British residents in Spain head to the polls amid apathy and Brexit fallout

As the UK prepares for a crucial election, British residents in Spain are trying to recover from the effects of Brexit. Despite the challenges of obtaining residency in Spain and facing an uncertain future, many have settled into disappointment and frustration.


The day starts slowly in Rojales, in white beachTime to take a walk on the golf course or enjoy a coffee. This is how the lives of 300,000 British citizens passMost of them are retirees who have chosen Spain as their place of residence.

“We’ve worked all our lives, so What we want to enjoy“Says a British resident who is spending his early retirement with his wife in the middle of Ciudad Quesada, the urbanisation of Rojales. It is almost exclusively inhabited By British citizens.

In cafes, People read English newspapers.full of news about places that seem far away from here.

Brexit has complicated their lives.

Spain is heThe country with the largest British population in Europe. Here in Rojales, they outnumber the locals. They feel at home here, however Brexit It has complicated their lives.

The UK’s exit from the European Union has forced Many Britons return home every three months.. Many who did not obtain permanent residency sold their homes.

“disaster. They had no idea what they were voting for.“I’m not going to go back,” comments a Scottish pensioner, while having coffee in a local pub with his wife.

the July 4th Election It may change The political landscape in the United Kingdomwhose economy remains constrained by the consequences of Brexit.

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“It is strange that Brexit was not talked about in the election campaign. It’s like the elephant in the room.If Labour wins, there is likely to be greater rapprochement with Brussels and the European community. Milan RequinaProfessor of International Law at the University of Alicante.

Between indifference and the effects of Brexit

Despite the importance of these elections. The majority of Britons living in Rojales say they will not vote.“A political move,” says one expat. “It’s not worth the effort,” says an Alicante resident.

Things were not easy for those who wanted to vote either.** The short notice at which this electoral appointment was announced And prevented them from registering

“I tried to vote. And again, because I’m in Spain, it’s very complicated and I have to vote by proxy. I have to get someone in the UK to vote for me. “But I already spent time organizing it,” says sadly a British woman who moved to Spain three years ago.

Surprise announcement by the Prime Minister Rishi Sunak The July 4 election has added further uncertainty to the British political landscape. Sunak, vilified by manyScandalsWhich shook his party at its lowest point in popularity, and based his campaign on a promise of economic stability.

Meanwhile, the Workers’ Party led by… Keir StarmerHe is the most likely to win the elections after fourteen years of conservative governments.

Despite the importance of the election, British citizens live in Spain They don’t feel the results will have any real impact. in their lives.

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“I would particularly like the government to address this problem. Freedom of movementBut it’s related Immigration. But I think people are so obsessed with immigration, that’s why we actually ended up with Brexit.”

Possible rapprochement with the European Union

Milan Requina, professor of international law at the University of Alicante, provides a deeper insight into the situation. “Here in Spain, especially along the Levante coast and in the province of Alicante, there is Many returnees to the UK“This is mainly due to visa issues and the need to leave Spain every 90 days.”

Requina highlights Bureaucratic obstacles This is something many Britons were unable to overcome in time. “They had to prove continuous residence for at least five years. Many did not do this, either out of complacency or Because they believe the UK will never leave the EU.“As a result, many people did not obtain permanent residency,” says the professor at the University of Alicante.

If the Labor Party finally wins the elections, Requena suggests some renegotiations could take place. Trade agreements To alleviate current problems in the UK. “A Labor government could look to review some aspects, and potentially be more aligned with them Models like those from Norway or Switzerland.The professor explained that these countries enjoy more flexible trade relations with the European Union.

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