A meeting was held at Hotel Barceló Málaga last week on 28th November which was set up by the Malaga based radio station “SER.” Those present were local mayors from Andalucía including Malaga ‘s Mayor Francisco de le Torre, the British Ambassador to Spain, Simon Manley and business people and organisations from the tourist, health and real estate sectors.
The British Ambassador launched a message of calm in Malaga and asked for patience in the face of the uncertainty of “Brexit”. During the meeting the Minister of Economy for the Junta de Andalucía, Ramirez de Arellano, said that Andalucía would not be made to compete to attract business derived from the departure of the United Kingdom from the European Union and has asked the central government to address the “Brexit” from a “state perspective”.
“It does not make sense that regional governments should act gung ho” to attract to their territory possible businesses from the United Kingdom, Ramírez de Arellano said during his speech at the “SER Meeting” on the Impact of Brexit in the region.
The head of Economy has described it as “frivolous” as some have suggested turning some territories into “little more than tax havens” to attract companies, and has rejected the idea that regions compete with each other thinking that the companies will “ Flee “from Britain.
He went onto say that “Brexit” is one of the most current and relevant topics that the Spanish Government has to attend to and Spain should take on the role of a leader within Europe. He also highlighted the important relationship between Andalucía and the UK with respects to tourism with the British representing the greatest numbers of tourists out of any country in Andalucía. There is also to consider the flow of exports from Spain to the UK and the 90.000 British residents in Andalucía and 9.000 Andalusians living in the UK. Regarding the referendum result the British ambassador to Spain Simon Manley explained that the Conservative Government has an absolute majority in Parliament, so he believes that “there is no going back” on this decision, and stated that there is “little possibility of a second referendum” on this issue.
Manley also pointed to the “long intertwined history” shared by Spain and the United Kingdom, which “goes back much more than the history of the EU” and has predicted that “when the changes come” both countries will remain “essential partners” “.
The ambassador asked to put aside “the rhetoric and bitterness of these last months” and to think about the “kind of relationship” that the EU and the United Kingdom want, “not for now or in two years, but In 5 to 10 years.”
Regarding the relationship that the UK will have with Spain and other European partners, he said that they will be “outside the EU but,” he said, “we want to be the closest allies, best friends and most reliable partners.”
He has also trusted that the result of the negotiations between the United Kingdom and the European Union would result in the Andalusians who live in the UK and the Brits residing in Andalusia being able to retain their rights to live, study and work. For his part, the general secretary to Parliament of PSOE, Miguel Angel Heredia, has considered it a “priority” the creation of a parliamentary subcommittee to address the effects of “Brexit” and has refused to establish fees for British tourists. Both the UK Ambassador and the Minister of Economy of the Junta de Andalucía set out their views and highlighted the effects, consequences and measures being taken from the different public administrations in the face of the uncertainty generated by the “disconnection” of the United Kingdom from Europe.
Concerns about pensions, property, health or tourism are causing a great deal of confusion, which public and private institutions will gradually need to resolve as negotiations are progressing. The impact on the Costa del Sol in the real estate sector could be important as the number of homes sold to foreigners’ accounts for almost 50% of the total, and of that figure, half of the operations take place in the western part of Malaga. The devaluation of the pound is also beginning to be noticed in the rush to sell from some owners. At the moment, according to experts, the effects are scarce. Brexit would not only affect the British inhabitants of the area of Malaga, tourism could also be affected. In 2015, two and a half million tourists from the UK visited this community, that is, more than a quarter of foreign visitors and 9% of all visitors.
In the first eight months of this year, travellers from the United Kingdom increased their strong growth rate in Andalucía, with an increase of 18% and touching on the five million registered hotel stays, 20% more than in the same period last year. In terms of exports, the United Kingdom has bought in the first four months of 2016 products from Malaga worth almost 37 million euros, according to data from the Andalusian agency Extenda, being the sixth destination outside the province after France, Italy, Portugal , United States and Germany.
Malaga’s exports to the British market increased by 13.8% in the first four months of the year compared to the same period last year. In 2015, the export figure to the United Kingdom reached 80 million euros throughout the year from among the total of 1,762 million exported by Malaga to the whole world. The main purchases of the British from the province were fruits and conserves, drinks, vegetables and textiles.