Europe – is Britain in or out?

Much to everyone’s surprise, the UK ended up with a majority Conservative Government – albeit a slim majority, with a substantial block of Scottish National MPs at Westminster, so that Scotland is now almost completely Scottish Nationalist, both at Westminster and at Holyrood (Edinburgh), which will bring its own problems for David Cameron as he returns for a second term as UK Prime Minister. Having won that election, the UK is now thrown into the referendum debate as to whether we remain in the EU or come out.

At the time of writing the Bill to enact the referendum process is proceeding through Parliament and it looks as though the vote will take place in 2016 – earlier than most had expected. The outcome is hard to call, the Government will argue it has wrung sufficient concessions from Brussels over the next 12 months to allow us to remain – I suspect many have already made up their minds one side or the other and much will depend on the turnout – particularly of the younger “under 35’s ” who one suspects just don’t see EU membership as a big issue. As a member of the UK’s Tourism Alliance, the RDO Board was asked whether it wished to support the campaign to remain in the EU – this was agreed unanimously at last week’s meeting.

On the Greek debt front – things seem to be going from bad to worse and as at this date there is now a possibility of a Greek default on its debt repayments in July and an exit from the Euro, with all the damage that could cause. That said the EU has a knack of pulling the proverbial rabbit out of the hat at the last minute – so a 11th hour solution may yet be found.

On the industry front, RDO continues to monitor developments over the Spanish Supreme Court decision on legacy perpetuity contracts. Lawyers have been working extremely hard to try to clarify this decision and at present appeal procedures are in train to try to have this decision reviewed – a number of us have learnt a great deal about the Spanish legal system these last few weeks and some very acute legal brains have been deployed on this issue.

The major concern (and also now that of the authorities in UK and Spain), is the ability of less than scrupulous operators to jump on the band wagon and use a ruling such as this to try to persuade timeshare owners to part with money to them on the basis there is a pot of gold for them at the end of the rainbow. Both UK and Scandinavian timeshare owners are being targeted in particular. Positive Steps are being taken against some of these companies and the threat by RDO to lodge a complaint with the EU Commission over the lack of enforceability against these companies by the relevant authorities has lent a note of urgency to this. More information will be available “as matters progress “as we lawyers like to say!

I can’t finish without a reminder that we are less than 90 days away from RDO’s 2015 Conference kick off in Marbella, Spain (we have a countdown clock on the conference website, it is going to be a great event and one well worth attending.