MORE than 70 people packed into Marbella town hall for a Brexit question and answer session with British Consul Charmaine Arbouin.
And she had one very clear message to send out to expats – make sure you are officially resident if you want your rights in Spain protected once the UK leaves the EU.
Time is running out with the possibility of the UK crashing out in March with a no deal exit still existing alongside acceptance of the Withdrawal Bill currently being debated in the UK Parliament.
Charmaine stressed to the packed gallery that both the Spanish and UK are working to protect the rights of UK citizens in Spain, saying: “The Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez has said he wants all people living here to continue to do so with a minimum of fuss. So has Josep Borrell, the Spanish Foreign Minister.
“But what they have both said is that whatever measures are brought in to protect UK citizen’s rights, they will only apply to those who are legally resident in Spain at the time of Brexit.
“So I urge any UK citizens who intend to stay in Spain to make sure they have their residencia.”
She added that it is a legal requirement to take residencia if intending to stay longer than 90 days in the country in any case.
Charmaine said that the UK and Spain are now in bi-lateral talks to discuss issues such as health care and visa-free travel.
Last night’s (January 10) meeting was organised by Brexpats in Spain, an organisation which was set up by Anne Hernandez to campaign for the rights of UK citizens in Spain after Brexit.
Also attending was IU (United Left) councillor Miguel Diaz, who has been supportive of British citizens in Marbella, putting forward a proposal that Marbella council should do everything it can to help the city’s 4,000 registered UK residents.