Impact of Brexit on 2 Million Expat Brits & Other Major Issues.

Fast forward to 22.50 minutes the BBC Radio 4 podcast below and listen to Jean-Claude Perez, who served for 23 years as Head of Legal Services to the EU Council of Ministers, talking about the implications of a Brexit for the 2 million British citizens currently benefiting from being EU citizens when studying, working or living in other EU member states. Other interviews in this podcast also cover the other major issues involved in a Brexit for the UK as a whole.

Should the UK government in the event of a Brexit still want to maintain the benefits of freedom of movement, health, pensions etc. for these 2 million British citizens, he suggests that the EU would insist on reciprocal benefits for the 2 million EU citizens also currently studying, working or living in the UK (including those from Eastern Europe).

If you are one of these 2 million British citizens resident within another EU member state, shouldn’t you now be making sure that you will be able to vote in the UK’s EU Referendum, which seems increasingly likely to take place in the second half of 2016?

You can register to vote via the link here if you have been resident abroad for less than 15 years: www.gov.uk/register-to-vote

In this BBC Radio 4 podcast, Caroline Quinn explores the practical process by which Britain would exit the EU if UK voters opt to leave, and looks at the experience of Greenland, which quit the EU in 1985.

The basic objections to EU membership of voters in Greenland at the time, seem a matter of “heart” and distance (some 3281 kms from Europe and being closer to Canada) contributing to a sense of not belonging, as well as having originally joined the EU when still a dependent territory of Denmark, handing  control to Brussels of their important fishing industry on which Greenland’s economy still remains heavily dependent.

 

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This entry was posted in All EU.Res. Expat Brits in EU.Ref., British Expat franchise not rigging EU Ref., Defeat of 18th Nov Lords Amendment, EU Ref. & Votes for Life Bills, EU Ref. excluded British Expats React, Harry Shindler Presses PM., Harry Shindler: Why Stiil 15 yr limit for EU Referendum?, Impact of Brexit on 2 mill Expat Brits, Voting Rights and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to Impact of Brexit on 2 Million Expat Brits & Other Major Issues.

  1. Peter says:

    Thanks so much for the link to the registration point. I’m now fully registered – will be voting to ‘stay-in’ – and will be encouraging as many others as possible to do the same!!!!

  2. Stephen Putt says:

    Why can’t I vote? Live in Germany since 1988, Ex British Army.
    This is a European issue so all Brits in Europe should be able to vote.

    • Robert Hodge. says:

      My view is that all British Citizens everywhere should be allowed to vote. Although the referendum is about involvement in Europe, the fundamental underlying issue of the referendum is whether or not we Brits wish the United Kingdom to remain an independent sovereign country, or to ultimately become a semi-autonomous region of a larger, yet to be fully created, country of Europe. We have experience of this in our own country, all be it a long time ago, when in 1707 Scotland became united with England as one country. We also know from the recent referendum in Scotland, that many Scots are still very unhappy with this arrangement.
      The European Union has, as it’s very name implies, but one aim, and that is the unification of Europe into one sovereign state. That aim is even embodied in treaties which speak of ‘Ever Closer Union’.
      This EU referendum is fundamentally about whether or not the UK remains an independent country, and so ALL British Citizens everywhere should be allowed to have their say.

  3. Lenox says:

    I’m rather dreaming of a United Europe – perhaps issuing a ‘Nansen Passport’ (see Wiki) for those of us expat Brits who might otherwise become grit between the wheels.

  4. Mike Kearney says:

    Brexit may be useful shorthand, but it doesn’t necessarily include Sexit, Wexit, or even IOMexit. Perhaps regions that choose to become independent nations could consider offering citizenship to disenfranchised expats if England votes to leave?

