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Editorial March 2019 in Andalucia

By Nick Nutter | 14 May 2019

Well, I have been avoiding the subject but, this is the month, the month the United Kingdom leaves the European Union. When we wake up on the 30th March all us UK nationals will no longer be Europeans; we will once again be British. Not that many of us ever thought of ourselves as anything other than British. Will it feel different? I doubt it. Will we be treated differently here in Spain? Again, I doubt it. We will once again be able to proclaim, ‘Made in Britain’ if we can find anything manufactured there. All our manufacturing seems to have crossed the channel.

I have heard and read many scaremongering tales, not least from politicians who should know better, since the referendum back in June 2016. I even attended a Brexit meeting of expatriates only to realise why I was not destined to ever be a politician, member of a committee, or a priest. Hot air and ill-informed flannel about summed it up — no patience for it. What I have been doing is tapping into an HM Gov webpage that is now called https://www.gov.uk/guidance/advice-for-british-nationals-travelling-and-living-in-europe. It has been and continues to be, a fount of knowledge on all aspects of living in Europe after Brexit.

To save you reading all of it I can say that, for the average person in the street, not much will change, pensions – private, UK, Spanish or any combination thereof, will still be paid, health care will still be provided, children will still go to school, Spanish driving licences will still be available and residencia will still be required if you live here. The main difference will be to those who are in Spain who should be resident but are not, those that have had a UK registered vehicle in Spain for over six months, those who continue to drive on a UK licence, those working and not paying tax, social or IVA, basically anybody that is flying below the radar in their private or working life.

The soon to be imposed travel regulations and greater emphasis on residential status will make it much easier to track the comings and goings of such people and, of course, they will not have the overall protection of the EU when caught. The question is, having voluntarily left the UK to live below the radar for whatever reason, will the UK want them back?

More of a worry is the thought that the UK is just the first brick to be taken out of the wall. Are other countries just waiting to see what happens? Will the EU be whittled down to solely those countries that take from the system plus possibly Germany and France, for once united in intent, frantically propping up a failing continent.

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