Brexit · Moving To France · Uncategorized

Advice From My MP Re Brexit And Moving To France


I contacted my MP’s, Caroline Dinenage, office regarding Brexit and my worries about moving to France. Her office told me that someone in Caroline’s London office, Lucy Burton, was dealing with these enquiries and they’d get her to give me a call. I went off to do other things expecting a long wait when almost immediately she called me! I didn’t expect that.

Lucy was incredibly understanding of the issues we are faced with and made it clear, as expected, that we couldn’t be certain of anything at the moment. However she was able to give responses which were helpful to the following topics, which I can share with you here.

When Article 50 Will Be Invoked

Lucy said that Article 50 needs to be invoked by March next year. Theresa May has stated that she wants a clear understanding of the issues before she begins the negotiation, so Article 50 will probably not be triggered until early next year in order to ensure that the governement has an understanding of the most pertinent issues prior to its commencement. Forewarned is forearmed after all.

As we are moving in August Lucy was clear too that between now and September the political community was on Summer recess so, despite Mrs May having appointed her cabinet now, there wouldn’t be any further action during that time period.

What Would Be The Position Of Those British Citizens Who Live In Other Parts Of Europe?

Lucy couldn’t be certain of people’s ability to remain in their current home. However Mrs May had not given a guarantee that other EU members could remain here as this would be unwise before similar assurances were given on behalf of British citizens abroad.

I felt that this was the case, as I’m sure you have too, but it was good to hear that this was the reason for Mrs May’s stance.

If We Moved Before Artcile 50 Is Invoked Would This make Our Position To Remain In France Stronger?

Lucy felt, but could not guarantee, that this would be the case. We discussed Angela Merkel’s statement that, prior to the triggering of Article 50 and even throughout the process, Britan would maintain all of the rights (those citizens living abroad for example) and all of the responsibilities (EU citizens living here). This statement would appear to support the ability to maintain acquired rights, particularly if moving prior to Article 50 (my words, not Lucy’s).

What About My Irish Citizenship?

When I first explained that I had Irish citizenship Lucy confidently said that I would maintain all of my rights as an EU citizen.

However I queried whether this would extend to the current reciprocal relationship in terms of the social system, for example health care, when I haven’t actually paid any money into the Irish system this gave her some pause.

My Irish citizenship comes from my mother, born in Ireland, and I have never lived there. So it would seem that this may be an area of difficulty.

Lucy was unsure what the implications for this would mean and is going to get back to me about it. I’ll keep you updated.


Brexit · Moving To France · Uncategorized

Should I Stay Or Should I Go?


This is the question that’s been going through my mind all this week. Whilst the leadership of the Conservative Party was battling ahead I felt like we still had time.

Time for what? As we aren’t in France yet this Brexit result has made our position precarious. When the results came in discussions were had about those nationals who had moved to other countries. Would they continue to maintain the rights granted to them? How would it affect their health costs, for example?

Although I think I answered a lot of that here, for us the scenario is different. We haven’t yet moved, although we’ve already given up our daughter’s school place (only the British can understand how significant that is) and rented our house as well as other things. As I’m writing today we’re only seven weeks away from our move.

I’ve become a news addict. Some have suggested that anyone who was living in the UK  on June 23rd (and I would therefore imagine their counterparts in other European countries ) would definitely be allowed to stay without their conditions changing.

Then Andrea Leadsom was saying, in contrast to Theresa May and in keeping with what had been said by the Leave campaign, that those living in the UK when (if) she started her premiership in September would be allowed to stay.

Then, in this political period were events are steamrollering along, she was hounded out of the campaign for statements she made about motherhood. May has had her coronation. She is the PM. In the commons Cameron took his last Prime Minister’s questions. He was jovial, stating what he’d achieved and blithely ignoring his abject failure. People praised him. God this is an odd time in politics.

When I heard on Monday that Leadsom had withdrawn May’s repeated statements that she would offer no guarantees to European citizens living here kept ringing in my ears. If this is true for those living here, then what will be the case for UK citizens living abroad? Let alone about us. Do we risk moving at all?

I convinced myself that we would be OK – if we moved before article 50 had been triggered. Maybe.

Then I read that she may trigger article 50 straight away! The panick started to set in. Our chances of being badly affected by this were increasing minute by minute!

