Eu referendum

I have been invited, at very short notice, to appear at the UK Election Commission on Tuesday 6th August to discuss voting for UK citizens abroad - especially those resident in the EEA. I am interested to hear from those people who will be affected by an In/Out referendum but will be unable to vote because of the 15 year cut-off.

If you have any views that I can take with me I would be grateful to hear them. They can be either posted here or sent in a private message.

Thanks in advance.

The options appear to be:

To accept that we are disenfranchised wherever we live/ Pay our taxes and just put up with it

To have an MP in the UK parliament representing ex-pats (as the French have) and have our voting rights restored and not subject to a 15 year limit.

To have a member of the French parliament designated to look after expats. But even that would not completely solve the "no taxation without representation" problem.

The EU should set up a system whereby you can vote in your country of residence and you take your vote with you if you change countries.

Absolutely Jane. Unfortunately I tend to think it will be those vectors of truth and wisdom such as the Daily Mail and Sun and their loyal servants in both houses of parliament who will give the information to the referendum electorate who will sway it the way they want it to go for mainly financial reasons and for no good human reason - excuse my cynicism.

Brian, the issue of returning British retirees to the UK is not one those wearing blinkers want to face.

If we lose the right to automatic residence in the EU, there will be many who will take up their right to return to UK and the consequences for the Health Service and Social services will be horrendous.

One can only hope that as the time draws nearer, as with the Scottish in/out referendum that the true state of affairs will dawn on those wearing rose tinted spectacles.

Yes, absolutely but the 1.4 million 'known' (it excludes dual national children born outside the UK with consular/embassy issued passports and those who have come into the EEA from elsewhere bearing the UK nationality). Other estimates push it up to above 2 million. Somebody should make the UK aware of the avalanche of 'displaced' people they are suddenly to acquire in the case of the UK people losing right of residence. Easy for me, I'll go Swiss. For the vast majority it is a misery that nobody in office wishes to talk about but bloody well should.

Thanks for your thoughtful reply Brian. Now that the UK parliament has passed a Bill requiring a referendum before the end of 2017 it has become inevitable. Of course it is a basic tenet of government that you don't hold a referendum until you are sure of a victory, but if UKIP spooks the 'swivel-eyed loons' on the Tory back benches at the 2015 general election anything can happen. For those of us that do not hold dual nationality the consequences would be horrendous. The loss of the right to reside in another EU country under the free movement of labour principle, would certainly give us serious food for thought. The healthcare provisions we enjoy as a result of EU membership would also cease, customs regulations, exchange controls . . . and so the list goes on. I hope that he 1.4 million UK citizens resident in the EEA have given the matter some consideration.

Dick, I effectively disenfranchised myself when we lived in Wales by not putting myself on the electoral register and with the years here I am gradually moving toward the ‘cut-off’ and probably given no referendum has been announced plus the amount of time it would require would probably quietly slip out by surpassing the 15 years anyway. Incidentally, my non-registration in Swansea was neither intentional nor malign I was simply working overseas and missed the deadlines twice but bad luck.

However, and whichever initiative it is, my preference is for the EU to enable voting in the country of residence. That is not to say that it should be without choice. If people absolutely wish to remain on the electoral register of their country of origin then fine by me. Democracy essentially requires choice as an integral element, thus also political involvement as at least an elector would appear to be a very natural option. As an individual I am happy with where I am and prefer to have the same choices as the people I live amongst. Thus my preference would be to have franchise where I live, not where my passport was issued. If I should move to another EU country, I would then wish to be able to have my franchise move too. I am also in the extraordinary position of having a wife and children who are Swiss citizens (in fact the children are dual-nationals). Since last time I had contact with you we have done all the ‘groundwork’ to enable me to take their nationality knowing it would not be the same as that of an EU member state, but certainly of one that is as close as possible and is in Schengen. Thus any outcome that would see EU member states collectively wishing to see all UK citizens lose their freedom of movement as it stands and perhaps even preferably seeing them leave would not affect me.

In my opinion, the UK has far too many people without a European vision who are far too quick to describe the British Isles and European continental mainland as entirely different places. Well, the archipelago also includes Eire which is a Eurozone member that is not part of the United Kingdom, plus another part has a pending referendum for leaving the UK which may even take it out of any EU referendum either way. Thus, as somebody who identifies closer with a European identity I try to look at opinions arising in the UK and see badly or purposefully wrongly informed opinions and reporting about the EU, the Eurozone particularly that give me strong motivation for effectively ‘transferring’ my lapsed democratic rights to the country I live in.

As said, choice must be part of the equation for it to remain a democratic option. However, I am only one of many people who feel this way except that I have no difficulty, as some others may, of putting my view across in written form. Personally I have no wish to see any form of referendum with respect to EU/EEA membership and would thus prefer not to have a voting option, however if votes such as my own would be those which would sway the balance toward retention of membership then naturally one would wish to have that vote.