Risk and repercussions as expats await Brexit in trepidation – The Post

Risk and repercussions as expats await Brexit in trepidation

Britain is facing one of its hardest choices in a long time (Photo: iStock)
June 16th, 2016 7:30 pm| by David McQuilling
Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestmail

Short-term economic and personal status concerns outweighed by fears that a Leave vote could be the first step towards a divide between northern and southern Europe

On June 23, Britain will decide whether or not it wants to remain a member of the European
Union.

Euroscepticism has been growing in Britain for a number of years and, with recent opinion polls too close to call, this once in a lifetime referendum could go either way.

It’s certainly going to be close if you believe the bookies. With a month to go, the chances of a Remain victory were 2/7. Heading into the final week they’re only 4/7.

41 years later
The referendum itself has been marred by controversy with both the Leave and Remain campaigns drawing criticism for their use of inaccurate figures, fearmongering and, in some cases, outright slander.
A referendum on Britain’s membership of the European community was last held in 1975. As this is a once in a generation opportunity, a strong voter turnout is expected.

15 years is too late
But what about those who no longer live in Britain? Election rules state those who have registered to vote in a British election within the last 15 years are eligible to vote in the upcoming referendum.
Registered expats can vote by either post, proxy or in person if they fancy taking a trip home to enjoy the typically flawless June weather.

The Copenhagen Post Weekly spoke to several British expats about their opinions on the Brexit.


James Clasper

Clasper

Nationality: UK (England)

Profession: Freelance journalist

Have you registered to vote in the referendum?
Yes, of course.

Which way do you think the vote will go?
It’s hard to say with any certainty – you can never rule out a ‘black swan’ event, can you?

How would a Brexit affect you personally?
I would be sad and disappointed and anxious about the future.

More generally, do you believe Britain would be better or worse off outside the EU?
I believe Britain would be worse off – although the truth is nobody knows. Predicting the effects of Brexit is difficult. We are in uncharted waters – and the wisest course of action is to avoid rocking the boat. That’s certainly the rational argument. And it’s buttressed by strong economic arguments in favour of remaining in the EU, with evidence indicating that Brexit would indeed harm the UK economy.

And how about the rest of Europe?
Britain’s departure could cause the EU to unravel. Brexit would inflate the sails of every noxious little populist across the continent and stiffen the resolve of breakaway merchants from Athens to Vienna. If the cancer of nationalism were to metastasise, it could lead to the disintegration of the union. And that would only make the world a more unstable place.

To the extent Europe could go to war again?
After centuries of warfare, culminating in half a century of slaughter, European integration ensured peace and prosperity. Disdain the Brussels bureaucrats all you like – but technocratic meddling is a hell of a lot better than firebombing each other’s cities. More to the point, the fragmentation of the EU would mean the disintegration of the union’s ability to respond effectively to global crises, to act as a bulwark against Russian aggression, to deal with the migrant crisis – one that’s only likely to get worse – and to tackle to climate change.

As a journalist, do you feel an exit from Europe would hinder your ability to do your job effectively?
It remains to be seen. Assuming, for one reason or another, that I’d continue to have the right to reside in Denmark, Brexit shouldn’t hinder my ability to work as a journalist here. If British citizens lost the right to, say, visa-free travel in the EU, that might have an occasional impact.


Rosemary Bohr

20151107_133443 Rosemary

Nationality: UK (England)

Profession: Retired

Are you able to vote in the referendum?
No.

How do you feel about some expats not being allowed to vote in the referendum?
Annoyed. Especially as I had a walk-on part in this question as I was running the Conservative Party International Office when the party finally agreed to give expats the vote – at the urging of Conservatives working in the EEC.

Which way do you think the vote will go?
Anyone’s guess – it is more evenly matched than the PM ever imagined.
How would a Brexit affect you personally?
I haven’t found out yet. Hopefully not too much as I have permanent residence.

More generally, do you believe Britain would be better or worse off outside the EU?
There are arguments both ways.

How do you feel about the argument ‘The European project has failed?’
Too soon for a death notice, but there is a definite need for reform: vested interests (CAP, fisheries, culture & the French, free trade); financial (shenanigans, Eurozone, failure of annual audits, sky-high salaries and expenses, Brussels-Luxembourg commute); political vis-à-vis members (machinery for crises, e.g migrants); and internationally (Putin, terrorism).

