Robin Walker, MP for Worcester and Minister for Exiting the EU, was in Madrid this week on behalf of the UK Government, signing an historic bilateral Treaty of Spain. The Treaty secures the respective rights of British and Spanish citizens to vote and run in municipal and local elections. This Treaty is the first of its kind and the signing took place in the Royal Palace in Madrid followed by a press conference.

Robin met with Marco Aguiriano, the Spanish Secretary of State for the European Union; the two Ministers came together to sign the Treaty after a considerable amount of work, meetings and negotiations between the UK and Spain. The reciprocal agreement grants British residents in Spain, and Spanish residents in the UK, the right to vote and stand as candidates in local elections after Britain leaves the EU. Voters must register by the end of January. The treaty contains transitional provisions, ensuring that UK nationals who are registered to vote in the upcoming local elections in Spain this May, will continue to be able to do so in any Brexit scenario.

Commenting on the above, Robin said:

“I was delighted to sign the bilateral Treaty with Spain securing the respective rights of UK and Spanish citizens. It was an honour to be able to sign this landmark Treaty with my Spanish counter-part Marco Aguiriano, and I would like to thank my colleagues at the Department for Exiting the EU (DEXEU) and the British Embassy in Madrid for their hard work to make sure this Treaty was ready in time for Spain’s upcoming local elections.”

“I welcome this significant Treaty that reaffirms the importance of the relationship between the UK and Spain, underlines our shared commitment to democracy, and most importantly enables these citizens to continue to determine who represents them in the country they reside in. The UK will continue to explore similar bilateral treaties to secure these rights for British citizens across the EU and we are approaching all EU Member States on this subject. I have written to the other 27 member states regarding this”.

“Some constituents have contacted me about voting rights in Spain, especially those who have left Worcester to retire in Spain, and I am pleased to be able to deliver on the UK Government’s commitment to this. It was welcome timing, given the PM’s statement yesterday and the positive news that the £65 fee millions of EU citizens were going to have to pay to secure the right to continue living in the UK after Brexit, was being scrapped. At a meeting I hosted in Worcester with EU citizens last Friday, their biggest request was ending the fee for people who had been here a long time. I fed that back to number 10 so it is positive news, and I am pleased the PM has confirmed this.”

Notes to Editors:

For further information:

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/living-in-spain#visas-and-residency

For further press links:

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/expat-voting-rights-treaty-secured-with-spain

https://elpais.com/elpais/2019/01/21/inenglish/1548076327_501658.html?id_externo_rsoc=TW_CC