Brexit, the long and arduous path to the UK’s exit from the European Union and the European Atomic Energy Union has certainly resulted in what at this point can only be described as a mixed bag. Spain and the UK have a long and entrenched history and one that could itself be described as a mixed bag, especially when viewed in light of both nations and their ties and affiliations with The Rock of Gibraltar. While Britain certainly won’t ditch Spain, things are going to change quite a bit, especially for those Brits with second homes in Spain.
The dilemma facing Costa Brits
Now that the new EU-UK trade agreement has come into fruition, the UK has been deemed a third country, or put another way, not part of the club anymore, and thus travel to Spain has become more complicated. Applicable to both UK tourists and those who own second homes in Spain but don’t have residency, coming and going as one pleases is no longer the order of the day. Instead Brits can now spend up to three out of every six months there. Living in Spain now requires that Brits have at least £2 000 in their bank accounts or that those funds are garnered by way employment with a Spanish company. If it’s a family, things can prove more challenging as £500 per member will need to be declared. In addition to this, British driving licenses will have to changed to Spanish ones. Heads of families might deem now a good time to find out how Forex and trading works in the UK in case income supplementation is needed. These are but some of the dilemmas facing many a Brit, with official numbers of those living in Spain adding up to 360 000 – and that’s only the official number – an unofficial one caps the total off at 1 million.
Spain’s UK deal for Gibraltar
For many years sovereignty over Gibraltar has been a thorny matter and one going all the way back to 1713 when the rock was ceded to Britain. Spain has ever since disputed the matter but to avail. It has however reached a new deal with the UK that will allow for the free movement to and from the rock. The Gibraltar deal will include the EU sending Frontex border guards who for the next four years will ensure such movement. At this point it remains unclear as to whether or not Spanish border guards, under the new deal, will be stationed at Gibraltar’s seaport and/or airport. According to Spanish Foreign Minister Arancha González Laya, the Gibraltar deal would also mean compliance with EU fair competition rules in areas pertaining to the labour market, the environment and financial policy. The deal certainly has some pros for its Spanish inhabitants. For instance, once Gibraltar joins the passport-free Schengen zone, EU citizens arriving from Spain will be able to bypass passport checks while any arrivals from the UK will be subject to such checks – something that is already applicable to the UK. At the end of the day, border fluidity is of paramount importance to both nations involved.