AN expat campaigner believes Brits in Spain are ‘out of sight, out of mind’ to British MPs in Brexit negotiations.
Brexpats In Spain co-founder Anne Hernandez has been lobbying Spanish politicians along the coast as she fights to preserve the rights of Brits living in Spain.
The university lecturer, who has lived in Spain for more than 30 years, insists most politicians ‘want us to remain and want to do everything to support us’.
“But sadly, we are getting more support from the Spanish than the British,” she told the Olive Press.
Speaking after a key meeting in La Cala, alongside the mayor of Mijas and Guardian journalist Giles Tremlett, she said: “Our first instinct was talking to the Spanish.
“We have been up and down the coast and everyone is supporting us. We have also had some very promising replies from the House of Lords, mostly from Lib Dems.”
She insisted she didn’t want to go back to the dark days before we joined the common market.
“When I first came to Spain I had to go to the police station every three months and prove I had enough money to stay for another three months and get a stamp allowing me to stay. And I was not permitted to work.”
Brexpats in Spain describes itself as a ‘non-politically biased’ body which aims to ‘gather and impart relevant information’ to expats.
Mijas mayor Juan Carlos Maldonado also promised to fight for expats on the coast.
“No-one realises your importance more than us,” he told the Olive Press. “There are 11,000 official British expats in Mijas alone and we really value them.”
Health was understandably a major topic at the meeting, with Hernandez revealing insurance could cost as much as €157 a month for people over 65 if free healthcare ends post-Brexit.
Madrid-based expats Richard and Jean Appleyard, both 70, have lived in Spain for more than 30 years.
“We are worried about the national health and our right to stay. It is a thing of big concern it is a life-changing thing that could happen,” said Richard, who has a season ticket at Real Madrid.
“We are integrated here, we speak Spanish, all our friends are Spanish. The idea that someone could be using us as pawns in a game is very worrying.”
His wife needs regular health check-ups for Crohn’s disease and other issues.
Barry and Phyllis Lissner, both 71, are also concerned about healthcare having lived in Mijas for seven years.
“The medical side of things here is second to none,” said Barry. “In July 2013, I had a heart attack and an ambulance came. They put a stent in and they followed it up.
“When I collect my medication from the pharmacy I have about seven different tablets. It’s about eight euros which lasts for months, which is very reasonable.
“I am worried this could all come to an end.”