Europe: In or out?

Olive Press blogger Claire Thomas ponders the question of a Brexit

LAST UPDATED: 7 Mar, 2016 @ 23:52

“BRITAIN has gone to the dogs, they need to get out of Europe once and for all” someone nearby me shouted.

Brexit“If Britain leaves the EU there will be consequences for everyone. Mark my words, it’s the wrong way to go” replied their companion.

That was enough for me to walk away and dismiss their whole conversation. Little did I know that that wouldn’t be the last time I heard a discussion on that subject. It was just the beginning.

With the date announced for the Brexit referendum to take place (23 June), the politicians of the In and Out campaigns have started a long run of debates.

The Prime Minister has pleaded with voters to remain in the EU, whilst the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, has joined the Out campaign, saying that Britain is better off leaving the Eurozone.

People were promised a vote, but this means that difficult and unknown times lie ahead for everyone.

The economy has already started to see a downturn, but what expats want to know is, what will happen to us if a yes vote wins? Will we be able to stay in our adoptive European countries, or will we be forced to leave?

Those people who have said that Britain leaving the EU won’t change expatriates lives are wrong! This referendum will have an impact on everyone who lives and works in Europe. People may become unemployed and free healthcare could stop.

The only chance we have to be able to stay in the EU is by voting. I’ve re-registered for overseas voting forms, but there are thousands of expats who haven’t.

If you have appeared on the UK voting register in the last 15 years, then you are still able to vote and have your say. The uncertainty about Britain’s future is imminent, but our votes could make a difference in the polls. I will certainly be voting to stay in. But the question is: are you in, or are you out?

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Originally from Kent, I moved to Spain with my parents when I was 10 years old. I was thrown into the deep end when I was put into the Spanish education system with no grasp of the language. I'm now 22 and my friends all call me an “Española”. Since passing my Bachillerato (English Baccalaureate) I have worked in shops and bars and I have also taught Spanish to ex-pats. I have a keen interest in writing as well as travelling and one day I hope to become a writer.


  1. Correct Claire. But many expats will be turkeys voting for Christmas. Just read some of the idiotic comments in favour of “OUT” on here, coming from those turkey expats.

  2. Spoken by someone who has’nt presented a single fact to back up their opinion – your not a turkey stefanjo your a blustering fool.

    This writer just like you has’nt presented a single fact – she is frightened is all she is saying.

    One of the reasons that Britain has declined so much since before WW11 is that instead of researching and making sound economic decisions with the long view in mind like the Germans and Dutch, the Brits look for quick profits and screw tomorrow.

    I wish those who are not rabbits could round up all the ignorant frightened ones and dump them in the EU to suffer the consequences of the disintegration of that corrupt and incompetent organisation.

    Only in the last couple of weeks has the mask of b/s slipped. Now the Germans/French and Italians are scared they know that if the Bfrits leave it will si8gnal the end of the EU and especially the Euro. 6% of Britain’s trade is at risk if the EU has a tantrum and bans trade with the UK.

    What is actually at risk is a total collapse in French farming with the demise of CAP the almost total collapse of plasticland in Murcia and Andalucia, Dutch and Danish agriculture will slump and the EU’s second biggest contributer will not be funding the handouts.

    It is the remaining EU States that will have to negotiate with us – we don’t need Europe to supply us with foodstuffs, we can buy on the open market.

    London will not only stay the leading financial market in Europe and second only to the US but Frankfurt and Paris bourses will collapse along with French/German and Italian banks. The Italian and Spanish banks are virtually bankrupt now, a Brexit will tip them over the edge.

    The EU has only deuces to play with, the aces are all with the UK and the frightened and belligerent words from Schauble and Hollande are a joke – EU -, put up or shut up.

