Across Europe many British citizens living outside the UK have been left feeling very unsettled by the recent national lurch towards a possible EU exit. After reading the Guardian article linked to below, shouldn’t you be thinking about how to make your voice heard?
Whether or not the 15-year-limit is removed before the EU referendum, many British citizens out of the estimated 1 – 2 million or so resident within other EU member states, will still have retained the right to vote and should make sure that they can exercise it by registering to vote on www.gov.uk/register-to-vote.
The Guardian newpaper has spoken to British citizens in five European countries [Sweden, Spain, Italy, France & Germany] about action they are taking to ensure Euroscepticism doesn’t ruin their lives:
“I don’t want to get stuck in a no man’s land,” Macfarlane says. “What happens to my business? I have worked very hard to build it up. What happens to my right to live here?”
“No one seems to know. He was told by local civil servants that nobody had any clarity because Sweden would have to take decisions after the vote. “It’s a crazy situation,” Macfarlane says.”
“We’re all a bit unsure,” says Martin Wilson, from Warrington and now living in the Costa del Sol town of Nerja with his family. “The thought of going back to the UK is just not possible. I mean financially it would be difficult,” he says, pointing to the rise in housing costs in the UK. He and his family moved to Spain in 2004, learning the language and immersing themselves in the culture.”
“There is a massive question mark: if the UK leaves the EU, then what? It could get nasty. It could be that people take silly tit-for-tat actions,” says Paul. “I can’t see the Italians saying: ‘Get out’. But they could say: ‘You have a year to get out.’ To remove the question mark, we have to get an Italian passport.”
“I don’t think people in Britain understand the consequences of pulling out of Europe. People think if it happens it will all be OK and, ‘Oh well, we’ll forge a new future for our country,’ and I really strongly believe it won’t be OK.”
“I’ve been out of the UK for 19 years now and people I know and respect, people who are friends, cousins … people are saying things I would not have heard them say 20 years ago. The language now is openly quite xenophobic. And the thing is, it’s not just Daily Mail readers.”
“Would we be able to retain our British citizenship? If we’re forced into a situation where we’re no longer able to operate in Germany because we need work and residency permits, will we be able to make a claim for compensation? It’s a ridiculous situation to be in,” Scott says. “Everything is so conjectural and it’s far from clear that the outcome will be positive.”