Mr Tim Hemmings, deputy head of Mission to the British Embassy, Madrid, in Adeje visit
To a packed meeting of British nationals resident in Adeje and other parts of South Tenerife, the deputy head of mission at the British Embassy, Mr Tim Hemmings was able to reassure those present that they were not about to be “kicked out of Spain”, and that, in line with recent and on-going conversations he and his team were having with government representatives both in the UK and Spain, the rights of British residents in Spain (and other parts of the EU) continued to be one of the top priorities in the Brexit negotiations.
Mr Hemmings was in Adeje with Charmaine Arbouin, the Consul for Southern Spain and the Canary Islands and Helen Keating, vice-consul in Tenerife. Prior to the public meeting the delegation were officially welcomed to the borough by the Adeje councillor for the presidency and deputy mayor Carmen Rosa González Cabrera.
The Adeje councillor said, “Adeje is a borough where over 120 different nationalities live together, side by side, in harmony and with no problems”, and saw no reason why that would not continue to be the case. She also stressed the importance of being on the ‘padrón’, the resident’s register, “and making sure you renew your existence on the padrón when you are required to”.
Over 80 British nationals, resident here in South Tenerife, attended the public part of Mr Hemming’s visit, where he spoke to assure people that the rights of British people who had chosen to live abroad was genuinely the UK government’s Nº1 priority. He outlined the current negotiations in as far as was relevant, stressing how many areas of agreement there were now between the British Government and the EU team, before opening up the floor to questions. People were concerned about a range of issues, from taxations rights to pensions, passports and the possibility of dual nationality (currently not possible), and the likelihood of needing visas to travel to and from Spain in the future, and Mr Hemmings and the other members of the delegation dealt effectively with all the questions asked.
Following the meeting those who had attended said they certainly felt their principal questions had been answered and were grateful for the chance to meet with the Embassy representative. For his part Mr Hemmings stressed the importance of keeping the consul and the Embassy up to date on the public’s concerns about the negotiations as, given the large number of Britons living in Spain, the UK government do pay particular attention to the views coming from this country.
Department of Communications
The British Consul for South Spain and the Canary Islands, Charmaine Arbouin was in Tenerife for a few days meeting with officials and various volunteer groups, but also took time, with the Vice Consul Helen Keating, to pay a courtesy call to the mayor of Adeje, Jose Miguel Rodriguez Fraga.
The visit served a number of important purposes, and was also an opportunity for the Consul to congratulate the mayor on his recent local election success. Both Charmaine and Helen were also anxious to find out more about the ongoing projects in Adeje to improve integration, and look at how the two bodies can work together to advance ex-pat participation in Adeje and in parallel help the British residents here get the most out of their chosen home. It was pointed out that too often ex-pats only look for help when they have a problem – health, social welfare, etc. Therefore one strand of the work of the council that would greatly help the British consular office is getting people into the system before the problems begin.
Mayor Fraga spoke about the Adeje Convivencia/Harmonious Co-existence programme that is an borough-wide programme to strengthen links between the various communities in Adeje – its a cross-cultural, international cross-generational campaign that has been working to reflect many many different peoples who live here. He also confirmed that the council were preparing a campaign to help more people register on the ‘padrón’ and working in many different ways to break down the walls of fear that many non-Spanish residents, including, agreed the Consul, British people, have about approaching their local town halls and registering.
The mayor also detailed the many different services available to the town’s senior citizens – useful information given the fact that many ex-pats are older residents. There is, for instance, a geriatric care centre, and an Alzheimers centre in Adeje which is for all residents. There are also a host of leisure based activities organised all year around for retired individuals – from folk dancing to model making, trips to other islands, theatre, and so much more.
The visit ended with a promise of future co-operation which can only be good news for ex-pats in Adeje.