  3. Stuart, you argue from someone living in the UK. Perhaps you are right. I’m just a poor old ex-pat who doesn’t have the vote. Been away from Blightly too long (I left the day I left school – true story). Now for us ex-pats, apparently two million of us living in Europe (nobody really knows – or cares), the UK (the issuer of our passports) leaving the EU would be a Bad Thing. This because our treatment and privileges in Europe would go south – in short, instead of being fellow EU citizens, we would merely be extranjeros. We could expect visas, work-permits, convertible accounts and all sorts of inconvenience. We understand the British aversion to their foreigners, who only want your jobs and your women, but we have some experience in this field, and it turns out that foreigners are pretty good people too. Of course no one in Britain cares about our plight – but understand that we don’t see things the same way as you stay-at-homers.

  4. Lenox,
    why do so many Brits have a real problem reading clear and unambiguous posts. I lived in two different parts of Spain for many years and decamped to France, this is clear in so many of my posts.

    Your comments about what Brits want, being English you are as always ambiguous, which Brits are you talking about. I know it’s very difficult for so many English to be specific it’s what defines them from the rest of their crowd – the Germans, Dutch, Danes and so on.

    Maybe age is a part of your problem but now I’ve wised you up you will not be making that mistake in future – oh yes and try and be specific, accusing ‘Brits’/stay at home etc. is very lazy, tell,us all which Brits you are talking about, otherwise a rational debate canot take place or maybe that is’nt what you want just a reason to have an irrational and insipid rant.

  5. I believe we are heading out, I have only met one person who wants to stay in. The EU export more to the UK and the other way around so that is why many believe we would have a free trade deal. You can’t get appointments at Doctors anymore, they only book one week in advance and if you don’t manage to get through at 08.30 the next day, you have lost another day. Unless you drive down tot he Doctors and wait outside to make an appointment for the following week you have no chance, I have given up trying to make an appointment at my local GP. Hospitals, schools, Roads, Doctors, houses, – all full and now they want to let Turkey join where their culture does not fit ours, time to leave. EU is dragging the UK down, Cameron is more left wing than Blair.

    • Oh come off it Reap. Blair left-wing? After Iraq? The NHS is going/gone to the dogs because the Tory scum are deliberately dragging it down with cuts, in order to justify their privatisation agenda. They won’t be satisfied until Britain has the stinking USA model of health insurance for the well-heeled and the devil take the hindmost. If you want someone to blame for your perceptions, take a close look at what bumnose Osborne is quietly up to with his little chopper. It is lazy and stupid to fall for the lies perpetrated by Boris Johnson, Ian Duncan Smith, Nigel Farage, George Galloway, Christopher Grayling, Priti Patel, Douglas (ugh!) Carswell, Theresa Villiers. All the barmy army backing Brexit. If these are the people you admire and agree with, then you’re entitled to your opinion, but try to see beyond the divide and rule strategy.

  6. I guess because the Olive Press serves (mainly) the ex-pat Britons who either live in Spain or who have an investment here. Whether you live in France or England doesn’t really interest me much, but for the readers of this newspaper, arguments against their interest, investment and future of its readers serve little purpose, beyond being divisive.
    The facts about the ramifications of this referendum (apart from British law not allowing many of us the vote) are few and scaremongering is all. This newspaper is owned and run by ex-pats: its duty is to serve their interests. The British press, on the other hand, is owned and run by tyrants.

    • Indeed. And one of the worst, having immense right-wing influence on British voters, is Rupert Murdoch, who doesn’t even have the right to vote in UK elections, but feels entitled to own vast tracts of the UK media and use it to tell us all what to do.

      • Oh come off it Stefango, a very British name, but if you are British you most probably like thousands or even millions of exBrits World wide are like Rupert Murdoch have no influence on British voters but the big difference is Murdoch is not British but expats are. You do tend to come out with a load of crap most of the time which should be posted in a comic section.

        • He’s back! Still babbling, making no sense whatever, still can’t spell. So Murdoch, proprietor of News International, owner of the Sun, The Times/Sunday Times, Sky TV (millions of subscribers) including a broadband/ mobile corporation, has no influence on British voters?
          Go back to sleep Rip Van Winkle.
          By the way OP, thought you’d sacked this wise sage?

