Tag: Brexit

Latest Gran Canaria News, Views & Sunshine

Foundation Investigated for Alleged Mismanagement of Public Funds Meant for Care of Unaccompanied Migrant Minors

The 7th Investigative Court of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria has opened a preliminary investigation into the Social Response Foundation Siglo XXI and four of its directors. The Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office in Las Palmas filed a complaint against them, alleging crimes that could include forgery of commercial documents, mismanagement, and embezzlement of public funds. The investigation aims to determine whether this nonprofit organisation, and its officials, could have misused public funds intended for the care of unaccompanied migrant minors, during the migration crisis of 2020 that was precipitated by the pandemic confinement on the islands, leading to a build up of arrivals having to be assessed and cared for by the Canary Islands Regional Government, using hotels left empty due to the lack of tourism. The estimated amount involved in the alleged misuse stands at around €12.5 million between 2020 and 2022 on Gran Canaria alone.


Canary Islands Expect Rain and Potential Storm Weather Next Week

The Canary Islands are preparing for a change in the weather next week, as a significant increase in cloud is expected bringing higher probability of rain. The effects of a powerful storm forming in the Atlantic Ocean are likely to extend to the Canary Islands as well as neighbouring Madeira and The Azores.


The Canary Guide #WeekendTips 2-4 June 2023

June is here and that means that summer is just around the corner. The Patron Saints’ festivities in honour of San Juan de Bautista and San Antonio de Padua are just getting started on Gran Canaria, and in Pueblo de Mogán the main Romería pilgrimage for San Antonio El Chico is this first Saturday of June, as well as the start of the build up to those in Arucas, Santa Brígida and Moya. This weekend also brings the biggest outlet fair shopping experience back to INFECAR and a collectables fair in Gáldar.
OPERATION KILO is this weekend, at all participating supermarkets, asking you to add a few non-perishable food items to the Food Bank collection boxes to help families in need.

Vox Enters Canarian Politics, Stage Right: Anti-Migrant, Anti-Feminist, Anti-Green, Anti-Autonomy, Anti-LGBT, Anti-Multiculturalism, Pro-Franco politics find a foothold on The Canary Islands

The Canary Islands were unable to avoid the rise of the far right on Sunday, unlike in 2019, writes Natalia G. Vargas in Canarias Ahora. Vox, which previously had no representation on the islands, managed to make its presence felt in several municipalities and councils this May 28. They also secured seats in the Canary Islands’ regional parliament, securing four deputies. “Defending what is ours, our own, and fighting against insecurity” were the slogans that underpinned Vox’s campaign in The Canary Islands, along with “family, employment, and freedom.” This rhetoric, coupled with an electoral program that was repeated across all local elections in Spain, proved sufficient. Dozens of cities and towns on the islands welcomed their first far right candidates of the modern democratic era into Canarian politics, with urban areas serving as their main strongholds.

La Alcaldesa Bueno Secures Incredible Majority in Mogán

Mogán, May 29, 2023 – The often controversial incumbent, O Bueno, La Alcaldesa, has achieved an unprecedented and resounding victory once more in Mogán. The candidate who switched her party’s name, for these elections, to “Juntos por Mogán”, a local ally of the regionalist conservatives “Coalición Canaria” (CC), will once again assume the role of mayor. Her party has clinched a rather noteworthy 17 out of the 21 seats in the Municipal Council of this popular tourism destination located on the sunny southwest of Gran Canaria.


End of Transition Period Q&A for UK Nationals living in Spain

Information correct as at 29 December 2020.


