Madrid and London are reported to be negotiating a bilateral treaty to maintain local voting rights for Britons living in Spain and for over 115,000 Spanish nationals living in the UK. If there is a final agreement on the deal for Britain to leave the European Union, UK nationals in Spain will preserve most of their rights intact until December 2020.
Spain is home to the largest community of British migrants in the EU. These 280,000 individuals registered as residents make up the second-largest group from another European country, after the Romanians. However, Madrid has recently acknowledged that there are “several tens of thousands” of Britons living in Spain whose presence is not reflected on any municipal register.
The reciprocal rights deal between Madrid and London is reported to be similar to those which Spain presently has with countries including Norway, Iceland and several Latin American nations. However, in recognition of the fact that there are already a number Britons who have been elected to local Spanish councils – eight of whom are in Andalucía – the agreement with the UK will endorse the right to stand as a candidate as well as to vote in local polls.
Once the final draft of the bilateral treaty is signed in Madrid and London, it will have to be ratified by the Spanish and British parliaments. Diplomatic sources say this is unlikely to happen before the municipal and European elections scheduled for May 26 this year in which residents from 27 EU states and 12 non-EU countries are already eligible to vote.