SPANISH prime minister Mariano Rajoy has said Brexit is a ‘serious threat’ to Spain because of how many Brits live in and visit the country.
Speaking at a news conference yesterday, Rajoy pleaded for Europe to remain united and said Britain’s departure from the bloc threatened Spain’s economy.
“Brexit is a serious threat,” Rajoy said, “Without wanting to go into other considerations, I will only tell you that one in five tourists who come to Spain are British, and close to 17 million Britons visited Spain last year.”
Some 300,000 Brits are known to live in Spain, but that figure may be as high as one million as many expats do not register properly.
There are fears that further falls in the pound will make fewer Britons want to travel, while retirees living in Spain will have less purchasing power.
“I will also tell you that the United Kingdom is the first destination for Spanish companies’ investment and our third commercial partner,” Rajoy added.
He went on to say that Britain’s divorce should inspire the EU to be ‘more cohesive, more effective in its decision-making and with better political ambition.’
The PP leader added that elections in France and Germany this year will be ‘decisive’.
He said: “Spain… hopes that its two biggest partners will maintain their pro-EU vocation and their determination to push forward a project which despite all its imperfections is the best political initiative the world has seen in centuries – the EU project.”