• Sweden's news in English
 
app_header_v3
Opinion - Brexit
Brits in EU: It's your future, so act now to keep Britain in
Photo: Yuriy Dyachyshyn/AFP

Brits in EU: It's your future, so act now to keep Britain in

Jessica Jones · 3 Mar 2016, 08:00

Published: 03 Mar 2016 08:00 GMT+01:00

Alex is a bright ambitious 26-year-old British-Asian student studying in Germany. A former flight attendant for a major airline, he made the decision to go to university later than most and is due to graduate with degree which could give him access to 28 job markets across the EU, as well as skills in German and Dutch.

Gill is a 72-year-old pensioner living in France. She and her husband moved there when they retired 14 years ago and have settled in well with their local community. They have French and British friends and love living there.

Both Alex and Gill represent different aspects of the British expat experience in Europe. And both share the same anxieties about what the future holds for them and other Brits after the EU referendum on 23rd June.

At 2.2 million the UK’s expat community across Europe is roughly equivalent to a city the size of Manchester. That’s no small number but only a tiny part of the monumental headache any British government would have to deal with when negotiating any post-Brexit settlement.

Since David Cameron got his deal in Brussels and announced the date of the referendum we have seen a lot more discussion about what could happen to the rights, benefits and residency status of Brits living in EU countries. But we must remember that much of this is speculative: no one knows for certain what will happen if Britain chooses to leave the EU.  

So the only way expats can be 100% sure of their pension and healthcare rights (to name but two)  is to vote ‘remain’ on 23rd June. It is that simple.

This means that expats who can still vote should register for a proxy or postal vote as soon as possible. Only 109,000 British expats voted to register for the General Election in 2015. And that’s the global figure. Not the EU one.  


George Cunningham, pictured outside the UK Parliament. Photo: Private

The Electoral Commission reports that there has been some increase in registration recently. But much more is needed. Registering now is particularly crucial because it was only a year ago that many of our members told us they couldn’t vote in the General Election due to administrative problems and cock-ups by local councils. 

Furthermore, expats who have lived outside the UK for more than 15 years should continue to make a fuss and urge family and friends to vote ‘remain’; if not for them then to secure the right for Brits to study, work and retire across the EU in future. Voting in the EU referendum is a once in a generation decision and one that will have an impact on our all our family and friends for years to come.

And finally, for many expats (both in the EU and worldwide) anxiety over referendum is about much more than self-interest. We experience daily what it means to live in the international community and the values and benefits that this brings. It’s no surprise, therefore that the Liberal Democrats have called their campaign #INtogether.

Story continues below…

With the polls as tight as they are, expats who care about their future and Britain’s place in the world must register to vote as soon as possible. Every vote will count and expats may well hold the balance.

George Cunningham is Chair of Brits Abroad: Yes to Europe, an expat campaign group to keep Britain in the EU. It is a non-partisan get out the vote initiative run by the Brussels and Europe Liberal Democrats. managed by the Brussels and Europe Liberal Democrats. The campaign has a Facebook page with up-to-date news about the debate on: https://www.facebook.com/BritsAbroadYestoEurope/

 

For more news from Sweden, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

Jessica Jones (jessica.jones@thelocal.com)

Today's headlines
Brexit vote
Sweden opposition cools talk of 'Swexit' poll
Anna Kinberg Batra, of the largest opposition party, the Moderates. Photo: TT

"This is a sad day for the British and for Europe."

Brexit vote
Swedish PM swats aside calls for EU renegotiation
"Sweden will now lose an important partner in the EU," Löfven said. Photo: TT

Left Party calls "totally irresponsible."

Brexit vote
'Devastated' - Brits in Sweden shocked by Brexit vote

Expat Brits in Sweden have reacted with shock, despair and uncertainty to the result of the EU referendum in the UK which was won 52-48 by the Leave campaign.

Brexit vote
'A morning of sorrow': Sweden reacts to Brexit vote
Photo: TT

The former Swedish EU minister, Birgitta Ohlsson declared that it was 'a morning of sorrow', after British voters opted to leave the European Union on Thursday.

The Local Recipes
How to make Karin's delicious Midsummer cake
Karin's cake. Photo: swedishfood.com

"We are very tolerant of other cultures except when it comes to strawberries."

