Thousands of people have put their name to a petition calling on the Spanish government to grant dual nationality to British residents who have lived in Spain more than a decade.
Madrid-based British author and journalist Giles Tremlett who has has lived in Spain for 25 years started the petition over concerns for his legal rights if he decides to return to the UK in future.
He has two British children, now young adults, who were born and raised in Spain but also cannot obtain dual nationality.
He started the petition with ex-journalist William Chislett who has lived in Spain for 30 years, and written many books on the country. He now writes for the Elcano Royal Institute, Spain’s leading think tank.
Giles told Change.org: ‘Following Brexit, I've effectively been expelled from my European citizenship against my choice and with no say in the matter.
‘With this offer Spain would not only show warmth and generosity to a group of residents who have given a lot to the country - and its economy - over many years, but would also retain human capital. At a time when it is trying to draw business from the City of London to Madrid, it may be also attract more.’
William Chislett added: 'What we want is a level playing field on the double nationality issue, and not discrimination against Brits who live in Spain compared to Spaniards in the UK.'
The petition states: ‘Allowing dual nationality for those who have lived a long time in Spain requires a change in Spanish legislation, but it would not be the first time this has happened.
'In 2015, for example, the government of Mariano Rajoy offered double nationality to Sephardic Jews (the descendants of Jews expelled from Spain in 1492).
‘We estimate there are around 25,000 Brits born in Spain or who have lived and worked here for more than 10 years (generally the required number of years for those seeking Spanish citizenship) might take up the offer.
'From the Spanish point of view, this will also ensure that country retains valuable human capital. We want to be Spaniards, Europeans and British – a reflection of our true identity, one that Brexit will take away from us.’
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