The Spanish government has supported the idea of a reciprocal deal with Britain over expats during Brexit negotiations.
It has said that, in principle, it would support an agreement allowing British expats in Spain to retain all existing benefits, including access to healthcare and pensions (which has been a particular concern among the elderly expat population residing in the Costas).
The Spanish secretary for the EU, Jorge Toledo, who is also Madrid’s leading negotiator on Brexit, spoke to The Times about the matter. He said Spain is “broadly in favour of retaining a reciprocal agreement on questions like healthcare and freedom of movement”.
Toledo added that they have the “amplest respect” for the rights of all expats but the conditions of these rights will be subject to negotiation.
The Spanish Prime Minister, Mariano Rajoy, shared a similar view back in February, telling AFP he was “absolutely convinced” expats won’t be affected by any decisions made.
There are roughly 900,000 British expats living in the EU, and around a third of them live in Spain. Securing the rights of British expats has been something that Prime Minister Theresa May has been focused on since the beginning of Brexit talks, and it is believed that the topic remains a priority in negotiations now that Article 50 has been triggered.
In May’s letter to the President of the European Council, Donald Tusk, she said any talks should “always put our citizens first”, adding that, for the many EU expats living in the UK and British expats living in the EU, “we should aim to strike an early agreement about their rights”.
The Prime Minister has also previously said that she won’t secure the rights of EU nationals living in Britain until she has confirmation that the rights of the British expats in EU member states will also be safeguarded.
The news should help reassure some expats who have been concerned what Brexit will mean for them. Although nothing has been promised as of yet, it seems as though the Spanish government has no intention of stripping any Britons, many of whom have lived in Spain for decades, of the rights they’re accustomed to.
But even though expats have so far received positive signs that their current lifestyles in sunny Spain will be protected, it’s still a time of great uncertainty. Brexit has meant that expat financial services have become increasingly important to those who want further reassurance that their money and well-being will be safe, regardless of the outcome of the negotiations.
With a Blacktower adviser, you’ll receive expert help finding the best solutions to protect every aspect of your finances, whether it’s help with your savings, wealth management, or pension pot. If you’re part of the large expat community living in the Costas, we have offices in Spain’s Costa del Sol and Costa Blanca, so get in contact today.