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Spanish government launches website to warn about effects of Brexit

Madrid has drafted a decree with contingency plans in the event of the United Kingdom crashing out of the European Union with no deal

A Remain supporter demonstrates in front of Westminster.
A Remain supporter demonstrates in front of Westminster. AFP

As the British House of Commons prepares to vote on Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit deal this evening, the Spanish government has launched an information website listing the various issues that citizens and businesses will face after the United Kingdom leaves the European Union.

A no-deal Brexit would be “a disaster for everyone,” said Foreign Minister Josep Borrell

The page is part of the larger La Moncloa government website, and its stated goals include providing information to citizens and entrepreneurs about “the changes that the UK’s exit from the EU will have on their interests, as well as about the contingency measures being adopted internally and at the European level.”

The site covers the possibility of a no-deal Brexit – an exit without an agreement on the future relationship between Britain and the EU – which would represent “a disaster for everyone” according to a statement made on Monday by Foreign Minister Josep Borrell.

Although many practical details are offered, the website avoids getting specific about the still unclear consequences of a no-deal Brexit, which would mean no transition period to adapt to the new reality of the UK becoming a third country.

Information is provided about residency, voting rights, healthcare, education, travel, financial services and more. The site also provides a list of frequently asked questions and answers.

Citizens are assured that they will preserve local voting rights in both Spain and the UK. Madrid and London and working on regulations that will be formally presented on January 21.

Air travel

In the air travel section, one of the questions involves flying to Britain with a Spanish airline “that could lose its license, according to media reports.” This is an indirect reference to former Spanish flag carrier Iberia, which is fighting to prove to EU authorities that it is Spanish – it, along with British Airways, is owned by holding group IAG – in order to preserve its flying rights on the continent after Brexit.

The Spanish executive has also drafted a decree whose definitive text depends on the outcome of Tuesday evening’s vote by British MPs. Sources familiar with this document said that it contains contingency plans to complement the European Commission’s, in the event of a no-deal Brexit. These include financial and logistical measures, such as getting more personnel to deal with an expected surge in residency applications by British citizens if no better solution is found.

English version by Susana Urra.

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