04 Jan
Brexit Spain United Kingdom

Brexit: Government reports on European Union-United Kingdom agreement to regional governments

Brexit: The Spanish Minister for Territorial Policy and Public Function, Carolina Darias, and the Minister for Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation, Arancha González Laya, chaired the meeting of the Conference for Affairs Related to the European Union (Spanish acronym: CARUE) to report to the regional councillors on the agreement reached between the European Union (EU) and the United Kingdom (UK).

The State Secretary for Territorial Policy and Public Function, Francisco Hernández Spínola, the State Secretary for the European Union, Juan González-Barba, and the Secretary-General for Territorial Coordination, Miryam Álvarez, also attended the meeting on behalf of the General State Administration.

Carolina Darias explained that from the 58th meeting of the CARUE until Tuesday’s 64th meeting, “Brexit has been practically the only issue that has concerned us at the conferences with all the regional governments since late 2017”.

“We have implemented a great many actions; firstly, by increasing staff in all those areas in which it was necessary, such as immigration, border health and individual training permits; we have also approved a Royal Decree-Law at Tuesday’s Council of Ministers to address Brexit”.

Royal Decree-Law on adaptation
The Spanish Council of Ministers approved a Royal Decree-Law on the adaptation to the new situation stemming from Brexit, that the minister, Carolina Darias, referred to, and was subsequently explained by Aurora Mejía, Director of the EU Department of the Presidency of the Government.

“The Royal Decree-Law establishes temporary adaptation measures to tackle the effects that will take place due to the end of the transition period, which all ministerial departments have taken part in drafting”.

The Royal Decree-Law contains five chapters and provides for different activities, such as labour relations, transport, economic activity and healthcare provisions. Although an agreement has been reached, explained Aurora Mejía, “the United Kingdom will become a third country and we must approve certain regulatory and logistical aspects to adapt to the new situation”.

Unprecedented situation
The Minister for Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation reported on the agreement reached on future relations between the European Union and the United Kingdom. Arancha González Laya reported on the unprecedented situation caused by the withdrawal of the UK from the EU, which will give rise to far-reaching changes in a large number of aspects of our relations with the UK, which will affect individuals, economic operators and public authorities.

She highlighted that thanks to the preparatory work undertaken, “we will be in a better position to address the situation beginning on 1 January”.

Accordingly, she assessed the agreement on trade matters, which includes important sections for Spain, in some cases thanks to contributions from our country, such as public procurement, small- and medium-sized enterprises, e-commerce, intellectual property and services and investments.

As regards air connectivity, healthcare benefits, agriculture and, above all, fishing – one of the most difficult areas – the agreement is beneficial for Spain’s interests.

As from 1 January, “a new era will open up in which we will need to continue working to monitor the application of the agreement so as to guarantee that our interests are defended and look for new paths in our relations”, she stressed.

By: Estela Martín

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