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British citizens abroad: "Everything is out of control"


Around 1.2 million Britons live in other EU countries. The Brexit makes their lives more expensive and complicated - for some it is about existence. Five people tell.

United Kingdom and Gibraltar European Union membership referendum

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They will be losers of Brexit. That's pretty much the only thing foreign Britons know about Day X. "We are unsettled, many of us are afraid of the future," says Jane Golding. "Brexit threatens the life we ​​have built with our families in other EU countries." The 54-year-old election Berliner is the leader of British in Europe, the largest civic platform for British expatriates on the continent.

At least 1.2 million British citizens live in the remaining 27 EU countries. Even if they leave with the agreement negotiated by Theresa May they would face serious disadvantages: professional as well as private. Already, the low exchange rate of the pound has made life abroad more expensive for all Britons. And things could get even worse if Prime Minister Boris Johnson won a tough, unregulated Brexit.

"We have been living in uncertainty for three years," says Golding. But since Johnson and the Brexiteers were in power, the nervousness had increased again. "Many people in the UK have the prejudice that we are all retirees who are enjoying themselves here," says Golding. "In fact, nearly 80 percent of us are of working age or younger, and many need to make basic choices for their lives, but they can not, because nobody knows what's going to happen."

In SPIEGEL, five foreign Brits tell how the impending Brexit makes their lives difficult.

Helen Mallaburn, 42, catering entrepreneur, lives in Saint-Jean-de-Belleville, France


Helen Mallaburn

"When Brexit comes, my husband Duncan and I will probably lose half of our income, we have a catering business in the French Alps, and winter is always good for us: then we supply groups of winter athletes who work in Trois Vallées' Skiing Our customers come from all over Europe: British, French, Turks, Belgians or even Germans, but there is not much going on in summer, so we always move to other countries, for example to Greece or Italy. to cook there for vacationers.

It will not be that easy in the future. If there is a Brexit on the deal that Theresa May has negotiated with the EU, we will soon lose our freedom of movement. We can still work in France, but in other EU countries we can not easily take on a job. Then we need a work visa, which is probably not so easy to get.

And if there is a hard Brexit? Then we have no protection at all. Then we have to hope that the French authorities treat us well. After all, we just got our residence permit. We also applied for French citizenship. But that will probably take at least another two years, and you have to show a good earning. If we lose half of our income now, we can not do it.

We voted in the referendum for 'Remain'. At that time I was shocked by the result. Then I looked at the lies some politicians spread about Brexit, and I understood why many voters fell for them then. But I do not understand why so many Britons today still want a hard Brexit. We have our house and our company here in France, we have built a life for ourselves. We do not want to go back to the UK. Especially not right now. "

Louise Saberton, 50, shopper. Lives in Pembroke, Malta.


Louise Saberton

"We got married in 2008 and spent our honeymoon on Malta's neighboring island of Gozo, after which we went on holiday here every year, so when a Maltese hospital offered my husband a job as a manager, we moved in late 2014. We sold our house in the UK to buy a house in Malta, but then came the Brexit referendum, the pound crashed - and overnight, the money in our account was worth a lot less.Suddenly, we could not afford a house anymore and the rent has been eating ours ever since Savings on.

My husband has lost his job, he can not find a new one. From human resources agencies we have heard that many Maltese companies are reluctant to employ British. They fear that after Brexit our status is unclear. I myself import Tesco products from the UK for a large Maltese supermarket: three truckloads a month. The supermarket commissioned me to do so because for years I was a Tesco employee and still had good relationships with the British company. But if the food needs to be cleared in the future or the trucks arrive here too late because of the controls, then the business is in danger. And maybe my job too.

I have never been an angry or aggressive person. But the behavior of our government makes me angry. Instead of lying constantly, politicians should now seek solutions to the problems. But they do not want that. The referendum was her slogan: 'Taking Back Control'. In truth, everything is now out of control. "

Emily Dobson, 20, student. Lives in Linazay, France and Rotterdam, The Netherlands.


Emily Dobson

"Our family moved to France when I was three, grew up bilingually and enrolled in the University of Rotterdam just before the referendum to study international business, and it has always been my dream to be a multinational in Now I've got my bachelor's degree but I do not know how to go on.

After Brexit, our freedom of movement within the EU will be restricted. Although I have now got a residence permit from the French state for ten years. But I lose it if I live outside France for more than two years. In addition, I do not think I can easily work in other EU countries in the future; I'll probably need a special visa for that.

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Because of these problems, it could also be a disadvantage for me when I am looking for a job or internship, that I am a Briton. Therefore, I will now inscribe in all my applications that I have residence permit for ten years in France. If I accepted French citizenship, I would have many problems going on. But at the moment I do not have a chance to get it, because you need a good income for it.

I would like to continue my studies and do a Master's. But I do not know if I can afford it. Because at many universities in Europe, the tuition depends on whether one is considered as an EU citizen or not. In Rotterdam, for example, EU citizens have to pay around 2,000 euros, but non-EU citizens around nine times as much. I do not know if after Brexit there will be special rules for cases like mine. We do not know anything. The British authorities do not inform us. "

Roger Boaden, 79, pensioner, lives in Saint-Nicolas Courbefy, France


Roger Boaden

"My wife and I moved to France in 2002. We both had life-threatening illnesses behind us and we could not afford to live longer in South London.

Here in the country we are doing much better. Before we bought the house, I was informed about the health care. Thanks to EU regulation that coordinates the social systems of the Member States, we can use the French health system as well as the natives. Two-thirds of the costs are borne by the British government. For many years we paid our social security contributions at home. One-third pays for our private health insurance.

I need eight tablets a day, including a blood thinner for thrombosis. The medicines cost a lot of money. In a Brexit with the agreement negotiated by Theresa May the cost sharing would be maintained only once. But if there is a no-deal Brexit, then it is after the current status only six months on. That scares me. I could barely afford my medication alone. My pension is paid out in pounds, and the pound was - in euros - in 2015, almost 30 percent more worth than today.

After a tough Brexit, our government would have to negotiate a bilateral accession treaty with France - and probably the 26 other EU states as well. This can take a long time. I am angry with the government. But if there should be new elections in the UK soon, I can not vote. Brits who live abroad for more than 15 years lose their voting rights. And here in France I'm not allowed to vote after Brexit, not even communal. People like us are not allowed to participate anymore. We lose one of our basic rights. That's not democratic. "

Robert Harrison, 57, Patent Attorney, lives in Zorneding near Munich, Germany


Robert Harrison

"I've been living in Germany for 27 years, my wife is German, but for 24 years I never even considered applying for German citizenship, then came the Brexit referendum, and soon after I realized that I was a Brit I am a Patent and Trademark Attorney, but to work as a European Trademark Attorney you have to be an EU citizen, as a Brit I would lose my trademark as a Trademark Attorney after Brexit.

That would not be the only problem. Because I work not only for German clients, but also in Austria, France and other states. That would be difficult in the future - even in a Brexit with the agreement proposed by Theresa May. In that case, British people living in Germany can work here in Germany, but not easily in the other EU countries. And it is unclear whether our qualifications acquired in the United Kingdom are widely recognized.

That's why I applied for naturalization here. Have submitted documents passed the naturalization test - and finally got the German citizenship. Almost all of my compatriots here that I know are trying that now. The German immigration authorities are mostly benevolent towards the British. As it is said, the city of Munich has even set extra staff for us. I can now stay European Trademark Attorney and travel around the EU with the German passport. My problems are solved, Brexit can not hurt me anymore. But in other countries, it will probably be much harder to get naturalized. "

Source: spiegel

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