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Spain seeks to reassure expats

Spain is keen to hold talks with the UK to discuss what happens after Britain leaves the EU. Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy is hopeful that a deal can be struck to defend the rights of British expats so we are not affected by political decisions.

His words are reassuring for the 1.3 million Britons living in Europe, according to United Nations figures. However there is still a lot to be thrashed out such as health care and pension rights for retired expats who, at present, receive state medical care in Spain.

These negotiations are expected to take place after the EU summit. In the meantime, Rajoy tried to put expats’ minds at rest by saying: “I hope that we will soon be able to tell them: Don’t worry, nothing is going to change for the Spaniards in the United Kingdom, nor for the Britons in Spain.” He has met Theresa May who agreed they want to come to an early agreement over reciprocal residency rights for their citizens.

As well as the Brits who have made Spain their home, the Prime Minister is keen for UK tourists to continue coming over. It’s big business for the Mediterranean country when you consider that last year about 17 million Brits flew in for a holiday. His views are shared by Spain’s foreign minister Alfonso Dastis who said they did not want to ‘punish’ the UK for leaving the EU. He said in an interview with the Financial Times that they do not see it as a battle where someone comes out on top and added that Spain is keen to keep a close relationship with the UK.

This could also be because Spain exports far more to the UK than vice versa, along with the huge boost to the economy by British tourists. Hopefully, therefore, our adopted homeland will be eager to reach an agreement meaning holidaymakers keep flocking to its beaches.

However, there is likely to be a stumbling block over the rock of Gibraltar as Spain has long sought to take control of it. The subject of the territory off southern Spain will be brought up during Brexit talks with Rajoy keen for all decisions affecting Gibraltar to be made jointly between the UK and Spain.

“I think that our proposal of shared sovereignty is quite reasonable,” Rajoy said, although neither Britain nor Gibraltar agree with him.

Golden Leaves International will be watching very closely on how Brexit unfolds and if you have any questions or would like advice on health cover please get in touch.

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