  7. The real reason a Brexit is being pushed for by the right via the UK mainstream media is because the City wants to be free of EU regulation. A piece in the Mail recently quoted Jacob Rees Mog bemoaning the migration of talented bankers from the city to the US in order to avoid the bonus cap imposed by Brussels. There are other regulations they wish to unshackle themselves from which will enable the city to get away with even more malpractice than it does at the moment to rip even more cash out of ordinary people and seal the citiy of London’s reputation as the go-to place to launder black money. In contrast, the British people will have to put up with having rights stripped away from them concerning their human rights, employment rights and further more, be unavoidably entangled in a TTIP deal with the US which will put them at the mercy of huge US corporations, something which Europe may be able to resist. If the Brexit happens I weep for our future.

  8. I have properties in Spain so I should want to stay in? but for the future of my children I will vote out. Life in the UK was much better before the bunch arrived and started invading, wait to all the other Countries arrive, Turkey wants to speed up their application, it is in the news this week, I am not making it up. The Country will be full of undesirables, look at Germany, is that how we want to end up, hundreds of savages roaming the streets attacking people, again, interviews with people that were attacked an raped have been on TV, I am not making it up. Remember the two Leeds fans that were stabbed to death in Turkey and when the murderers went to court they were met with a huge crowd of people clapping them in, I am not making it up, no more savages please. The only reason Spain does not have too many savages is because they don’t hand out lorry loads of benefits, of course we would like that rule for all non UK new comers but we are part of the EU and cannot do this, put me in power, I would sort it all out, we would be in surplus fairly quickly.

  9. Reap, good point about Spain not attracting ‘migrants’ because they don’t have any benefits, unlike the UK who hand out more benefits and free healthcare than any other EU country, with the possible exception of Germany.

    I’m glad Blair has been mentioned because it was actually his policies, with the full backing of Campbell, Mandelson and Roach, who devised ‘the Project’ and not only swung the door wide open but actively encouraged mass immigration from the sub-continent to the UK together with a complete refusal to deport anyone even if they were a convicted criminal. They also paid benefits to failed asylum seekers and rarely deported them so word got around and the UK became a very attractive place.

    Andrew Neather said the purpose of this policy was make the UK fully multi-cultural and to “rub the Right’s nose in diversity and render their arguments out of date”. Of course it backfired very badly on Labour and aliened their core working class voters but unfortunately it has turned many people completely off the EU (even though much of the immigration came from outside the EU) and hence the situation we have now.

    Had immigration to the UK been more controlled in the past, perhaps we would not be facing this situation now which could swing either way, it is going to be very tight. One thing is for sure, Brexit would do expats in Spain no favours whatsoever.

  10. Jane G,
    for far too long it has sadly been the case in the UK of so many ‘groups’ looking after their particular interests instead of taking a national view. Look back since the end of WW11, it’s been one long fiasco after another and then compare that with the Dutch and Germans – industry/housing/education/ the elderly – everything up for grabs, a complete lack of social responsibility – the long view – what’s that?

    Your quite right about the Blairite scum, whose only concern was their personal enrichment. The Nasties could’nt believe their luck when Tony the Liar and Gordon Gekko opened the floodgates.

    It sickens me when I read the servile comments about what the Nasties will do when and if we leave the EU. Everything that has happened in the UK over the decades has happened because the Brits are too frightened to stand up and literally stop the merry-go-round of carpetbagging.

    I’ve lost count of the times over the decades when Dutch and Germans and French have said to me – why do you Brits let the scum do what they want – the answer of course it that too many Brits simply are terrified of the thought of taking control, the Nasties know that only too well.

    Education, without a doubt the Brits as a whole are the most inarticulate people in Europe. It becomes embarrassing when I watch TV and compare the articulate French/Dutch and German kids compared to the stuttering uncomfortable and awkward working class kids in the UK. Simple maths leave them completely unable to do the most simple arithmetic.

