THE rise of the right in Spain could spell trouble for British expats, an expert has warned.
Former minister of Europe Denis MacShane has sounded the alarm following the shock result of the Andalucia elections yesterday.
The stunning result saw the leftist PSOE and Adelante Andalucia (Podemos and Izquierda Unida) fail to win the overall majority of 55 seats needed to form a government.
The far right VOX party won an unprecedented 12 seats while the centre right Ciudadanos also outperformed expectations, picking up 21 seats.
Paired with the Partido Popular’s 26 seats, it means a coalition of the right-wing parties is the only likely outcome with a 59-seat majority across Ciudadanos, Partido Popular and VOX.
The shocking outcome has brought an end to a 36-year PSOE reign over Spain’s most populous region.
But what could a right-leaning government mean for British expats in Andalucia?
Writing for The Independent, MacShane, who writes on European politics and policy, has warned of tit-for-tat politics as Theresa May looks to make it harder for Europeans to live and work in the UK.
“What should worry Britain is that if, as seems likely, Theresa May proceeds to set up a giant immigration bureaucracy to stop Spanish and other EU citizens from living and working here, other EU capitals will reciprocate and British expats could face pressure,” he wrote.
It comes after May came under fire last month for saying she would stop EU citizens from ‘jumping the queue’ when it comes to immigration.
MacShane added: “The majority of British expats in Spain are not officially registered as they take advantage of EU citizenship to buy flats or small houses or set up bars, cafés, and small business on the basis of the freedom of movement philosophy.
“The socialist administration of Andalucia stretching from Gibraltar to the costas, where most British expats in Spain live, has always been friendly both to Britain and its citizens in the region.
“A new right-wing administration perhaps tinged with open anti-immigrant xenophobia will not make life easier for Brits as London turns the screw against students, baristas, and other workers from the continent, including Spain.”
It comes months after British ambassador to Spain urged British expats to sign up to the padron and make sure they are registered before the UK leaves the EU next year.
VOX picked up seats across the region, but did particularly well in Almeria, Cadiz and Malaga, where its anti-immigrant rhetoric was better received following years of increased arrivals from migrants.
It’s bad news for prime minister Pedro Sanchez, who had hoped for a resounding victory to give his party momentum ahead of the general election in 2020.
He will now likely take a tougher stance on migrants to stave off a repeat of Sunday’s vote in two years’ time.
He has since vowed to maintain a pro-EU stance.