Also read here an article published in France and reprinted in The Telegraph -click
The average expatriate Briton in Europe does not understand that their ability to live in Europe depends on the UK Government. Especially is this so for all the ones who are retired -54000 in France [about 430,000 in the EU]. But all, young and old*, can only have the right to live here if the European Union holds together. It is very necessary indeed that the UK Government acknowledges its responsibility towards the Britons in Europe. It is just as necessary that the Briton in Europe ensures that the UK Government exercises its responsibility in their interest. This can only be achieved if they have representation in Parliament. This is democracy. This message is quite vital for the political health of the EU enterprise.
If European Union were to collapse, or the UK withdraw from the EU as so many in the UK would foolishly wish, then many of us would be in an uncertain condition.
*e.g. health cost support for pensioners could collapse if the EU fails.
2. The UK Government represents the expatriate – even if the expatriate is unaware of it.
Pensions – Those of teachers, Fire Service (and a lot more) are assumed to be ‘government’ pensions in France but ‘non-government pensions’ in Greece. NHS pensions are ‘non-government’ pensions in France but ‘government’ pensions in Germany. These arbitrary decisions affect the taxation costs of thousands to the cost of thousands of £s.
The Government could introduce old-age benefits limited to 'residents' . This is the case already with the ridiculous Winter Fuel Payment. If it wasn't for actions by some people it would not be paid to any expatriate. We have to thank the EU for ensuring a partial fix. But there are some very elderly expatriates who well have need for this extra money [The WFP is a payment which by reducing the public purse, reduces the scale of the State Retirement pension]. The Whitehall bureaucrat is unaware that there are expatriates in financial difficulties through no fault of their own and which is exacerbated by the lack of concern by the British Government.
3. Expatriates in difficulty. Residents in the UK can visit or write to their MP if some particular issue is important to them. Expatriates may well have issues with a UK bank, the UK tax office, local authority, payment of pensions or social care payments or a problem relating to a near relative – perhaps a child at a school in the UK or a relative in nursing care. You may yourself on a visit to the UK run into some difficulty.
4. Finally The principle of Democracy - that constant vigilance supports freedom.
If the expatriate does not have a democratic voice, the Government is free to take any action which it distantly believes to be in its interest, that is not necessarily in the interest of the expatriate citizen.