28 Feb, 2017 @ 11:25
2 mins read

Brexpats In Spain campaigner: British expats are ‘out of sight, out of mind’ to UK MPs

CAMPAIGNERS: Tremlett (far left) and Hernandez (centre)

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’.

CAMPAIGNERS: Tremlett (far left) and Hernandez (centre)
CAMPAIGNERS: Tremlett (far left) and Hernandez (centre right)

“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.

'PAWNS': Jean and Richard Appleyard's Brexit fears
‘PAWNS’: Jean and Richard Appleyard’s Brexit fears

“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.”

Joe Duggan (Reporter)

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  1. Those who are able to pay for a Real Madrid season ticket are not able to spend 157 Euros per month for their health care?
    If that is the case, I suggest to WALK into the beautiful Andalusian mountains instead of WATCHING football games at the Bernabéu Arena. Then you normally don’t need a stent.

  2. Well said Wolfgang. We see expat pensioners sat in the bar all day & driving around in expensive camper vans, pleading poverty about the cost of healthcare. You insure your house, car, mobile phone, even your new tv set but object to insuring your health????

  3. “Madrid-based expats Richard and Jean Appleyard, both 70, have lived in Spain for more than 30 years.” This indicates that they moved to Spain in their thirties, how are they covered by the national health system. When I only visit Spain I need health insurance, I am confused about how the system works.

  4. Dear Wolfgang and Craig, thanks for your comments but please don’t jump to facile conclusions about British Expats. The article omitted to mention that Richard has worked and paid taxes and Social Security here for 30 years in addition to 3 years in Brussels, all for a British multinational. He worked on projects all over Europe including your country Wolfgang. This does not match your stereotype of the British expat but you seem to think that we are all in the same category. Which one are you in?

    By the way, Richard isn’t the one with the stent although he gets near to needing one at some
    matches at the Bernabéu.

  5. Wolfgang, Craig:
    Just to add to what Jean mentioned; I don’t think you’re quite up to date on the relative costs of private health insurance for two 70 year olds and a season ticket at the Bernabéu. And by the way, please don’t tell me how I should spend my leisure time when you don’t even know me or my circumstances– it’s very bad mannered.
    Craig, you don’t think paying over 30 years into the Spanish social security gives me right to health care?
    Finally, Wolfgang you mixed up the two couples interviewed. Real Madrid and the stent are not the same person.
    Have a great week doing exactly what you want to do.

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