Uncertainty over what rights expatriates will continue to enjoy in Spain after Brexit continues and the outcome of deal or no-deal also poses further variables.
Long serving Conservative MP, Sir Roger Gale, has been fighting the corner for expatriates across Europe for over a decade, he is the closest the UK has to an MP for Britons living abroad, at least in Europe, and, despite the UK now locked in general election mode, Sir Roger does appear to have gained some ground.
Last week, he met with Michael Gove and a battery of Civil Servants from DEXEU, DWP and Health.
He set out the stall, backed up with some of the e-mailed information that expatriates have sent him individually and he also handed over the British In Europe briefing.
“I don’t think that anyone has been left in any doubt about what is required: It is clear that the “Deal” and “No Deal” scenarios are very different at present and what I am trying to secure is protection of rights under either,” Sir Roger said.
“We now have to await ‘the letter’ – and goodness knows when that might arrive under the present circumstances – to see what, if any, progress has been made. I have, though, stressed the point that what is needed is full clarification, where previously there has been confusion, in terms that a bearer of small brain – me – can understand without gaining a degree in rocket science first! That, at least, might offer some comfort if only so that everyone knows precisely where they stand,” he added.
Spain, despite its political chaos, has approved a Royal Decree which, is short, means little change to those Britons legally resident in Spain, however, Spain is still awaiting reciprocal confirmation from the British government regarding the rights of Spaniards living and working in the United Kingdom.
If the UK leaves the EU with a withdrawal agreement, for example, it is likely that will include a transition period during which UK nationals in EU countries would continue to receive state healthcare on the same terms as they do now. Under the current plan the transition would run to the end of 2020 but that could be extended.
What would happen after the transition depends on the agreement between the EU and the UK on their future relationship.
And this is just one of the issues Sir Roger is pushing for clarity on in order to calm the nerves of expatriates living in Spain and elsewhere across the EU.