Should I Stay or Should I Go?
This former UK number 1 by The Clash comes to mind every time the Brexit issues appear in the media here on the Costa del Sol as the 300,000-plus expats contemplate their future, writes Brian Hayhurst, Huddersfield ex-pat.
If they do not continue the reciprocal health care arrangements then there will be a mass exodus back to their countries of origin, especially pensioners who might not be able to afford private care.
The number of Britons who have started the process to become Spanish citizens has gone up sevenfold in the past year and most here agree that the actual number of people living here, many illegally, is several time higher than the 300,000 officially registered. So many live here as holidaymakers under the radar, working for cash, risking it but loving it out here!
Of course no-one knows what the outcome between various nations is likely to be, but here in Spain the sovereignty of Gibraltar is a major bargaining topic with Spain still seeking to take back this thriving outcrop, with 99% of its 33,000 inhabitants voting to keep it British, with the UK Government agreeing, and the new (youngest ever) Mayor of Gibraltar – former Miss World Kaiane Aldorino Lopez also determined to keep The Rock as it is.
If, God forbid, the Spanish Government decide to close the 20 metre border access as Franco did it will leave more than 10,000 mixed nationals who travel in and out daily stranded without work and probably onto the ailing Spanish dole.
Will they also restrict air space for the booming number of flights into Gibraltar airport? Who knows?
Meanwhile, Ireland has seen the biggest rise in applications for citizenship as anyone with an Irish passport will have rights as an EU citizen, and now with Britons and the 135,000 Spaniards living and working in the UK having had some weak assurances from their respective governments that all should be OK in the end they now have two years to decide if it’s worth changing passports, begin planning to painfully uproot and go back or just wait for the final outcome.
Whenever it happens most here will be pleased to know whether they should pack up or carry on regardless.