Liz Truss rushes to the aid of 400,000 British expats in Spain – holds meeting in Madrid

Brexit: Liz Truss says countries 'want to work with' the UK

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The Foreign Secretary met José Manuel Albares in Madrid yesterday as part of a two-day visit to Spain to build “closer economic, tech and security ties”. During Ms Truss’s meeting with the Spanish Minister of Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation, the pair discussed the 400,000 British expats living in Spain.

It comes amid reports British expats have left Spain in the wake of Brexit.

Since Britain left the EU, people from the UK who are not Spanish residents can only visit the country for up to 90 days at a time in any 180-day period.

Robert Barnhardt, who runs an estate agency in Fuengirola, told earlier this month that many retired Britons “could leave Spain in droves” due to the rules. 

As well as discussing British expats, the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) said Ms Truss and Mr Albares agreed to work closely on a range of topics.

The pair’s talks covered combating malign actors, tackling illegal migration, the upcoming NATO summit in Madrid in 2022 and new energy and tech collaborations.

They also discussed negotiations between the UK and EU over Gibraltar.

The FCDO said Britain maintained its position on the sovereignty of Gibraltar.

Ms Truss took to Twitter to share a picture with her Spanish counterpart.

She said: “Great to meet @jmalbares in Madrid.

“We discussed deep economic and investment ties, security cooperation and NATO in 2022, supporting 400,000 Brits in Spain and constructive discussion on Gibraltar, maintaining sovereignty.”

Ms Truss is also speaking with business and tech leaders in Madrid during her visit over two days.

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And she is hosting an event with leading Spanish investors and British businesses in Spain.

Ms Truss said ahead of the trip: “I want to work with allies like Spain to create a network of liberty based around closer economic, tech and security ties.

“We’re significant trading partners, with the UK as Spain’s biggest European investor, and the UK as the top destination for Spanish investment.

“By boosting our trading ties even further, both Spain and every region and nation of the UK will benefit.”

As part of her visit, the Foreign Secretary will also launch a new report on scientific collaboration between the UK and Spain.

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