Freedom of movement paramount in Brexit talks, Spanish MEP says
Protecting freedom of movement between the EU and the UK must be a key aim of Brexit negotiations, the Partido Popular’s spokesman in the European Parliament said this week.
Esteban González Pons made the comments during a meeting with the UK’s Brexit minister David Jones.
He told Mr Jones efforts to protect the rights of EU and UK citizens must be “reciprocal”.
“We have to find a balanced solution so that the rights of EU citizens who live in the UK are respected, as must also be the case with Britons who reside in the rest of the EU,” told the British minister, according to a statement issued by the PP.
“Freedom of movement is one of the main achievements of the EU and one of its most genuine traits.”
“That is why we have to find a way during the Brexit negotiation to ensure that rights already acquired by our citizens are respected.”
But Sr González also made clear that Spain would oppose any differentiated treatment for parts of the UK including Gibraltar.
He had already made this point during feisty exchanges with Chief Minister Fabian Picardo in Brussels last month.
“A half-hearted exit is not possible,” the Spanish MEP said.
“We respect the decision taken by the United Kingdom, but once it decides to leave we cannot look for intermediate solutions.”
“Brexit cannot become a negotiating tactic within the EU, or in a signal to other countries that might be tempted to turn their membership of the EU into an ‘a la carte’ relationship in which they only choose the aspects that most interest them.”