In or out, where does the EU go from here?
It has to reform or it will collapse under the tension.


Stuart Lynch

A 15659

Nationality: UK/Australia

Profession: Headteacher at Københavns Film & Teaterskole

Are you voting in the referendum?
Yes.

Which way do you think the vote will go?
I think it will go the way of the 1975 referendum and we will remain in Europe, but I do not think it will be as conclusive as 40 years ago. I think it will be a closer call.

How would a Brexit affect you personally?
From a work and life perspective it would not affect me very much. On an emotional level I would be sad because I believe that the country would suffer and become more isolated.

More generally, do you believe Britain would be better or worse off outside the EU?
Definitely worse off. Whilst there might be some economic benefits, I think it is important that Britain learns to play better with others and move forward with Europe in unity and aa dialogue. Also, I have better trust in the opinions of those who support the ‘Remain’ campaign than the Brexit voices of Murdoch, Trump and Johnson.

Do you feel a Brexit could put your job and life in Denmark at risk?
As the leader of the country’s biggest independent theatre school, it will not put my job at risk, but our one-year international course could be affected as far as British students coming to study with us. But whether it will be for the better (students wanting to study abroad) or the worse (students not being able to afford to study abroad), we will have to wait and see.


Betty Chatterjee

Nationality: UK (England)

Profession: Retired

Are you able to vote in the referendum?
No. I’ve been away from Britain for many, many years, I have not got a chance to vote. I’m worried about this. If a Brexit occurs I’m going to be alien in a country I’ve lived in for over half my life.

What are your ties to Denmark?
I’ve got my family here: a daughter and two grandchildren. My friends are also
here.

What impact could a Brexit have on Europe?
I think if Britain leaves the EU, perhaps Denmark will be the next country that will leave, and then the whole European project might fall apart.

What are your plans if the UK does decide to leave?
My daughter and I are sitting the Danish citizenship test on June 7. If we pass it we’re going to apply for Danish citizenship.

Why haven’t you applied for Danish citizenship before?
I would not surrender my British citizenship, which is why I waited for a change in the law.


Iain McLeod

McLeod

Nationality: UK (Scotland)

Profession: Business unit director of 3Shape

Are you voting in the referendum?
Yes

Which way do you think the vote will go?
Stay in the EU, but close call

How would a Brexit affect you personally?
Make travelling back to the UK more of a hassle (I do this around four times a year), make the UK more ‘distant’ long-term for me and possibly mean northern EU countries like Denmark (which have similar attitudes to EU) follow, meaning a north/south break-up

More generally, do you believe Britain would be better or worse off outside the EU?
It would be worse off. I can understand the frustrations with the EU (the joke of the EU meeting in Strasbourg, Greece not abiding by the rules, French always striking at inopportune times etc) – but on the whole, it is a club that makes the UK stronger and problems can be overcome long-term. The events of 100 and 77 years ago would very likely never happen within an EU.


Dan Savill

dan savile

Nationality: UK (England)

Profession: Senior director at Carlsberg Business Services

Have you registered to vote in the referendum?
Yes

Which way do you think the vote will go?
Out

How would a Brexit affect you personally?
I think it will restrict my ability to work in Europe, but the impact on free movement is unclear.

More generally, do you believe Britain would be better or worse off outside the EU?
I think we are better off inside Europe, providing a different point of view. However the debate is wider in my opinion – it’s not just about money. We should look to find common ground, to trade, to be tolerant.


Victoria Steffensen

Victoria 1

Nationality: UK (Wales)

Profession: Sales co-ordinator at Napatech

Are you able to vote in the referendum?
No, unfortunately.

Which way do you think the vote will go?
I think there will be a narrow majority for staying in.

More generally, do you believe Britain would be better or worse off outside the EU?
I believe Britain would be worse off if it left the EU.

Are your children Danish citizens?
No

How do you feel a leave vote would affect them?
Obviously we will get them Danish passports if the UK opts out of Europe. I think having a European passport is vital, and there should be no problem getting one as my husband (their dad) is Danish.