Spain and the UK

By | Category: Travel news

It is thought that about 31% of all Britons living in EU countries live in Spain. In January 2019, Spain saw 4,196,939 international visitors of whom 807,347 were British. Britons made about a fifth of all international visitors to the country in January with the second largest group, Germans, providing just under 12% of all visitors.

El Golfo on Lanzarote. This Canary island is one of the most popular for British holidaymakers and expats

The importance of the UK to Spain is clear so it must have come as a relief to British expats living in the country when the Spanish government announced on Friday that Britons in Spain can continue to live there even if the UK leaves the EU without a deal. This decision is contingent on the British government treating Spaniards living in the UK (about 150,000) in the same way something that the UK government has already stated.

According to the English language version of El Pais, Britons will have to apply for a foreigner identity card before January 2021 to prove their legal residency status. How this decision squares with the EU statement, which also came out last Friday, about rejecting an agreement to protect citizens from the UK and the rest of the bloc in the event of a no-deal Brexit I do not know. It seems to me that Spain (and Italy which has adopted a similar approach) has done precisely what the EU negotiators said could not be done. Last November the UK and Spain signed four memoranda of understanding so if that isn’t a separate negotiation from the main EU role I don’t know what is. Does it mean that pragmatism is coming to the fore?

If it is then maybe it will assist the 18 million Britons who holiday and travel to Spain each year. The tourism industry is important to Spain and anything which makes it more difficult for Britons to travel there will hit both countries. Whilst everything seems to be running smoothly for this coming summer season perhaps the Spanish and British governments can agree on reciprocal tourism deals with which the EU negotiators say cannot interfere.

If you enjoyed this post, please consider subscribing to the RSS feed to have future articles delivered to your feed reader.
Tags: , , , ,