This Blog discusses the problems of the British expatriate pensioner in France & Europe. If you are concerned then it is essential that you write to your MP or a Minister. Links to find your MP, and ideas for a letter are at on the right below. You can also comment or email the blog author -- see profile.
Political Action is ESSENTIAL - one must not just grouse. View "FOUR CONCERNS of this blog".
Saturday, September 7, 2013
Britons Abroad in Europe meet with Mme Viviane Reding, a Vice President of the EU
Fourteen Britons from France,
Belgium and London
(they included representatives of all three political persuasions along with other interest groups) met with Mme Reding and four EU Commission officials at the Commission offices
in Brussels. A Greek citizen was
there as an observer and we had a supporting communication from an Irish
Sir Roger Gale MP led our
delegation. Harry Shindler, the 92 year old initiator of this meeting
encouraged us to meet him to back his demand for his vote to be given back to him
by the British Government. Sir Roger exposed the situation that the Briton
abroad had the vote taken away after 15 years and asked that the Commission
might intervene with the British Government.The response from Mme Reding was that this would infringe the British
subsidiarity clauses in this field
When Mme Redding moved on to
another engagement, her Deputy Head of Cabinet, Mme Viviane Hoffman remained
with the other officials and we sat round the large oval table in the cabinet
room.Outside in the streets of Brussels
the temperature was 33 degrees.Inside
the debate was measured. .
Harry was disappointed with the
Commissioners problem with subsidiarity especailly since later the subject of
the Referendum was raised and again the issue of subsidiaritychecked the debate.That the majority of Britons abroad in the EU
may not vote in a referendum which is fundamental to their welfare is an
appalling malfunction in any democracy.
Yet as the debate developed I
became more and more pleased.The spirit
of the EU was running with us.
Mme Hoffman seen left
with Harry Shindler made it abundantly clear that the EU Commission was
delighted to have this delegation there.She use the phrase “honoured that Mr. Shindler” should come to Brussels.It could not have been more plain.
This discussion from the start
entered the European sphere – Why else
were we there?
Eight nations of the twenty eight
States in the full European Union plus the extra EAA members do not give full democratic rights to their
nationals in the rest of Europe.Britain,
Ireland and Denmark
are the three significant larger States with this situation
It became increasingly apparent
to me that our Britishdelegation was
Is the message –‘Britain needs to show the way forward in the matter
of Democracy in Europe’ Where Britain goes the others will follow.‘?
This seemed to be a seminal
My time came to speak.
I watched the four people team of
as I spoke.
“What is a Nation?” I
rhetorically asked.It is the people,
not the physical geography of the towns, hills and rivers.I held my hands like cups to each side and
said ‘Democracy is a two way process. On the right the citizens look to the
national Government for support and help. On the left the Government should be
proactive and look towards the citizens in the European countries to see how
they are faring. The British Government does not’.I saw the two men of the EU commission pick
up their pencils almost simultaneously and write. I was surprised and pleased.
We need to be proud of our
National Government as the Government needs to show pride in the Briton Abroad.
I spoke of the confused nonsense
that can arise from muddled Double Taxation agreements, drawing attention as an
example to the varying position of Nurses pensions in Germany (taxed in the UK)
and France (not so). The pencils again
The meeting drew to a close and
perhaps cheekily, I jumped in with a sentence relating to an earlier plea of
Harry Shindler’s on the same theme which marks and honours his lifetime
endeavours.“On March 3rd 1944 whilst Harry was
fighting at Anzio, the house I
lived in was blasted by a stick of German bombs. Let us hope that on May 8th 2014 [Victory in Europe
day] we can, as Harry desires, celebrate our victory in this cause with the
Churchillian V sign”.