05 Feb 2020
While Boris Johnson carves a shiny new path for the UK amid the post-Brexit talks - with a sledgehammer in hand, he’s wasting no time demolishing the old one. Words such as ‘leadership’ and ‘purpose’ rang out across most of Britain following his Greenwich speech. A fearless message that was clearly and concisely delivered - free from all the political babble. Boris means business for Britain, and he’s ready to ‘unleash the beast of potential’ in order to continue healthy economic relationships with the EU, on the UK’s terms.
During his speech, the PM wanted to make it undeniably clear that the EU did not save Britain from ‘Dickensian’ squalor, nor was it only because of Brussels that we ceased to send our children up chimneys. Boris Johnson gave many comparable and enlightening examples of rights the UK has for its workers which span decades - naming and shaming France and Germany in particular, who are yet to implement or are still in negotiations over the most basic of rights for workers in their own countries. Amid groans of discomfort in response to his candid remarks, he went on to say…
“It was emphatically not a case of ‘deal or no deal’… because we have a deal. We’ve done it. And the UK will prosper mightily because of it.”
‘Brexpats’ in Spain
Over in the Costa Del Sol, a sense of relief rippled among some Brits regarding the way things have turned out. Such as the withdrawal agreement signed, along with certain rights guaranteed for life. For others, the news was not so well received. To qualify for certain rights, you must be a legal resident in your new host country before the end of the transition period, according to Johnson. Meaning, there’s a rush to become registered for Spanish residency before the deadline. This may prove particularly worrying for pensioners who rely on the continued guarantee of free healthcare using the ‘UK issued and residency based’ EHIC medical card.
We also learned that the withdrawal agreement only goes so far. If you are legally resident in Spain, you can of course work in Spain - but not necessarily across other EU countries because ‘freedom of movement’ ends when the transition period ends.
Did the transition period attract new ‘Brexpats’ to Spain?
It seems so! With an estimated 250,000 British expatriates already living in Spain, one-third of those are moderate income retirees, and there’s thought to be thousands more living under the radar – not forgetting the holiday homeowners who reside in the UK. During the entirety of the Brexit fallout, that figure will have increased as thousands more new business owners and young families took advantage of the ‘window of opportunity’ by leaving the UK to begin new lives in Spain. Clearly, we can see there are two sides to the Brexit coin. And the next 11 months will prove uneasy for some more than others.