British PM closer to deal on UK expat rights in Spain

Published:  6 Feb at 6 PM
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Last Friday’s meeting between Theresa May and Spanish PM Mariano Rajoy is giving hope to over a million British expats at present living in Spain.

The brief meeting in the Maltese capital Valetta during the EU summit gave the two leaders an opportunity to discuss the fate of an estimated 1.2 million British citizens now living in Spain, many of whom are retirees. Several press reports state Rajoy is in favour of an early agreement to set minds at rest.

According to a Downing Street spokesperson, reciprocal rights were discussed, with both PMs agreeing an early settlement would be the best way forward on the issue. Previously, May has refused to guarantee the right to remain and work for 3.2 million EU expats in the UK unless a similar guarantee is agreed regarding UK expats living in EU member states.

The pair agreed full discussions on future relationships between their two countries including the actual details of the Brexit agreement should take place, thus removing any uncertainty for business owners and other expats living and working in each others’ countries. At the same time, another Olive Press report stated Simon Manley, the British Ambassador to Spain, is aware the Spanish government and its PM value the presence in Spain of UK nationals.

Manley has held meetings on the subject with local, regional and national leaders in order to have them understand the fear felt by Britons since the referendum result. The ambassador is now meeting with representatives of the expat community all over Spain, with the intention of transmitting their concerns to his UK colleagues. He told the Olive Press he was aware of the problems caused to British retirees drawing the state pension due to the fall of sterling, adding he wants to work with the Spanish authorities at all levels to make sure Brits can still buy property and stay in the country post-Brexit.
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