Updated 25 March: The European Union has issued a statement entitled “Brexit preparedness: EU completes preparations for possible “no-deal” scenario on 12 April”. It says that since “it is increasingly likely that the United Kingdom will leave the European Union without a deal on 12 April, the European Commission has today completed its “no-deal” preparations. At the same time, it continues supporting administrations in their own preparations and urges all EU citizens and businesses to continue informing themselves about the consequences of a possible “no-deal” scenario and to complete their no-deal preparedness. This follows the European Council (Article 50) conclusions last week calling for work to be continued on preparedness and contingency. While a “no-deal” scenario is not desirable, the EU is prepared for it.”

The EU continues that although it hopes it won’t happen, if as seems likely the Withdrawal Agreement is not ratified by Parliament before this Friday – the original Brexit deadline of 29 March – the UK wil crash out of the EU with no deal on 12 April. The EU says that it has prepared for this scenario which would see the UK become a third country without any transitionary arrangements. All EU primary and secondary law would cease instantly to apply to the UK from that moment. Without a deal there will be no transition period, as provided for in the Withdrawal Agreement, the EU says, a situation which would obviously cause significant disruption for citizens and businesses.

In such a scenario, the UK’s relations with the EU would be governed by general international public law, including rules of the World Trade Organisation, with the EU immediately applying its rules and tariffs at its borders with the UK including customs checks and controls, sanitary and phytosanitary standards and verification of compliance with EU norms. Despite the considerable preparations of the Member States’ customs authorities, these controls could cause significant delays at the border. UK entities would also cease to be eligible to receive EU grants and to participate in EU procurement procedures under current terms.

Similarly, UK citizens will no longer be citizens of the European Union. They will be subject to additional checks when crossing borders into the European Union. Again, Member States have made considerable preparations at ports and airports to ensure that these checks are done as efficiently as possible, but they may nevertheless cause delays.

The full statement with a series of links to supporting documents, information, and advice, is HERE  (if there’s a problem with the link please just remove the “s” from the “https” in the URL).

Updated 3pm: The UK’s Ambassador to Spain Simon Manley has written this open letter to British nationals living in the country.

An open letter from HMA Simon Manley to British citizens living in Spain

I’m sure you have been watching events closely, both in Brussels and in London, so I wanted to give you a quick update about what all of this means for British people living here in Spain.

Following the recent votes in the House of Commons and then the ruling by the Speaker of the House of Commons not to allow another vote on the Withdrawal Agreement this week, PM Theresa May requested an extension until 30th June this year from our European colleagues.

Last night the European Council agreed an extension of our exit date to 22nd May, assuming that the Withdrawal Agreement is approved by the House of Commons next week. If the House of Commons doesn’t approve the Withdrawal Agreement next week, then the European Council decided that the Withdrawal date will be the 12th April. So the House of Commons will vote on the Withdrawal Agreement early next week.

I understand that all this is unsettling for many of you. You want to know on what terms and when the UK is going to leave the EU.

At this moment, leaving under the Withdrawal Agreement agreed back in November or leaving without a deal both remain possibilities. The exit date will be either 12th April or 22nd May, depending on what happens in Parliament next week.

As the situations develops, I and our consular teams across Spain will, of course, keep you updated.

But for now, please ensure you know how to prepare for Brexit by signing up for our Living in Spain guide on gov.uk and by joining our Brits in Spain Facebook community, where you can watch our videos on what you need to do to prepare, deal or no deal, for our departure from the European Union.

Updated 22 March: As part of the new outreach programme devised by the British Consulate’s new Brexit officer, Deepika Harjani, there will be another Brexit information meeting following the one this morning in the Golf del Sur. The next one will be at 2pm on Friday 29 March – the day the UK was originally supposed to be leaving the EU. It will be held in Callao Salvaje’s Community Church in Sueño Azul – details on the poster.

