Sunday, July 14, 2013

Referendum (European Union) Bill

What if?           [This article can be freely copied or quoted with reference:- Brian Cave]
It is not too early to plan and think
In Parliament a private member’s Bill to empower a Referendum could soon be entering  “The Committee Stage” of debate.  This may be before August or in the Autumn. MPs will consider the bill paragraph by paragraph.
Will the interests of the 1.4 million Britons  in mainland Europe be considered? Not unless a fuss is generated! … It is quite unacceptable and undemocratic that a decision to pull out of the EU could be even envisaged without listening to those most intimately affected [See at the end what you can do!.]
IF BRITAIN WITHDRAWS from the EU  the lives of many of the 1.4 million Britons residing in Europe beyond the shores of Britain, could become uncomfortable -unless some sort of bargaining occurs.
Do you feel safe?
  • You will no longer be a European Citizen.  Does that matter?
  • You will no longer have an automatic right to reside anywhere in the EU/EEA.
  • The principal of four freedoms of movement within the EU would not apply -- of people, goods, financial services and capital
·        You would not necessarily be able to buy goods from Britain without some form of import tax or other control being imposed.
·        You might not be able to transmit money easily. Exchange controls could be re- introduced.
·        Restrictions on your own residence might arise – see below.
·        You would not be protected by EU law.
HISTORY!  This writer is over eighty. Memory extends to before 1973, before the UK joined the EU.  THEN  one could not take more than a very small quantity of  sterling abroad to Continental and other countries.  The sum had to be entered in the back of one’s passport by the bank issuing the foreign currency.  It was Margaret Thatcher who did away with this requirement (1979). 
The Treasury UK and the expatriate pensioner.
Understand that the Euro and the Pound are separate economic communities.  That means the movement of £s to €s is a transference of financial blood from one to the other. Payment of pensions (or Winter Fuel payments!) is a ‘letting of blood’ from the economy of Britain. One can see why The Treasury does not like it.    Note:- They freeze British Pensions in many parts of the world. 
·        If Britain left the EU.  Would pensions be frozen? The WFP would certainly cease. Other benefits would stop.
Back in 1973, there were very few British pensioners in the EU.  Now there are over 450,000.  [see Reference 2 at end]
The expenditure on their pensions is considerable!  About £3 thousand million pounds - i.e £3 billion per year

·   [to clarify - in view of a comment received - this section on residence is updated 17tyh July 2013]

RESIDENCE --Before the EU, you could not reside in France nor perhaps in any continental country unless you could demonstrate that you had enough funds to not be a burden on the State. 
Most often  you would have to demonstrate that you had health insurance.
NEW would-be residents coming from the UK could find the difficulties too great.
·        EXISTING British Residents would have the status of full foreigners.  They would need Residence cards, and possibly or probably other financial/tax restrictions, getting jobs, social support, training ?…..
·        If Britain left the EU, pensioners would lose State health cover.
·        Young entrepreneurs would probably not get support/guidance from the State of Residence, to set up a business.

All those hundreds of thousands of French, Italians, German (and the rest of EU citizens)  enhancing the economy of Britain will be worried about their future if Britain pulls out of the EU
,  They also will have no voice in this matter.
WHAT YOU – WE – THEY? – can do.

DEMAND A VOICE - The Britons Abroad must be heard - listened to!  The decision affects us more than anyone else. And are Britons far away from Europe not affected? 
They may desire to return to
Britain one day!
This matter is wider than the VOTE.  Many of course will not have a vote in any Referendum.  Many have not registered to vote – many can’t (including the author). 
But the politicians must listen – so tell them!
The bill was introduced by Mr. James Wharton, the Conservative MP for Stockton South, as a private members
In the debate (5th July) [Reference 1 at end]  only one MP, Martin Horwood,  MP for  Cheltenham drew attention to this enormous issue of the Britons Abroad in the EU.

 Be prepared to lobby your MP – Here is the list
Find the MP for the place where you last lived in the UK – claim your right to contact that MP on that basis. 
Contact any peer through the following address – Indicate to whom your message should go.
Baroness Shirley Williams said something on  this matter on the BBC radio ( – unfortunately unavailable via a non-UK server, but interesting if you can hear it. 
Baroness Williams is a politician of great influence.  Her opinion is, if Britain leaves the EU, Britain will decline into a country of little significance.  Its future lies in being an important State within Europe.
Britain should be among the leaders of Europe. 
If Britain pulls out of the EU many Britons abroad in the EU may be so discomforted that they may be forced to return to Britain. What would happen if say 500,000 Brits of the 1.4 million now residing in the EU beyond the UK, decided to return to the UK at the same time; e.g to the Housing Market?; Social Care for the elderly?
1.   The Hansard reference to the Referendum Bill debate is below – Mr. Horwood’s words are 7 paragraphs beyond the entry ‘column 1227’, just after Mr. Redwood asks Mr. Horwood to give way.

2. A graphical representation of the Emigration of British Pensioners to most countries of Europe, and comments on such emigration to the rest of the world – all with numbers can be read here.

Remember:- It is unacceptable and undemocratic that a decision to pull out of the EU could be envisaged without listening to those most intimately affected.
Distribute this to your friends and ask them to demand that their MPs also listen.