With Charmaine Arbouin was the VP for Brexpats in Spain, Richard Hill, the Mayoress of Mojácar Rosmari Cano and some legal advisors including the Honorary British vice-consul for Almería Ignacio Pellicer and local lawyer Michael Davies (both helping the Brexpats in Spain association). Lucas Mayo, the Mojácar councillor for foreign residents relations, was also there.
|Rosmari and Charmaine|
A guest-representative from the INE office in Almería called Javier began, warning us that without being fully registered at extranjería as residents (the padrón is not enough), we would not be afforded whatever rights we might expect following Brexit. 'You will need', he said, 'not just an NIE number, but also a green registration card - a certificado de residencia (what in happier times used to be a residence card)'. The mayoress had previously noted that in the case of Mojácar, there are 6,400 citizens on the padrón of which 1,922 are British. Javier added that, according to his information, only around 700 Britons from Mojácar are properly registered with extranjería.
Those that aren't can expect problems to arise when Brexit is finally implemented.
Charmaine Arbouin also warned us to be fully legal in Spain by at least March 2020, but better before March 2019, when, the 'Brexit Implementation Period' begins. She was unsure as to how many Britons live in the EU - probably no one knows. But, as a representative of Her Majesty the Queen, 'somewhere between one point two and two million' seemed to be a little vague.
The Brexit, she said, 'may have scuppered your plans', but she expected 'reciprocate agreements' between Brussels (or Madrid) and London regarding visas, health, pensions, British children born in the EU and so on - these, she claimed 'will broadly remain the same as long as you are properly registered'. She advised us to 'keep informed' through Brexpats in Spain or other similar groups.
Javier was leaving, so I asked him if we would still be able to vote in next May's local elections. He said - 'yes, or at least, until we are told different by the Ministry of the Interior'. Those who are registering on the padrón in Mojácar or elsewhere are advised to ask the clerk to be registered to vote (a separate paper). Javier also confirmed that you need to be on the voters' registry at least six months before you can vote.
Richard from Brexpats in Spain reminded us that 'politicians only represent the interests of those people who have the vote - otherwise they won't bother'. Most local authorities have apparently asked the Ministry of the Interior for a continuance of voting rights for the British post-Brexit (I doubt whether Mojácar has - sorry!). he also recommended us to join Brexpats in Spain as more supporters means more weight.
When will Spain consider us to be 'non-EU citizens'? Apparently, we shall be told in October.
Was it a useful meeting...? Not really, despite the fear of scaremongering and the complementary error of complacency.
Representation in Europe on Facebook here.