In the end I raised it with my husband. La Belle Fille finishes school this week, there’s nothing to keep us here. Let’s go! These few weeks could make all the difference! We argued about it. In the end he suggested us going ahead and him staying to do the decorating that nerfs doing be force oir tenants arrive. I got to the point where I telephoned my mother – can we come and stay with her?

And then….

I have now seen that David Davis has been appointed minister for Brexit. I have come across this that he has written previously in relation to Brexit;

Single market access – and why we should take time before triggering Article 50.

This leaves the question of Single Market access. The ideal outcome, (and in my view the most likely, after a lot of wrangling) is continued tariff-free access. Once the European nations realise that we are not going to budge on control of our borders, they will want to talk, in their own interest. There may be some complexities about rules of origin and narrowly-based regulatory comipliance for exports into the EU, but that is all manageable.

But what if it they are irrational, as so many Remain-supporting commentators asserted they would be in the run up to the referendum?

This is one of the reasons for taking a little time before triggering Article 50. The negotiating strategy has to be properly designed, and there is some serious consultation to be done first. Constitutional propriety requires us to consult with the Scots, Welsh, and Northern Irish governments first, and common sense implies that we should consult with stakeholders like the City, CBI, TUC, small business bodies, the NFU, universities and research foundations and the like. None of them should have any sort of veto, but we should try to accommodate their concerns so long as it does not compromise the main aim. This whole process should be completed to allow triggering of Article 50 before or by the beginning of next year.”

I’m starting to breathe a bit easier again. The walls aren’t closing in quite as quickly. I’ve put down the phone to change our tickets. I’m going to phone our Conservative MP tomorrow and ask what is the most likely thing to happen. I’ll update you here if she has any answers. But to be honest in this political period who does?


Brexit · Learning French · Uncategorized

A-Z Of Brexit With Key French Vocabulary

united kingdom exit from europe relative image

As it others were I was stunned by the referendum result. My mother, attending church in the cathedral the Sunday afterwards, was met with points and exclamations of English afterward. These, thankfully, weren’t expressions of condemnation (despite France many in France being pro the result – #BonDebarras), but rather of shock. Her response “Oui, Je sais. C’est catastrophique!”

As I’m going to be taking my little one to play groups and other things for extended periods of time, and as an outsider, I’m becoming (perhaps irrationally) concerned with what to say if asked about it – as well as how to say it! So I’ve put together an a-z of Brexit things as well as some French vocabulary. Hope this helps you too!


Is for ashamed (avoir honte). Following the vote (vote) my Facebook timeline was filled with posts from people who were ‘ashamed to be British’. This was, apparently, because of the image of those who had voted for Brexit being what is described below.


Is for bigot (fanatique). As many who voted for Brexit stated immigration (l’immigration) as a major concern they have been termed as ‘Little Englanders’ (les petits anglaise) because of their suspected wish of wanting the UK (le Royaume-Uni) to be ‘for the British’.


Former MP Tony Benn smokes his pipe outside the Palace of Westminster, London, Tuesday 18 March, 2003, during the debate in the House of Commons on the possibility of war aganist Iraq. See PA story POLITICS Iraq. PA Photo: Matthew Fearn

Is for control (être maître) ; as in control of borders (la frontière), of the ability to make laws (les lois), and those responsible for the governing of the people to be accountable to the people. A phrase frequently repeated by those campaigning for Brexit, and best highlighted by Tony Benn’s quote;


“When I saw how the European Union was developing, it was very obvious what they had in mind was not democratic (democratique) In Britain, you vote for a government (le gouvernement) so the government has to listen to you, and if you don’t like it you can change it.”

C is also for contagion (la contagion). The fear that post Brexit other countries unhappy with how the EU is being run may themselves put a referendum to their people.


Is for degree (avoir une diplôme universitaire). The often stated difference between those voting to Bremain with those voting for Brexit was that the former had them and the latter didn’t. The inference being, of course, that Brexiters didn’t have the capacity (la capacité) to make such a monumental decision as they weren’t as intelligent (intelligent/e), or even stupid (stupide). See L.

