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European Rights in Spain

Updated on January 20, 2014

Do You Know Your Rights?

Do you know your Rights?
Do you know your Rights?

A Foreigner in Spain

Have you never felt as if you were banging your head against the wall, as a foreigner in Spain, trying to familiarize yourself with what options you have to solve your problems, and what rights you have?

For example: If you need legal help in Spain, and you do not speak sufficient Spanish, what do you do?

If you have enough money you can probably hire a lawyer who speaks your language, but if you do not have sufficient funds, what do you do?

In an ideal world all foreign residents in Spain should learn to speak fluent Spanish, but we do not live in an ideal world. Hundred of thousands of foreigners of age retire to Spain and most of them will never learn to master Spanish to perfection. And even if you do speak Spanish, certain situations occur - just like they would in your original country, where you need guidance here and now, and where it is essential to know exactly where to go, and how to express yourself correctly, and in some contexts this can be difficult even in your country of origin and in your own language.

Most lawyers require approx. € 3,000 up front for taking a case. If you do not have that money, are you then left without rights?

No, you can get legal aid in Spain, but how much does it help to get a Spanish-speaking lawyer if you cannot talk to him, and he doesn’t understand what you say?

Are you not effectively without legal assistance in that case? And if so - is this in correspondence with the European Treaty?

As a foreign citizen, from a European member state, with residency in Spain, you still have a European Citizenship, which is supposed to guarantee you certain rights.

A new law from the 18th of June 2010 will in future have EU-guaranteed rights to professional interpretation and translation for people arrested, questioned and tried, significantly raising the standard of justice….but what about the victims of a crime?

After having lived in Spain since 2001 I have to say that I personally have experienced several cases that has led me to the following conclusion: All we have, as non wealthy foreigners in Spain, if we are a victim of a crime, is a declaration of intend from the European Union and the lack of ability to enforce them !

I could outline a wide range of issues, and I am sure that you readers can complement the range considerably, but let us - for now - focus on what you can do if our rights seem to strand and fade away in the foggy cross-border-Grey-area zone - somewhere between Spain, your country of origin and the European Union.

Do You Know Your Rights?

In an ideal world all foreign residents in Spain should learn to speak fluent Spanish, but we do not live in an ideal world. Hundred of thousands of foreigners of age retire to Spain and most of them will never learn to master Spanish to perfection. And even if you do speak Spanish, certain situations occur - just like they would in your original country, where you need guidance here and now, and where it is essential to know exactly where to go, and how to express yourself correctly, and in some contexts this can be difficult even in your country of origin and in your own language.

Most lawyers require approx. € 3,000 up front for taking a case. If you do not have that money, are you then left without rights?

No, you can get legal aid in Spain, but how much does it help to get a Spanish-speaking lawyer if you cannot talk to him, and he doesn’t understand what you say?

Are you not effectively without legal assistance in that case? And if so - is this in correspondence with the European Treaty?

As a foreign citizen, from a European member state, with residency in Spain, you still have a European Citizenship, which is supposed to guarantee you certain rights.

A new law from the 18th of June 2010 will in future have EU-guaranteed rights to professional interpretation and translation for people arrested, questioned and tried, significantly raising the standard of justice….but what about the victims of a crime?

After having lived in Spain since 2001 I have to say that I personally have experienced several cases that has led me to the following conclusion: All we have, as non wealthy foreigners in Spain, if we are a victim of a crime, is a declaration of intend from the European Union and the lack of ability to enforce them !

I could outline a wide range of issues, and I am sure that you readers can complement the range considerably, but let us - for now - focus on what you can do if our rights seem to strand and fade away in the foggy cross-border-Grey-area zone - somewhere between Spain, your country of origin and the European Union.

European Union Citizenship.

You are actually not entirely without options, even if you were to experience a situation that feels as if you have your back against the wall. Anyone who is a citizen of a European member state automatically hold a European Union Citizenship as well, which gives certain rights, and also offers some opportunities to practice these rights under the Maastricht Treaty of 1992.

The principal rights granted in your European Union Citizenship:


• the right to move and reside freely within the EU countries


• the right to vote and to stand for election to Parliament and in municipal elections in the EU country where you reside


• the right to diplomatic and consular protection


• the right to petition the European Parliament


• the right to contact the Ombudsman.

Are Your Rights Being Recognized

Have you had difficulties as a foreigner in Spain getting services that you are entitled to - like unemployment benefits, legal aid or free interpreter in legal matters, where you have been the victim

See results

Comments

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    • quester.ltd profile image

      quester.ltd 

      7 years ago

      well done

      voted up and interesting

      q

    • A Dane in Spain profile imageAUTHOR

      Dorte Holm Jensen 

      8 years ago from Torrox, Malaga. Spain

      Hi Troi Sirtis

      I'm glad you do and took the time to read it...which naturally brought me to click on your name. And if I hadn't I wouldn't have found your very interesting Hubs on illegal immigration. I am definitely coming back to read more.

    • Troi Sirtis profile image

      Troi Sirtis 

      8 years ago

      I like this!

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