On 17 and 18 March the British Consulate in Alicante is holding four separate outreach events to update UK nationals in Alicante and Murcia on what the UK’s departure from the EU means for them.
Members of the consular and Embassy team will explain the citizens’ rights protections included in the Withdrawal Agreement and advise on any action you need to take during the transition period (to 31 December 2020). There will also be a Q&A section for you to ask questions on issues including residency, pensions and healthcare.
British Consul Sarah-Jane Morris said: “The approval of the Withdrawal Agreement is a very important step for UK nationals living here. It provides reassurance on key rights, such as being able to continue to live and work here, and for pensioners to have lifelong healthcare and uprated pensions. We will provide an update on the latest residency processes at our March events, but meanwhile be assured that if you already have the green registration certificate (A4 or credit card-sized) this will remain a valid residency document even after the transition period ends on 31 December this year. For further information visit the Living in Spain Guide on gov.uk and follow our Brits in Spain channel on Facebook”.
Date Town Times Address
El Campello (Alicante) 10:30am Sala Ramón Llul, Biblioteca Pública Municipal, Plaza de Canalejas, 6, 03560 El Campello, Alicante
17 March San Fulgencio (Alicante) 2:00pm Centro Social La Marina Urbanización, corner between Calle San Francisco de Asis and Avenida San Fulgencio (behind the tourist information office and health centre), 03177 Alicante
Lorca (Murcia) 10:30am Centro Cultural de Lorca, Calle Presbítero Emilio García, 30800 Lorca, Murcia
Hondon Valley (Alicante) 4:00pm Teatro Auditorio del Ayuntamiento de Hondón de los Frailes, Avenida Albatera s/n, 03689 Hondón de los Frailes, Alicante
Advice for UK nationals living in Spain can be found at: gov.uk/livinginspain and you can follow us on Facebook at facebook.com/britsinspain
Orihuela council´s International Residents department hosted a special event this week, with around 100 people attending the Playa Flamenca town hall to participate.
The subject of the seminar was driving in Spain, and included the latest advice about Brexit, including how the UK will have until the end of the year to sign a bilateral agreement with Spain, or the process for licence exchanges will be the same as countries like Russia, whereas applicants will have to undergo a driving test in order to exchange their licence for a Spanish one.
At the moment, a transitional period has been agreed and so the current process is the same as if the UK had remained in the European Union.
The talk was presented by Mark Nolan, president of the N332 Road Traffic Association, who explained that the information had been compiled by Guardia Civil traffic officers in conjunction with Orihuela´s local police.
At the end of the talk the local police wanted to urge those residents who are driving foreign registered vehicles to start the process or registration in Spain as they are about to clampdown on foreign vehicles in the municipality, in particular those which are in the country longer than would qualify them as being for tourist use.
The town hall is now looking into arranging more seminars like this where the questions about all aspects of living in Spain can be answered.
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not just one, but two events. World Cancer Day was 4th February and saw the team of volunteers raising awareness of and funds for a local anti-cancer charity.
Then on Saturday 8th there was a second event celebrating the lives of those who have battled the disease and highlighting the benefits of early detection.
On both days the Pink Ladies and Panthers were in the main square at Zenia Boulevard handing out cactus plants, provided by Zenia Boulevard management team, in return for a small donation. The message to the public was “Early Detection Saves Lives” and so the Pink Ladies were also making appointments for any member of the public who wishes to book a cancer screening test.
A minutes silence was held at 3pm in memory of all those who have been lost to cancer and a memory board was available for those who wanted to leave loved ones a message. There was live entertainment provided by some of the best entertainers on the Costa Blanca led by Stevie Spit (BEM). These included Johnny Lea, No Limit, Bee Rumble, Rachel Prescott, Al Joel, The Raquel Pena Flamenco Dance Academy and Nigel Burchill as Elvis closed the show.
Once all the money has been counted the total amount will be announced in The Costa Blanca People and donated directly to help fight cancer on a local level.
World Cancer Day is a global uniting initiative led by the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC). By raising worldwide awareness, improving education and working towards a world where millions of preventable cancer deaths are saved and access to life-saving cancer treatment and care is equal for all – no matter who you are or where you live.
Created in 2000, World Cancer Day has grown into a positive movement for everyone, everywhere to unite under one voice to face one of the greatest challenges in history.
The initiative believes that through positive actions, together we can reach the target of reducing the number of premature deaths from cancer by one third by 2030.
The Withdrawal Agreement which sets out how the UK leaves the EU has now passed into UK law, which, once the European Parliament has ratified it this week, means that the UK is leaving the EU with a deal on 31 January.
This is very positive news for UK nationals who are resident in Spain, as the Withdrawal Agreement contains some really important protections for your rights:
§ You will be able to continue to live and work in Spain
§ UK state pensioners will continue to have lifelong healthcare as long as they remain living in Spain. This also applies to residents who claim a UK state pension in the future
§ Your UK state pension will continue to be uprated
§ You will be able to exchange your driving licence until the end of 2020 without taking a driving test and your Spanish licence will be accepted in the UK when you visit
Those rights will be protected for as long as you live in Spain, provided you are legally resident here by the end of 2020.
