Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría calming regional nerves over Brexit. | Angel D


While Brexit negotiations can seem to take one step forward and then two steps back, Spain's regional governments have been raising questions and concerns and the impact of Brexit.

At a conference on subjects related to the European Union, the deputy prime minister, Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría, and the foreign affairs minister, Alfonso Dastis, were presented with matters to do with tourism, exports and citizens' rights. The regional governments' representatives asked Madrid for accurate information that they can disseminate, especially with the regard to citizens' rights. Core concerns surround reciprocal guarantees for healthcare and the need for a clear framework regarding economic activities and the purchase of property.

The Balearic delegation and its counterparts from the Canaries and Valencia raised the possible impact on tourism. If the UK leaves the European open skies, then this will create the need for new air agreements that may affect airport charges. This was discussed in the context of renewed competition from other Mediterranean destinations after recent years of instability. It has not gone unnoticed, for example, that Thomas Cook is once more offering Tunisia as a holiday destination.

A further issue brought up by the Balearic representatives had to do with the nautical sector and recreational boating. Likewise, exports could be affected even if tariffs are not created. The mere existence of borders will result in additional administrative and personnel costs.

Sáenz de Santamaría sought to reassure the delegates on the progress of Brexit negotiations but noted that these have yet to enter the phase of directly dealing with regional interests, such as exports.

Summing up, it seems as though Spain's regions are just as much in the dark as everyone else is.