EU membership worries

I am getting increasingly nervous at news broadcasts showing many UK voters wanting to leave the EU. Has anyone made a study of where this will leave French residents, in regards to Reciprocal Health cover and Uk State and \personal Pensions?

The referendum is either going to be by 2017 if the Tories are returned, in which case it will almost certainly not be an in or out vote by the time it is carried out. If Labour win next year then they have five years to stall it which is quite predictable. The swing back to Tories following recent polls, if it is maintained for the next 12 months, would mean a small majority parliament but without any need for a coalition. UKIP might get a couple of seats but do not get carried away with the EU elections, bear in mind how often similar elections have been misleading across Europe. Had that not been the case then FN would have been in power in France.

The joker in the pack is Scotland. If the impetus is maintained and the Better Together campaign keeps on offering reasons for a yes vote on a plate then in September the UK is finished as we know it. People are playing it down but nationalists and separatists are beating drums at present. If my countrymen walk, then others will aspire to follow. The lash back in Wales, to some extent Northern Ireland and even Cornwall will destabilise the status quo by seeing more nationalists in parliament that will knock the foundations of established parties. The Greens might begin to do well too. So, depending on the outcome in September the balance may well be variable. Westminster will not really be able to stop Scotland joining the EU too easily. The Spanish have said they have nothing against, although people have not picked up on that, since there is no comparison with Catalunya. Barroso was speaking informally and leaves office next month, so ignore that. The rUK would not sit comfortably with an EU neighbour on the same island, potentially in Schengen and using the Euro in a few years.

As for all of the claims that out of the EU the UK would then be able to make its own terms and be part of the EEA with the same trading arrangements with Europe as at present is palpable nonsense. Firstly, trade with EU countries would mean acceding to EU laws and regulations without having any influence in them, as Iceland, Norway and Switzerland illustrate very well. Moreover, the majority of EEA members are also EU members or associated and if the UK in whichever form leaves the EU the governments of several countries have already made statements along the lines of 'over our dead bodies' to what the UK claims would happen. They would simply not trade with the UK on the UK's terms, end of story. So no benefit in leaving the EU there. As for trade with the rest of the world, so far so good but the UK is no longer able to compete with too many other countries which is an increasing trend. Too many international companies in the UK have said they would leave to be healthy for the economy and the likes of EDF who would stay would then be free of EU controls and very much up the ante for power prices at all levels. That they have already made clear.

Government economists are simply keeping quiet but the whole story can be pieced together in far more detail than I have summarised here if you look. Whatever Osbourne claims right now, the UK is in decline. India is already above, Brazil will overtake within roughly five years, Mexico is close behind and then a whole row of other rapidly developing countries like Indonesia, Malaysia, Argentina and a couple of Central Asian countries that are oil and gas rich such as Kazakhstan. We shall see, but I am hardly even concerned about the whole question.

I hope you are right BUT the antis are highly motivated and the pros all seem to think it is too stupid to take seriously BUT if the antis all vote and the pros all think I need not bother then we could just drift into disaster.

Watching the Clegg . Ferrage debate the other week I was appalled at how the debate was so one sided with such a week In argument.

This is an enormously important issue for us Brits who live in Europe and we should all make sure we are registered to vote and then use it because all together we could make a difference.

If the vote is pro then the larger majority the better because that will stop the issue coming up again for a long time.

For anyone interested in the result, as we all are here, it is just common sense to register to vote and then use it in the referendum if we have one.

I think the whole thing is becoming overblown. Far to many people know that it better in than out, they simply need to be motivated to turn out to vote in the hypothetical referendum as we all did in 1975 and when far beyond expectations with a large majority.

If the UK leaves the EU then UK Law states that our state pensions will be frozen and not subject to inflation increases. This is the current rule for state pensions but it must be a risk that some private pensions follow this model.
The health agreement would also need to be renegotiated and I would not trust the two governments to not take advantage of an opportunity to save money by cutting our benefits.
It would also require our Double Tax Agreement to be renotiated which again could be a threat to us all.
Also can we trust the French government to not take advantage of our reduced status as non EU citizens and increase some of our taxes.

I read somewhere that of the 2 million expats only a few thousand are registered to vote so PLEASE REGISTER NOW because 2 million votes to stay in could well effect the result.

Thanks to everyone for all these replies - I only just found them but am heartened somewhat now!

strom in a tea-cup, lots of sabre rattling and a lot of hot air ;-)

I am fortunately able to provide all the necessary documents for my Scots passport. Given the legal experts are divided as to whether the application can begin this year or March 2016 but the objections to membership are simply Daily Mail type hype and no Spain is not using Catalan aspirations as a reason to say no, then given the polls at present I know where my next renewal will be. La Vieille Alliance might well just be my best protection.

One of the problems is that the Tory party has been hollowed out at constituency level by europhobes in much the same way as the Labour Party was invested by the Militant Tendency. The Chump can do little and isn't prepared to stand up for our membership of the EU. Wee George seems to be biding his time until The Chump demonstrates that he is indeed the least successful Prime Minister since Lord North lost the American colonies. I suppose, in the event that the Scots left the UK and the Former United Kingdom left the EU, one could always apply for asylum in France on the grounds of the rump government being inimical to one's political beliefs and people like Farage presented a real threat to one's security and freedom of expresssion.

