The Prime Minister held a productive working lunch with Prime Minister Rajoy today, in her first visit to Madrid since becoming Prime Minister.
Both leaders reiterated that our 2 countries have a strong relationship both economically and in terms of people to people links. Last year total trade between us amounted to almost £40 billion and the UK was the second most popular destination for Spanish investment, behind only the USA. Millions of British tourists visit Spain every year and around 280,000 have made this their home.
The Prime Minister took the opportunity to praise the contribution that the many Spanish citizens living in the UK make to our country. She made clear that she wants and expects to be able to protect the status of all EU nationals living in the UK and that the only circumstances in which that wouldn’t be possible would be if British citizens’ rights in European member states were not protected in return.
The Prime Minister also made clear that as we go through the process of departure we will do so as one United Kingdom. There will be internal consultation with the devolved administrations and other stakeholders about how we represent everyone’s interests, but we will negotiate and leave as the UK.
Both sides agreed that the UK is leaving the EU not Europe and we remain committed to positive bilateral relations, and with the European Union as a whole.