The Withdrawal Agreement also provides an Transition Period (from 31 January until 31 December) during which time nothing will change for UK Nationals in Spain.
Sarah-Jane Morris said: “The approval of the Withdrawal Agreement is a very important step for UK nationals living here. It provides reassurance on key rights, such as being able to continue to live and work here, and for pensioners to have lifelong healthcare and uprated pensions. Alongside those rights, you have obligations – the main one being to make sure you are registered with a green residency certificate. This remains a valid document after 31 January and we will communicate any details on future residency processes once we have them. For further information visit the Living in Spain Guide on gov.uk”.
To view the latest video message from HMA Hugh Elliott to UK nationals visit: https://www.facebook.com/BritsInSpain/videos/1352265428277649/
To put your questions to HMA Hugh Elliott and Regional Consular Policy Adviser Lorna Geddie join our Facebook Live Q&A on Friday 31 January at midday (CET) on facebook.com/britsinspain
Information for UK nationals can be found at gov.uk/livinginspain
🔴🔴🔴 UPDATE 🔴🔴🔴 ISOLATION PROTOCOL DEACTIVATED Suspected case of coronavirus confirmed as safe in Torrevieja.
A 66-year-old Icelandic tourist who was recently in Wuhan was admitted on Monday with symptoms similar to influenza. The preventive isolation protocol was activated in Torrevieja hospital on Monday but health officials confined this morning (Tuesday) that the woman does not have the virus.
According to health sources, the woman went to the hospital on Monday afternoon with symptoms (fever and cough) and told staff she had recently travelled to Wuhan in China. Also admitted to isolation was a 52 year old Icelandic man without symptoms.
Health staff took samples from the pair and today confirmed that the alert status has been deactivated and that the woman does not have coronavirus.
A 66-year-old Icelandic tourist who was recently in Wuhan was admitted on Monday with symptoms similar to influenza. The preventive isolation protocol has been activated in Torrevieja hospital.
According to health sources, the woman went to the hospital on Monday afternoon with symptoms (fever and cough) and told staff she had recently travelled to Wuhan in China. Also admitted to isolation was a 52 year old Icelandic man without symptoms. Both have been isolated and are “incommunicado” in the hospital.
Health staff have taken samples from the woman with the symptoms and have already sent them to the Carlos III Health Institute in Madrid, a reference center in Spain that should clarify whether it is definitely coronavirus.
The Medieval Market held annually in Orihuela has built a national reputation and attracts visitors from across Spain. This year the event will be held from Friday 31st January and promises to be bigger and better than ever. Although final details and the schedule for the free buses which will run between Orihuela Costa and the Medieval Market are yet to be released, the 2020 event will once again be divided into two camps: the Moors and the Christians.
Medieval Spain was very different to most European countries. Rather than jousting, fair maidens and armoured knights, from 8th to the 15th Century Spain was largely occupied by the Moors, who were Arabs from North Africa. As a result, the architecture is much closer to that found in Morocco than in south-western Europe – think Alhambra Palace in Granada, and the Great Mosque in Córdoba.
Elements of Moorish Spain are revived in the Mediaeval markets such as fragrant tea tents – designed like traditional Moroccan and Algerian lounges with embroidered satin cushions for seats, low-slung silver-topped tables, hot mint tea with abundant sugar served up in decorative glasses, poured from ornate silver teapots and served with almond biscuits – and music played on the laúd, a popular instrument of the time similar to the lyre.
Stalls holders dress in traditional outfits such as tunics and turbans made from modest materials and discreet colours, much like the ordinary person on the street would have worn at the time whilst going about their daily life and work.
Birds of prey, wandering minstrels, street theatre, fire-eating, juggling displays, donkeys and other animals all add to the atmosphere. The streets between stalls are often lined with straw to make the surface softer for working livestock, as was typical of the time.
Effectively, you’ll take a step back several centuries when you mingle with the crowds negotiating the network of stalls selling traditional food stuffs and wares, with the vast majority of goods hand-crafted. On the food side, fig and date cakes, spices, nuts, cheeses and sausages from all over Spain and medicinal herbs and teas are typical finds.
There is also everything from satin and lace (cushion covers, tablecloths, sofa throws, scarves) to leather (belts, handbags, decorative items), coloured glass (lamps and mirrors galore), jewellery, and an array of brightly-coloured, unique ornamental and practical pieces. Orihuela Medieval Market also hosts demonstrations and workshops for children and adults, and again once the full programme is issued we will provide the all details.
Mr Kenneth Dallas McPHERSON, who is 62 years old, went missing on the morning of Saturday 23 November at Torrevieja Marina. He was last known to be kayaking in the marina and has not been seen since.
He is 5ft 11inches (180cm), medium build, with a white goatee beard and very short white/grey hair. The family is concerned that he may have been carried out to sea and/or picked up by a boat on its way elsewhere.
