So what happens to us now that Great Britain has cast its 52% vote for out?
Article 50 is the section of the treaty drawn up in Lisbon in December 2007, coming into effect in December 2009, that sets the official method whereby Britain can start the process of leaving the EU. It states that any member state can leave the EU "In accordance with its own constitutional requirements."Which is what GB has jolly well done; it's fair to say it surprised people on both sides.
So what now?
Firstly, Britain has to notify the European Council of its intention to leave and begin negotiations with other member states for its withdrawal. After this intention has been announced, the two-year window begins. During this time the terms of exit is discussed.
Once Article 50 is activated there is no turning back. The UK will need agreement from all member states to be allowed back in again.
Earlier this year, TOTN published an article on the referendum that was based on a presentation from the now disbanded organization Europeos por Espana and local lawyer and European affairs guru, Javier Blas. While no one is 100% sure of what will happen (that will be decided during the two-year window), the basic points are:
- It's unlikely that your Residence Card would be withdrawn. Instead it would be issued under the Spanish Immigration Act.
- If you can prove your financial means and health insurance, there shouldn't be any problems with moving into your holiday home when you're retired.
- There will be no visa required to visit Spain, but the maximum stay will be 90 days.
- As a pensioner, it is likely that you will be able to receive your pension in Spain from the UK, just as you do now.
- According to the Article 12 of the Organic Law 4/2000, foreigners legally established in Spain have full access to IB Salut.
- If your children are at school here, they will be able to continue their studies, without any doubt.
- For the self-employed, in principle it would be necessary to prove that the activity has a positive impact on job creation and the planned investment are met.
Of course this is all uncertain until the negotiation period is over.
This morning PM Rajoy has issued a message of calm to Spanish people living in the UK and British residents in Spain.
There would now be "at least two years from the formal notification" of the UK's withdrawal from the European Union, he said: "during that time the security of the legal relationships between the UK and the EU do not change".
He reassured residents in both countries that their employment rules, freedom of movement, pension rights and electoral rights would not be affected "at least for the next two years".
"That is the same for British citizens who live in our country."
A few years ago, said Mr. Rajoy "an event of this size could have tipped Spain into crisis or meant it needed bailing out", but now—in reference to Sunday's general election in Spain—"is not a time to add uncertainty" to the situation.
Notwithstanding the outcome of the general election—in Spain the interim Prime Minister remains in charge for several weeks after a general election—he would be preparing the European Council meeting set to take place next Tuesday and Wednesday.
"I firmly believe Spain must continue at the forefront of European integration." from The Spain Report
So, with the resignation of David Cameron, and (most predict) the imminent departure of Jeremy Corbyn, it's time to sit tight and see what happens. It might not be as bad as we all think. Maybe?