British Embassy Survey

I thought some of you may be interested in this. The link to the survey is in the article.


All I can say is that my experiences with British Embassies have all been universally negative - with the Paris one leading the pack! The only one which was at least good fun was in Budapest.
The Middle East ones were totally and absolutely useless both on business and personal levels. Only interested in diplomatic binges and keeping their heads down.

I was told once that 'it was NOT their job to look after Nationals, but to ‘represent the country’ - whatever that means. Lousy bunch of seat-warmers as far as I was, and remain convinced. Ashtrays on a motorbike!

When my brother worked in Egypt he was told if you ever need help go to the Irish or U.S. embassy don’t bother with the British embassy.

I once had an extremely nice dinner in the British Ambassador’s residence in Berlin and was taken round the art work in the embassy. All very cultured and delightful. Whether they would ne as delightful if you turned up having lost your passport I am not so sure

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@JaneJones "all very cultured and delightful

I failed to detect any purpose to the survey except perhaps a very basic headcount of Brits in France with a rudimentary stab at demographic spread across the DĂ©partements, length of residency and possession of basic French titulary status.

Perhaps the Foreign office has woken up to its responsibility to its citizens abroad after centuries of preoccupation with plumed helmets and sherries on the verandah.

Thanks for that Mandy.
When I was referred to the Embassy by the International sectionof the DOH during my fight for the right for British retirees to be able to return to UK for medical treatment, the first person I was put in touch with was so stupid that she refused to help me on the grounds that they did not take on the cases for indviduals.
This despite being e-mailed from London. I know because I was copied on the e-mail.
In the end it was my MEP who helped us all.

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Can’t imagine why the DOH would ask you to contact an Embassy other that to fob you off.
Why was the person so stupid to refuse to help? It’s not their job!

Because France was breaking European Regulations and causing problems for UKretirees.
It actually was their job to intervene on our behalf, but my MEP and the International Department of the DOH did a better one.
It took two years of pressure for tge French to admit that they had misunderstood the European Regulations.
Of course, if we get Brexit, we will lose all that support from the EU Commission.

More for governmental departments than British diplomatic missions. You are wrong to assume Diplomatic missions are there for this kind of thing in Europe!
Finally you finally found the right sources for your grievances, & with others picking up on non compliance & respect of law helped the MEP & or the International department of the DOH to deal with it. Bravo!
Question, what is tge every time you post ? Some sort of arcane code ?

Actually the British Embassy takes place in regular meetings with their French counterparts.
I took place in all these negotiations via my MEP, the DOH in London and, eventually, the British Embassy.
I have actual experience in how this worked to put right the mistake of the French Health Authority on behalf of all UK retirees with an S1 living in France.
I didn’t need to go to all the effort to do this, but when I was affected by this mistake and realised that the reason given would affect all my fellow retirees I took up the fight.
If my typo’s upset you, then I am sorry.
I use my I-Pad whch is much harder than normal typing.

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Good for you! That was a terrible time. We were ‘radiated’ from the system overnight by the simple fact that our CVs were made invalid. We appealed to our MEP. To everyone’s relief in the end the wrong was righted.

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My MEP was Sir Graham Watson, who immediately grasped that this was a matter which affected all UK retirees in France with an S1.
This matter led to the UK changing the regime under which it operated with regard to health and the EU.
It costs less and UK retirees returning to UK now have “immediate” access to NHS treatment without a statutory six month waiting time, which is a welcome outcome seeing Brexit was not on the horizon when I took up this challenge.
We also have the right to NHS treatment without seeking permission from the French health authority, although why anyone would want to is beyond me.
Sir Graham, who was always called Sir Watson in his official correspondence and which he copied to me, lost his seat after Lib Dem voters deserted them because of the university fees issue.
I can’t help but think that if they had been proud of their party putting country first by joining the coalition, there would never have been Brexit!
Who was your MEP?

I’m sorry, I misunderstood the issue you are describing. My experience dates back to 2007 when the French interpretation of the 2004 EU directive on free movement led to inactive EU ressortissants losing CPAM health cover. Nine years later I have forgotten the details, but I know it was a worrying time. On moving here we were affiliated initially via an E109 from the UK valid for 9 months or so. Then it was the CMU system, which was fine. Then suddenly, a few years later, on a visit to the pharmacy our CVs didn’t work. Effectively the authorities had removed the standard French health cover we had been obliged to have up till then, and then penalised us for not having health cover! It was the UK Europe minister, Jim Murphy, we contacted, as well as the EU commission. It took a few months for the law to be changed. Very many people were affected. We were so relieved when our local mutuelle (acting for the CPAM) handed us our new CVs in late 2007. This partly led to us starting an enterprise, paying cotisations and being sure of health cover. In fact it also gave us a minuscule French pension and no healthcare insurance worries for the future.

Here is the official résumé of the law at the time:

RĂ©sumĂ© : Les ressortissants communautaires et assimilĂ©s, rĂ©sidant en France notamment en qualitĂ© d’inactifs, d’étudiants ou de demandeurs d’emploi peuvent bĂ©nĂ©ficier de la couverture maladie universelle dĂšs lors qu’ils sĂ©journent en France de maniĂšre rĂ©guliĂšre. Toutefois, leur droit au sĂ©jour qui ne se formalise plus obligatoirement par un titre de sĂ©jour repose sur deux conditions : la dĂ©tention de ressources suffisantes et d’une assurance maladie couvrant l’ensemble des risques. Ces rĂšgles sont dĂ©terminĂ©es par la directive communautaire n° 2004/38 qui vient d’ĂȘtre transposĂ©e en France par la loi sur l’immigration et l’intĂ©gration ainsi par le dĂ©cret 2007-371 du 21 mars 2007. En pratique, l’accĂšs Ă  la CMU ne doit ĂȘtre accordĂ© que lorsque, ayant acquis un droit de rĂ©sider, ces ressortissants connaissent un accident de la vie les conduisant Ă  perdre leurs ressources ou leur assurance maladie.

The cause of both problems for UK retirees was the French not understanding European directives.

If we had not fought and stood up for ourselves and others they would have got away with it.