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BREXIT

Europe & You: Boris our ‘best chance to stop Brexit’, EU Green Cards and cash for residency appointments

Our weekly Europe & You newsletter rounds up the most relevant stories from around our countries related to Brexit, the EU and other areas of interest. Here's the latest edition featuring Boris Johnson, an EU Green Card scheme, cash for residency appointments and many other stories.

Europe & You: Boris our 'best chance to stop Brexit', EU Green Cards and cash for residency appointments
Photo: AFP

Hi to all our readers,

Do you have any preferences on who becomes the next leader of the Conservative Party?

Many of the contenders are openly campaigning for a no-deal Brexit, perhaps unsurprising given that a poll of Tory members – who get to vote on who becomes the next PM – revealed a majority back leaving the EU with no deal.

What about Boris Johnson for PM? While the idea that BoJo could be the next leader of the country might make you wince – he said we are leaving the EU on October 31st “with or without a deal” – this opinion article might make you change your mind.

AFP

French President Emmanuel Macron said on Monday that he fully accepted his “bad guy” role in insisting on a shorter extension to Britain's tortuous exit from the EU, while insisting that October 31st is the “final, final deadline.” Here's what he had to say.

How would the idea of a European Green Card sound to you? It would allow you to keep the existing rights you have as an EU citizen, not least freedom of movement, which we look set to lose if Brexit goes through.

The campaign to bring in an EU Green Card won a timely boost this week as the campaign group behind it, the New Europeans picked up a prestigious European award.

Here's some more information about the EU green card scheme.

AFP

While Brexit limbo goes on, Brits around Europe are still taking steps to try to secure residency permits which they hope will make all the post-Brexit paperwork process a lot easier.

But in France their efforts are being hampered by authorities, understandably, not processing applications until they know what's happening in the UK and also by the long waiting times to get an appointment at the prefecture.

So this story about a black market in appointments for residency permits in certain parts of France will no doubt interest readers.

Here are a selection of other stories from around Europe that will interest you.

SpainThe villages in Alicante where there are zero British residents

France: The 39 maps you need to understand south-west France

Germany: Why Germany could soon have its first 'Green' Chancellor

There was a crucial election in Denmark this week which threw up a few surprises that could be a sign of the direction Europe is heading in, not least on the subject of immigration which resulted in a disastrous showing for the far-right populists. The article below contains everything you need to know.

Denmark: What we learned: Seven key takeaways from the Danish election

Sweden: What you love most about life in Sweden

Italy: Quiz – How well do you know your Italian geography?

A story from Switzerland will interest all those British citizens living around Europe who are unable to vote in their adopted country. Perhaps this idea to give foreigners a political voice could take off around Europe?

And just to round things off Theresa May finally stepped down as Conservative party leader on Friday to allow the race to replace her to officially begin. Some may have sympathy for her, others not so much, but this photo kind of sums her term as Tory party leader.

AFP

Remember, if you want to follow The Local more closely you can download our phone Apps from the Apple or Play store for both Android and Apple phones.

Thanks for reading and for your support.

Ben McPartland
[email protected]

Managing Editor, The Local Europe

Member comments

  1. It is interesting to compare Boris Johnson and Emmanuel Macron
    Johnson was born to a rich family and went to Eaton, an elite expensive public=private school. From there he went to Oxford following the standard route for senior ministers and prime ministers in the UK
    In contrast Macron was born to a wealthy family and went to an expensive private school. From there he went to the elite École Nationale d’Administration the standard route for senior ministers and presidents of France.
    There are great differences in their personalities. Johnson is often regarded as having a good sense of humour. At the moment he is guarded by minders to protect him from his one-liner gaffs.
    Macron is not noted for his sense of humour. He is famous for his ability for talking for hours on any subject without notes. How many are still awake at the end of this monologue is not recorded.
    Both of them have shot themselves in the foot which may lead to their ultimate political deaths. Johnson was the major force in the leave Brexit vote. Macron after supporting his rich friends alienated forgotten France resulting in the yellow vests protest.
    Politics is a dirty business.