Is also for diverse (divers/e). London, the most diverse in the number of cities which voted to remain, was contrasted to the areas voting for Brexit. The argument that those who had voted for Brexit didn’t live in such areas was evidence that, as they hadn’t experienced diversity, therefore were more susceptible to the lies of the Brexit campaign (presumably because of their lack of intelligence).


Is for the elite (l’élite). The referendum has been seen by many as a way to lash out at ‘the elite’ who are not touched by the impact mass immigration has had on others. In response to the point above it is argued that the elites – whilst enjoying cheap labour, a wide variety of cuisine and restaurants etc – don’t have to compete for resources as others do and actually live in leafy, wealthy areas. This was epitomised by the behaviour of Bob Geldof directed towards Nigel Farage. Hits focus on Farage, I would suggest, meant that he wasn’t sufficiently conscious the impact it was having on the fishermen (pêcheurs) with him campaigning (faisant campagne) against the EU.



Is for fear (peur) as in project. Prior to the referendum many business leaders and financiers (including the head of the Bank of England) stated that following an ‘out’ vote there would be a financial crises (crises financières). World leaders such as Obama, Hollande and experts like the IMFs Christine Lagarde all reported financial devastation, lack of trade deals and the moving of border checks to this side of the channel.

On the Brexit side fear was in the form of masses of refugees (les réfugiés) (depicted on the now notorious Nigel Farage poster). It was this side of the campaign that was associated with the murder (le meurtre) of the MP Jo Cox.


As in mind the gap (un créneau). In this depressingly sad piece in The Guardian this writer eloquently describes it. His realisation as to the possible reason for the sudden growth in the hand washed car business (why invest in expensive machinery, when labour itself is so cheap) made me ashamed. Ashamed that the gap between the rich and the poor in my country had grown so much with us only paying passing attention to it. A commentor below the line in this piece, despairing of the affect Brexit would have on her children, was angry and bewildered. She’d voted all her life to pay higher taxes, she said, to help such people. Yet she was still angry at them for voting out.

I was struck by how our sudden unease and fear that Brexit had unleashed was nothing in comparison to generations of people let down by successive Labour and Conservative governments. This feeling has probably been their predominant feeling throughout life.


Is for Home Secretary, or Theresa May, reportedly a shoe in for the Conservative leadership and therefore Prime minister. May, who has overseen immigration ironically, has expressed euro sceptic sentiments previously. Nevertheless she, grudgingly, backed Bremain. She has committed to invoking article 50 (l’article 50) and has caused doubt as to whether foreign nationals would be repatriated following the Article 50s completion and British exit from the EU (le rapatriement). This is despite repeated statements by Brexit campaigners that no such thing would happen following the referendum. Whether she is doing so to look tough, to appeal to those she sees as xenophobic rather than just doubtful about mass migration or as a bargaining chip in the negotiations remains to be seen. What is certain is that such statements causes anxiety not only for those foreign nationals (les ressortissant étranger) living in the UK, but UK nationals living in other member states.


Is for integration (l’intégration) too. For some the response of France was seen as an inevitable result of England’s self designated thorn in the side role of the European rose. In England it had always been for some a project economic, not social and our constant ‘No’ to treaties where a roadblock to the desired integration wanted by the other countries.


Is for Johnson, Boris. The blonde haired buffoon or bro, depending on your perspective. Seen at first as the hero of the Brexit campaign (or power thirsty, backstabbing, opportunist) he delivered a Hollywood worthy ‘Independence Day’ speech just before referendum day (le discours). After the shock result he was pictured looking, it can be interpreted, in shock (un choc). It must be said that this opinion can be further substantiated by his sudden disappearance (la disparition) following what should have been his victorious (victorieux/euse) hour. His subsequent column, apparently edging away from some of the wilder referendum claims, resulted his own ‘et tu Bruté’ moment, when his own back was apparently stabbed by Gove.


J is also for Junker, whose response following the referendum and to his first meeting with Nigel Farage post it, would suggest he is not entirely unhappy (malheureux/euse) with the situation. In fact, post result he was calling once again for closer union (plus proche union) and the U.K. to invoke article 50 as soon as possible. However Angela Merkel, amongst other leaders, appears to be dissatisfied with his political skills (compétence de politique). In fact there have been calls that he, as well as Tusk, should stand down for the handling of the pre-referendum negotiations (les négociations).