I really am sorry but here's Alison again. sigh. I used to mingle freely with anti Europe types. Some of whom were German. sigh. They have but one point which is "no Europe". I asked an absolutely charming German fellow once "what happens next?" he beamed at me and said "we get the idiot English out of Europe" mind u asked him about the euro and he said "oh yes," "bad countries will go in and then we shall get rid of them."

When I said to him "WHO are the idiot English? he took my arm, patted my head and said "not you my dear" and that was NOT a daft story

The panic-mongers succeed when people believe the misinformation and scare stories they spread.

Nobody can see the future, so nobody knows what will happen; speculation is not fact.

If the UK leaves the EU it may join the EEA which enjoys the same reciprocal arrangements as full EU members.

Even if the UK does not join EEA, that does not mean it cannot have reciprocal arrangements with the EU for certain things.

There are substantial numbers of Continental EU citizens living in the UK, and it is reasonable to assume their Governments will want to keep in place certain advantageous arrangements with the UK.

The French in the UK, unlike the British in France, actually have an MP to represent them. UKers on the other hand, uniquely, are disenfranchised after they have been away from the Mother Ship for 15 years… so much for the Mother of Parliaments and British political class who are so keen on democracy they go to war to impose it on others, but don’t give a hoot for their own citizens.

Meanwhile many non-EU citizens live happily in France and elsewhere as did many British people prior to either the EU or the EEC.

Keep calm and carry on.

In a more or less similar vein to Vic, I most certainly doubt much will happen. Firstly, it will be a protest vote for the EU this month. The UKIP turnout will be high and the rest not, apathy and all. Next year the shock of UKIP success will turn out the apathetic mob to kick back. The now very high likelihood of Scotland voting for independence in September, with international legal experts on divided on whether they would be able to apply to be full EU members immediately or have to wait until independence in March 2016, will shake Westminster.

At the same time, there is more sabre rattling and populism than there is a real threat. There are right wing Tories, UKIP, left wing Labour and a few other people demanding out. The establishment knows what that really means. There would be far too much outflow of investment and industry and the imagined ability of the UK to continue to trade with Europe exactly as before would be for the other 27 members to decide. Several have already had polls that say they would not be sorry to see the UK go and good riddance which I do not see as being countries who will care for a non-member acting as if only what they want to change will change. Cameron's talks with Merkel on reform also need to get past 27 other members which given the state of play would meet with resistance just because it is the UK trying to push the EU where it wants it.

The UK as it stands is becoming the least beloved member of the EU from within. The doom sayers who say that the Schengen zone does not work are making it up as they go along. 27 countries, including Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland who are not EU members and four others signed up to join, two of them this year, does not really back up their argument. The Swiss business does not mean they will leave either, so forget that. As for the Euro not working argument bandied about the UK political circles, the fact the USA is forming a closer relationship with the EU and wants to have a tied currency relationship between $ and € and is gradually easing £ out is what that is about. The truth is usually too painful for UK politicians ever to admit.

Whatever ties, loyalties and so on, the UK is a declining force worldwide. As they say, the writing is on the wall. The people who choose to live outside the UK tend to see that far more clearly than those within it. The situation on the issues that concern you are a bit vague still although pensions is clear. The state pension is paid to all people who are entitled wherever they are in the world. There have been threats of freezing it or putting a time limit on it but that seems to have been silenced recently with the threat of upward of a quarter of a million pensioners without pension entitlement potentially returning the UK where it would have to be reinstated, and legal experts said any payments not received in the period without back paid, plus vast amounts of extra benefit payments required.

As for the reciprocal health arrangements, well the S1 is on the way out anyway and all the while the UK remains in the EU the people leaving the UK will have credits transferred and be obliged to join the national schemes where they live. By one means or another they will need to pay into it for a qualifying period. Many of us already are and I can only say I am pleased I went straight into the French social security and health system. As it is, with creeping privatisation of the NHS and also the proposal that non-residents pay fees for medical treatment I would imagine what we have understood most of our lives is gradually history and there would be a huge shock awaiting us.

I follow political developments in detail, day by day, whether in France or the UK, I find it necessary but then I have done so with the UK particularly for close on half a century. With your name I might assume you have a Scots connection, that might be far more assuring than rUK very soon. I am certainly looking forward to applying for my an Albannach passport in a couple of years.

Majorie. for what it's worth this apolitical morons opinion is that it will never happen. At the moment with the Euro & 2015 elections looming there is an awful lot of rhetoric being spouted by those who's only wish is to hang onto or gain their place in the trough. For that they will say or promise anything to ensure the proletariat vote for them thus ensuring their place in Westminter's cheap smoking bar. The moment they are elected the gravitational pull of the EU will take effect & the perks of the job will enduce a sick making form of amnesia. The lot of 'em know their place is in Europe & as long as the EU continues to "bribe" our politicos they won't give a stuff about GB. Of course I could just be an old cynic but I ain't making any plans to leave France:-)