It is a very busy morning in the office of Montis law firm in Palma, the highly recognised law firm that has been Natalia’s workplace for over 25 years. Natalia collaborates primarily with international clients, many Swedes of course, and her speciality is in real estate law.
Montis Lawyers was founded in 1983. Since then, it has continually been one of the leading law firms in Mallorca and the Balearic Islands. At present, the firm consists of eight attorneys and two labour relation graduates.
Apart from being a top-notch lawyer, has held the title of Swedish Consul in Mallorca since 2004. The pandemic has changed the way they work in the consulate as there are only two people in the office, Natalia, and Maria Font the chancellor.
The tasks have changed over the years and since 2011 they no longer issue Swedish passports at the Consulate. The terrorist attack in the USA led to a review of the procedures and the biometric passports that are now made require equipment that is not available at consulates but only at embassies around the world. Unfortunately, there is only one machine in the whole of Spain, which is located at the embassy in Madrid. “We can still help with emergency passports, and we also function as a delivery point for passports made in Sweden or Madrid so that Swedes living here will have it a little easier getting their new passports and not have to go to Madrid twice during the process.”
We talk about what has changed in the past two pandemic years and Natalia says it is not known how many Swedes actually live in Mallorca all year around as the European Union does not allow the authorities to keep count where everyone lives within the Union. What we do know is that people have experienced difficulties as they have not been registered in Spain and the Spanish health system correctly. When Spain started to vaccinate, many Swedes realised they had to go home to Sweden if they wanted their shots. “I believe many decided to sign up for Spanish health care after this incident,” she says.
The main task of the consulate otherwise, is to assist with the registration of births and deaths of Swedish citizens in Mallorca. Election years are also important as Swedish passport holders can go to the consulate and vote in the parliamentary elections.
Natalia is a very social person and is often seen out representing Sweden at events and official cocktails during a normal year. “We were the first ones to stop going out when the pandemic started. I have elderly relatives and children attending school in our family and we have been extremely careful,” she says. “Hopefully, this year will be the year when we can get back out again without putting anyone we love in harm’s way. The representation that people see are the social events, but we do represent Sweden in different ways, for example the conferences and meetings with the local authorities such as the military and the local police force. They work very closely with the consulate and we make sure that we are up to date when something happens. We also have a system where we keep in touch with officials from other countries represented on the island, and together we have made a contingency and backup plan on how and where to act in the event of any kind of emergency or large incident. This plan was put in place after the tsunami in Thailand and has been upgraded every year since then.”
I asked Natalia what is the best thing about having two jobs and she says she really enjoys her work as the tasks are so different: one day she’s helping someone who wants to buy their dream house; the next she’s representing Sweden at a military strategy meeting.
“The diversity of tasks makes my work fun and even though some days are long, I find a balance and have fantastic help from Maria and the Montis team when needed.”
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