Expats living in Spain will be able to stay even in the event of a “no deal” Brexit, according to the country’s foreign minister.
Alfonso Dastis said his government would make sure the lives of ordinary Britons in Spain are “not disrupted” even if Britain leaves the European Union without striking a withdrawal deal.
Spain is host to more than 300,000 Brits, with just over a third aged 65 and over, according to the Office for National Statistics.
Theresa May is facing pressure from some Tories to leave the EU without an agreement so Britain can free itself from Brussels regulations, avoid a costly “divorce bill” and take what some see as full advantage of the benefits of Brexit.
Mr Dastis told BBC One’s Andrew Marr Show that he hoped there would be a deal but said: “If there is no deal we will make sure that the lives of ordinary people who are in Spain, the UK people, is not disrupted.”
He added: “As you know, the relationship between the UK and Spain is a very close one in terms of economic relations and also social exchanges.”
“Over 17 million Brits come to Spain every year and many of them live here or retire here and we want to keep it that way as much as possible.”
What would happen to British expats in EU countries like Spain after Brexit has been raised as a concern, with many pensioners concerned they would be forced to return to the UK.