Roy Pérez.
Roy Pérez. / SUR

“Our relationship with British people will be just as strong”

  • Roy Pérez Councillor for Foreigners in Mijas

This is the municipality on the Costa del Sol with the largest number of British residents: 12,000 of them are on the population register. Roy Pérez, the councillor responsible for foreigners in Mijas, gives his views on the effects of Brexit.

Mijas has more British residents than anywhere else in Malaga province. What effects has Brexit had on them so far?

About 42 per cent of the population of Mijas is foreign, and 11,800 of them are British. We’re talking about British people who are on the population register, but in reality there could be twice as many in Mijas. That’s why we have started a campaign to encourage people who have never registered, or who have not renewed their registration, to do so.

What are British people in Mijas most concerned about?

The majority are pensioners, and what worries them most is that they might lose their free health care, that their pensions could be frozen, they could lose their rights and subsidies, there could be restrictions on working in Spain and, obviously, the fear that free movement of people between the UK and Spain could come to an end.

Are more British people coming here now, or are many of them leaving?

British people who were thinking of coming to Mijas to live may now be waiting to see what happens before they make the decision. However, British investors know that Mijas is a safe choice.

Do you think Brexit is likely to have an effect on the economy of Mijas?

There is uncertainty about how the negotiations between the British government and the EU are going to develop, so it’s normal to be concerned in a way. Bearing in mind the emotional links, though, we believe that despite Brexit the relationship between Mijas and the British will remain just as strong.

Are you carrying out any campaigns in Mijas?

We have begun a campaign called ‘Faltas tú: empadrónate’, which aims to increase the number of people who are on the population register of the municipality. That’s because we want the census to be better, to be more accurate than it is now.