Dozens of British expats living in Spain staged a Brexit protest in the streets of Malaga, declaring ‘the UK has forgotten us’.
The Brits waved European Union, Spanish and British flags and held banners reading “They’re trying to make us leave the EU” and “Take back control: My grandkids’ future”.
They are worried they will lose free access to Spanish healthcare, currently assured by the EU, as Britain crashes out of the bloc, possibly without a deal.
Protesters hit out at the Conservative Government, with Tamara Essex, a 60-year-old from Dorset, saying: “Spain is doing everything it can to protect us. The UK government has forgotten us.”
She said Spain had done more for Britons living in the country than the UK Government.
During Sunday’s demonstration the Brits marched through the streets of Malaga, a port city on southern Spain’s Costa del Sol, to register their concerns about their uncertain status ahead of the October 31 deadline.
Spain is home to around 300,000 Britons and is the most popular European retirement destination for UK residents, with around a third of them aged over 65.
Among foreign nationals, they are by far the biggest users of Spain’s state-funded universal healthcare system.
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The fresh blow for the British Prime Minister has put the future of a million expats in Europe firmly into the hands of MPs, who are expected to avoid a hard Brexit.
It comes after thousands of expats joined a million marchers at a massive anti-Brexit protest in London at the weekend.
“It was great to be there making history I hope,” said Sue Wilson of Bremain in Spain.
“It is not the first time we have voted with our feet, but it was our biggest ever march contingent,” she added.
MPs used Monday night’s vote to express their discontent at Theresa May’s stubborn refusal to set a fresh approach to Brexit.
Parliament will now hold a series of ‘indicative votes’ tomorrow in an attempt to break the Brexit deadlock after the Government lost the vote by 329 votes to 302.
Shadow Brexit secretary Sir Keir Starmer said: “Another humiliating defeat for a prime minister who has lost complete control of her party, her cabinet and of the Brexit process.
“Parliament has fought back – and now has the chance to decide what happens next.”
Full story in the Olive Press
Bremainers in Spain reassured by ‘REMAIN THE SAME’ royal decree on expats, but ‘alarm bells’ raised over UK reciprocity
Under the decree, expats will have guaranteed healthcare provision until at least 2020 and continued access to unemployment benefits and pensions.
The Spanish Foreign Minister, Josep Borrell, stated that the objective was to leave no British citizens, or their families, unprotected and for things to ‘remain the same’ as they are now.
However the royal decree is conditional on Theresa May’s government giving the same rights to Spaniards living and working in Britain.
Bremain in Spain chair Sue Wilson said: “This is excellent news, and proves what we have believed all along – that the Spanish authorities have our best interests at heart and value our contribution to Spanish society.”
The decree states that if there are no reciprocal arrangements within two months, the Spanish cabinet can suspend it.
Wilson said: “This element has raised alarm bells with some Bremain in Spain members. While they have every faith in the Spanish government to treat us fairly and with compassion, they do not extend that faith to the British government’s treatment of EU citizens.
Full story in The Olive Press
It is a typically tranquil winter afternoon at the Chambao de Vicente restaurant.
Its rustic terrace spills out onto the golden sands of the Playa La Herradura, a beach running parallel to the small Spanish Costa del Sol town of the same name.
The clientele is a mix of both immigrants – British, Germans and Swedes – and Spaniards, their jovial laughter perforating the sound of the nearby rolling waves.
Yet, once lunch has been cleared, the sleepy restaurant wakes with a jolt as a group of British diners gathers to unfurl a European Union flag.
“We want to stay with you!” whoops one woman. “Yes,” exclaims another, “Bollocks to Brexit!”
The good-natured gang are received well by other patrons, many of whom rush over to be photographed with the Brits.
The group are members of Bremain in Spain, an organisation set up in the wake of the Brexit referendum in June 2016.
Bremain in Spain not only campaigns for the UK to Remain but also lobbies British, Spanish and EU politicians to protect the rights of British immigrants in Spain.
Membership of the group has swollen over the last few months to include more than 5,000 activists with the increase attributed to concerns that Brits in Spain have been all but forgotten by Theresa May. A number of other worried groups exist across the country.
Just the day before the lunch in La Herradura, the Brexpats in Spain organisation held two public meetings in the towns of Benalmadena and Mijas.
“We had two informative public talks on the coast, both attended by more than 200 worried Brits,” explains Sharon Hitchcock, a volunteer for Brexpats in Spain.
“During our meetings we have found that there are a lot of confused people who are finding the whole process quite overwhelming.”
More Brits call Spain home than any other country in the EU27 – 310,000, although this figure is thought to be as low as a third of the actual number, with temporary residents, dual nationals and those not registering with the Spanish authorities making up the rest.
Read the full article in The New European