By 2019-06-13 InPortugal

UK and Portugal sign bilateral agreement to protect citizens’ voting rights after EU exit

The British and Portuguese governments have signed a bilateral agreement in Lisbon on Wednesday, June 12, that “secures the rights of Portuguese citizens in the UK and British citizens in Portugal, to stand and vote in local elections in each other’s countries after the UK leaves the EU”.

This was signed by Lord Callanan, UK Minister of State at the Department for Exiting the EU, and by Portuguese State Secretary for European Affairs, Ana Paula Zacarias, in the presence of the Minister for Internal Administration, Eduardo Cabrita.

The agreement guarantees that all who have the right to vote in local elections and hold office on the day the UK leaves the EU will maintain that right in the future, whether the UK leaves with or without a deal. It also recognises the right of new UK residents in Portugal to vote in local elections (after three years of residency) and to stand in and be elected for local office (after five years of residency).

“This is another important reassurance for UK nationals living in Portugal and for Portuguese nationals living in the UK, that their rights will be maintained, and it enables these citizens to continue to determine who represents them in the country they reside in,” said the British Embassy in Lisbon in a press statement.

Lord Callanan said: “The oldest diplomatic agreement was signed between the UK and Portugal in 1386. Now, over 600 years later, we’ve signed a treaty to secure the rights of our citizens in each other’s countries after the UK leaves the EU. This agreement gives further guarantees to the estimated 40,000 UK nationals here in Portugal and the 400,000 or so Portuguese citizens in the UK, that our historic alliance is still strong and their democratic right to vote will be protected, in any Brexit scenario.”

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