Meeting held at the Tamisa Golf Hotel, Mijas Costa on 27 th July 2016.
Our initial attendance expectation was wildly off the mark. By the morning of the meeting we had over 1400 members in our Facebook group and our estimated turnout soared from 30 – 50 attendees to an amazing 200 plus.
Report on the BREXPATS IN SPAIN First Public Meeting
BY GLYN EMERTON
The meeting was opened to a packed room by our President Anne Hernández outlining our vision for the BREXPATS IN SPAIN initiative. She also introduced the top table, followed by short presentations from some members of the BREXPATS team, who were joined by our special guests: the Mayor of Mijas, Juan Carlos Maldonado; from the British Consulate in Málaga, Dominic Jackson; Anette Skou and Katja Thirion from the Foreigners Department of Mijas Town Hall; and our experts on the day to cover Legal, Financial, Health and Property sectors.
The Mayor of Mijas, Juan Carlos Maldonado then took the floor to offer words of encouragement and to confirm the importance of the expat community in Mijas, pledging 100% support to our cause by the Ayuntamiento de Mijas. He stated that in Mijas alone there are 11,000 expats with some 65,000 in the Málaga province, adding that our economy is directly linked to our purchasing power. He made the point that Spain’s economy is directly linked to our own, and if our economy diminishes then so does Spain’s.
Mijas is behind us all the way.
Far from being here just for the sunshine, The Mayor wished to make clear that he understands our concerns in the wake of the EU referendum. Via the Junta de Andalucia and Central Government, he confirmed his intentions to promote and support our continued rights to other important benefits, such as healthcare and pensions, and considered our quality of life here should not be altered. He will endeavor to find the solutions to our problems and answers to our questions, and stated that Mijas is the pioneer in Spain to promote and support this. He concluded by saying that the Town Hall is at the disposal of BREXPATS IN SPAIN and its members, and that Mijas is behind us all the way.
The meeting was an extremely positive experience and served its purpose to welcome members.
Dominic Jackson, from the British Consulate Office in Málaga, advised that to date they understandably had no indication as to the effects of Brexit on British Nationals in Spain, but that “the Consulate Office in Málaga would work closely with BREXPATS IN SPAIN to disseminate information as it becomes available”.
As article 50 has not yet been activated and is not expected to be until early 2017, the meeting mainly focused on the need for all British expats in Spain to ensure their total legality. If we are asking Spain to welcome and support us after Brexit, it would be prudent to ensure our status in our host country be 100% legal. This requires all expats to acquire the appropriate paperwork from their local Town Hall, including NIE, Residency and registering on the Padrón. It was however acknowledged that there were many other areas of concern including Taxation, Education, Property, Wills and so on, that also need to be addressed as the process of Brexit progresses.
Despite the present lack of availability of answers to the majority of concerns and questions, the meeting was an extremely positive experience and served its purpose to welcome members, introduce the team and experts and to collect those individual questions. The support and appreciation shown by those present was greatly received not only by the BREXPATS team but also by the guest speakers and experts who attended and we thanked them all for their valuable input and support.
It was our intention to circulate among our members informally but given the capacity and insufficient room to mingle, questions were invited of the top table. Some questions related to pensions, health, property, and other legal issues such as dual nationality which does not exist in Spain but is being petitioned through appropriate channels. All these questions will be dealt with personally by our experts and a general overview of the questions and answers will be posted on our website in coming weeks.
Anne Hernández announced that BREXPATS IN SPAIN are planning more formal presentations by our experts at the auditorium of La Cala de Mijas Town Hall on a variety of relevant topics, and also offered for the BREXPATS team to go out and talk informally to other British groups, club and societies. We realise that not everybody is mobile or can travel to Mijas. On that point, she also outlined our future plan to offer to set-up splinter groups in other areas and asked for volunteers prepared to dedicate a few hours to do this. It is essential that we gain the support of all of Spain because there is greater strength in numbers.
BREXPATS IN SPAIN IS YOUR VOICE Generous support and sponsorship for the evening was gratefully received from DeVere Spain.