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BREXIT

Brexit: Brits in EU feel European and don’t want to return home

The majority of Britons who live in the EU, Norway, Iceland or Switzerland and are protected under the Brexit agreement feel European and intend to remain in Europe permanently, but many have concerns about travel problems, a new survey reveals.

Brexit: Brits in EU feel European and don't want to return home

The research also shows that problems exist and “travel is where most issues relating to the new status currently occur”. For instance, border officials are still stamping passports of UK citizens with residence rights under the EU UK withdrawal agreement, even though they shouldn’t.

“There is constant confusion around passport stamping. I was ‘stamped in’ to France on a short trip… but could not find anyway to be ‘stamped out’ again. I think I can only spend 90 days in other EU countries, but have no idea how anyone can check or enforce that – until someone decides to try. It’s a mess,” was one of the answers left in an open question.

“Every time I go through a Schengen border control, I need to provide both my passport and Aufenthaltstitel card [resident permit in Germany] and watch to check that they don’t stamp my passport. As I am currently travelling a lot that’s been 20-odd times this year…” another respondent said.

The survey was carried out by Professor Tanja Bueltmann, historian of migration and diaspora at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow, between October and November 2022. About 1,139 UK citizens replied.

Of these, 80 per cent found acquiring their new status easy or very easy, 60.7 per cent feel their rights are secure, while 39.3 per cent have concerns about their status going forward.

Staying permanently

More than three quarters (76.6 per cent) of respondents said they plan to live permanently in the EU or the other countries of the European Economic Area and Switzerland. In fact, 65.7 per cent said that Brexit has increased the likelihood of this choice.

For some, the decision is linked to the difficulty to bring non-British family members to the UK under new, stricter immigration rules.

“My German wife and I decided we no longer wanted to live in UK post Brexit referendum. In particular, we were affected by the impact of immigration law […] We cannot now return to UK on retirement as I cannot sponsor her on my pension. We knew it was a one-way journey. Fortunately, I could revive an application for German citizenship,” was a testimony.

“My husband is a US citizen and getting him a visa for the UK was near impossible due to my low income as a freelance journalist. We realized under EU law, moving to an EU country was easier. We settled on Austria as we had both lived there before… we could speak some German, and we like the mountains,” said another respondent.

Professor Bueltmann noted that the loss of free movement rights in the EU could be a factor too in the decision of many to stay where they are.

Citizenship and representation

Among those who decided to stay, 38.2 per cent are either applying or planning to apply for a citizenship and 28.6 per cent are thinking about it.

A key finding of the research, Bueltmann said, is that the vast majority of British citizens do not feel politically represented. Some 60 per cent of respondents said they feel unrepresented and another 30 per cent not well represented.

Another issue is that less than half (47.5 per cent) trust the government of their country of residence, while a larger proportion (62 per cent) trust the European Union. Almost all (95.6 per cent) said they do not trust the UK government.

Feeling European

The survey highlights the Brexit impacts on people’s identity too. 82.6 per cent of respondents said they see themselves as European, a higher proportion than those identifying as British (68.9 per cent).

“Brexit has really left me unsure of what my identity is. I don’t feel British, and I certainly don’t identify with the mindset of a lot of British people who live there. Yet, I am not Danish either. So, I don’t really know anymore!” said one of the participants in the survey.

Professor Bueltmann said the survey “demonstrates that Brexit impacts continue to evolve: this didn’t just stop because the transition period was over or a deadline for an application had been reached. Consequently, Brexit continues to shape the lives and experiences of British citizens in the EU/EEA and Switzerland in substantial, sometimes life-altering, ways.”

Considering the results of the study, Professor Bueltmann recommends policy makers in the EU and the UK to address the issue of lack of representation, for instance creating a joint UK-EU citizens’ stakeholder forum.

The report also recommends the UK government to rebuild trust with British citizens in the EU introducing voting rights for life and changing immigration rules to allow British-European families to return more easily. 

This article was prepared in cooperation with Europe Street News.

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