Packed audience for Brexit information meeting in Adeje with British Embassy Deputy Head of Mission

Photo: Adeje Ayuntamiento

Updated 18 October: Some 70 British full- and part-time residents packed the large meeting room in Adeje Cultural Centre this lunchtime to listen to Tim Hemmings, deputy head of mission at the British Embassy in Madrid, explain the latest situation with regard to the Brexit negotiations. He was accompanied by Charmaine Arbouin, the Consul for Southern Spain and the Canary Islands, and Helen Keating, vice-consul in Tenerife, and he reassured those attending that despite now routine press reports understandably headlining the “divorce bill deadlock”, policy papers had been produced and agreement reached on a considerable number of issues already. He explained that the EU Commission’s position is that “nothing is agreed until everything is agreed” but said that experienced diplomats and FCO personnel were used to the style and character of EU negotiating, and that there was every chance that final agreements would be reached, and that a “no deal Brexit” was a vanishingly small possibility.

He confirmed that from official and unofficial papers and meetings he had personally seen and been involved in, the status and situation of British nationals resident in EU countries was the UK Government’s top priority, a priority that was bound up with the status of EU nationals currently residing and working in the UK. Answering questions after his address he also confirmed that with regard to many issues of concern to British nationals resident in Spain, e.g. healthcare, the S1 and EHIC systems, pensions, the situation after the end of the Brexit negotiations, and after the UK finally leaves the EU, is likely to be very little changed from that which currently exists.

Obviously specific questions like whether workers here will have to go back to some sort of work permit system will depend not only on negotiation, but on national Spanish law, and possibly bilateral agreements between the UK and Spain, but the message most stressed is that the negotiators – experienced FCO personnel rather than the politicians in the spotlight – are working towards, and fully expect to provide, a Brexit which will leave the UK “as close to the EU as possible”, with its future relationship seeing very little change in respect of the practicalities of rights to reside, work and move.

Hemmings drew attention to the joint technical notes published HERE which chart the alignment of agreement between negotiators. Green indicates convergence, red indicates divergence, and yellow indicates where further discussion is required. I am also updating significant news in the Brexit Post HERE. Finally, those attending were reassured that their understandable desire and need to make some actual plans was understood, and that there should be some clarity in the near future in the form of a confirmed document. In the meantime, however, everyone must be certain to make sure their situation in Spain is legal, regularized, and that they were also registered on the padrón. Indeed, it was stressed that it is imperative to ensure a registration on the padrón is renewed periodically as I set out HERE.

For the moment, though, everything awaits agreement on the money discussions, and until the “divorce bill” is agreed, all else remains as plans, intentions, aims, objectives and hopes.

Updated 17 October: A final reminder about the public meetings tomorrow in Adeje and Puerto de la Cruz, where Tim Hemmings, deputy head of mission at the British Embassy, will be visiting to provide the latest information and answer questions about Brexit. Details are below and on the poster above.

Updated 11 October: Adeje Ayuntamiento has reminded British residents in Tenerife about the public meeting next Wednesday, 18 October, at 12 noon in Adeje Cultural Centre, where Tim Hemmings, deputy head of mission at the British Embassy, will be visiting to provide the latest information and answer questions about Brexit. Consul for the Canary Islands Charmaine Arbouin and Tenerife vice-consul and permanent representative Helen Keating will also be in attendance. The council says that stability of pensions, availability of health care, retirement rights, job and residential security are just some of the concerns that are voiced on a regular basis by residents.

The event is being held in the Aula Magna, second floor, Adeje Cultural Centre, and Mr Hemmings and the team will work to address the questions of British residents and visitors, many of whom own property here or live here for up to six months of the year and want to see how their rights may be affected. No registration is needed to attend the event, but seating will be limited.

Original post 13 September: Adeje and Puerto de la Cruz are hosting a public event on Wednesday, 18 October, for a visit by Tim Hemmings, Deputy Head of Mission of the British Embassy, accompanied by Charmaine Arbouin, Consul for the Canaries, to meet with the British public – residents, regular vistors and swallows – primarily to talk to them and address their concerns about Brexit. In Adeje, the meeting will be held in the Aula Magna upstairs in the Cultural Centre at 12 noon, and in Puerto de la Cruz it will be at 4pm in the English Library.

Adeje Ayuntamiento says that Mr Hemmings is second in command in the Embassy and as such this is an important visit for our British community. There are self-evidently many people with many questions about their status in Spain both now and post-Brexit, and these questions are asked on this website, and widely on social media, especially on Facebook pages and groups. This is your chance to ask someone who is in the system, and who has actual up-to-date information about the present situation.

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