The Secretary-General of the European People’s Party — PPE by its Spanish acronym — Antonio López-Istúriz on Monday highlighted that in the Brexit negotiations the “future” and “wellbeing” of British living in Spain will be linked to that of the Spaniards living in the United Kingdom.
López-Istúriz made the statement while addressing the Europe Forum in Madrid, Spain.
The politician also said that as a result of the Brexit talks “there can be no winners or losers.”
He said that the EPP’s priority is the 27 member states and their citizens, or in other words, “those who are remaining and not those who are leaving.”
The leader of the EPP said it’s up to U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May whether the United Kingdom will opt for “hard Brexit” after triggering Article 50 — expected to happen this Wednesday.
“If the U.K. wants a hard Brexit, they will have it. Otherwise, we will know how to pair up to the negotiations,” he said.
López-Istúriz, however, predicted that the U.K.’s “historical tradition of attempting to divide the UEU will fail.”
He also said, “The EU’s institutions will speak of the Brexit where and when it’s supposed to: during the European Council’s extraordinary session scheduled for 29 April.”
During this session, the EU Brexit negotiators will discuss and adopt the guidelines to negotiate the U.K.’s separation from the European Union.”
The party official said his priority and commitment as a Spanish citizen will focus on the 200,000 Spaniards living and working in the U.K.
He made it clear that the future and wellbeing of Brits living in Spain will be directly linked to that of Spanish people living in the United Kingdom. He also called on the “good judgment” and “intelligence” of the British government when negotiating their exit from the EU.
Spain’s sovereignty over Gibraltar will be discussed during the Brexit negotiations, López-Istúriz added.
After saying that the Brexit poses a “tremendous challenge” to the European Union, he acknowledged that “we owe this country a lot.”
“If today we speak with liberty within the EU, it’s thanks to the United Kingdom. We owe them a lot. The Brexit is tremendous and painful to all of us,”, he said.