Is for the kingdom and whether we’ll stay united. Following the result Scotland (l’Écosse) and even London (Londres) questioned their sense of belonging to the rest of the nation and discussions were had as to whether we would remain together as a United Kingdom. At present Nicola Sturgeon’s hope of remaining in the EU have been quashed, but her hopes of a second Scottish referendum are burning brightly once again.


Is for lies (le mensonge) – an accusation thrown at the Brexit team. imageIt’s said with their misrepresentation of the amount of money given to the EU, their claim this would be spent on the NHS, the reduction of immigration etc that the Brexit team misled voters who were therefore unable to make such a complex decision.

In retaliation Brexit claimed that remain were fearmongering with their predictions of economic doom, affects on pensions (seen to be attacking those most likely to vote out) and even, ultimately world war 3 (or a version thereof).


imageIs for markets (les marchés). Prior to the vote Mark Carney had warned that Brexit could spark a second recession. On the morning of 24th June he announced to a jittery market that the Bank of England had prepared, developing the monetary resources required to balance the market. At the close of the working day on the Friday the markets, that had taken a severe hit in the morning, returned to a higher level, but have fluctuated since. Carney has since intervened several times to much praise.

Interestingly the European markets have been negatively affected to a greater extent; perhaps because of the already ailing euro.

In the days following the vote George Osborne was nowhere to be seen (Boris Johnson was also M.I.A to a large extent). Since the result he has started to woo other markets, saying the UK is still a stable place to invest money. New Zealand has offered to lone us trade negotiators, (Les négociateurs commerciaux) as we don’t have the people skilled to do so having our trade agreements (L’accord de libre-échange) negotiated through the EU. China has since said that ongoing trade negotiations are taking too long and Brexit has resulted in a possibility of developing a closer relationship with the U.K. instead.

Our trade relationship with the USA is in doubt (le doute). The trade agreement with the EU is faltering due to Brexit, however Obama’s advisor Scultz has said that we will be at the back of the queue – but some see his later statements calling for calm as confirmation that this isn’t the case. Nevertheless the forthcoming presidential election means that there will be a new head of the ship, and already Paul Ryan and other US senators have called to support the special relationship through trade deals.

In short, we won’t know the outcome for some time yet on our economy.


N is for nationalism (le nationalisme), which appears to be on the rise prior to and following the referendum. In countries such as Austria the far right is gaining ground and a narrowly fought election is being re-run in October. 

In my beloved France too the result was met with glee from Marine le Penn and it now appears to be feeling next year’s election, as well as other countries. 


Is for Osborne who completed off project fear with e forecast of dire proportions relating to the possibility of Brexit. He predicted severe budget cuts following our departure from the EU. Following Brexit he’s offered tax reductions to countries to attract the to/remain in the UK, to further chagrin of the EU itself. 


Is for parliament (le parlement) and its role out referendum. Having been touted as a definitive referendum on the European question, it’s now being argued that it is only an advisory position, and that parliament itself is sovereign. Amongst the demonstrations and petitions to call for another referendum or its lack of authority due to lies told, no plan in place etc, a group of anonymous business has got together to put forward a court case to challenge the referendum’s inevitability.


P is also for the European Parliament, which its subservience to the commission. It is said that the heads of various national government’s, including Angela Merkel, insistence of leading the Brexit negotiations as opposed to the commission was based on their having being elected. This democratic deficit, long talked of in the European Union, may finally be being challenged post Brexit.


Is for the Queen (la reine) who was reported to have made known her dissatisfaction with the EU at a dinner party with Gove and Nick Clegg, but who later challenged the report. However, just prior to the referendum date did not refute the report she was asking at dinner parties for guests to tell her three things we gained from membership of it. Like her subtle statement prior to the Scottish referendum, this was seen as an anti EU statement, as her majesty is known to be more in favour of the Commonwelath which comes second best to the EU. As a closer federalised state, with all members becoming citizens of the EU, would call into question the monarchy’s (la monarchies) standing, this isn’t too much of a stretch.


Is for refugees, landing on wealthy European shores each day. As noted under T, the crises and its handling has ramifications on Brexit and throughout Europe. However, there is no doubt that pictures of a three year old drowned child have affected many in Europe. Angela Merkel’s response has been criticised and praised, but her unilateral decision has ramifications for all of Europe and has shown the weaknesses in a union with such distinctive countries.


