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Thousand of British expats have left Spain amid fears over Brexit and the pound’s slump against the euro, it has emerged.
About 5,000 Britons are believed to have been living in the resort of Benidorm before the 2007 financial crash – but by last year that number had fallen to 2,825.
Over the same period, almost 5,000 moved away from the Balearic islands – Ibiza, Majorca and Menorca.
By 2017, 14,981 expats remained on the islands – down from 19,803 in 2007,..
Some fear Brexit will have a negative impact on their lives abroad while others say life on the continent has become too expensive.
Yesterday, Sterling fell to its lowest against the euro in nearly a year. It came after British Prime Minister Theresa May played down the consequences of Britain leaving the EU next year without securing a deal with the bloc
It said figures from Spain’s National Statistics Institute showed the number of residents from 15 EU-countries in Spain had fallen by a quarter but the number of British expats had fallen 40 per cent.
Between 2012 and 2017, the number of Britons leaving Spain outnumbered those who arrived. In the previous four years, 40,454 more Britons arrived in Spain than left.
While the drop in expats was put down partly to a shake up in municipal enrollment regulations in Spain, some people told the newspaper that Britons where struggling to cope with the devaluation of the pound.
Michelle Ball, who has a shop in La Xara, Alicante having arriving in Valencia as a 14-year-old, said: ‘Many are returning because life has become incredibly expensive.
‘My mother has lost €160 a month in her pension since the Brexit referendum because of the devaluation of the pound. Now her pension is €690. And since the Spanish government made changes a few years back she also has to pay a portion for her medicines. It’s not a lot but it doesn’t help either.’
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Spain: Thousands march against spain’s ruling on separatist leaders
Three other defendants, who were also on trial for their involvement in the October 2017 referendum held in spite of a ban and a short-lived independence declaration, were found guilty only of disobedience and not sentenced to prison.
All defendants were acquitted of the gravest charge, rebellion, but leading separatists were quick to condemn the court’s decision and the jailed men sent out messages of defiance, urging people to take to the streets.
“This sentence is an attack on democracy and the rights of all citizens,” the head of the regional parliament Roger Torrent said. “Today we are all convicted, not just 12 people.”
Former head of Catalonia’s regional government, Carles Puigdemont, said the prison sentences were an “atrocity.”
In Barcelona, three main streets were blocked by protesters holding signs calling for “Freedom for political prisoners” and a crowd chanted “We’ll do it again” – a slogan used by separatist supporters who want to hold another referendum.
Protesters blocked train and metro access to the Barcelona airport and others temporarily halted traffic on the A2 highway, as well as on several regional roads across Catalonia, officials at the road traffic agency said.
The regional train network was interrupted in the separatist stronghold of Girona by people standing on the tracks, wrapped in pro-independence flags.
The Catalan independence drive attracted worldwide attention and triggered Spain’s biggest political crisis in decades and unnerved financial markets.
The ruling and its fallout is likely to color a national election on Nov. 10, Spain’s fourth in four years, and influence the direction taken by the separatist movement..
The jailed separatists said via social media that they would carry on their fight.
“Nine years in prison won’t end my optimism. Catalonia will be independent if we persist. Let us demonstrate without fear, let us move forward determinedly from non-violence to freedom,” said Jordi Sanchez, who was sentenced to nine years in jail. Sanchez was the leader of the Catalan National Assembly (ANC) grassroots movement.
Protests for Catalonia’s independence have been largely peaceful over the past years but police sources have said authorities are prepared for any violence.
The regional head of Catalonia, separatist Quim Torra, called for an amnesty for all 12 leaders and said he would seek an urgent meeting with Spain’s King Felipe VI and acting Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez. However, Torra stopped short of repeating past weeks’ calls for civil disobedience.
Sanchez was quick to rebuff the demand for an amnesty, saying the sentences must be carried out.
“Today’s decision confirms the defeat of a movement that failed to gain internal support and international recognition,” he said in a televised address to the nation. He also called for dialogue, saying now was time for a new chapter over the Catalan issue.
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