Madrid/Palma.—After seven years as British Consul for the Balearics, Paul Abrey is to return to the banking sector where he spent most of his career before arriving in Palma.

Giles Paxman, HM Ambassador to Spain, said: “I would like to thank Paul for the huge contribution that he has made as Consul in the Balearics, as well as to our wider Spanish and Southern European consular networks. “He has been one of the key drivers in improving our consular services, and has successfully managed one of the busiest British Consulates in the world for the past seven years.” The Balearics is amongst the most popular destinations worldwide for British nationals, with some 50'000 residents on the islands and 3.5 million visitors every year. “The consular posts in Palma and Ibiza are committed to working closely with the Spanish authorities and British community organisations, which are all vital partners.

Paul Abrey said: “I am very proud to have led a great team who provide a first-class service to British nationals in sometimes difficult and distressing circumstances. “I want to publicly recognise and thank them for the work they do and also recognise the outstanding support of the British community and Spanish authorities across the Islands. “It has been a wonderful seven years in these outstandingly beautiful Islands. I am looking forward to my next professional challenge in Canada.” He also had time to pay tribute to the Daily Bulletin. “I would also like to thank the Majorca Daily Bulletin and the Grup Serra media organisation which publishes the newspaper. “The paper has supported me and the Consulate right from the moment I arrived and over the years have proved vital in helping to host events such as the Queen's Birthday Parties, special talks on pensions, the anniversary of the D-Day landings, the launch of the Age Concern service and important campaigns such as those reminding people to take out travel insurance or trying to increase young people's awareness of the dangers of mixing alcohol and drugs in an attempt to reduce the number of balcony incidents,” Paul Abrey added yesterday. “It has been an eventful seven years. I suppose one of the most important achievements was relocating the Consulate to its new current premises in times of budget challenges, convincing the FCO to make a major Investment in the Consulate in the Balearics was pleasing. “I remember at the time when the then Minister of Consular Affairs , Lord Triesman travelled to Palma to officially open the new Consulate he proclaimed the office as ‘the new model for a modern global consular service and that Palma's model will be followed across the world'.” On Monday, a private reception hosted by the Ambassador Giles Paxman will take place in Palma in order to say farewell to Paul Abrey to be followed by a community organised event at Mood on December 1.

According to the British Embassy in Madrid which made the official announcement yesterday, a replacement for Paul Abrey is expected to be announced shortly.