New British Ambassador Hugh Elliott arrives in Spain

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Hugh Elliott, a member of the UK’s Diplomatic Service since 1989, succeeds Simon Manley as Her Majesty’s Ambassador to Spain and non-resident Ambassador to Andorra.

The Ambassador takes up this new role having previously been Director of Communications in the Department for Exiting the European Union.

On his arrival, Hugh Elliott said:

“With a wealth of cultural, commercial, and people-to-people links, the relationship between the UK and Spain is like no other, and I am proud and honoured to represent my Queen and country here in Spain.”

For the Ambassador, this strong connection with Spain has been an important part of his life for decades. “I met my wife Toñi while working as an English teacher at the University of Salamanca, Spain was my first diplomatic posting in the nineties and my two children were born in Madrid. I can understand why so many UK nationals have chosen to make Spain their home,” he said.

He added that “We are approaching an important milestone as the UK prepares to leave the European Union on 31 October”. His message was one of reassurance to UK nationals currently living in Spain that “We’ve given EU citizens living in the UK the legal certainty of their right to live and remain in the United Kingdom. And I’m very pleased that the Spanish Government has put in place, through the Royal Decree, the same guarantees for British citizens in Spain.”

Mr Elliott acknowledged that people have questions and concerns, and undertook that he and his team would be working hard to answer them. He also urged people to sign up to the Living in Guide (gov.uk/living-in-spain) where they will find the latest, accurate information on Brexit.

Two key actions that UK nationals should do now is to ensure that they are correctly registered as a resident and registered for healthcare as a resident.

Hugh Elliott will shortly present his credentials.

A video message from Hugh Elliott to UK nationals can be found at https://www.facebook.com/BritsInSpain/videos/1100205536841750/

Mr Elliott can be followed on Twitter @HughElliottUK.

Hugh Elliott biography

Hugh Elliott joined the Diplomatic Service in 1989. He takes up his post of British Ambassador to Spain and non-resident Ambassador to Andorra in August 2019.

Hugh joined the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in 1989. A specialist in the EU and the Hispanic world, he has served in a variety of roles in London and at British Embassies overseas. He first worked at the British Embassy in Madrid from 1991 to 1996, covering EU and economic issues.  He then served from 1999 to 2002 in Buenos Aires, working on economic and political issues, and from 2002 to 2006 in Paris, working on global issues and strategic threats. From 2006 to 2013, he worked at Anglo American plc, a diversified global mining company, where he was global Head of Government Relations, and where he worked extensively in Latin America, among other regions. He returned to the FCO in 2013 to take up the position of Director of Communication, responsible for the FCO’s internal and external communication and public diplomacy work. From 2017 he served as Director for Europe, then Director for International Agreements in the FCO and until this year as Director of Communications and Stakeholders at the Department for Exiting the European Union.

Hugh has served in a voluntary capacity as a Trustee of the British Spanish Society and as a Trustee, then Chairman of Canning House, the UK’s centre for Latin America and Iberia.

Hugh read Modern and Medieval Languages at Trinity College, Cambridge. He is married to Toni Martín-Elena. They have two children, Edward (1993) and Alba (1995).

Additional information

  • The UK and Spain have had diplomatic relations for more than 500 years
  • More than 300,000 UK Nationals live in Spain
  • More than 180,000 Spanish Nationals live in the UK
  • The UK is the second most visited country by Spanish tourists, after France
  • More than 18 million British tourists visited Spain in 2018, spending €18bn, which represents 1.5% of Spanish GDP
  • The UK and Spain are major business partners. In 2017, bilateral trade between the two countries grew to €51bn. In 2017, the export of goods and services between the UK and Spain was worth more than €17bn[1]
  • The UK is the second largest global investor in Spain, representing 14% of total stock in 2017. The UK is the largest European investor in Spain, with investment stock of €57bn in 2017[2]
  • The UK was the number one global destination for Spanish FDI in 2017 (€80bn stock in 2017, up slightly from 2016)[3]
  • There are more than 400 Spanish companies registered in the UK
  • The UK and Spain have been NATO allies since 1982, working together on operations in Libya and Iraq
  • 12,000 Spanish students studied in British universities in the academic year 2017-2018

[1]The Pink Book 2018, United Kingdom Balance of Payments, Jul 18

[2]Ministerio español de Economía y Competitividad

[3]Ministerio español de Economía y Competitividad