with a new party, with 23.8% of the vote; and a far-right candidate, with 21.5%.

WHAT people interested in politics before would never have predicted is that for the first time in most anyone's memory, the two main rival traditional parties, the Socialists and the Republicans, are not in contention. Gone are the days when it was either going to be Mitterrand or Chirac. And even if Le Front National has been here before, forcing Jospin to retire from politics, there was never a time when at least one of the two main rival parties was not present. This race is about candidates outside the traditional system. Mélenchon too, seemingly coming from nowhere, actually almost made it to third place, with 19.6% of the vote, just behind Fillon who managed 19.9%, an astounding result for someone affiliated with communists, and not that far from Le Pen, although offering a radically different approach. Three of the four main candidates with the most support, therefore, are not from the traditional parties, representing about 65% of the vote. Once again, as we have seen in other countries, such as the US, people are eschewing the establishment, which has been seen as too complacent or corrupt, in favour of other alternatives.

BOTH candidates succeeded by appealing to voters on the left and on the right. Macron does this explicitly, having created a centrist party, by telling voters he is more concerned with shaping the future of France than with the usual political divide. Le Pen, while explicitly far-right, does this more implicitly, through her pledge to protect French citizens rallying behind her populist platform. The strategy of appealing to voters across party lines has worked, but it leaves, as it will, the country with two polarising choices. Whereas she, just like the US President, wants protectionism, closed borders and priority for its citizens, he is trying to unify the left and the right through much the opposite: globalisation, open borders and free trade. She wants to pull France out of the EU and the eurozone, while he, on the other hand, wants to remain in the EU and the euro. She is isolationist and he is cooperative. In effect, the choice for French voters will determine a very different outlook for the future of France.

MACRON is an astute candidate who launched his bid realising that he would fill a vacuum in the centre. He also wants to distance himself from traditional parties, and he is therefore very careful to play down any references to his establishment past, for instance, growing up in a provincial, bourgeois family, a product of elite schools, or his stint as an investment banker, in favour of a more working class one, highlighting other factors. He prefers to portray himself as being from a modest working-class background, knowing full well that he needs to gain support in that area, but in this he has not been very successful, whereas Le Pen has a wide appeal to blue collar workers.

IN identifying himself with the working and middle classes, in a certain sense, he places himself on the left. His previous position in government, after all, before forming his own party, was with the Socialists. At the same time, however, he is liberal, as opposed to Le Pen's protectionist perspective. He can be compared, therefore, in this liberal left approach, to Tony Blair. At the same time, however, he wants to cross party lines and appeal to both sides of the political spectrum. He clearly wants to capture as many voters as possible, as does Le Pen, and both are doing this using very different programmes.

MACRON´S approach in glossing over the traditional ideological divide is a shrewd political strategy and one in keeping with the times when people are shunning the traditional establishment. But in the attempt to gain as many votes as possible, his programme lacks substance and coherence. Le Pen, in fact, criticised him by saying that he had spoken for seven minutes and had said nothing. In trying to be all things to all people, you lose a central identity. Indeed, for a bold new movement, it has a remarkably lacklustre programme. He tries to portray an image of being an outsider, anti-establishment and from a working-class background, but he is not really any of those things. It seems that it is more a reflection of an ambitious young man than an attempt to reform France. The people want someone different from what they are used to, but with Macron it seems that they are not going to get it.


CATALONIA starts the ‘sugar tax’ – a tax on sweet drinks – from May 1st. More here.

TICKS have been found to carry Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever in rare cases observed in Extremadura, Madrid, Castilla-La Mancha and Castilla y León, says Yahoo Noticias.

‘A petition has been launched to get a Costa del Sol mountain range recognised as a national park. Over 13,500 people have already signed the campaign on Change.org to grant Estepona’s Sierra Bermeja the status jointly with neighbouring Sierra de las Nieves in Ronda. It comes after the Junta lodged a proposition to only turn Sierra de las Nieves into a national park, despite the wishes of a group of academics and eco-campaigners who created the Sierra Bermeja Parque Nacional platform...’. From The Olive Press

FROM The Local: ‘Why did a wooden tower made in Uppsala, Sweden, travel thousands of kilometres by boat to Barcelona in the 1920s? And why is it still causing a fuss almost 90 years later? The story of the Sweden Tower (La Torre de Suècia) is a fascinating one full of twists and turns, yet one that is also almost unknown in Barcelona, let alone back in Sweden...’.

‘BAYERN Munich has lodged a complaint with UEFA about violence from Spanish police against their fans. It comes after ‘violent attacks’ by officers against German fans during halftime of the Champions League quarterfinal match against Real Madrid. A club spokesperson said: “FC Bayern finds the Spanish police’s actions as misplaced and excessive.”...’. From The Olive Press

IN 1992, the Expo 92 was held in Seville. El País
revisits 25 years later (photos).

