Kate Mentink, who has worked closely with the Spanish authorities in considering Brexit.

17-06-2016Teresa Ayuga

Tens of thousands of British expatriates and British businesses across the Balearics and up and down Spain have been deeply worried for months about the implications of Britain voting to leave the European Union. Many of them sat through the night watching Brexit become a reality and now we are all wondering what happens next.

Kate Mentink, a former Partido Popular councillor in Calvia with a portfolio for foreign residents and advisor to the Balearic government on such matters, has been discussing the implications with the Spanish authorities for many months to try and provide concrete information for expatriates and businesses.

Yesterday morning, while admitting that "it was a sad day for Britain", she did however have some words of reassurance in the short term. Nonetheless, she is disappointed by the result.

"Britain is going to slip into a period of great instability. We’ve already seen Cameron announce his resignation and Corbyn is also in a bit of pickle. We have seen political parties split and the country divide. While London, N. Ireland and Scotland voted to remain, the Midlands and the North voted to leave. We’ve seen 250 billion pounds pumped into the city within hours of the result and the value of the pound drop sharply. The result will damage the economy and jobs and despite all the talk of the need for calm and stability, we are seeing quite the opposite.

"We have a divided society in Britain. We had the young generation voting in, looking forward to continue enjoying the benefits of being part of Europe, being able to go on Erasmus educational programmes or working abroad etc. This result will limit their future options. But I think the older generation, even here in Spain, was thinking about how Britain was 50 years ago, ‘Britain rules the waves’, not thinking about how it will be for their children and grandchildren.

"It has been a step backwards, not a move forwards and it could take many years for that calm and stability to settle down and for Britain to find its new path in the world. Britain now stands on very unsteady ground, hoping to rekindle its economic ties with the Commonwealth, but many of those countries are much more developed than they were fifty years ago and already have their free trade agreements in place."

Here, more closer to what is home to hundreds of thousands of expatriate Britons, there is however no need to panic.

"I have spent months discussing what will happen in the event of the Brexit. To start with, nobody believed it would happen. However, what I can confirm, and it is EU law, is that all of the agreements currently in place will remain so until June 2018, unless Britain decides otherwise - which is highly unlikely - so the status quo for expatriates, especially those who are registered with their local councils and have a resident permit, will remain the same until then. The same goes for new arrivals between now and then.

"But in June 2018 all of the current agreements Britain has with the EU, be it Spain, France, wherever, will become null and void. So, what we need is Britain and Spain to begin negotiating about what is going to happen post-2018. But that, for the time being, is going to be difficult because not only do we have political uncertainty in the UK, Spain goes to the polls again on Sunday, and it is highly unlikely that there will be a clear winner.

"For the time being, not only will the British government have no one to negotiate with in Spain, ongoing domestic political uncertainty will not encourage investment from the UK into Spain. But once those discussions do start, the worst-case scenario in two years time is that Britons may be treated like other non-EU immigrants and may need to have visas. Another thing I do know is that many of those entitled to, are considering taking up Spanish nationality, but it’s early days."

Comments

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John Lee / Hace over 5 years

I have an apartment in Puerto pollenca, and I recently purchased a car, and it was my intention to apply for residency,with the view to living there full time ,with my wife.I now think that the risk is to great. The logic is that the Spanish economy would suffer financial hardship if the English were forced to leave, but if this is decided by the EU, who are all powerful, I no doubt this will happen.

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Susan Slater / Hace over 5 years

All these expats have chosen to leave the UK so forfeit any right to comment. They can take up Spanish nationality because Spain is their home.

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All / Hace over 5 years

Why do you feel embarrassed? Spain will not want to stop taking our money any more than we will want to stop spending it there. I like yourself have had may great holidays in Europe including Mallorca but that's got absolutely nothing to do with us voting to leave the EU.

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Simon Tow / Hace over 5 years

No Sallie, THIS EU. I positive that something positive will come out of it after the Brussels beaurocrats acknowledge that the EU they like and want isn't the one the vast majority of Europeans want, which is basically what we were sold in the first place, just an EEC which would embrace all members as well as their currency.

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sallie woodford / Hace over 5 years

Though I have lived permanently on Mallorca for coming up 20 years, I have always regarded myself as proud to be British first and foremost. Yesterday for the first time in my life I felt ashamed and embarrassed to be British. It appears that having set the ball rolling, other member countries are now considering holding their own referendums on EU Membership. You could take the view that the UK has been the first to take a bold step, but I personally feel very sad to think that the UK will forever be associated with initiating the potential break up of the EU

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Steve / Hace over 5 years

Please do stop usung the phrase ex-patriots. It sounds stupid and means absolutely nothing. Non Spanish people living in Spain are IMMIGRANTS, be it legal or illegal.

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Mike / Hace over 5 years

I am not your fellow uk citizen this is the best thing that could happen we have our country back oh and before you spout of I live in Mallorca and my mallorcan friends really don't care

+3-

steve francis / Hace over 5 years

Dear Mallorca. I feel embarrassed that my fellow UK citizens have taken this decision. I have just returned home after my 14th visit to your fantastic island. I read the Bulletin every time I visit. I hope I will still be welcome in the future. Best wishes Steve

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