Non-resident British nationals can only stay in Spain for 90 days at a time. | GEMMA ANDREU

Britons who own second homes in Mallorca and across Spain are closely watching developments in France, while wondering why Spain has not taken similar steps before.

Last week, Spanish politicians attending the World Travel Market were falling over themselves to stress how important the British market is to the country’s economy; it’s the market leader. So why don’t the Spanish authorities put their money where their mouth is and start making life easier for Britons who either already own a second home in the country or are thinking about investing in one.

The previous Balearic government frightened investors and the real estate sector to death when it started talking about putting a cap on foreign property buyers. One leading real estate director described the move as a “nuclear bomb”. Fortunately, all that talk has died away and the message is that all Britons are welcome. So what about the 90-day rule?

The French Senate has just approved a bill amendment granting automatic long-stay visa rights to British second-home owners in France “without the need for any formalities”. This amendment is part of France’s immigration bill and will proceed to the Assemblée Nationale for debate in December.

Macron does not like the idea but as he is considered a lame duck by the vast majority of France and does not command a majority, it looks like the bill will be approved, irrespective of EU law, rules and regulations.

So, why can’t Spain thumb its nose up at Brussels in the best interests of its economy, job creation and future investment? Apart from Spain currently holding the presidency of the European Union, returning Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez, while being a fan of the idea of the European Union, has said on a number of occasions that the EU needs to be reformed because it does not work properly.

So, now he has been controversially returned to power, perhaps it’s the time to show the EU how it should work. Take a lead from the French and do something which will benefit Spain and the UK.