ACCORDING to Ars Technica, There was an outbreak of cannibalism 10,000 years ago in Spain. ‘The Mesolithic period in Europe, roughly 10,000 years ago, was a tumultuous time. Small groups of hunter-gatherers were undergoing a dramatic cultural transformation, making increasingly sophisticated stone tools with wooden components. They were on the cusp of the agricultural revolution, which would grant them a broader range of nutrition sources and greater food security. The environment was changing, too: the Ice Age was over, but the mid-Pleistocene warming period had not yet begun. And in a cave near the coast of Alicante, Spain, 120km south of Valencia, groups of humans began to engage in occasional acts of cannibalism...’.

SALVADOR Dali’s shoot for Playboy? We’ve got it
here! “The meaning of my work is the motivation that is of the purest – money. What I did for Playboy is very good and your payment is equal to the task.” —Salvador Dali on his collaboration with Playboy in 1973.


ABC Viajar brings us Spain’s 15 most impressive chapels. See them here.


MORNING Lenox, I liked Andrew's bit on the French elections, hope he continues. We seem to be in Fillon country here...farmers etc.
Good letter too, what a mess!
Best, Dickie.


TRAP Music’ is the latest thing! Here’s an album on YouTube from El Último Vecino called ‘Voces’. It’s pretty good, we think!


APRIL 20th: A brief synopsis of how my day went yesterday at Alicante with Simon Manley and members of the DExEu team (this is the team responsible for advising ministers in Government and assisting them as they approach the Brexit negotiations). I was one of 18 invited representatives from the expat British community across Southern Spain to attend and take part in this round table event which the Embassy had organised to try and aid the dissemination of facts (such as they are at the moment) to negate the many false rumours and statements doing the rounds from ´Fred up the pub’. Many of the attendees represented active British Charities or groups of concerned expat individuals.

the minister (Rt Hon David Jones MP) was unable to make the meeting due to the announcement by Theresa May of the election and in his place we had a short video presentation by him in which he stressed the importance of citizens’ rights and how they would be front and centre of all negotiations.

of the most influential figures in the meeting appeared to me to be Stuart Ison from DExEU. He took responsibility for managing our questions and their responses.
The issues arising from the floor were unsurprisingly the following (not in any particular order),
Reciprocal Healthcare,
UK State Pensions protection or frozen,
Part years pension in one country and others in another?
Freedom of Movement
Mutual Recognition of Qualifications
Recognition of Wills
EU Citizen Process
Votes for life
Dual Citizen
Voting rights in EU country of residence.
Benefits and taxation issues.

the above points were recorded and we were assured would be relayed back to the DExEU team in London to help them form the detail from which they would advise the negotiators. These would all probably feature on a linked list of items for discussion in the negotiations.

only points where the meeting was given any definition of action was in relation to votes for life, where Stuart said this was still being actively processed in Westminster but that these things take time. He seemed optimistic that it would be passed. The second was on passports and that the office felt confident that no changes would be necessary unless and until a passport expired after Brexit when it could be different to the existing passport.

WHAT was constantly stressed throughout the meeting by both DExEU and the Ambassador (and in the opening address by David Jones) was the fact that both the British team and so far the Spanish politicians responsible had as their number one priority the preservation as far as is possible of the existing benefits and rights. Towards the end of the meeting the DExEU team and the ambassador explained that obviously they cannot divulge too much of the detail prior to negotiations but that they had discussed possibly making a road map available and the release of interim updates. They again reinforced the fact that one of their prime roles within the Brexit office is in helping all UK citizens retain their existing rights. (I took pleasure after the meeting in emphasising to Stuart how much we have invested in his ability to deliver this for us!)

IN summary (probably due to their remit) I felt a little more secure that the issue of existing rights was of primary concern to those involved in the process going forward. Jim Simpson, Vice-Mayor of Zurgena, Almería and Chairman of Europats.

A letter has been handed over personally on behalf of British in Europe, to Foreign Minister Alfonso Dastios, who was quite happy to receive it - now it's wait and see.

BRITISH in Europe (EuroCitizens) C/ Cebadillas, 5 – chalet 8, San Lorenzo de El Escorial 28200 Madrid

MINISTERIO DE ASUNTOS EXTERIORES Y DE COOPERACIÓN Sr. D. Alfonso María Dastis Quecedo Ministro de Asuntos Exteriores y de Cooperación Plaza de la Provincia, 1 28012 Madrid

MADRID, al 24 de abril de 2017
Señor Ministro: Nos dirigimos a Usted como máximo representante del Gobierno de España en asuntos exteriores y concretamente en aquellos vinculados con la Unión Europea, donde su trayectoria avala su conocimiento y sensibilidad en toda materia relacionada con la identidad europea, así como los derechos y obligaciones  de los ciudadanos que forman parte de la Unión.

EL anuncio por parte del Gobierno británico de la salida del Reino Unido de la Unión Europea ha generado una enorme preocupación entre los ciudadanos europeos en el Reino Unido y británicos en Europa, debido a la falta de garantía específica de los derechos de ciudadanía europea por parte de la Unión Europea o del Reino Unido y la inclusión de este asunto fundamental de justicia con otros temas de negociación. Ante esta situación de incertidumbre y angustia humana, rogamos al Gobierno de España que presione a las instituciones europeas y al Gobierno del Reino Unido con el fin de garantizar que los derechos de los ciudadanos europeos sean una prioridad absoluta en el proceso de negociación, de mantener el conjunto indivisible de todos los derechos de la ciudadanía europea y evitar que los ciudadanos se conviertan en “rehenes” de la negociación.

