Tuesday, 19 September 2017
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8572With the triggering of article 50 and the start of the formal process of leaving the European Union just weeks away, feelings of insecurity are mounting across the EU, including among the 50,000 or more British expatriates in Portugal and four times that number of Portuguese nationals in the UK.

At the time of the in / out referendum last June, the complexities of leaving the EU were far from clear. Since then, the confusion has reached new heights.

Residency rights for the 1.2 million British expatriates throughout mainland Europe, as well as the 2.8 million EU citizens all over Britain, will remain the same while the negotiations continue, probably for the next two years. But what then? Nobody knows.

A recent pan-European survey among British expatriates found a very high level of concern, mainly about losing their automatic rights to reside and work, freedom of movement, and continued access to healthcare and pension benefits.

Ongoing worries include the fall in the Pound and speculation that it could fall further. This is of particular concern to expatriates and foreign property owners relying on incomes or pensions in Sterling.

Worrying to immigrants in Britain, including in Portuguese communities, are the spiralling numbers of anti-foreigner hate crimes since the referendum reported by three-quarters of the police forces across the country.

Brexit belligerence in high political circles significantly heated up this week because of the British government’s refusal to assure EU nationals they will be permitted to stay in the country after Brexit.

The British Home Office’s stated position on the matter is that the government wants “to protect the status of EU nationals already living here and the only circumstances in which that wouldn't be possible is if British citizens' rights in European member states were not protected in return.”

Doubts took a turn for the worse this week when an internal document prepared by the European parliament’s legal affairs committee was leaked. It warned that Britons abroad could face “a backlash”.

The document noted that the attitude of member states’ may be coloured by the fact that it is presently difficult for foreign citizens in Britain, even if married to UK nationals or born in the UK, to acquire permanent residency cards.

Since the referendum, there has been a massive increase in the number of EU citizens applying for permanent residency.

Those applying say they have to complete an 85-page form requiring many files of documentation, including tax statements dating back for five years, plus historical utility bills and a diary of all the occasions they have left the country since settling in the UK. Some applicants have reportedly received letters inviting them to prepare to leave the country after failing to tick a box on a form.

Opposition politicians in Britain have condemned Prime Minister Theresa May for failing to give an unequivocal guarantee that EU nationals can continue to stay in Britain.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has accused the government of “playing political games with people’s lives”. Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron says Prime Minister May has been caught “playing with fie”.

Caroline Lucas, a co-leader of the Green party, said any further delay in giving EU nationals a guaranteed right to stay would be “unforgivable”.

A Dutch MEP, Sophie in ´t Veld, who is leading a European parliament task force investigating the residency issue, said the UK government had acted “immorally” in failing to offer security to those who had made Britain their home.

The leaked legal affairs committee document hints at possible revenge as it will be down to each EU member state to decide whether British expatriates are allowed to carry on living as before within their adopted countries after Brexit.

The upshot of all this is that a great many people in the British Isles and in mainland Europe are faced with agonising uncertainty about their homes, their jobs and the future of their families.

With Portugal and Britain’s long history of bilateral friendship and co-operation, does it make any social or economic sense for either country to discourage compatible residency and working arrangements?

On a grander scale, does it really make sense to proceed with the so-called “will of the British people”? It is glaringly obvious that the “leave” voters did not fully understand what Brexit would involve – and still don’t.

With this in mind, former prime minister Tony Blair has controversially stepped into the fray. He is calling for a U-turn.

He said: “The people voted without knowledge of the true terms of Brexit. As these terms become clear, it is their right to change their mind. Our mission is to persuade them to do so.”

__________

 

Len Port has been a journalist for 50 years, working as a staff reporter, broadcaster and freelance correspondent for many leading news organisations. He covered events in the Far East in the Sixties, and in Northern Ireland and South Africa in the Seventies. Since moving to Portugal in the early Eighties, he has edited regional magazines, contributed to national dailies in Britain and written several books.

Comments  

-1 #25 Withheld 2017-02-22 11:02
Once more I find that my thoughts are in conflict with the comments of Len Port about Brexit. I am becoming sick of the typical whinging by British people and its media residing in Europe about their overseas rights. It is part of normal life that the “goalposts” are so often be moved and at times creating havoc for many individuals.
When will people wake up to the fact that the world does not revolve just around them! I went to countries and tackled firstly the challenge of finding employment and then attaining any necessary permission to stay and work.
In my opinion, there are so many UK citizens making a living out here whose only contribution is serving tourists with services that are and if not could be supplied by the Portuguese themselves. What do these people add to the general income of Portugal whilst I strongly believe they adversely detract from what the Portuguese culture has to offer. (I have to be selective to choose restaurant that still serves some of the traditional dishes which have not be bastardised by Northern Europe tastes).
Foreign residents or holiday homes are a different matter as they bring a healthy income to the locals and the councils. I sincerely believe that this segment will be secure in their tenure as neither Spain or Portugal can afford to lose this healthy income – not to mention the increase in unemployment. I there anybody out there in the media who has the guts to use a more positive approach instead of using the usual “British Whinging” approach?
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+2 #24 Erik the Pink 2017-02-21 16:30
Quoting Rui Ventura:
[
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Fake News story ... ... ... used to that size of a rush anyway.


Rui

Pleased to say your text appears to be fake "Fake News"!

Try this true story instead [no mention of any 'rush"}:

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/oct/30/uk-descendants-of-jewish-refugees-seek-german-citizenship-after-brexit-vote

Happy to oblige!



