Recently, members of the Valencian Regional Government extended a welcome to Giles Paxman, British Ambassador to Spain, who had arrived in the city with regional Consul, Paul Rodwell, to discuss issues concerning British nationals.
During a productive series of meetings, the Valencian government acknowledged the importance to the local economy of the spending power of British residents and visitors, and the Valencianos confirmed their commitment to working with British consular staff to resolve some of the more problematic issues facing Britons in the area.
President of the Generalitat Valenciana, Alberto Fabra, expressed his satisfaction that the steps initiated to persuade the expat population to integrate were working and that an increasing number of foreign residents were able to speak adequate Spanish. Messrs. Fabra and Paxman also discussed the possibility of setting up a language exchange programme to benefit both communities.
Some of the thornier issues facing the British community were also discussed: Jorge Cabré Rico – Regional Minister for Justice and Welfare – proposed the role of volunteers to help the financially disadvantaged in the British community, building on the enormous success of the Consulate’s ConeXiones project. The other key area that has proved troublesome to the expat population, property planning, received a thorough airing courtesy of a lengthy meeting between Mr. Paxman and the Regional Minister for Infrastructure, Planning and the Environment, Isabel Bonig Trigueros. The pair agreed that a working group involving Town Halls and planning experts should be set up with an aim to resolving any outstanding issues. The Ambassador reiterated his dedication to finding a rational solution to these problems that a small number of expats still face.
During his visit, Mr. Paxman stated: “It is important to continue to engage with the Valencian Regional Government on issues that affect British nationals who live in and visit the region. We hope the authorities will take forward the initiatives that we have discussed, namely the working group to look at property issues and the language exchange programme. We hope to see some progress on these issues in the not too distant future.”