The following are updates (latest first) on the current situation while Brexit negotiations take place. At present nothing is confirmed, with everything still to be determined through the two-year process. Please also see HERE for general thoughts on the situation of British residents of Tenerife.

Updated 30 January: Yesterday, the Guardian published an article which has sent shockwaves through British resident populations throughout the EU, and Spain was no exception. The article was headlined “UK retirees in EU will lose free healthcare under no-deal Brexit”, and is HERE. Mainly it is talking about changes to the S1 system after Brexit, which are inevitable, and could affect future retirees’ health cover, but it has been widely taken to imply British nationals already legally resident in the EU will lose that health cover which they already have. Today, the Foreign Office has issued the following statement:

You may well have seen the news story. It has triggered some reactions, so we wanted to try and offer some reassurance where we can and to add some Spain-specific information: New advice for travellers visiting the UK, EU or European Economic Area in the event of a no-deal EU Exit

An Embassy spokesperson said: “It is a priority for the UK’s Department of Health, and for the British Embassy in Madrid, to ensure UK nationals living or working in the EU can continue to access the healthcare they need as we exit the EU.

We are working closely with Spain to make sure patients can continue to access healthcare, whatever the outcome. The Spanish government has already announced that it is planning contingency measures to guarantee healthcare provisions to UK nationals living in Spain starting on the date of the UK’s withdrawal from the EU if there is no agreement, on a reciprocal basis.”

As background:

  • Spain has already announced legislation which protects the healthcare arrangements of UK nationals subject to a reciprocal agreement.
  • Spain is bringing forward a law giving the Spanish President the power to guarantee British nationals access to healthcare under the current system in the event of a no deal – providing there’s a reciprocal agreement based on current access. For more information on Spain’s Brexit contingency measures, including on healthcare, please see HERE.
  • For the latest information including on moving to and living in Spain, including EU Exit and healthcare, please do check for any alerts and updates from the official site HERE

Updated 21 January: Thanks in no small part to the work done by Anne Hernández of Brexpats in Spain, the Spanish Government has now approved a bilateral agreement with the UK for anyone on the Padrón and census by 30 January to be able to vote and stand in local elections in May. Please note that the census is a subset of a local authority’s register of residents (Padrón) and not every resident is automatically entered: anyone wishing to vote should not just be on the padrón but should request to be added also to the census, which is the equivalent of the UK’s electoral register.

Photo: Commons Press Office/Jess Taylor, Mark Duffy

Updated 15 January: At least we know something tonight. Theresa May’s Brexit deal has suffered the worst defeat in Parliamentary history. She only had to lose by fewer than 166 to avoid that ignominy, but rather she lost by 230. Tonight, President of the EU council Donald Tusk says “If a deal is impossible, and no one wants no deal, then who will finally have the courage to say what the only positive solution is?”. A reasonable question.

The Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez has said tonight “the Spanish Government regrets the defeat tonight in the UK Parliament. The Withdrawal Agreement is the best available and a chaotic Brexit will be negative for the EU and catastrophic for the UK. Spain is working on contingency measures and will prioritize the rights of citizens and residents”. Meanwhile there will be a vote of confidence in the Conservative Government tomorrow, a vote that Labour is widely expected to lose, and then what?

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