There are fears that the close and prosperous relationship which has been shared by the Costa del Sol and the UK until now could be jeopardised by Britain leaving the European Union. However, Paul Clark, who is the Senior Financial and Economic Officer at the British Embassy in Madrid, says there is no reason to worry.
This economist is optimistic about the final result of Brexit, as he explained during the 13th ICA Malaga Legal and Judiciary Conference at the Palacio de Congresos in Marbella this week. Convinced that there will be a positive attitude on both sides, Mr Clark provided some key information about Britain's wishes regarding agreements with Spain and, especially, the Costa del Sol.
He said the result of Brexit will depend 50 per cent on Britain and 50 per cent on the other countries in the EU.
For that reason, he believes there will be “the most ambitious trade agreement possible”, as he is convinced that this would be the best way of creating employment and gaining economic stability.
He also referred to the situation of EU nationals who are living in the UK and British people living in other EU countries such as Spain. “The most important priority is to guarantee their rights,” he said. “Spain needs to guarantee that British people can stay permanently within its frontiers, just as we will do on our side.”
In this respect, he stressed the enormous economic and social potential which Spain provides for the United Kingdom. “We have more Spanish nurses and bankers than British ones. We want to reach a fair agreement,” he insisted.
In a more historical context, he pointed out that Spain and the UK share past links which cannot be forgotten, and recalled some of the great achievements the two nations have made together. “The culture of neither of these countries can be understood without the culture of the other,” he said.
Impact on the property sector
Paul Clark is confident that Brexit is not going to affect real estate investment in Marbella, and he pointed out that most of the construction which is starting in Marbella now is thanks to the investment of British capital.
“The conditions here are optimum for investment,” he said. Also, in terms of property purchases, British buyers predominate among foreigners.
“The latest official statistics this year show that property sales have risen again. There is currently a great deal of optimism about the future,” he said.
Finally, he emphasised the UK's firm commitment to tourism on the Costa del Sol, and British people's commitment to the country.
“We have a long future ahead of us, there is no doubt about that,” he concluded.