Sweden named the world's 'most reputable' country
The flag of the world's most reputable country – at least according to one report. Photo: Fredrik Sanberg/TT

Sweden has been ranked as the most reputable country in the world by a new report. Find out why.

Why most students don't finish Swedish for Immigrants
More students are taking Swedish for Immigrants classes, but completion rates are low. Photo: Pontus Lundahl

Only four in ten students finished their courses at Sweden's state-funded Swedish for Immigrants classes in 2015, according to new statistics from a national agency.

Swedish police nab drunk-driving lawnmower man
Lawnmowers: dangerous, in the wrong hands. Photo: Hasse Holmberg/TT

A man in southern Sweden is at risk of having his licence revoked after drunkenly driving a motorized lawnmower.

Sweden has EU's second highest food prices
A shopper prepares for the inevitable fleecing. Photo: Fredrik Persson/TT

If your loaf of bread seems ridiculously expensive that’s because it is.

Here's how much alcohol Swedes drink on Midsummer
Systembolaget is a busy place around Midsummer. Photo: Fredrik Sandberg/TT

Swedes are known for letting loose on Midsummer, but the most recent figures from the country's state-run alcohol monopoly may surprise you.

Sponsored Article
How to find student housing in Malmö: 5 tips
Culture
How do Swedes celebrate Midsummer?
Sponsored Article
'Sweden gives artists the space to follow their dreams'
Culture
Coming soon: Sweden’s smelly fermented fish
National
Assange lawyer: Sweden should recognize UN opinion
Blog updates

17 June

Queen’s Birthday Stockholm 2016: 9th June. 90th Birthday. 900 Guests! (The Diplomatic Dispatch) »

"What do you do when you read that the Queen’s 90th Birthday in London will be…" READ »

 

10 June

i lördags, på lördag – time phrases for present, past and future (The Swedish Teacher) »

"Hejsan! Swedish time phrases can be difficult to master. It takes a lot of practice to…" READ »

 
 
 
Sponsored Article
5 reasons you should try dating with The Inner Circle
Private
The Local Voices
Why is this Syrian dentist who hugs like a Swede worried about undies?
Sponsored Article
The man behind Sweden's biggest music festival
Swedish nationalist 'shot and ate' lion and giraffe
Analysis & Opinion
'Sweden's residency revamp is harmful and inhumane'
Photo: The Local
The Local Voices
UNHCR boss: 'It's hard to start your life without your family'
Sponsored Article
US expats: Have you met your tax deadlines?
Politics
VIDEO: Brits in Europe say why UK should stay
Sponsored Article
Education abroad: How to find an international school
Photo: Marko Risović
The Local Voices
World Refugee Day: Searching for safety in Europe - in pictures
National
Is Swedish nationalists’ foreign food ban bananas?
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Gallery
Property of the week: Söråker
Sponsored Article
Malmö: Home to the best food in Sweden?
International
Poll shows huge support for EU in Sweden
The Local Voices
How a Syrian scuba diver mobilized Sweden's biggest asylum centre
Sponsored Article
Avoid hidden fees when sending money overseas
Sport
Zlatan: 'If we'd been fighting for real, he'd be in hospital'
Sponsored Article
VIDEO: Why Malmö is the world's 6th best city for biking
The Local Voices
Orlando reflections: Is it possible to be gay and Muslim?
Sponsored Article
5 reasons you should try dating with The Inner Circle
Sweden to go ahead with migrant age tests
Sponsored Article
US expats: Have you met your tax deadlines?
Gallery
People-watching: June 17th-19th
Sponsored Article
Stockholm school celebrates Nepal Project success
National
Will you be hit by changes to Sweden's residency laws?
Sponsored Article
6 simple travel hacks that will make your life easier
The Local Voices
Why an Iraqi who won Swedish lottery won't quit his restaurant job
Gallery
People-watching: Midweek revellers
National
Why this pizzeria is giving elderly Swedes free meatballs
3,341
jobs available
PSD Media
PSD Media is marketing company that offers innovative solutions for online retailers. We provide modern solutions that help increase traffic and raise conversion. Visit our site at:
psdmedia.se