Fears of (some) UK nationals in Spain

Brits in Spain fear post-Brexit backlash and want their voices heard


British people who have made Spain their home are fearful that they will suffer a post-Brexit backlash over the UK government’s treatment of foreigners , and are anxious to make their voice heard.

As details emerged of an EU report that assesses the future status of 1.2 million Britons residing in EU countries, hundreds of Brits living in Spain signed an open letter to the citizens of Spain and its government calling for understanding.

"We adore Spain, love living in our adopted country and feel blessed to be here, " wrote Gemma Middleton, a documentary film maker living in Valencia who started the petition on Change.org.

She felt it was important that Spain heard the voice of those Brits who did not vote to leave the EU and want to remain in Spain as members of their adoptive country.

"We all want to remain living here in Spain and we will work side by side with you to make sure that we can continue to do so."

The letter was published on Change.org just hours before an EU study warned that Brits would likely face difficulty remaining in their adopted countries post-Brexit, according to a leaked EU document seen by British newspaper The Guardian.

The leaked paper said that the future status of Brits in the EU will be a matter for each individual member state after the UK leaves the union in 2019 and that as the UK makes it hard for foreigners to gain residency Brits may suffer reciprocity.

"The fact that it appears to be particularly difficult for foreign nationals, even if married to UK nationals or born in the UK, to acquire permanent residence status or British nationality may colour member states' approach to this matter," the document says.

Middleton, who has become an outspoken campaigner for Bremain in Spain, said it was very important in light of the leaked EU document, that Brits in Spain spoke up.

"We all feel very blessed to be part of a tolerant country that has welcomed us all," states the open letter.

"We ask that you believe in us, do not judge us, but treat us as individuals who have embraced the Spanish culture, way of life and people," the letter continues in both English and Spanish.

"We work, we live and we have educated our children into the Spanish way of life, and the retirees have adopted Spain as their main primary residence due to the democratic, non- xenophobic and easy going lifestyle that the Spanish people have so kindly offered them."

It adds: "We are ashamed of the treatment Spanish nationals are receiving in the UK."

"Please hear us as individuals and take no notice of the biased views of the UK government. Theresa May is not representing us all."

The petition has already garnered over 500 signatures in 24 hours.

Mark Summers explained why he signed the open letter.

"I call upon Spain to allow myself and my fellow ex-pat British nationals to continue to live our lives as free European Citizens, to go about our days without any undue pressure from the UK government nor from xenophobic Britons that do not represent myself nor my friends living outside the UK," he wrote.

Source: Local.es

Comments

José said…
Hi Graham,

I share almost all the opinions of this article. I agree with Ms. Middleton and other UK nationals. I hope that everything continues as now. There is no reason to change the behaviour with the Brits. If somebody of British people changes their behaviour with European people, it will be their problem, but Spanish people mustn’t change their ways of coexisting. You can’t avoid facts of some stupid people who always there is in everywhere. I hope that everyone goes on working side by side here. I don’t perceive that there is some kind of rejection to foreign people in Spain, but I can’t put my hand in the fire.

From this blog I support all UK nationals who live in Spain and I want to send a clear message for them about we encourage to them maintain here.

See you.
Anonymous said…
Hi Graham, interesting document, indeed! As I thought, the reactions to the Brexit are varied within the British people. It’s too soon yet and it’s difficult to know how it will be the social and economic panorama of Great Britain in the next decades. In my opinion, a lamentable disaster, but I can be wrong and the situation can be different, more positive, I don’t know. It’s time of uncertainty, of course. The world is changing and we don’t know towards where.

But the problem that the article explains is special because is located in Spain, where live a lot of British, especially in the south of the country, but in great cities, like Madrid or Barcelona, among others. I know that you think that the opinion of the author of the article is an exaggeration and probably you are right, but when we try to judge an opinion like this, plenty of fears and anguish, I think that we must to avoid generalisations. So, it’s all an unfounded fear? When we live in happy situation, we don’t want to change anything; we prefer to continue our happy life. I suppose that Gemma Middleton and British people like her though that the situation is going to be worse for them in Spain and they express their fear.

Another aspect of the article is the opinion of Middleton about Spanish people, so generous and positive. If Spanish people were as she describe them, Spain would be the best country in the world, but it’s true that feelings of this kind are subjectives and we only must respect its. Only one conclusion, at least a part of British people who live in Spain is happy here and don’t want to change the relationship with the natives.

José Luis proffesor
Graham said…
Hi José and José Luis,

I am sure you both know that I think that this letter is utter claptrap.

Ms Middleton is most certainly not speaking for me.

There is nothing wrong in a country deciding on the amount of people who go there to live and work. It is sheer madness to have uncontrolled immigration. And it is by no means racist to say such a thing.

The UK government wants to assure EU citizens who already work in the country that they can continue to do so. Unfortunately, the EU won't give UK citizens in Europe the same assurance.


José:

I share almost all the opinions in this article. I agree with Ms. Middleton and other UK nationals. I hope that everything continues as now. There is no reason to change our behaviour towards the Brits. If some British people change their behaviour towards European people, it will be their problem, but Spanish people mustn’t change their ways of coexisting. You can’t of some stupid people who you find all over. I hope that everyone goes on working side by side here. I don’t perceive that there is some kind of rejection of foreign people in Spain, but I wouldn't bet my life on it.

From this blog I support all UK nationals who live in Spain and I want to send a clear message to them that we encourage them to stay here.



José Luis:

As I thought, the reactions to Brexit are varied among the British people. It’s too soon yet and it’s difficult to know what the social and economic panorama of Great Britain will be in the next few decades. In my opinion, a lamentable disaster, but I might be wrong and the situation can be different, more positive, I don’t know. It’s a time of uncertainty, of course. The world is changing and we don’t know towards where.

But the problem that the article explains is special because it is located in Spain, where a lot of British live, especially in the south of the country,but also in great cities, like Madrid or Barcelona, among others. I know that you think that the opinion of the author of the article is an exaggeration and probably you are right, but when we try to judge an opinion like this, plenty of fears and anguish, I think that we must avoid generalisations. So, is it all an unfounded fear? When we live in a happy situation, we don’t want to change anything; we prefer to continue our happy life. I suppose that Gemma Middleton and British people like her thought that the situation was going to be worse for them in Spain and they are expressing their fear.

Another aspect of the article is the opinion of Middleton about Spanish people, so generous and positive. If Spanish people were as she describe them, Spain would be the best country in the world, but it’s true that feelings of this kind are subjective and we simply must respect it. Only one conclusion, at least a part of the British people who live in Spain is happy here and don’t want to change the relationship with the natives.