Mariano Rajoy told Mrs May he was in favour of a quick deal on ‘reciprocal rights agreement’.

At the EU summit today in Malta Prime Minister Rajoy held a bilateral meeting on the side with Britain’s Prime Minister May. They discussed the rights of expat citizens in Britain and Europe after Brexit. They both expressed a desire to agree a quick Expatriots reciprocal rights agreement for all their citizens.

Theresa May was told by her counterpart today. That Despite Germany’s refusal to resolve the issue first, Spain does want to strike an early Brexit deal on expats.

In talks on the sidelines of the EU summit in Malta, Spanish premier Mariano Rajoy told Mrs May he was in favour of an quick deal on ‘reciprocal rights’.

There are 300,000 UK expat registered residents in Spain, but it’s estimated that almost one million Britons live there for most of the year, the largest group of UK nationals living anywhere on the continent.

Some 2.8million EU citizens live in Britain and establishing the post-Brexit status of the expats has caused tensions.

Mrs May arrived at the first EU summit since MPs backed a law to start official Brexit negotiations with a vow Britain will still be a ‘reliable partner’ for Europe.

The Prime Minister proposed striking a deal to protect the rights of citizens on both sides last year but was blocked by Germany. Chancellor Angela Merkel said “there could be no Brexit talks until official negotiations begin this spring”.

The Government’s official Brexit plan yesterday made clear there was still a deadlock on the issue despite ‘many’ EU leaders being in favour of doing so.

After her talks with Mr Rajoy today, Mrs May’s spokesman said: ‘They both agreed it was an area it would be good to get agreement early on in the negotiations.

He said “we need to get an agreement on reciprocal rights. He added: We are firmly of the opinion that we want this issue resolved early. There is some broad agreement across member states but not all of them. They both agreed it would be good to get an early agreement”.