  5. right2vote4xpatbrits says:

    Thank you for your contribution and in particular your comment that ” I am not so sure that using a strategy, which at the very least can be said to revolve around an implied threat of the possible implications of a ‘Brexit’, is the most morally appropriate way of encouraging overseas voter registration.”
    The overall aim of the votes-for-expat-Brits campaign, as supported by this website blog, is to secure the right to vote for all expat Brits of voting age. The current Conservative government has responded with their proposed Votes-for-Life Bill which has still to pass through parliament, where it is anticipated to meet strong opposition based on the historical position eg of the Labour party. One of the opposition’s main objections has been that the historically low turnout rates of overseas voters proves that they are not interested anyway. Such opponents argue further that overseas voters should lose the right to vote because they are not impacted by decisions taken by government in the UK since they do not live there. The EU Referendum is a good case then for pointing out to a relatively unengaged British community living within other EU member states, that they should take notice, whichever way they would choose to vote, because they will be impacted by the result and that, therefore, they should make sure that they are registered to vote. The more we can raise the overseas voter turnout rate for the EU Referendum the more this will support the government’s argument that the 5 – 6 million British expats around the world deserve to retain their right to vote in UK elections (in common with the position of the great majority of all the other EU member states concerning the continuing voting rights of their own expats).
    I think one should be careful about bringing in the question of morality to cloud this debate because the other podcast interviews suggested that a Brexit would not be as smoothly achieved as suggested by those supporting it in the UK. It would be more helpful if you could propose a better way of catching the attention of the British overseas voter community as we also worked closely together with the Electoral Commission and their worldwise communications programme to drive up overseas voter registration rates to above 113,000 at the last General Election. However, this still represents too small a turnout from the estimated 5 – 6 million British expats.

    • Robert Hodge. says:

      Dear Sir,
      I am more than happy to propose improvements to the modus operandi of the Electoral Commission in their efforts to increase overseas voter registration, as without doubt such improvements are sorely needed. To be honest, I view the efforts of the Electoral Commission so far in this respect to be little more than ‘window dressing’, and in fact to be so ineffective, as to call into question the degree of intent to actually achieve a significant result. Strong words, I know, but then I ask you to consider the following:-
      I have been full time resident outside of the UK since 2003. HMRC Centre for Overseas Taxpayers are fully aware of both my postal and e-mail addresses, and indeed my telephone number. (They communicate with me regularly as I still have to pay UK Income Tax.) Similarly, the Dep’t for Work and Pensions in Newcastle know exactly where I am and how to contact me, and indeed also do so with regularity. Despite the fact that I have a telephone from a French company, a French internet service provider, and a .fr e-mail address, my computer screen and e-mail address are regularly bombarded with advertising material in the English language. Google certainly seem to have no difficulty whatsoever in identifying me as an English Expat, and yet despite all this, the Electoral Commission are still apparently having difficulty in finding me !!!

      If the Electoral Commission were really serious about improving overseas voter registration, then they would use the huge amount of information which is already available through various Gov’t Departments to directly send me information promoting there aims. To be honest, had it not been for the Votes for Expats movement, I would not have known that the Electoral Commission were even having any sort of campaign at all.

      If one adds together all the Expats known to HMRC (either through filing a tax return or claiming exemption from tax at source on UK investments), with the Expats who are known to the Dep’t of Work and Pensions (either by receiving pension payments or making N.Ins contributions), then there cannot be very many Expats left to slip through the net. We live in an age of computers, and thus surely it is not beyond the capabilities of the Electoral Commission to identify the personal contact details of the vast majority of Expats, and then send them direct promotional material encouraging voter registration, should they have a real wish to do so.
      If the Electoral Commission are really serious about increasing Overseas Voter Registration, then they will ‘pull their finger out’ and become serious about being pro-active in actually sending information directly to the millions of Expats whom they could so easily identify if they wished to do so.

      • right2vote4xpatbrits says:

        Thank you for your very constructive comment. My contact details similar to your’s are also available to the Electoral Commission should they choose to delve into such data available via eg HMRC. Direct communications with voters at specific addresses as available to local councils in the UK is much easier eg through census, council tax and other records used to build the electoral roll. Since the local councils do not expend the same effort (or are not responsible or willing to spend time and money) to track down their potential overseas voters in the local constituencies where last registered within the previous 15 years, it seems to be left to the Electoral Commission. The latter, presumably for cost reasons and limited resources, then limits itself to reaching out to the expat community through broad communciations programmes via various media which fails to target specific households via direct e-mails or physical mail and has to rely on a pro-active response from potential, and overseas voters motivated enough politically eg to search on-line to get registered. There is another missing element in the political parties which spend very little time and effort on courting overseas voters compared with their efforts at home.

