CARETAKER president of Spain Pedro Sánchez says he does not believe there is room for any further negotiations on a Brexit deal and has urged Spanish companies to start documenting where and how they would be affected in the event of a no-deal scenario.
“There’s no room for further concessions,” Sánchez said last night (Wednesday).
“We cannot keep renegotiating what has already been negotiated.”
Sánchez lamented what he calls the ‘complete political blockage’ and ‘constitutional crisis’ in British Parliament and criticised prime minister Boris Johnson for ‘not respecting the agreement already reached’.
“Spain is as prepared as it can be for the increasingly likely possibility of a hard Brexit,” Sánchez told Congress yesterday.
“Our government has worked hard to cover any possible scenario.”
He urged all affected citizens – Brits who live or own second homes in Spain, British holidaymakers, and Spaniards living in the UK – as well as all financial, business and institutional parties who could be affected by Brexit to ‘remain calm’, but also admits that ‘everyone needs to be honest and realistic’ and that the contingency measures adopted ‘can only mitigate the consequences’, but ‘cannot eliminate them altogether’.
“Only a small part of those consequences are within the European Union’s control – the rest depends upon whatever decisions the UK government and Parliament take.
“To this end, everyone likely to be affected needs to start evaluating how far they could be impacted by a no-deal Brexit and try to take whatever steps they can to minimise that impact.”
Sánchez, like many other European leaders, does not agree with the UK government’s decision to leave the EU, and considers it to be the result of misinformation, ‘fake news’ and misleading claims made by the ‘Vote Leave’ campaign.
“What seemed unthinkable a few months ago has now become the most probable scenario,” Sánchez said of a no-deal Brexit.
British Parliament – which was suspended officially this week until October 14 – pushed through a vote days earlier outlawing a no-deal Brexit, and has blocked a general election prior to the end of November since it would result in Parliament’s being dissolved ahead of the Brexit deadline of October 31.
This leaves Boris Johnson with the options of revoking Article 50 – which he refuses to do – or negotiating an extension to Brexit, which in his own words, he would ‘rather be dead in a ditch’ than do.
If he contravenes what has now become law, he could face criminal action, so he may end up having to resign.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, who has left long-time party supporters and voters divided as he is apparently in favour of Brexit – albeit a ‘soft version’ – is ready to call a vote of no confidence in Johnson and is keen to call a second referendum.
Corbyn wants the eventual deal to be on the ballot paper along with the options to leave without a deal or to remain in the EU.
Sánchez says Corbyn is ‘defending a much more sensible policy’ on Brexit.
The Spanish leader has taken on a further 875 State personnel to deal with the Brexit issue.
They will work closely with customs officers, border control on the entry of imported goods and of people, and on handling the ‘new régime for British residents in Spain’.
The latter, Sánchez said earlier this year, would involve giving automatic permanent residence rights to the estimated 400,000 Brits who reside in the country for more than six months a year.