    This is exactly what the public schoolboys want. They have all the arrogance of the self entitled with serfs that lack any real sense of self worth, I believe this is a big part of the compulsion of so many and not just the young to get drunk. Going back to the UK on virtually any night of the week and the obscene drunkeness disgusts me.

    We simply cannot blame the EU for this. I see a Brexit as maybe the last opportunity to reverse the damage done since WW11. Free from Europe the Brits need consult no one about a basic restructuring of the UK which will mean getting our hands dirty and right there is the problem. You get someone like stefanjo – lots of mouth and that’s all – there are far too many stefanjos in the UK, that has always been the problem.

    Just look at what happened to the Levellers. They fought and defeated an ancestor of mine an arrogant stupid Catholic – Charles 1st. These fools, the Levellers thought they had won their freedom from servitude but then found that instead of the nobility crapping on them, they had the country gentlemen instead. So servile were they that they let their commander Fairfax round them up and imprison them in a church. After a week he took the leaders and hung them – the serfs did nothing, they let it happen.

    If anyone cannot see the direct parallels between then and now it is because they are a coward.

    With a Brexit, it is the EU that will have to negotiate agreements with the UK if the British people take back their country, it just depends how many cowards there are back on the island. If this does’nt happen then very soon, the gons who do the bidding of the elite will round up anyone as a terrorist who dared to confront any part of the establishment. Spying on com poletely non violent organisations, getting women pregnant and running away and it’s been going on for decades and any punishment for this obscene programme – none at all.

    The EU is not fit for purpose if that purpose is not about the majority of Europeans. Anyone who cannot/will not see that it is a business structure and nothing more refuses to see reality.

    So if we leave we have a chance, perhaps the last chance to take back the UK for the British people. This I believe will also give Europeans as a whole a chance to destroy and to recreate a real European Community – 1984 came and went but most never saw it arrive and prefer to remain ignorant, so last chance for Britain and the last chance for Europe – I am not hopeful that the cowards will find any courage – there’s still too much swill in the bins.

  11. Who gave the EU a bad name, I’ll tell you bone idle UK politicians and civil servants. The EU has been a scapegoat for all the ills of the UK. For twenty years I have been hearing we can’t do this we can’t do that because of the EU. UK civil servants have gold plated every bit of legislation that has come out of Brussels. Benefit tourism is rife because no UK politician has had the guts to say welfare will be contribution based for all including UK citizens. If the UK leaves the EU do you think immigration will stop, no it won’t last year 215,000 non EU migrants settled in the UK, they have nothing to do with a right to freedom of movement under EU rules. Brexit campaigners say leaving the EU will give us control of our borders, the UK has control of it’s borders now, it is not part of Schengen so it could have stopped those 215,000 but it chose not to, why? Because what UK politicians will not tell you is that they want those immigrants, the UK along with most western European countries is sitting on a demographic time bomb. They have an ageing population with falling birth rates, they need immigration to pay the pensions of the retired or soon to be retired. Don’t get me wrong there is a lot wrong with the EU but a lot of good has come out of it as well. On balance I want in unless the leavers can show me a plan of how much better my life will be outside, so far they don’t have a plan they just want to sprinkle me with fairy dust. Am I being selfish you bet your cotton socks I am because if I don’t look after me nobody else is going to.

    • Peter, there is a lot of truth in what you say. Successive UK governments, the Labour Party in particular, have gold plated unpopular EU directives because it is the type of stuff they want to introduce anyway but because it is unpopular with the electorate, they hide behind the EU and blame them for it. It was the UK that introduced armies of Jobsworths going around with clipboards making people’s lives a misery.

      Other countries like Spain have rightly ignored a lot of the rubbish that has come out of Brussels and continue to do so.

      The UK could leave the EU but if we get another Labour government, they could reinstate “The Project” and swing the door wide open to EU and non-EU migration which would make Brexit a hollow victory. We would then have all the disadvantages and none of the advantages.

      There is a lot that I don’t like about the EU and I can understand why some people want to leave but I don’t think it is a cure all. That said, the EU is not fit for purpose in its current form and must reform if it is to survive.