His family have reported him missing to the police in Pilar de la Horadada, who are looking for him. They would be grateful for information from anyone who may have seen Mr McPherson or his kayak.
Alexandra Mitchell, Mr McPherson’s wife, said: “Any information, no matter how little, would be greatly appreciated. The police are working very hard, but as of yet we have little to go by. We just want Kenny home safe and sound and miss him greatly.”
If anyone has any information relating to his whereabouts, they should call the Guardia Civil on 112 or the British Consulate on +34 965 216 022.
Torrevieja’s Municipal Theatre has reopened after a closure of over four years. The reopening was marked by the coronation of the Queen of Salt in advance of the town’s Patronal Fiestas (more information about the fiestas on page 8).
The reopening of the theatre was high on Mayor Eduardo Dolón’s list of election promises. The theatre had been closed down by the previous administration because of licencing issues but Dolón had always claimed that it could have remained open while the paperwork was regularised as it had been open for nine years previously.
Eduardo Dolón explained that the theatre was opened based on the provisions of article 10 of Law 14/2010 of public shows, recreational activities and public establishments. Specifically, the accreditation issued by the Administrative Certification Body (OCA), which is sufficient for the completion of the file and the opening of the venue. Throughout the closure of the theatre, the PP had always maintained that the Municipal Theatre did not require an opening license, and that certification issued by the OCA is a substitute for the license and allows activity to commence.
The mayor said that this opening procedure is fully compatible with the September 2015 communication from the Ministry of the Interior, since the theatre has never been formally closed. The final paperwork required to open the theatre was issued on November 19th.
In the meantime, the green party took legal action to try to prevent the reopening of the theatre.
€150,000 is being spent on repairs to the building including electrical work, plumbing, carpentry, lighting, maintenance and air conditioning.
Police officers were forced to shoot out the wheels of a car in Torrevieja as it attempted to escape a routine checkpoint. The dramatic incident took place on Monday last when Policia Local resorted to shooting the car’s tyres after the driver tried to run over an officer while escaping a checkpoint.
The woman behind the wheel was eventually arrested for an attack on a police officer – although she could be accused of attempted homicide, driving without a license, without insurance and in an allegedly stolen vehicle.
The Judicial Police of the Guardia Civil is investigating the events that occurred at the checkpoint on Avenida Desiderio Rodríguez. The checkpoint was manned by the GRO (Operational Reinforcement Group) of the local police. GRO officers are authorised by the General Directorate of Traffic to carry out routine checks of ITV validity and vehicle insurance details. A car driven by a middle-aged woman, and in which another woman was travelling in the front seat, stopped about a hundred meters from the control, which aroused suspicion. Two armed officers of the Local Police approached her and asked him why she had stopped. Without a word, she turned the car and tried to run over one of the officers who then shot at the wheel of the car in an apparent attempt to avoid being run over. The attempt to stop the car was unsuccessful.
The vehicle continued and a chase ensued with Local Police and Guardia Civil in pursuit. Two GRO vehicles intercepted the car just as the driver was about to join the N-332. An officer once again approached the car but the driver, again tried to run him over and drive away. Another officer took aim and this time successfully shot out the car’s tyre and forced the vehicle to stop so that the driver could be arrested.
The use of firearms by law enforcement officials is very restricted by Spanish legislation and first investigations indicate that the officers in question were correct in the manner in which they discharged their weapons.
The Councillor for the Environment, Dámaso Aparicio and the Councillor for Urban Transportation, José Galiano, has presented the Action Plan for “Orihuela the 100% cyclable City”. The project is part of the Urban Development Strategy Sustainable Integrated (EDUSI), co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) under the Operational Program for Sustainable Growth, 2014-2020.
This strategy is based on promoting a low carbon economy in the area, so its objectives are mainly to promote sustainable urban mobility – such as cycling – and make parts of the city a CO2 free space, so that it becomes a reference for the rest of the municipality” said the Councillor Environment.
The Councillor was joined by the technical editor of the strategy, Carlos Martín, who explained that the lines of action regarding the cycling infrastructure will consist of “expanding and consolidating the segregated and continuous bike lane network; ensure good maintenance and cleaning of the local cycling network; continue to increase the parking offer and promote the creation of a network of services aimed at facilitating bicycle maintenance”.
The Councillor of Environment also said that the department intended to present in the coming days a more concrete project on the use of the bicycle in the urban area.”
As pointed out by the technical editor of this strategy, Carlos Martín, the bicycle is “a tool for the transformation of urban space and also for social transformation that has repercussions in other areas of the city”. Consequently, he stressed the importance of continuing to promote citizen mobility campaigns that encourage the use of this means of transport and more specifically, in Orihuela, known for its tourist attractions and favourable climate.
From the Department of Urban Transportation, Councillor Galiano has stressed the intention of “creating a transport plan that is more sustainable and in which you can provide alternative transport in the city. Making Orihuela 100 percent cycle friendly will improve the environment and ensure that people have more transport alternatives”.