Spain’s Acting Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has warned that the consequences of an exit vote in the UK’s EU referendum later this month would be “very negative for British citizens”.
Mariano Rajoy, Acting Prime Minister of Spain, has warned that consequences for British citizens would be dire in the event of a Brexit outcome in the upcoming EU Referendum.
Speaking to EFE, the Spanish international news agency, Mariano Rajoy said: “I have no doubt whatsoever, as I have repeatedly stated, that it would be very negative if the United Kingdom left the European Union. Negative for everybody, for the United Kingdom, for Spain, and for the European Union. But, above all, it would be very negative for British citizens: the European Union is based, ever since its foundation, on the principles of freedom of movement of people, goods, services, and capitals.”
He continued, “Leaving the European Union would mean that British citizens would lose their right to move freely, work and do business within the largest economic area, the largest market in the world. More than 100,000 Spanish citizens work and live in the United Kingdom. More than 400,000 British citizens work and live in Spain. If the United Kingdom left the European Union, it would be very negative for everyone and from every perspective.”
Rajoy finally added that he would expect voters to “use common sense.”
The new statement will no doubt rattle British citizens living in Spain, especially those who enjoy the reciprocal healthcare arrangement. Thus far, Rajoy had remained silent about the referendum, but has finally spoken out.
Dutch prime minister, Mark Rutte, warned that a promise by Brexit campaigners’, including London Mayor Boris Johnson, to enact a points-based immigration system would mean British citizens would face similar barriers to travel and work in Europe.
“It would be unavoidable, inevitable, for us and I think for many of us in Europe to follow the same proposals to implement a points system also in the rest of the European Union,” he told BBC News.
Leave campaigners have argued that new rights for British citizens to live and work in other EU countries could be negotiated after Brexit. However, after the comments from Rajoy and Rutte, it would seem that this is not as clean cut as they would have their supporters believe.
The UN figures say there are 309k British residents registered as living in Spain.