The Andalusian Minister of the Presidency, Public Administration and Interior, Elías Bendodo, said Friday at the headquarters of the European Commission that Andalusia “has fulfilled its duties” and that it is “prepared” to face the United Kingdom’s departure from the European Union (EU) on January 31.
“Andalusia has fulfilled its duties, so we have transferred it to the team of the negotiator (European for” brexit “, Michel) Barnier, with the European Union and the United Kingdom,” Bendodo told reporters after meeting with number two of the French politician, the Spanish Clara Martínez Alberola.
Bendodo stressed that Andalusia has implemented up to 112 contingency measures “to minimize the effects of ‘brexit’ on the economy” of that Autonomous Community.
This was transferred by the counselor to the community negotiating team that, after having been the architect of the agreement for the withdrawal of the United Kingdom, which will culminate at the end of this month, has the mission of working throughout the transition period (until December 31 ) how will the future relationship between the EU and that country be, already as a third State.
“We will have a permanent presence here in Brussels because Andalusia is, I would dare to say, the region of Spain that is most affected by the departure of the United Kingdom,” Bendodo explained, referring to the number of Britons living in the region and of Andalusians in British territory, but also because of the situation of exporting companies, which “have a lot to say in the regional economy.”
“Andalusia is an important part of this negotiation because Andalusia has a lot to say. There are 75,000 Britons living in Andalusia, more than 15,000 Andalusians living in the United Kingdom,” he said.
He also mentioned the situation of the Campo de Gibraltar and of “the Spanish workers who enter Gibraltar every day, the situation in which they will remain from that departure, which in principle we are guaranteed to be a situation similar to the current one” .
With regard to the situation of citizens, he called for calm: “We do not have to worry yet about how it directly affects our day-to-day relations with the United Kingdom”, although although the United Kingdom officially leave the EU from the end of the month, “until the end of the transitional period, citizens will not be affected at all.”
He also recalled that this period is extendable, although British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has already said he does not want to extend it.
As regards the exporting companies that will be equally affected by the “brexit”, he referred to the Andalusian firms that sell their products in the United Kingdom but also, more generally, “to the agri-food sector of all provinces”,
“Therefore, trade relations are also of concern” at the end of the transition period.
Bendodo said that the Commission informed him that “immediately, approximately within a month – on February 26, he said -, the negotiation of the eleven tables with the United Kingdom is launched to try, by the end of the year , reach these agreements to end the transitional period, when the relationship with the United Kingdom would be like with a third State, “he explained.
Each table will focus on a thematic area, such as trade, health, agriculture or fishing, an issue that assured that it is of interest to seven other Member States, in which it will be necessary to clarify whether the Spanish fleet will be able to continue fishing in British waters.
“We will wait to see how everything evolves and we hope that they are satisfactory agreements for both parties,” he said, while confirming that they will be “very attentive, because Andalusia wants to be a protagonist in those negotiations and actively collaborate in what we are ask from the European Union “.