What happens if I am not registered as resident by 31 December?
If you are unable to complete the registration process before 1 January, you will still be protected by the Withdrawal Agreement, as long as you were legally living in Spain before the end of 2020.
That means that you were living here and meeting the EU free movement conditions of working, being self-employed, or having sufficient income and comprehensive healthcare cover to support you during your retirement or studies.
Your rights come from your living legally in Spain before 31 December, not from possessing the residency card itself. We recommend you have as much documentation in place to demonstrate that you were legally living here before the end of the Transition Period as possible. That might include, but not be limited to, a padrón certificate, utility bill, healthcare policy, work contract or flight ticket.
If you are having difficulties with your residency application, there are three organisations, who have received funding to support UK Nationals with this, so please do contact them for help.
What should I do if I can’t get an appointment?
COVID restrictions have meant that there are fewer appointments available in some areas, but you should keep trying. You should also remember that you can complete the first stage of the residency process by submitting your documents electronically if you have a digital certificate.You can find out how to get your digital certificate here: https://www.sede.fnmt.gob.es/en/certificados/persona-fisica. If you do not have a digital certificate you can also use a third-party representative to submit your documents for you.
Meanwhile, you should make sure you have as much documentation in place to demonstrate that you were legally living here before the end of the Transition Period as possible. That might include, but not be limited to, a padrón certificate, utility bill, healthcare policy, work contract or flight ticket.
Is my green certificate still valid or does it need to be exchanged for a TIE?
The green residency certificate – both A4 and credit card-sized – remain valid documents to demonstrate your status as a resident and your rights under the Withdrawal Agreement.The Spanish Government emphasises that the biometric TIE is more durable and may simplify some administrative processes and border crossing. If you decide to exchange your green certificate for the TIE, there is no deadline for doing so. See https://www.lamoncloa.gob.es/lang/en/brexit/howtoprepare/Paginas/190108residence.aspx
Will I still be able to access healthcare in Spain?
People who have settled in the UK or EU before 31 December 2020, will continue to have life-long reciprocal healthcare rights provided they remain covered under the terms of the Withdrawal Agreement. That means if you live in Spain or moved there before the end of 2020, your rights to access healthcare in Spain will stay the same for as long as you remain resident. Visit gov.uk/healthcareinspain for more information.
Is my EHIC valid after 31 December?
A new EHIC has been developed for those eligible under the Withdrawal Agreement to protect the existing healthcare rights of people living, working and studying in the EU prior to the end of the transition period.Residents who have a registered S1 form and students will need to get the new UK-issued EHIC which will be valid from when they receive it and for travel from 1 January 2021. They can apply on the NHS website: https://www.nhs.uk/using-the-nhs/healthcare-abroad/apply-for-a-free-ehic-european-health-insurance-card/
The Withdrawal Agreement also protects UK and EU nationals who find themselves in a ‘cross-border situation’ over 31 December 2020 (for example, someone whose holiday begins before but ended after the 31 December 2020). These people will be able to continue to access ‘needs-arising treatment’ until they leave that country by travelling to another EU MS or returning to the UK. If treatment is needed people will need to contact NHS BSA (https://www.nhsbsa.nhs.uk/contact-us) for a Provisional Replacement Certificate (PRC) which shows that they are entitled to treatment in the EU. They may need to provide evidence that they travelled to the Member State before 31 December 2020 and did not leave the country before they required treatment.
The Government always advises that anyone travelling overseas, whether to the EU or elsewhere in the world, should take out comprehensive travel insurance. This remains our advice.UK residents visiting Spain should visit https://www.gov.uk/guidance/healthcare-for-uk-nationals-visiting-spain for the latest information.
Can I still exchange my driving licence from 1 January?
All valid UK driving licences will be recognised for driving in Spain until 30 June 2021. We have consistently advised UK nationals to exchange their UK licence for a Spanish one. As long as you registered the details of your licence with the Spanish traffic office and the licence was verified by 30 December 2020, you have until 30 June 2021 to complete the exchange.
If you were not able to start the process before 30 December you should sign up to email alerts on gov.uk/livinginspain to be informed of the latest developments on the future exchange of driving licences. In the meantime, you can use your valid UK licence until 30 June 2021.
If you have exchanged your UK licence for a Spanish one you will not need an International Driving Permit (IDP) to drive in the UK. If you move to live in the UK, you can exchange your UK licence without having to take a test.
Can I continue to claim my pension in Spain?
If you are legally living in the EU, EEA or Switzerland by 31 December 2020 you will get your UK State Pension uprated every year for as long as you continue to live there. This will happen even if you start claiming your pension on or after 1 January 2021, as long as you meet the qualifying conditions explained in the new State Pension guidance.
For more information visit: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/living-in-spain#pensions
I have a second home in Spain. Can I still come and stay there in the same way?
UK business visitors and tourists will still be able to travel to the Schengen area for stays of up to 90 days in every 180-day period. From 1 January you will require permission from Spain for any stay longer than that and this may require applying for a visa or permit. You should contact the Consulate General in the UK for further information. This will limit the time you can spend in your property, but your property rights will not change.
Can I still travel back to the UK with my dog?
There will be no change to the current health preparations or documents for pets entering Great Britain from the EU from 1 January 2021.From 1 January 2021 onwards, the UK will have Part 2 listed status under the EU Pet Travel Scheme, meaning that people travelling from England, Wales or Scotland with their pets and assistance dogs will need to follow new requirements in order to travel to Spain.
For further information visit https://www.gov.uk/guidance/pet-travel-to-europe-from-1-january-2021, where you will also find contact details for the pet travel hotline.
Will there be changes at the border when I come into Spain? Do I need to do anything differently?
If you live in Spain, you should always travel with both your valid passport and proof of your residence status (TIE or green EU residence certificate). From 1 January, UK Nationals will not be able to use the passport lanes for EU/EEA/EFTA/Swiss citizens and should use the lanes for Third Country Nationals (TCNs).
The COVID situation is evolving and travel restrictions can change quickly, so you should sign up for alerts to https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/spain, so that you are kept up to date with the latest information.
Can students continue their studies in Spain?
UK nationals who are resident in Spain by the end of the transition period will continue to be treated on an equal basis to Spanish students in terms of eligibility for student support if they wish to go to a Spanish university, even if that is after the end of the transition period. UK nationals who move to Spain to study a full degree from 1 January 2021 must apply for the relevant visa before travelling and may have to pay the fees applicable to non-EU citizens.
Are there any changes to mobile phone roaming?
If you have a UK mobile phone, you should be aware that there may be new roaming charges from 1 January 2021. You should check with your provider for details.

