February 8, 2019 / 9:58 PM / 7 months ago

Spain hires 1,700 new public workers to focus on Brexit issues

MADRID (Reuters) - The Spanish government approved on Friday a decree to hire 1,735 new public workers to deal with the consequences of Brexit, particularly in the areas of border and customs control.

The Socialist government wants the majority of these workers to be hired before March 29 regardless of whether or not Britain reaches an agreement with the bloc on leaving the European Union.

“The administration currently has the necessary means to deal with the relations’ framework after Britain’s exit from the European Union, but has to strengthen the availability of public workers in certain sectors,” the Madrid government said in a statement after its weekly meeting.

Spain aims to have more workers in airports and ports as well as to strengthen phytosanitary controls on imports and exports, and its assistance to the estimated 300,000 Britons living in the Iberian country, including many retirees.

There are also 33,000 residents in Gibraltar, the British outpost on the southern tip of Spain.

Gibraltarians, whose economy depends on an open border with Spain, voted overwhelmingly to remain in the EU in Britain’s 2016 referendum, but are due to leave the bloc anyway.

Reporting by Joan Faus; editing by Axel Bugge and G Crosse

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