06 March 2016

They're talking about me

My local

The Observer has been visiting my hidey-hole in Andalucia and believes that the ex-pat community is anxious:
A brisk westerly wind blusters through the high-rise hotels and apartment blocks of the Costa del Sol, but the sun is warm. Along the urban stretch south of Málaga that runs from Torremolinos to Benalmádena and on to Fuengirola, Spanish families promenade along the seafront. But up around Benalmádena’s Bonanza Square, the bars are almost exclusively stocked with Brits, residents and holidaymakers: the middle-aged and the retired.
It’s a friendly, noisy place. Richie Hart has been in Málaga province for 18 months with his partner Kay Ritchie – they work long hours running their Welsh-themed bar. “There’s around 50 bars in this strip and I’d say about five are Spanish-owned,” said Hart.
Everyone knows that, if Britain leaves the European Union, the lives they came here for could change. One million of the 5.5 million Brits who have moved abroad live in Spain, and anyone who has lived here for less than 15 years, can vote in the in/out referendum on 23 June. Many keep up with the news at home through ferociously Eurosceptic newspapers such as the Daily Mail, but Brexit viewed from Spain carries its own specific risks. There is anxiety on the costas.
I'm not convinced.  If Brexit occurs (and it won't be before 2018 at the earliest), there may certainly be changes in the terms and conditions of expat residence in Spain but I find it difficult to believe that the authorities would risk either a wholesale de-population of the Costas or a significant reduction in the number of Brits coming out here.  As President Hollande would put it, there would be consequences ...


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