Where can I find more information?
For the latest information on living in Spain, including on residency, driving and pensions visit gov.uk/livinginspainFor the latest information on healthcare visit gov.uk/healthcareinspainFor the latest travel advice for Spain visit https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/spainYou can also keep up to date through our Facebook channel www.facebook.com/britsinspain.


The Canary News

£3 million grant to help UK nationals in the EU prepare for Brexit

UK Government announces £3 million grant to help UK nationals in the EU prepare for Brexit
UK nationals who may struggle to complete their residency applications will be helped by measures announced by the UK Government. Up to £3 million is being provided for organisations who will inform UK nationals who live in EU member states including Spain, about the need to register as resident and support them as they complete their applications. The Government wants to support those who may find it harder to complete all the paperwork – focusing in particular on pensioners or disabled people, those living in remote areas or with mobility difficulties, and those needing assistance with language translation or interpretation.
British Consul Charmaine Arbouin said: “The UK will be leaving the EU on 31 October and we want to help UK nationals living in Spain to be fully ready for Brexit, whatever the circumstances. This funding will ensure people get the support they need to protect their residency rights and access to services.”
Organisations working with people who might be affected and who might require additional support can apply for project funding from the Foreign & Commonwealth Office from 19 September at gov.uk/fco. The fund’s programme team, based in London, will be running a series of webinars to provide bidders with a fuller understanding of the fund and an opportunity to ask questions on the bidding process. Interested organisations can find further detail at https://www.gov.uk/government/news/3-million-grant-to-help-uk-nationals-in-eu-for-brexit. Organisations can also contact their nearest consulate for an initial conversation.
Individuals wanting to access support with their residency applications will be able to contact those organisations who are successful in their bid, once the funding has been awarded. We will provide details of the providers for Spain in due course. Meanwhile, UK nationals living in Spain should continue to prioritise registering as a resident by 31 October.
Advice on residency for UK nationals living in Spain can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/living-in-spain


The Canary Guide

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Brexit blamed for decline in British tourists to Gran Canaria, the islands and Spain as a whole.