Is for society (la société). Those areas voting for Brexit were identified as predominantly white, working class (la classe ouvrière ). Along with arguments raised under B and X one of the explanations given for the surprise result was that the free movement of people (La libre circulation des personnes) attributed to the European Union has meant that unskilled workers from poorer countries have immigrated to the UK. These workers are willing to accept far lower wages, therefor deflating the wages of those already here due to the nature of capitalism.

It can be argued though that it is the capitalist nature of society, unlike the socialist society of the French, that has led to this position. In France there is a protectionist culture (la culture protectiotnniste); welcoming newcomers that can support themselves, but willing to pay higher prices and wages to ensure that all have the dignity of work.



Is for terrorism (le terrorisme). A fear of the attacks in Paris as well as other European and Western societies being repeated was present and highlighted by that poster. Angela Merkel’s response to last summers refugee crises and the subsequent terror attacks that could be related back to it was seen as a direct threat to the European nations security due to the schengen zone. Subsequent efforts to stop the movement of people has led to the possible inclusion of Turkey into the zone in the coming years, and certainly giving its citizens access to the schengen zone now. This has further unnerved people. One of the debating points prior to the referendum was whether being a part of Europe increased or negatively affected our security.


Is for unemployment (le chômage), particularly of the young, in the UK and throughout the EU –  in Italy, Greece and Spain amongst other countries. Free movement of people has been said to deprive poorer countries within the EU of their most enterprising, who leave to go to the richer nations for a better life. However this is argued to leave already struggling nations without the ‘resource’ (I hate talking about people in this manner) to develop their nations, and with an increased pool of labour that can be paid relatively little (see W) the rich nations within the EU become richer, whilst the gap between the rich and the poor within those nations becomes wider.

In addition creating a continent of essentially migrant workers also needs a larger welfare state to fulfil the roles that an otherwise closer community, with strong family ties for young families, would fulfil. In an era of austerity this may be hauling to some.


V is for vote, as in who has it. Prior to the referendum there was a court case deciding who had a day and who didn’t – with many ex-pats dissatisfied with the result. 


Is for workers rights (les droits). Many felt that the EU was the best way to stand against right wing business interests and nation states (see N). It is often stated that European laws protect maternity rights and other workers rights in general.

However France’s recent demonstrations against changes to working hours, including 0 hours contracts, along with the treatment of Greece suggests that the EU does not protect rights as we would wish.


Is for xenophobia, see b. Following the referendum there has been reported that a  increase in racism towards foreign nationals has been reported. 


Group of young protesters gather to protest that at 16 years old they were too young to vote in Westminster outside the Houses of Parliamant following a Leave vote, also known as Brexit as the EU Referendum in the UK votes to leave the European Union on June 24th 2016 in London, United Kingdom. Membership of the European Union has been a topic of debate in the UK since the country joined the EEC, or Common Market in 1973. It will be the second time the British electorate has been asked to vote on the issue of Britain's membership: the first referendum being held in 1975, when continued membership was approved by 67% of voters. The two sides are the Leave Campaign, commonly referred to as a Brexit, and those of the Remain Campaign who are also known as the In Campaign. (photo by Mike Kemp/In Pictures via Getty Images)

Is for the young (les jeunes), said to have been robbed of their future by the elderly (l’ancienne). Those in the 18-24 category voted for Bremain, it is said, in total by 75%.  Since the election there have been demonstrations (le manifestation) to overturn the vote (see P) predominantly attended by the young. It is argued that those with fewer years, who will therefore not have as much time to live through the ramifications, have voted for Brexit.

However, it has also argued that only 36% of the young actually voted.


Is for the zone; euro that is. Despite the assertion that workers rights are protected by the European Union it’s certainly true that the financial crises and its impact on the eurozone has meant that heavy programmes of austerity (l’austérité) has left Greece reeling, and it’s democratically elected government challenged by the EU. In Italy too, as well as France countries have said to be unable to respond to their own needs, caged in the euro network.

Lou Messugo



The result of the referendum has left us all reeling. Yet I refuse to say post Brexit, as I feel there is still hope that everyone will come to their senses. (For those of you with Irish ancestors you may want to look here.)