      • I’m a dual citizen–British and American. I’ve been an active member of Democrats Abroad, a highly organized and an official body of the Democratic Party. Their main mission is to help Americans abroad like me vote in federal elections. Republicans have something similar (though inferior). But in any case, a U.S. citizen NEVER LOSES their right to vote. The U.S. Government has a department devoted

        I was shocked to discover that my husband and I have lost our vote–as we have lived abroad 17 years now (with many trips back to the UK every year).

        My British husband is a member of the Labour Party. He never gets letters specifically aimed at British voters abroad. The Labour Party seems asleep to this voting cohort –a misjudgement and oversight which has always puzzled me. The comparison with American political parties is stark. If Labour is opposed to lifelong voting rights, campaigning must begin with them.

        Mr. Hodge is right–if the UK government wanted to target UK citizens in Europe, it has all the tools to do so. The U.S. Government runs an office devoted to helping Americans overseas vote (and it’s not easy, as each of the 50 states has different rules). See: https://www.fvap.gov/ The government is involved because there are many U.S. military personnel (and diplomats) living abroad–and it doesn’t say much for democracy if the people putting their lives on the line for their nation cannot vote.

        Republicans used to think most Americans abroad in the military and the diplomatic corps would vote Republican–so they didn’t undermine efforts to extend voting rights to those overseas. Perhaps that is in the minds of Tories who are supporting lifelong voting rights to British citizens abroad. Perhaps Labour thinks British expats will largely vote Tory, thus their opposition to supporting lifelong voting rights. It ain’t necessarily so!

        For U.S. citizens abroad, it turned out that there is a powerful and rising Democratic element and our overseas votes played a significant role in the outcome of some key elections (for example, Minnesota’s Democratic Senator Al Franken, wonby a margin of 312 votes–all supplied in the absentee ballots from Minnesota citizens living abroad and voting Democratic).

        I want to vote in this referendum for the UK to stay in the EU. Is anyone organizing a class action suit for those of us who are arbitrarily disenfranchised?

  6. Robert Hodge. says:

    Whilst I am of course wholly in favour of encouraging British Expats to register to be able to vote, I am not so sure that using a strategy, which at the very least can be said to revolve around an implied threat of the possible implications of a ‘Brexit’, is the most morally appropriate way of encouraging overseas voter registration. I therefore disagree with the suggestion made for the podcast listener to “Fast forward to 22.50 minutes” as this gives an unbalanced view of the podcast content.
    I feel that the role of the ‘Votes for Expat Brits’ movement should be to encourage and promote the ability of Expats to vote, and not to influence in any way how that vote should be used.

    Myself, I have listened to the podcast in full, and having done so, am still of the belief that surely the most appropriate consideration of any voter in the forthcoming referendum on EU membership, is to vote in a manner which they consider to be in the best long term interests of our country, and not in a way which is concerned only with their own convenience or financial position.
    The hub of the question is surely whether or not we wish to ultimately remain being English, or British, or whether we are willing and desirous of becoming homogenised Europeans, and thus ultimately consigning the concept of an independent United Kingdom, as a country in it’s own right, to the history books.
    We need to unselfishly ask ourselves what we can do for our country, rather than what our country can do for us.

    • John Branson says:

      I think to expect expats to vote in an altruist manner in line with the best long term interest of the country is to live in cloud cuckoo land. It is widely reported that if the UK leave Europe and the Pound will crash. A 25% loss on the pound will cost me £500-£600 a month. This is a today question and asks whether I can afford to live outside the UK or do I sell up and move back to the UK? So, my priority is me and let those who want out bear their own consequences.

      • Robert Hodge. says:

        Dear Mr Branson.
        Exchange rates vary all the time, and go through phases that have nothing to do with any referendum or Brexit. Whilst the UK has been in the EU, I have personally experienced the value of the £ change from 1.48 Euro, down to virtual parity (a 30% loss), and then back up again to 1.43 last July, before anyone was talking seriously about the referendum or Brexit at all.
        Therefore, it can clearly be seen that remaining in the EU is absolutely no guarantee at all against the range of exchange rate fluctuation of which you speak.
        Whilst I applaud your honesty contained in your comment, I remain thankful that there are many citizens who do indeed place the needs of country above those of self —- the members of our armed services for example. I shall be voting to leave, not for my own needs, but rather for those of my children and grandchildren residing in the UK.

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