The King and Queen of Spain, Felipe VI and Letizia Ortiz Rocasolano will be visiting the UK today to discuss their post-Brexit relationship.
Today, they will begin discussions to lay the groundwork of bilateral relations between the two countries once Britain leaves the EU. Brexit will break up the framework that’s been used for bilateral relations between the UK and Spain over the last 30 years, and now, a new one must be developed. The last official state visit was back in 1986, when Spain was just joining the EU.
Brexit could particularly affect Spain due to intense bilateral exchanges in areas like investment and tourism. Britain has become the main destination for Spanish investment, which amounted to around 82.5 million euros in 2015. Studies show that Spanish investment led to around 140,000 direct jobs in the UK.
Britain was the second-largest foreign investor in Spain in 2015, contributing 44.7 billion, as well as being one of the top countries for tourism in the country. Last year 17.8 million British tourists visited Spain, with 35 million people in total flying between the two countries each year.
Around 800,000 Brits live in Spain, with around half of that amount owning property, however there are only 130,000 Spaniards registered as residents in the UK.
With this in mind, the Spanish royals’ visit has been particularly focussed on three points: the human aspect of their relation (remaining allies), business relationships between large companies, and thirdly, how to retain their bilateral relations outside the protective framework of the EU.
The royals will be visiting Parliament and the Prime Minister, Theresa May, this week to discuss these topics further.