Monday, August 23, 2010

Political Representation for Expatriates in Europe.

A Plea for information 
Representation of British Citizens in Europe at Westminster
If any readers have tried to contact  any  MP or Government Office at any time and have not had any satisfactory response, can they please contact me?.  You may even have had a brush-off with such a retort as 'I/we only deal with problems from constituents resident in Britain'.
The organiser of this blog site is in correspondence with David Lidington, Minister at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) on this matter.
He wrote to me in the following terms:-
"Expatriate citizens contact government about a wide range of issues covering the responsibilities of different government departments and agencies and I think that it is both fair and logical to treat representatives from expatriates in exactly the same way that we do those from people resident in the UK, where it is the constituency MP who takes the case up with the appropriate Minister.”

This comment is, as someone commented to me, baloney.  After 15 years out of Britain no expatriate has a representative MP, some never have had.  You cannot then discuss your pension, your taxation (yes- quite a few expatriates are taxed in the UK) or your welfare problems, if there is no-one there to whom you can write!  Hardly 'fair and logical' . The reasons why the British Citizen in Europe should have representation in Westminster are quite varied.  They are laid out in this blogsite - please view Concern 2 (see Index)  Over many years others have written about this matter, I note particularly the Var Village Voice in Provence, and the Riviera Reporter.  It is time to put the pressure on again.  With your help!
The UK is out of line with most other major European countries. France has recently declared its intention to allow French residents in the UK to have an elected representative in the Assembly.
As a first stage towards appropriate representation,  I am supporting the notion of a Minister for the British Citizen in Europe.  Such a person could get to grips with the intricate issues that face various British expatriates.  You may not realise, for instance,  that under European Law, if you receive the British Old Age Pension, then the United Kingdom is responsible (the 'competent' State, as they say) for the support of your social welfare - it is not France! (or any other EU State).  France is not responsible for paying for your welfare.  There are 400,000 British OAPs in Europe beyond the UK.  Does the UK Government have your interests at heart?  There are many more younger British people.  Their situation in the developing social structure of  Europe should also be a concern for the UK  Government.
This issue is not just about 'the vote'.  If you do not want a vote, then you need not bother to exercise it.  It is about having politicians in Westminster who care about the needs of the British Citizen in the European Community.  Who ensure for example that we are not ignored when treaties are arranged.  Who demonstrate that the British Government  values our contribution to the European culture.
A dossier of poor dealing would be helpful.  Please send to me at francepensions@orange.fr
Items from residents in Spain, Italy and Germany and elsewhere are as welcome as from France.
or if you do not possess email then post to le Fourquet, 46300, Gourdon, France.
So please report your experiences with UK politicians and bureaucrats,  including favourable ones.
Brian Cave