Brits in Denmark left shocked and concerned by Brexit

Justin Cremer
Justin Cremer - [email protected] • 24 Jun, 2016 Updated Fri 24 Jun 2016 14:58 CEST
Brits in Denmark left shocked and concerned by Brexit

The Local spoke with a handful of British expats living in Denmark on Friday and not a single one was happy about the referendum result.


As British PM David Cameron resigned on Friday morning after he failed to convince the British people that it was better to remain a part of the EU, he reassured Brits living abroad “that there would be no immediate changes”.
But his words are hardly likely to soothe the estimated estimated two million Brits living in the EU, including around 12,000 in Denmark. 
While no one will be asked to move home or even be made to apply for a visa or residency permit just yet, what is certain is that uncertainty will reign for the next two years, at least.
Cameron declined to trigger Article 50 of The Lisbon Treaty which would begin the painful two-year negotiation process for leaving the EU, preferring to leave it until his successor, which could well be Boris Johnson.
That negotiation process, whenever it begins, will be key to how life will or won't change for Brits living in Denmark or Danish people in the UK.
Stephanie Brickman and Simon Cooper
Stephanie Brickman and Simon Cooper
"A slap in the face"
The Local spoke to a handful of British expats in Denmark on Friday and they shared a sense of shock in the aftermath of the Brexit results. 
“Waking up and seeing the result was surreal and I still don’t think it’s properly sunk in yet to be honest,” long-time Copenhagen resident Simon Cooper said. 
“Being a Brit living in Denmark, my knee-jerk fear is for my status and rights living and working in an EU country, but we’ll wait to see how the intricacies and negotiations pan out,” he added. 
For Scottish citizen Stephanie Brickman, the results were “like a slap in the face”. 
“EU membership was a major consideration in the [2014] Scottish referendum – stay or you will be out of the EU – was the message and now this. I am in a state of complete disbelief that this could even happen,” Brickman, a communications consultant from Edinburgh, told The Local. 
"Leave voters will be disappointed"
British journalist Peter Stanners said he was left “devastated” by the results. 
“There is no plan for how to leave so the uncertainty will have far reaching consequences. What's worse is the vote fuels nationalist voices across Europe. The entire European project is now threatened,” he said. 
Stanners, who has lived most of his life in Denmark and is the editor-in-chief of The Murmur, said those celebrating Brexit should be careful what they wish for. 
“The Leave campaign used misinformation and made promises they can't keep to paint a future that Britain can't have - economic prosperity outside the EU with controls on European migrants. Leave voters will be bitterly disappointed to discover that remaining a member of the single market will mean paying into the EU, applying laws they had no role shaping, and with limited ability to control migration,” he said.
Peter Stanners and Michael Booth
Peter Stanners and Michael Booth
Things will get complicated...
Many expats now fear that the referendum results will have a direct and negative impact on the lives they’ve built up in Denmark.
“It seems naïve to think that this won’t affect my family’s ability to stay in Denmark longer term. I saw our move to from Edinburgh to Copenhagen as being no different to moving to London, but things will not be that simple in the future,” said Brickman, who has been in Denmark for five years.
Cooper, who works as a scientific communications assistant and has lived in Denmark for seven years, said that people like him were overlooked in the run-up to the referendum. 
“In my opinion the Remain campaign didn’t do enough to highlight the two-way street of freedom of movement, that in a united Europe there are also Brits abroad who benefit from the same privileges as those upping sticks and settling there. It’s as if in the collective British consciousness we’re all simply living it up as sun-kissed retirees rather than being subject to the same stresses and strains, struggles, and realities of everyday life,” he said. 
"A catastropher for everyone"
If it were up to British author Michael Booth, the referendum never would have been held at all. 
“We should never have left a decision as important as this to the English provinces who are stubbornly in thrall to a print media largely owned by tax exiles and porn pedlars. It is a catastrophe for everyone, not just the UK, but Europe, and that of course includes Denmark,” he told The Local. 
Booth, who wrote the best-selling book ‘The Almost Nearly Perfect People’, he wouldn’t be surprised if Denmark tried to hold a referendum next. Indeed, it was only a matter of hours after the UK referendum results were known that the first calls came in for Denmark to follow suit. 
But he said he wasn’t overly concerned about the immediate impact on his life in Denmark. 
“In personal terms, I tend not to worry about things over which I have little or no control. I'm going to join the local handball team and complete my integration into Danish society,” he joked. 


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