PEDIMOS la oportunidad de reunirnos con Usted o con su Secretario de Estado ante la Unión Europea, con el fin de trasmitirles las preocupaciones de los británicos en España y de los españoles en el Reino Unido, y presentarles formalmente nuestra solicitud de apoyo al Gobierno de España.

REPRESENTAMOS a la filial española de British in Europe, una coalición que agrupa asociaciones de ciudadanos británicos en diversos países europeos y suma más de 26.000 miembros. Nuestro objetivo es lograr el compromiso firme de la Unión Europea y de los Gobiernos de los Estados miembros de que la negociación de la salida del Reino Unido de la Unión Europea incluya un acuerdo específico sobre el mantenimiento absoluto de los derechos de los ciudadanos europeos residentes en el Reino Unido, así como de los británicos que viven en cualquiera de los veintisiete países de la Unión Europea.

BRITISH in Europe trabaja estrechamente con The 3 Million, el mayor grupo que representa a ciudadanos europeos residentes en el Reino Unido y también con New Europeans. Junto con The 3 Million, participamos en una reunión con Michel Barnier, el día antes de la invocación del Artículo 50 por el Gobierno británico; y recientemente en una reunión con el Presidente del Parlamento Europeo; mantenemos además una comunicación fluida con eurodiputados españoles, concretamente con el grupo de trabajo sobre el Brexit.

EN lo que concierne la situación de ciudadanos españoles y británicos residentes en ambos países, coordinamos nuestros esfuerzos con otras agrupaciones como Españoles en el Reino Unido y varias asociaciones de británicos residentes en todo el país, como es el caso de Bremain, ECREU, EuroCitizens y EuroPats. En España hemos celebrado varios encuentros con colectivos relevantes así como actos públicos informativos, siendo el más reciente un coloquio en las Oficinas del Parlamento Europeo  en Madrid el pasado mes de marzo, en el que participaron ponentes españoles y británicos expertos en las áreas de sanidad, educación, derecho y representantes del Parlamento Europeo y del Senado español y la Comisión Mixta para la Unión Europea. Por otra parte, la Comisión Mixta para la Unión Europea ha solicitado nuestra comparecencia el próximo 17 de mayo ante la Ponencia para el estudio de las consecuencias derivadas de la salida del Reino Unido de Gran Bretaña e Irlanda del Norte  de la Unión Europea.

DURANTE los últimos meses hemos mantenido asimismo encuentros frecuentes con la Embajada Británica en España y el pasado miércoles 19 de abril participamos en una reunión pan-europea de asociaciones de ciudadanos que se celebró en Madrid con representantes de alto nivel del Departamento para la salida de la Unión Europea del Gobierno británico.

TODOS estos encuentros han sido muy fructíferos, sin embargo consideramos que un asunto de tanta relevancia para los ciudadanos requiere ser tratado en una reunión con el Gobierno de España, interlocutor clave en el proceso, el país de la Unión Europea con el mayor número de residentes británicos fuera del Reino Unido, y por otra parte con un gran número de sus propios ciudadanos en Gran Bretaña e Irlanda del Norte. En ambos casos se trata de ciudadanos que se han trasladado a otro país de la Unión de buena fe para construir una vida profesional y familiar, bajo el amparo de los derechos de la ciudadanía europea, en particular la libertad de movimiento. Estos ciudadanos deben seguir gozando de todos los derechos adquiridos mientras que el Reino Unido fuera estado miembro de la Unión Europea. No es suficiente garantizar el derecho a residencia: la ciudadanía europea supone un conjunto complejo e indivisible de derechos, tales como la adquisición de ciudadanía, el derecho a trabajar por cuenta ajena o propia, el derecho a establecer un negocio, el derecho a estudiar y la convalidación de títulos, el derecho a no discriminación, la libertad de movimiento entre los países de la UE sin perjuicio de sus derechos, el derecho a la cobertura sanitaria, las pensiones, las ayudas sociales y el derecho al voto.

ANTE la situación actual de gran incertidumbre para los ciudadanos y el inminente comienzo de las negociaciones para la salida del Reino Unido de la Unión Europea, pedimos la oportunidad de reunirnos con Usted o con su Secretario de Estado ante la Unión Europea, con el fin de trasmitirles las preocupaciones de los británicos en España y de los españoles en el Reino Unido, y presentarles formalmente nuestra solicitud de apoyo al Gobierno de España de preservar los derechos de los ciudadanos y  garantizar que los derechos de los ciudadanos europeos sean una prioridad absoluta en el proceso de negociación y se acabe con la incertidumbre actual en la que viven tanto europeos como británicos potencialmente afectados por el Brexit.

Quedamos a la espera de su respuesta.
Camilla Hillier-Fry
Representante de British in Europe y Secretaria de EuroCitizens
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