Get out of Europe?
Serious pressure is building to take Britain out of the Union. At its extreme this could be a disaster. At its best it means a re-appraisal of circumstances for all Britons in Europe. As things stand none of the Britons in Europe have any unified political voice whatsoever in whatever decisions are made, yet these Britons are those most closely affected. The situation is not democratic.
Consider the worst scenario – That is to say complete secession from the European Union. Britons would then have much the same status as Americans in Europe.
Britons would no longer be European Citizens – the passports would all revert to Citizens of the British Isles (or England & Wales, Scotland, etc….)
Freedom to live in continental Europe, to freely own property, to move freely, transfer funds without hindrance would cease. Purchase of goods from the UK might be restricted. [i.e. The four freedoms of movement of people, goods, services, and capital.] Winter Fuel Payments would cease, perhaps difficulties with other benefits (?); automatic medical support would cease, The use of the EHIC (European Health Insurance Card) would cease, which would affect all British Citizens holidaying in Europe.
This worst scenario is surely unlikely. Yet is that what the anti-unionists are proposing? (that is --- Exit from the EU)
It is suggested by some that Britain could have a status similar to Switzerland or Norway (so called European Free Trade Association States). These countries are not in the Union as such but the difference in actuality is really quite slight.
Could Britain be like Switzerland or Norway?
The outer ring of EFTA members within the umbrella of the European Economic Area still come under EU directives without being fully involved in their construction…………. These countries, much smaller than the UK, still pay large sums into the Union coffers. They have essentially accepted a less democratic association with the EU just to remain part of the single market. This weakening of the influence of the UK in a similar association with the EU would certainly suit some politicians such as Jacques Delors, not known in the past for his support of Britain.
What do those people in Britain who wish to see Britain ‘out of the EU’ actually seek? There is no clear vision from them but only negative criticism.
To quote from a blog on the site of the influential organisation ‘TheCityUK’ –representing finance firms. “The UK’s financial and professional services sector benefits greatly not only from access to the Single Market within the EU but also from the global opportunities that the EU, negotiating globally from a position of market strength, can bring.” The Chairman of ‘TheCityUK’ says – ‘We have not made the case strongly enough how important it is that the UK remains the EU's financial centre.’
If Britain seceded from the Union, then International Banks would probably move their operations to Europe. The British GDP could lose 25 billion in trade.
Should it not be the role of Britain to play a full part in the development of Europe? With the European Commission’s trade directorate at this time proposing comprehensive trade negotiations with the US and Japan, shouldn’t the UK be involved in such talks between equivalent economic weight trading areas, as part of the EU?
Britain should take a lead in helping to correct the failings of Europe and willingly and wholeheartedly bring to the European nations the expertise and leadership for which Britain ought to be famed. The Nations of Europe deplore the weakness of Britain in Europe. Britain should get ‘stuck in’ and take a lead. No longer should it pussyfoot in the wings.
Should not the British Citizens who live on the Continent and are profoundly affected be consulted? Why does the British Government not consider us? Are a million British Citizens to be ignored?
We can influence the British politicians by lobbying - Their addresses can be found via the following link.
Next Monday 14th January Lord Lexden will introduce an amendment in the Lords to grant the vote for life to British citizens abroad. This issue of Europe (in or out) emphasises why it is necessary. Even so it is not a complete answer to the lack of a political voice for Britons in Europe.
visit also www.votes-for-expat-brits.com