If Britain leaves EU?

With a referendum coming up how would it effect expats who live and own property in France if Britain voted to leave the EU?

To be honest, I am most concerned about what the British Government will do to us than what the French might do. I have American and Australian friends who live in France, and they don't seem to have any problems. But the British Government is another matter, they quite clearly despise expats and will stop at nothing to deprive us of our rights when Brussels ceases to protect us.

Yes Melissa, I also came to France for the better weather and more nature then in Flandern. I would have preferred to go to Ireland of Scotland, but it rains to much over there !

I hope that Flandern becomes asap an independent country and they can stay in the EU if the majority of the people will like to do so but for me it is far from necessar. The EU is at the moment far from a democrat institution and to expensive. If it wasn't so dramatic it is a laugh : two towns for the parlement to seat, once in Brussels and sometimes in Strasbourg. You should see the nummer of trucks that are loaded every time they change town with documents not to mention the number of hôtels necessar in two cities for the peronal .

A short while ago the etcetera magazine asked me my views and I elaborated on a reply. My thoughts were particularly on the retired British citizens.

I have little doubt that if Brexit occurred that a great deal of discussion would take place between Governments and the EU Commission. This would take years. Each of the other 27 states would have to agree to any adjustments. One is aware that various local economies would lose a lot if the British elderly citizens left. The 450,000 pensioners are feeding money into their local economies and I imagine that those economies would be loathe to lose it. The UK Treasury on the other hand would be happy to restrict that flow.

In the meanwhile I consider the worst case scenario. Repeat - the worst case scenario.

The effect of a Brexit could be alarming. The following are possibilities. One cannot say anything is certain - indeed the uncertainty is the most unsettling aspect.

At root all Britons without dual nationality would become foreigners in France. As foreign as Americans, or Brazilians or from anywhere else.
Any enjoyed protection under EU law would cease.
In consequence for those who are retired - The existing EU law which protects receipt of UK State pensions and benefits would cease. [The WFP restriction is currently being challenged legally. Following a Brexit, it could not even be challenged!] - e.g. potential receipts of attendance allowance would stop. The UK would be able to modify the receipt of State pensions in Europe.
France could impose any law of its own on British Citizens without constraint from the EU - what laws, for example? There was a time (pre EU) when France taxed capital being brought into the country. The current challenge brought about by a Dutchman which has changed the imposition of CSG etc. might not affect the non-EU citizens. It could impose any law it wished on non-EU citizen held bank accounts.
There was a time when one could take out only a small sum of money from the UK (M.Thatcher changed that rule). One can scorn such suggestions, but there would be no protection from the EU.
You could not vote for your local Commune councillors. One could not be a commune councillor. [The current system whereby one cannot vote for any other level of the legislature would never be changed - If the UK remains in the EU then such changes could at some time be achieved {I hope}- but never if the UK leaves.]
You could not vote for an MEP. The existing EU law which entitles you to vote for an English speaking MEP is prevented for many of us because we have not a VOTE under UK law. [Again change is very necessary but it will never happen if the UK leaves.]
At present one can easily order goods from the UK. This freedom could stop - At present some idiotic organisations in the UK put difficulties in the way by, for instance, refusing to honour your credit card. This is contrary to the spirit of EU regs.
There would be nothing to prevent the imposition of French duty on imported goods from the UK.
Again, the UK financial institutions are not honouring the EU regs on freedom of movement of capital and services by not allowing one to open a UK onshore bank account or investing in certain accounts and saving opportunities - Again these activities, although not happening should happen, but if Brexit comes, there is very little chance of it ever getting sorted. It is another instance of the the UK dragging its heels on EU matters.
The inheritance law changes which have come about under EU rulings, could be scrapped. The UK has shown itself not that keen on the changes.
One would need some form of residency card.
Freshly arrived citizens would need to prove they are financially solvent or they won't get a residency card.
The SI system of health support would cease. At the moment every item of medical treatment for an SI holder which would be paid by the French State as to a French Citizen is sent to the NHS for reimbursement. Indeed every centime. I sought information on this and had an itemised report on my own treatments sent to me from London. i.e. it is very likely that this health support would cease. One might need full health insurance cover.
The CPAM Carte Vitale could well be withdrawn - unless you have paid or are paying into the system. At the moment new younger residents arriving from the UK get two years grace and then the Carte vitale is removed if they have not established themselves in some form.
Some form of work permits would be needed for younger people who seek work or wish to set up their own businesses. Remember they would be foreigners.
British Students can at present get support to study in EU universities. That would cease.
The passports would need to be changed. Border controls between the UK and Europe could well be tightened in both directions.
Then one asks, what be the effect on the many tens of thousands of French citizens and others living in London and neighbourhood? That must be worrying them.

