‘Britons can stay’ says Spanish minister

Mr Dastis offered reassurance to Britons in Spain

Spain’s foreign minister has pledged that Britons living in Spain will not have their lives ‘disrupted’ after Brexit even if there is ‘no deal’.

The comments will be welcome to the more than 300,000 Britons who live in Spain – the largest British expat community in the EU (France is second, around 160,000, followed by Ireland).

It comes also as President Macron responded positively to a letter from Connexion and the British Community Committee of France, saying he was attentive to Britons’ worries and that the French foreign affairs minister would inform us about any follow-up that may be given.

The minister, Alfonso Dastis, made the comments on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show yesterday.

Asked if he thought enough progress was being made on the Brexit talks for the ‘second phase’, on the ‘future relationship’ to begin by the end of the year, he said: “I hope we will be able to do that. We have seen a new atmosphere and a new attitude from the UK government since Prime Minister May’s speech in Florence and we are waiting for that new attitude to be transposed into position papers and the negotiating table.

“But we are going to start our internal preparations and we are hopeful we are able to find an agreement that is good both for the UK and the European Union.”

However in the event of ‘no deal’, he said: “If there is no deal, we will make sure that the lives of ordinary UK people in Spain are not disrupted.

“The relationship between the UK and Spain is a very close one in terms of economic relations and also social exchanges.

“Seventeen million Brits come to Spain every year and many of them live here and retire here and we want to keep it that way as much as possible.”

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