Hello Rui

Sorry - at first I thought you had simply been misled, but now I realise you are true "alt-Right'.

Nevertheless, the two sources you quote provided me with several seconds of true delight.

But I'll be entirely honest with you and tell you I don't really like that sort of twisted made up looney rubbish - so I'll be sticking with real journailsm.

Thanks for the laugh anyway.

Erik
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-4 #23 Rui Ventura 2017-02-21 10:11
[
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Fake News story ... ... ... used to that size of a rush anyway.

Rui

Pleased to say your text appears to be fake "Fake News"!

Try this true story instead [no mention of any 'rush"}:

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/oct/30/uk-descendants-of-jewish-refugees-seek-german-citizenship-after-brexit-vote

Happy to oblige!

Erik,
How do you know it's a "true" story, is it just because it is printed in the Guardian, I'll bet it's not because you made the effort to contact the German embassy in London for confirmation ?

How very trusting you must be, just what the MSM like!

As the article stated none of the MSM would issue a retraction, doesn't look good telling your readers that you've rehashed an untrue story because you were just too lazy to check it out.
Instead of naively believing everything you read take the time to follow up a few Guardian and other MSM stories from either the so called left or right of the political spectrum, there are any number of investigative websites who do not have an agenda apart from trying to find out the truth that will enable you to cross reference articles, you will be astounded and hopefully enlightened with what you find out. ;-)

https://hat4uk.wordpress.com/2017/02/14/george-soros-and-the-trail-of-fake-news-leading-to-emmanuel-macron-via-robby-mook/
http://www.breitbart.com/texas/2016/12/12/fake-news-guardian-publishes-border-story-riddled-false-claims/
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+4 #22 N. O. Tye 2017-02-20 23:05
Quoting 2sugars.in.my.tea:
... Did anyone expect anything else from this UK Govt.?...
"because of the British government’s refusal to assure EU nationals they will be permitted to stay in the country after Brexit."
They're FIXATION IS pulling up the drawbridge& pandering to the mob.
Expect no help from the UK people - YOU'RE ON YOUR OWN!


Who benefits from Brexit? See here:

http://www.theneweuropean.co.uk/top-stories/brexit_is_about_the_rich_rees_moggs_of_britain_not_anyone_else_1_4896702
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+4 #21 Erik the Pink 2017-02-20 16:55
Quoting Rui Ventura:
Quoting Mike Towl:
What Len Port ... ... ... week.


Further to Mike Towl and where does Len Port get it from ?
Actually Len is just rehashing this sort of "Fake News"
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Fake News story ... ... ... used to that size of a rush anyway.


Rui

Pleased to say your text appears to be fake "Fake News"!

Try this true story instead [no mention of any 'rush"}:

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/oct/30/uk-descendants-of-jewish-refugees-seek-german-citizenship-after-brexit-vote

Happy to oblige!

Erik
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+2 #20 2sugars.in.my.tea 2017-02-20 16:12
... Did anyone expect anything else from this UK Govt.?...
"because of the British government’s refusal to assure EU nationals they will be permitted to stay in the country after Brexit."
They're FIXATION IS pulling up the drawbridge& pandering to the mob.
Expect no help from the UK people - YOU'RE ON YOUR OWN!
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+3 #19 Ed 2017-02-20 09:17
Quoting SueF:
There may not be wholesale angst but over 3,000 people have downloaded the ADN article on becoming a Portuguese national. That speaks volumes.


3,414 readers so far, as of Monday 09:00
Ed
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+4 #18 SueF 2017-02-20 09:13
There may not be wholesale angst but over 3,000 people have downloaded the ADN article on becoming a Portuguese national. That speaks volumes. Personally, I am glad to live in Portugal, where I am welcomed, even though the UK will probably freeze my state pension. My application of nationality is in the post.
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+5 #17 Peter Booker 2017-02-20 09:01
Algarveandroid puts his finger on the global nature of the economy, and the need for cooperation. The retreat to the nation state is dangerous for Europe. The kind of nationalism or Little Englandism which is apparent among Brexiteers is reminiscent of the first part of the 20th century when the world suffered two major wars, and nationalism was a root cause of those wars. It is no coincidence that Le Pen is riding a similar nationalist wave in France.

As for "taking back control", there is not one member of the present government who has the necessary personality and authority to represent UK in the global context. Buffoon Boris, for example, would be ridiculous if the context were not so serious.

The democratic choice is not always a good one. Even Hitler was voted into power. What makes the democratic process less bad than other forms of government is that people can change their minds when they find that their choice is based in the lies of politicians.
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+3 #16 algarveandroid 2017-02-19 23:28
The gist of brexit - control supposedly back to the UK.

Load of crap.

Fishery will still be a common policy. The EU can pull the plug on the UK car industry as 70 percent are for LHD that are manufactured. Then there is free movement - which has never been a problem for the wealthy. Then there is no cheap seasonal labour for farms , meaning more FOOD imports , with a low pound meaning higher costs , as well as for heating gas.

The people never knew a thing about brexit for the most part , other than what the billionaire owned media wanted to lie about.

But then again , i did watch BBC question time and see the sort of information people had when they mentioned their votng - including straight bananas and the EU immigration problem - one created by lack of Westminster investment. Or about benefits tourism , where again WM could have changed the rules to that like Germany and prevent it. Or in the NHS , due again to WM underfunding and investment , just like the schools - and where without immigration there would be no doctors.
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