‘Unnecessarily difficult!’ British expats in Spain trapped in ‘Brexit breakdown’

Spain: Expert explains ‘repercussions’ for British expats in 2021

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An article in the German Süddeutsche Zeitung titled “Unrequited love” describes how the British travel or move to Spain in search of the sun, but get caught in between conflicts. From May 1, UK driving licences are invalid in Spain for permanent residents of over six months. As a result, British expats who didn’t make it to exchange their licence for a Spanish one before the deadline, now have to take a test to acquire a new one.

It comes after an agreement between the two governments is delayed, after the Spanish side requested for data on vehicle owners to be provided by the UK side.

The German article outlines several “conflicts” between British and Spanish, such as the additional quarantine rules imposed especially for travellers from Great Britain during the lockdown.

Karin Janker, the SZ correspondent for Spain and Portugal, says: “They (the Spanish) wanted to shield themselves from new virus variants.

“This did not succeed.

“Instead, the Spanish economy has been brought to its knees.”

The article goes on to describe how locals are “fed up” with British holidaymakers, known in Mallorca for being made to stay on the ground floor of hotels, to avoid head injuries when they jump drunken into the pool from the balconies.

A new rule was imposed in Mallorca allowing holidaymakers a maximum of six drinks a day, three with lunch, three with dinner.

But when it comes to expats, the article suggests that “Brexit is making life difficult for residents” and quotes Olive Press on a “breakdown” regarding the driving licence issue.

Ms Janker said: “This makes Spain the only country in the EU to treat British driving licences as if they did not exist in post-Brexit times.

“So now Britons are stuck in picturesque villages with no way of getting to the nearest supermarket.”

And she added: “The embassy is convinced that an agreement will be reached.

“But they remain pragmatic: it is better not to wait, but to register with a driving school as soon as possible and take the Spanish test.

“British tourists are exempt from the rule, they are allowed to drive.

“Provided they are sober.”

Additional reporting by Monika Pallenberg

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