The result of the Brexit referendum in June 2016 has had many effects, many of which remain unclear.
The three million EU citizens currently living in Britain are facing uncertain future, while little has been said of the estimated 1.2 million British citizens who live and work in other EU members.
Those Britons living in Spain have been worried about whether or not they will be able to continue their life in the country.
Michael Harris is vice president of EuroCitizens, one of several groups established to defend their rights in the wake of the Brexit referendum.
He told Xinhua that many people have the wrong idea about the typical British citizen living in Spain, thinking they are gin-swilling pensioners sitting around a swimming pool.
“In fact, only 107,980 Britons are pensioners and many of those are living on modest incomes. There are 60,000 British workers in Spain (65 percent employed, 35 percent self-employed). They work in business, education, science and technology, fashion, journalism…”
Audrey Bullen, a British resident in Spain, echoed those feelings: “Miss-representation of expats and manipulation of opinion by the UK media is one of my worries.”
Healthcare and pensions are also key issues for those people.
“My husband and I live on our state pension and his small company pension,” said Ana Patricia Green Green, adding that the value of those pensions has now fallen.
She explained that healthcare will be a worry if Britain and Spain cannot agree to maintain the current EU reciprocal agreements, leaving residents with high insurance costs and medical bills
Some people feel that their voices are being ignored by the British government.
“The British embassy has been very helpful and we have had three meetings with them, including one with the ambassador. However, our attempts to meet the all-party committee of MPs and Lords who are in Spain have failed,” said EuroCitizens Vice-President Harris, adding that attempts to contact Brexit minister David Davis had “received no reply.”
According to British electoral law, many British residents in Spain were not allowed to vote in the referendum as the vote is denied to people who have not resided in Britain for 15 years.
“We didn’t get a vote in the referendum and someone else is deciding our future,” commented Green.
Meanwhile, Justin Horton is worried that the votes of 52 percent of Britains who turned up at the polls and stories of increased attacks on foreigners living in Britain would be seen as the view of the entire population.
“What bothers me beyond all that is that the poison of intolerance may spread,” he told Xinhua.
Graham Clark said,”I was proud to be British, but am far prouder to be European.” But the question for the Britons living in Spain is: for how long? Nobody in London, Brussels or Madrid currently knows the answer. Enditem