By Chris King •
Updated: 28 Apr 2023 • 4:24
UK to Spain checklist.
Credit: Yuriy Boyko_Ukraine/Shutterstock.com
A campaign called ‘180 Days in Spain’ has been launched with the aim of ensuring that every British person living in Spain (whether full-year or part-year) has their pre-Brexit rights as an EU Citizen properly protected and ring-fenced.
In addition, it hopes to improve and equalise the rights of all British visitors to Spain so that they get the same access after Brexit that Spanish people do in the UK today.As explained to Euro Weekly News in a statement from Andrew Hesselden, the Campaign Director and founder, the organisers of ‘180 Days in Spain’ are asking for some very simple requirements.
Firstly, they want Brits who were living in Spain before Brexit – whether living in the country for all or part of the year – to receive equal treatment. Secondly, they are asking for the equal treatment of British visitors to Spain, in the same way that Spanish visitors to the UK receive.There are lots of ways that politicians could achieve these outcomes said Mr Hesselden, who hopes that the conversations being generated by the campaign are proving beneficial to British and European citizens everywhere.
This situation impacts young and old, rich and poor, and solving the problem is vitally important for the future happiness and prosperity of our continent, he continued.
Mr Hesselden elaborated: “I won’t make any apologies for wishing Brexit had never happened, but I don’t think anyone wants the future to be like this”.
The campaign already has over 6,000 members and continues to grow. Its Campaign Director collaborates and coordinates with other similar campaigns in France, Italy, Greece, Germany and Cyprus as well as running a similar Europe-wide campaign. Together these all account for a further 6,000 members.
“As each day passes, I’m encouraged by the changes that are happening and believe we have every chance now of achieving a positive outcome.”.
“We already know that certain regions of Spain and France want to eliminate the 90-in-180-day problem that Brexit has exacerbated, Mr Hesselden – who has a home in Mallorca – explained.
Some non-EU countries have bilateral agreements with certain Schengen countries that help alleviate the situation for their citizens. The Campaign Director sees no reason why the UK government should not attempt to negotiate something similar for British people too.
After all, the UK government would only need to formally document what they already do for Europeans visiting the UK today he stressed.‘180 Days in Spain’ is an action group (not a help group) and its members have all agreed to write letters to push for change.
Although there are just 12,000 currently working on this issue across Europe, they believe there are somewhere between 5 and 15 million British part-year residents in this position who are impacted by Brexit and the loss of mobility caused by lost Freedom of Movement. They are lobbying politicians in the UK as well as Spain and particularly welcome the support of the business community in Spain that is impacted by the 90-in-180-day problem that Brexit and the ever-growing Schengen zone have exposed. Interest is certainly growing in finding a solution according to Andrew Hesselden.“We see this as a problem that Spain (or each member state) can probably resolve alone without necessarily involving Brussels, but clearly there are Europe-wide ways of dealing with it too”, he suggested.
“Brexit is a unique problem and needs some unique creativity to avoid ordinary people losing out. Even if only one country does something to change this, it will still help alleviate the problem”, he stressed.He added: “However we believe it is the responsibility of UK diplomats to initiate the necessary conversations with Spain to make this happen, as we should have never Brexited without adequate arrangements being made, or the EU-proposed mobility chapter being signed back in December 2020”.The European Communications Consultant said: “After watching the results of the referendum unfold in 2016 and realising the impact a bad Brexit could eventually have, I joined many British emigrant groups online and waited to see what Brexit would mean for people living for part or all of the year across Europe”.
Mr Hesselden continued: “After a while, it became clear that most of those groups focused on Brits who had fully migrated overseas and who always spent the whole year there”.
“Many of those organisations set up to advocate for Brits abroad seemed to have a bit of a blind spot for people like seasonal workers or part-year residents who had made a home in two or more countries, so I decided these people needed to have a voice”, he concluded.
The Facebook page for the ‘180 Days in Spain’ can be visited at: https://www.facebook.com/groups/180daysinspain
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Originally from Wales, Chris spent years on the Costa del Sol before moving to the Algarve where he is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news.
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So all those who followed the laws as they transpired, are now being forfeited for the benefit of those that chose to ignore the WELL PUBLICISED rules and regulations? Just like those who chose not to change their driving licence get another chance. Makes a mockery of following the law and staying legal.
Hi Mike, no – residents were protected by the withdrawal agreement but part time residents are being treated as holidaymakers. Anyone who also travels for business for example or who takes a holiday in a Schengen country has to include those days in the rolling 90 in 180 – which is preventing them from enjoying their lives as before. If Europeans visit the U.K. they can stay for up to 6 months in one go if they wish to. Part-time residents were just forgotten about by the negotiators who just wanted to “get Brexit done” and did not think everything through. It would be good to be treated equally with EU tourists visiting the U.K.
Mike, The campaign is not about those who broke the law (eg on taxation and residency) but about the many thousands of people who completely within the law were regularly combining living in their homes in Spain for the allowed three months and continuing also to live and work in the U.K. or other EU countries without having, as now, to operate within a Schengen Framework of a maximum of 90 days within every 180 days on a rolling basis meaning that for large parts of a year they can no longer, for example, access the properties that they own and bought under very different pre-Brexit conditions
Nothing special about Spain with the UK.
“If you want to visit Spain for tourism purposes, you can stay there for only 90 days within a 180-day period. This requirement is valid for those who need a Schengen Spain visa to enter the country and those from countries that have visa liberalisation agreements with the Schengen Area.”
The UK, for example, is the same as Switzerland. Finally I would wish to find out of the “6000” members, how many voted to Leave. It should be zero.
I guess then that Brexit actually means Brexit?
If I leave a Golf club, for instance, then I cannot expect to play, or park using club facilities! Unless I was Boris of course, expecting to keep his cake, and eat it, simultaneously and at no cost. But that’s not the Real Economic World works!!
Perhaps they should take it up with the people – many of whom are part of this lobby group – who voted for Brexit and the Tories who negotiated it. Typical British exceptionalism.
The group has, & now understands how the government lied.
Michael Grove actually promised on live tv we would not be impacted.
All the group is asking for is a continuous 180 in 360 as opposed to 90 in 180, hardly earth shattering.
Well said Nick! We are not being unreasonable!
The vast majority of the lobby group are indeed remainers.
Great article, fingers crossed the 180 days campaign works!
It would help understand the ‘difference’ in treatment of UK nationals affected, if the quoted Spanish nationals to UK residence post Brexit agreement were posted here, or indicate where it can be found on line.
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