SPAIN’S acting Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has warned that British expats could lose the right to live and work in Spain should a Brexit vote go ahead.
He said that “it would be very negative for British citizens” should Britain cut ties with the EU, leaving them unable to move freely around Europe, and losing the right to “work and do business” in the bloc’s 27 other states.
More than 400,000 British citizens live and work in Spain, while around 100,000 Spaniards are currently based in the UK, he said.
“I have no doubt whatsoever, as I have repeatedly stated, that it would be very negative if the United Kingdom left the European Union. Negative for everybody, for the United Kingdom, for Spain, and for the European Union.
“But, above all, it would be very negative for British citizens: the European Union is based, ever since its foundation, on the principles of freedom of movement of people, goods, services, and capitals.
“If the United Kingdom left the European Union, it would be very negative for everyone and from every perspective.”
The heavyweight’s comments came after ‘Leave’ campaigners Boris Johnson and Michael Gove suggested that the UK should introduce an Australian-style points based immigration system, under which immigrants would be vetted for their professional skills, spoken English, employment history and education.
Dutch PM Mark Rutte told the BBC that a Brexit vote followed by the introduction of such a system would trigger “an inevitable, unavoidable race to the bottom” among other EU countries, while experts have predicted a mass exodus of British expats from the continent should voters opt for ‘Leave’.