Updated 11pm: Donald Tusk confirmed last night that the European Council has agreed to a Brexit extension to 22 May provided MV3 succeeds in the House of Commons next week (link to declaration). If Theresa May’s Withdrawal Agreement is not approved by the Commons, a secondary extension to 12 April comes into play by whicch date the UK must make its proposals for a way forwards to be considered by European Council. If the UK cannot offer acceptable proposals to the European Council by then it will be No Deal.

Donald Tusk was clear tonight. There is to be no reopening of the Withdrawal Agreement – the backstop stays – and preparations and contingency planning is now going full steam ahead throughout the EU27 for all possible outcomes, including No Deal. For Tusk, the UK has four options: a deal (ie Theresa May’s deal), No deal, a long extension (which would involve participating in EU elections), or Revoke Article 50.

It is hard to see how this won’t involve civil war next week in either Tory or Labour Party, or Parliament, or all three. Juncker said tonight that this was it, the EU could do no more.

Updated 21 March: With both Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn in Brussels today, the former blaming everyone apart from herself for the current situation and the latter blaming himself for “confusion” after refusing to stay at a meeting last night because breakaway MP Chuka Umunna was present, the UK is in limbo with a petition to Revoke Article 50 started last night currently at nearly a million signatures. This is an official Parliamentary petition rather than a Change.org type, and Parliament is required to consider debating any that get over 100,000 signatures; the Revoke Article 50 Parliamentary petition is nearly ten times that within less than 12 hours. Its creator, Margaret Anne Georgiadou, says that “The government repeatedly claims exiting the EU is ‘the will of the people’. We need to put a stop to this claim by proving the strength of public support now, for remaining in the EU.”

A proposal for a second referendum, however, even if debated in Parliament, is unlikely to garner sufficient enthusiasm among MPs however many sign the petition: a clear majority of MPs oppose a “People’s Vote”, with one saying the other day that remaining in the EU now would be like someone demanding a divorce, spending the following two years berating and belittling their former partner, and then announcing “it’s OK dear, I’m not leaving” – hardly a comfortable situation, is the clear point.

It is in fact Theresa May who has mostly used the “will of the people” argument to try to get her deal through Parliament, and indeed on arrival in Brussels she was still saying that the “UK must deliver Brexit for the people”. Many of “the people”, those who comment on social media at least, are furious with her today for trying, as they see it, to pass the buck by refusing to accept any blame at all for what the Solicitor General has called “constitutional chaos”, and for being too rigid and refusing to contemplate any alternatives to her deal. MPs are spitting fire at what they consider to be her accusations of treachery on their part, and Commons Speaker John Bercow has himself defended MPs this lunchtime saying that in fact what they were doing was their job! “None of them is a traitor, all of you are doing your best. I believe passionately in the institution of parliament, in the rights and passions of the members of this house, and their commitment to their duty”, he said.

Jeremy Corbyn himself is coming in for some flak because of his behaviour last night at the Prime Minister’s meeting. His walking out because Umunna was present has been widely condemned as “immature”, and his attempt this morning at alleging it was merely “confusion” will hardly reassure voters who in the near future may be required to choose a new Government with him at the head of the main alternative to the present one.

Meanwhile, France is leading the support for Juncker’s tough line with the UK required to get MV3 through Parliament before any extension will be agreed. What was already looking like an uphill battle has today become nearer to an impossible dream with many of those May needs to support her deal alienated by her comments last night, and even the DUP, whose support appeared to have been secured again (allegedly after a further million Pound bung from the Chancellor), distancing themselves from the deal today.

If MV3 does get voted on, and then fails, it will be for the EU to offer a long extension to see what might be achieved, or for Parliament to decide what it can agree to perhaps by means of indicative votes. If both of these avenues fail, as France’s Macron has said only this lunchtime, it will be No Deal on Friday next week, eight days time.

Source Janet Anscombe: https://www.janetanscombe.com/news/brexit-negotiations-affecting-british-nationals-in-tenerife.html

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