The consequences of the continuing uncertainty surrounding Brexit have been expressed in terms of tourism to Spain during the first three months of 2019 with an overall fall of 4.2% in sales for the British market for the country as a whole, while the Canarian market has seen a 6.8% decrease, according to the Alianza para la Excelencia Turística, known as Exceltur.
This industry lobbying alliance, expressed relief for the “respite” that has been provided from the extension to the UK’s final leaving date from the EU following the European Council decision last week, meaning that the new target deadline has been pushed back until October 31, mitigating what they Exceltur have described as “a huge risk.”
The organization made up of some of the largest tourism companies in Spain, especially hotel chains, have said that the extension until October offers an opportunity “to save the high season and provides time to prepare and address new scenarios and competitive foundations for Spanish tourism,” said executive vice president, José Luis Zoreda, at a press conference in Madrid, which took stock of the first quarter results.
The Canary Islands have seen the biggest falls
The greatest decline in British tourism has been in sales to the Canary Islands  down -6.8%, followed by the Balearic Islands (-5.6%), the Levantine coast (Murcia -4.7%), the Valencian Community (-4.3%) and Andalusia (-4.6%).
Exceltur, brings together some thirty tourism companies in Spain, considers that the new EU extension rules out an abrupt Brexit, which would have had a negative impact on tourism activity in Spain.
All in all, tourism activity in Spain maintained an overall slowdown in growth, increasing just 1.5% in the first quarter of 2019, strongly influenced by a decline in international demand from the main markets that send visitors to Spain.
Uncertainty linked to Brexit and more moderate business prospects lead Exceltur to revise its estimate for growth in tourism activity for the whole of 2019 to 1.6%, compared to the 1.7% they had estimated in January and the 2% with which they had closed the year 2018.
The Gran Canaria tourist board has been busily trying to deflect away from the weakening figures by focusing on the positives, saying in March that the island had become more of a fashion destination in the domestic tourism and peninsular market, according Minister of Tourism of the Cabildo de Gran Canaria, Inés Jiménez, who said that the work of  the Tourist Board in promoting the main fairs and events of the sector throughout many Spanish cities had allowed the Spanish public in general and travel agents to learn first-hand about the novelties of the island destination and include them in updated catalogues for their clients.
According to the global data for the month of February, made available last month, Gran Canaria received overall 403,483 tourists, an increase of 1.7% and 6,776 more people than during the same period of last year, consolidating the island as one of the preferred destinations for Europeans.  An observation that was confirmed by the worlds biggest tour operator TUI just before Easter.
The combined Nordic countries, German and British tourists still lead, remaining at the forefront of tourist source markets totalling more than 287,800 people, said Jimenez, who also highlighted a significant increase of 16.2%, 13,500 more travellers, from the traditional German market whose 96,500 visitors somewhat compensated for declines in other markets.
The Nordic market, made up of Norwegian, Swedish, Finish & Danish visitors, is so far this year the main market of origin, accounting for 34.4% of all arrivals in the month of February, at 138,900 tourists, and maintaining numbers with an almost imperceptible decrease of 0.3% representing 445 people less, with respect to the same month of 2018, while from the United Kingdom just 52,340 visitors holidayed on the island, representing a large decrease of 8% amounting to 4,560 people less.
Throughout February the Netherlands sent 17,800 tourists showing a decrease of 5% or 950 people, while Italy increased their number by 1.9% or 174 visitors to total 9,190 people. Gran Canaria received 8,650 travellers from France showing an increase of 1.2% or 105 people, 5,540 people flew from Belgium registering a decrease of 29.6% and from Ireland just 5,500 tourists arrived on the island, amounting to a decrease of 16.5% or 1,080 fewer people.

Spanish Tourism Board prepares business for Brexit

As the supposed deadline for Brexit approaches,  uncertainty has not stopped growing. Despite this, Turespaña, the main Spanish Tourism Board, have said that it expects “constant growth in the British market.” The general director of the public body, part of the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism, Hector Gomez, himself Canarian, said at the beginning of March that their outlook is that British tourist spending in Spain, as a whole, will increase by 3%. Of course, he warned that talking about Brexit at this moment in time is still “talking about permanent uncertainty” and thus, “it is difficult to discern or guess what may happen”.
Gómez stressed that the national Executive has done what they can to promote a contingency plan to take on this challenge. In it, he said, a “permanent dialogue” with airlines has been outlined. “It does not have to be a problem that affects the connectivity of Spain,” he insisted, speaking to Europa Press. The director of Turespaña said, in turn, that they will remain “vigilant” to avoid the possible impacts of Brexit to Spain, while they continue to carry out promotional and information activities within the United Kingdom.
Faced with this scenario of uncertainty, the Secretary of State for Commerce and ICEX organized a seminar entitled “La Empresa Española Ante el Brexit” (The Spanish company before Brexit) here in Las Palmas, together with the Ministry of Development, the European Commission, the Chamber of Commerce of Gran Canaria and the Canary Islands regional executive. The objective was to disseminate among the various entities possible repercussions of disconnection and the importance of preparing contingency plans to face future scenarios.