  12. Did anyone read the Spanish press recently which said Spain has taken the first batch of it’s 20,000. Migrants. All 18 of them!

    As for EU the only people wanting to stay in are those with personal interests. Large multi nationals. Companies and organisations who get funds from EU. This includes Universities to carry out studies such as, coffee is good/bad for you. Roll eyes! And of course the BBC who recently received another 2 million quid.
    Our largest trading partner is USA (without any trade agreement). The U.K. Also sells billions to Canada whereas the EU has been trying to get a deal with Canada for 7 years, the U.K. Manages without. Three quarters of British business is small to medium size and the majority do not trade in the EU. Of course expats have an interest too, but, no pasa nada. Even Spain wouldn’t be daft enough to upset the economy getting rid of hundreds of thousands of people who spend all their income there. We could always stop buying those millions of bottles of wine from them. Ha ha

    • Spanish nationalist politics certainly would be “daft enough to upset the economy getting rid of hundreds of thousands of people who spend all their income there.”
      And now that Spain is the largest wine producer in the world, with a shortage of vineyards, Spain could likely do without sales to British expats, that few drops in the international barrel. Many have suffered in Spain’s history by thinking Spain ‘must adjust’ adjust to their group’s self-recognized interests – legitimate or delusional. I wouldn’t laugh to soon.

    • There are lies, damned lies and statistics Marion. Guess which yours are. Go on, I’ll tell you. All of ’em.
      Probably gleaned from that reliable organ, the Daily Mail.
      Just to pick one out. It’s actually Canada that has been striving for seven years to secure a trade deal with the EU. Not the other way round, as you have it.

    • Marion, logic would tell you that Spain would be mad to close down a very lucrative industry, namely, residential tourism. It is an industry that costs them nothing and produces huge amounts of revenue and creates jobs yet it didn’t stop the idiots creating the so called illegal building situation and subsequent demolitions, the damage of which is immeasurable. I’m afraid the wine industry is the thin end of the wedge.

      I hope you are right but Spain has a habit of pressing the self destruct button.

  13. Marion,
    according to Aunt Sally you must be the sister of Farage and a distant relative of Adolph.

    Your last paragraph contains facts and an informed opinion, can’t see any Project Fear there at all.

  14. Spain could sell all those millions of bottles elsewhere…why don’t they do it now. Ha ha. The U.K. Can buy good wine from anywhere. Chile, Australia, California, nice Malbec from Argentina.

    Seems a few on here are obsessed with the Daily Mail. Try City AM. Guido Fawkes and many other financial blogs too. Like it or not the feeling on the ground right now is Out. May change with all the scaremongering from project fear but at the moment their hype has backfired. Did you know a few other countries want a referendum. The project is failing! Could even collapse before the UK quits.

  15. Someone has got their info on wine all wrong. There is a glut of wine being produced across the world so much so that the Eu has to buy up lots of mediocre wine and produce alcohol from it.
    Now China is starting to produce wine and it won’t be long before the quality matches the rest of the wine producing world.

    Just a thought for Mr. Remainer, the words from a Reggae song so apt – “if you walk on your mouth, all your teeth will fall out.

  16. I have been living in the uk for almost two years unlike my fello expats and have followed some of the comments in the blog. I agree with one blogger who said does it matter that UK has ‘gone to the dogs’ if we do not live in the UK. For this reason I was tempted not to vote but I did vote because I feel I have to do the right thing wherever I am. Rajoy has intimated that expats would not be able to live and work in Spain. This is humbug. In the UK there are millions of Europeans, Italian, French and yes Spanish all working, having the UK benefits etc. are the countries of Europe (and exEurope) going to impose penalties and erect blockades. Of course not. It would not be in the interests of each member state to do so. The EU needs urgent reform. When Edward Heath pursuaded us to vote to join the then EEC , he told the public and also Parliament that we would be joining a trading association without political ambitions. Yet he knew that it was to be. Political association and the Brits of hat era have never forgiven him