Lastly one asks what nuance of change of attitudes between our French neighbours and ourselves could appear? - Who knows - Think of our children in French schools, or employers of British Citizens, or the fonctionnaires.

The EU surely needs to change but it is up to us to help the EU evolve. Change won't be possible if Brexit comes about.

I can say that as long as the Referendum comes down in favour of staying in then perhaps the UK Government will be more positive about the EU project and really get stuck into improving many things from the inside. None have up to now been 100% enthusiastic.

We certainly do need more democracy at all levels- and we need the European citizens to feel proud and actively participate in the project

Perhaps because of the sun shine, quiet rural roads with only the odd maniac on them etc. (far less likely to be for a job). Nobody comes to France because of its politics or bureaucracy or demands for certification etc. and often you learn about them after you arrive because the goal posts have moved - again. Or even for a love of everything French ....... Just as a lot of the French go and live in the UK (London!) because of the politics, or less bureaucracy, or a job, not because they just LOVE the country, its people and all things British!!! As if!

Live would go on as usual. Personal I like that they leave the EU asap as my son has an customsagency and it would bring he lot of work: import and export formalities !

Glen, excuse the impertinence, but WHY are you in France?


You make some very interesting points there Jennifer.

As I am in the process of purchasing a french property (no contract signed yet) it has raised certain doubts about my timing for such a transaction.. Perhaps I should hang fire for a wee while and see how this pans out?...

In view of the fact 139 people have viewed your post and only one replied I think it seems that we all don’t really know the implications! I thought you would have had loads of replies and waited with interest but seemingly not the case. It is indeed an interesting question and could, I presume, have significant implications on Brits living in France. I should have thought it would probably have a major knock on effect on the value of the Euro…albeit only maybe on a transient basis but again it is all guesswork at this stage. One would presume that massive retroactive legislation could not be undertaken so things like healthcare etc would continue much as it is now? Same for documentation such as passports etc.

I have seen no posts with regard to the downside of the Euro either. It has taken quite a bashing over the last three months. Not sure if or when it will recover?

As Brits leading a fairly secluded ((self-centred/ myopic?) retirement in France our policy is not to put all our eggs in one basket at this stage and we are hanging on to a small property we still have in UK but not doing a lot else to prepare for changing times. The bigger, wider problems of exit from the EU and the knock on effects on people living and working in Britain and the poor refugees trying to access Britiain are just too massive to contemplate. As residents of France, we are observers only as to how things will play out with regard to any possible exit, albeit very interested and concerned observers.

So apologies, noreal answers here to your post but maybe a few people can take issue with a few of the above points I have made and open up the discussion a bit!?

Well Brian I cannot find Shirley's post so much as I would like to comment I cannot do so.

So Brian, please copy and paste or Shirley please copy and paste onto this topic or give me a link to Shirley's post.


Peter S

Ah ok, thanks for that Brian...

Shirley Morgan's post lower down the list has gone into much of that, pop in there to catch up and continue your question!

Given last weeks vote Leave, it might be worth reading the replies on this Discussion again, especially Brian Cave's comments.