Brexit: Canary islands have already started to record a fall in reservations

Spanish tourism is already suffering from the Brexit debacle that continues without a clear end in site. The frustrating process leading towards the separation between the United Kingdom and the European Union (EU) has already led to a significant fall in package tourism sales for the Canary Islands with reservations of individual stays for the coming summer reportedly down this winter..
On Gran Canaria, sales were already being reported to have declined by as much as 7% by the end of February. The president of the ASHotel Hoteliers and Hotels Association of Tenerife, La Palma, La Gomera and El Hierro, Jorge Marichal, underlined that “the fall in the sale of tourist packages for the summer, especially from the British operators, is already being noticed… influenced by Brexit. It is not as noticeable in package tours as it is in… flights with stays reserved individually by the clients “.
Marichal pointed out that many customers are taking advantage of special offers, especially “to buy packages, which guarantees them a fixed price, especially at all-inclusive establishments” preferring to buy through tour operators to help ensure connectivity and a set price, to protect themselves against a possible loss in value to the pound.
Despite the large fall in bookings to Gran Canaria, the worst affected islands are likely to be Tenerife and Lanzarote, “most linked to British tourism, and to British tour operators”.
Parity in the value of the pound with the euro is one of the biggest concerns in the sector. Juan Molas, president of the Spanish Confederation of Hotels and Tourist Accommodations (CEHAT), has pointed out that it is one of the factors that “we must take into account, in addition to the air connections offered by aviation companies, and visas.”
According to Molas, British tourists are being cautious when booking. “There is a prevention of purchase by the British. For this reason, we have asked the Ministry of Tourism, regardless of how the situation develops, to come up with a campaign to raise awareness within British tourism, where their loyalty is recognised. Traditionally, 40% of Britons coming from the United Kingdom visit Spain on vacation and in winter one in two comes to Gran Canaria”.

Ashotel have emphasised that the political uncertainty, about the divorce, between both countries is affecting business projects in the industry. “There are many projects that remain on the table and their impact will be noticed within a year. Tourism will be strongly affected if the exit or maintenance mechanisms of companies with British shareholdings within the EU are not taken into account, especially in terms of airline connectivity and touroperation”
Other sectors, such as hospitality and catering, will also suffer the impact of the political process. “Brexit will aggravate the decline of the sector as a whole. It will reach down to all kinds of businesses. We still need to know how they are going to agree because the important thing is that we can [still] save the furniture “

EC president Juncker cancels visit to the Canary Islands to try to close UKs Brexit negotiations

The president of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, has cancelled his trip planned for this Thursday and Friday to Gran Canaria, where he was to participate in a summit of outermost regions, so that he can continue in Brussels to wrangle with the UK as they attempt to close their controversial Brexit negotiations.
“Due to the many important events [happening] at the moment, the president has decided to cancel his visit to Spain, the president will stay in Brussels” said his chief spokesman, Margaritis Schinas, at a press conference.
The Heads of State and Government of the European Union have been called for an extraordinary summit this Sunday in the European capital, with the aim of “formalising and finalising” the “divorce agreement” negotiated between Brussels and London.
They must also agree a political declaration with which to lay the foundations for negotiating the future framework of relations with the United Kingdom, after it has become a “third country” following any exit from the EU.
The Spanish press appear to be reporting that the initial exit agreement already has the backing of the UK Government, despite the current uproar in the Westminster parliament, a raft of recent ministerial resignations and the prospect of a no-confidence vote in the Prime Minister, while we await the non-binding “meaningful vote” promised to parliamentarians and pressure increases to call new referendum on whether or not to adopt the deal, agreed in principal by negotiators with Theresa May, with the general backing of the Twenty-seven member states. Spain has submitted reservations however because it believes there is a lack of legal clarity about the situation in Gibraltar and have requested changes in the text before they give their support.
The vice president of the European Commission responsible for the Euro, Valdis Dombrovskis, reported on Wednesday that a final statement “has not yet been achieved” to close the text, negotiated between the EU with London.
“The Commission is prepared to consider a text and take action at all times,” said Dombrovskis, as it is the community executive who has to formally present the declaration, before it is elevated to the leaders for their final endorsement.
Juncker met yesterday in Brussels with the British Prime Minister, Theresa May, to advance the final negotiation. In the framework of ongoing contacts, the president of the community executive also spoke by telephone with the Prime Minister of the Spanish Government, Pedro Sánchez.
May faces continued murmurs of a rebellion from within her own Tory party, while the Northern Irish DUP, whose MPs prop up her minority government, have seemingly withdrawn their support for her or the agreement, and ever louder voices press for a so-called “people’s vote” to decide if the negotiated deal is really what the UK population wanted or voted for in the 2016 referendum, leading to further calls for pause and reflection prior to the scheduled pulling out of the EU on March 29th next year.
British Ambassador to Spain, Simon Manley, is expected to deliver a speech in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria next week, which it is hoped will help to clarify, for business leaders in the Canary Islands, just what can be expected from future relations with the United Kingdom, particularly in terms of trade and tourism, following March next year, when they are expected to either leave the EU or postpone any such separation until a deal more acceptable to the UK parliament can be reached.
Brexit rumbles on…

The Canary Guide