Photo: Adeje Ayuntamiento. Myself, José Escobedo, Deputy Adeje mayor Carmen Rosa González Cabrera, and Paul Montague.
Updated 3pm: Here is Adeje English Time’s Clio O’Flynn’s report on the event:
Fears addressed at Adeje Brexit/Bremain conference
Over 120 people attended the recent Brexit/Bremain conference held in the Adeje Cultural Centre, with questions ranging from issues about pensions to health care provisions and questions surrounding possible financial implications to businesses and exchange rates in the case of a majority vote to leave.
The conference was organised by the FOCUS Adeje International Residents Group and the Adeje Council, with British residents from Adeje and other boroughs in attendance. First to speak was deputy mayor Carmen Rosa Gonzalez Cabrera. She told participants, “Today’s event is about you and how the vote on June 23rd might affect you and your families. I hope that the answers you get this afternoon will clear up doubts you may have, and help you have a clearer vision of what matters.
“I will say one thing from my point of view, from the council’s point of view – you are as much a part of Adeje as anyone else who lives here – we are all part of the European family, and we don’t want to lose you, so I do hope that on June 23rd the majority vote will be to remain in the European Union”.
The panel speakers were Paul Montague, Blevins Franks Tenerife representative, Adeje based Spanish lawyer José Escobedo, and Tenerife blogger and academic Janet Anscombe, all of whom answered a range of questions from the audience, easing fears of any immediate major and unwelcome repercussions in the event of a No vote – with the supposition that in the event of a yes vote very little would need to change.
Paul told the audience that if the majority vote was to leave the European Union, negotiations to “extract the UK from the EU would take a minimum of two years, and most likely many more”. He also referred people to the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties ‘Acquired Rights’, which states that the termination of a treaty, in this case the UK’s membership of the EU, ‘does not affect any right, obligation or legal situation of the parties created through the execution of the treaty prior to its termination’ (Article 70.1B). “In a nutshell, if you have made your bed in another country (taxes, residencia, home and social) then under this convention these have to remain”.
José Escobedo also referred to regional laws which protected residents, and reaffirmed the long standing good relations the British and the Spanish have enjoyed over the centuries, “We even kept one of Nelson’s arms”, adding that this was very unlikely to be changed by the vote. Jose also addressed the legal issue of resident status stating clearly that anyone who had lived and registered as a resident in Spain over a number of years would continue to enjoy all the rights and benefits of a resident regardless of the outcome on June 23rd.
Janet Anscombe told the conference that many of the perceived EU-related problems in the UK were in fact issues of national policy. “The UK has a residency based social welfare system, so anyone who resides in the UK has automatic rights to, housing, social welfare and health benefits, whereas here in Spain it’s a contributory social welfare system, so if you haven’t paid in you can’t claim. That has nothing to do with the EU, it is a result of British Government policy and something I don’t see any political party in the UK likely to change, but people are tending to blame the European Union for the negative effects it can produce”.
At the end of the meeting a show of hands indicated quite a high number of those in attendance had registered to vote, a reflection of both the huge interest this matter has for overseas UK residents and the high profile campaign the UK government has run to encourage the millions of Britons living abroad to register.
Updated 25 May: HERE are the presentation slides from Paul Montague of Blevins Franks and there is an audio of the meeting below. I hope they help those who would like some information but who were unable to be there. I should have an audio recording of the event in the near future.
Updated 24 May: This open public information event is this afternoon at 5pm. Everyone is welcome, and to clarify again, it’s in English and is not a meeting to persuade anyone to vote one way or another, but to allow people to put their questions to two qualified professionals, lawyer José Escobedo and international tax adviser Paul Montague in order to get impartial expert advice and opinion . I will also be on the panel, which will be chaired by Adeje communications officer and English Time blogger and radio host Clio O’Flynn.
The venue is the auditorium in the Cultural Centre in Adeje, and there is information about it HERE with images and a map for those who don’t know where it is … there are three car parks behind it if anyone doesn’t find a space on the way up Calle Grande.
Updated 6pm: I’m sorry I wasn’t explicit because I thought it was obvious and now it is clear to me that it is not … for anyone who isn’t sure, the whole thing will be in English.
Updated 19 May: Just another reminder of this information event on Tuesday at 5pm in the Cultural Centre in Adeje. I-d like to stress that this is not a “please vote for … ” event. The organizers have no issue with whichever way people vote, just that they should have a chance to get information before they vote so that they can decide with as much informed opinion and expert advice as possible. Clio O’Flynn will be talking about it again briefly on English Time on Radio Sur Adeje this lunchtime, so do listen in if you can.
Updated 11 May: It would be helpful to the organizers if they had an idea of the type of questions people will be asking so that the experts can think about their replies in advance, and do any necessary research. Questions will be taken direct from the floor, without being pre-submitted, but if people could let me know now what their main concerns are, it would help the council, and the legal and tax experts. It would also be useful if there was a general idea of numbers intending to come – the auditorium can hold 150 or so, so if you could also let me know if you are at least thinking of coming, I can pass the information on to FOCUS, who will appreciate it.
Updated 10 May: The venue for the EU referendum information day has now been confirmed as the auditorium in the Cultural Centre in Adeje, which is a large and comfortable arena with a cafe right next to it and three car parks behind. Organizers stress that although the event counts on Adeje’s support, and is the initiative of FOCUS, attendance is not at all restricted just to Brits in Adeje. Indeed it is for any and all who are interested wherever they are in south Tenerife. Questions will be taken from the floor rather than be submitted in advance so there is no need to do anything other than turn up on the day.
Original post 9 May: Adeje will be the host to an EU referendum information day on Tuesday, 24 May, between 5 and 7pm. The venue is still to be confirmed but will be in Adeje. There will be a panel answering questions from the audience, and the details are still to be confirmed on how that will work – when last discussed, the possibility was mooted of a Question Time type series of questions submitted in advance so that the panel could research their answers so as to guarantee the information.
The panel will be chaired by Clio O’Flynn, and will comprise José Escobedo (lawyer well experienced in foreign property owner issues), Paul Montague (international tax expert), myself, and Adeje Councillor Carmen Rosa representing the Ayuntamiento. There will be more details in due course as they become confirmed, but the date and time are now fixed. Please get the word out as much as you can so that anyone who wants to be informed about any aspects of the referendum, and possible results of a Leave or Remain vote, can take full advantage of this opportunity.
Given the importance of the subejct for its UK nationals, I should stress that enormous thanks are owed to Adeje Ayutamiento for collaborating with this information day which is being organized by FOCUS – Adeje International Focus Group.