Nevertheles, no matter how ugly things are at the moment, as we talk to each other – online or in real life – can we keep these words in mind?

Corinthians 13:4-8

4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

8 Love never fails.

God bless.

Brexit · Moving To France

Brexit; Could Your Ancestry Be The Key To Retaining Your EU Status?


In my last post I put forward ways that I think my folks, currently living in their home in Normandy, could have some rights if a Brexit should occur. However for our move to France, which due to family issues will have to happen after the referendum, would not only be in jeapordy due to these changes, but our right to go would be in question.

Would we have to go through a visa system?

Ireland And The EU

My research last year threw up a possibility which might ensure that, irrelevant of the outcome of the referendum, my parents and myself can continue to enjoy the rights of European citizens.

Every Irish citizen is also a citizen of the European Union and an Irish passport allows for free rights of movement and residence in any of the states of the European Economic Area (EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway) and Switzerland. It had occurred to me that this was a possibility because I knew my aunt had a passport for both nations – Irish and British. However my mother didn’t.

The reason for this difference was that my mother had been born in the north of Ireland as her parents, originally from the south, had travelled there to join the war effort. By contrast my aunt had been born in the south, so she was automatically an Irish citizen.

However, since the 1998 Good Friday Agreement anyone born in the island of Ireland is entitled to Irish citizenship dependent on their parents nationality. Her entitlement could affect me, my siblings and our children (my mother’s grandchildren). So I decided to look into it.

Are We Entitled To Irish Citizenship? image

If you where born on the island of Ireland before January 1 2005 you are entitled to be an Irish citizen.  Under the terms of the 1998  Good Friday Agreement – those born in Northern Ireland have the right to be citizens of both the United Kingdom and Ireland.  To have the right to hold the citizenship of both an individual must – at the time of their birth – have had at least one parent who was Irish, British or who had the right to live permanently in Northern Ireland. So my mother, being born in Northern Ireland to Irish parents, would seemingly be an Irish citizen and as such a member of the EU irrelevant of Brexit.

If someone is born outside of Ireland they may be an Irish citizen by descent if one of their parents was born in Ireland and was an Irish citizen (i.e. not a foreign national who happened to be in Ireland at the time of their birth). My grandfather on my father’s side was from the Republic of Ireland too, so my dad has Irish citizenship too. As my mother is of Irish descent and born in Ireland myself and my siblings would also qualify for Irish citizenship, irrespective of where we are born.

If you were born outside of Ireland to a parent/s who are an Irish citizen/s who were also born outside of Ireland, then you are entitled to become an Irish citizen. For my children and nieces and nephews they could then claim Irish citizenship through me/my siblings. In this case they would need to register in the Foreign Births Register,a link to which is here. Their Irish citizenship is effective from the date of registration – not from the date when They were born.

For a more detailed account that may help with other familial situations, and a chart to clearly explain this,  you can go to the website here.

What Does This Mean For An Irish Passport?

Applications for an Irish passport are made using form APS1, for those applying inside of Ireland, or APS2 depending for those outside Ireland at the time of the application and can be obtained from an Irish Embassy or Consulate. The process and requirements are similar to a British passport application and the basic fee for an Irish passport application is €80.

How Would This Affect My Husband And Family?

imageEuropean free movement law has been made to ensure that the EU citizen has a clear path to realise their freedom of movement rights to another EU country. As restricting the rights of family to accompany the EU citizen will discourage the EU citizen from exercising their free movement right, this would impede their rights. Therefore the non-EU member family have a right to be with their on-the-move EU family members, and have the same rights to work or study or access the resources of the host member state.

Therefore my husband and daughters (although they could claim nationality through me) can;

  • get a free visa, to be issued “as soon as possible and on the basis of an accelerated process”, as long as they will be travelling with or joining me.
  • They can enter without a required visa as long as they are travelling with the me and are carrying proof of our relationship.
  • They are entitled to a Residence Card when the EU citizen is exercising treaty rights of stay.
  • After a period in another host member state, family members can move back with their EU citizen family member to the EU citizen’s home country.
    During their first 3 months family members who are not EU nationals cannot be required to apply for a residence card confirming their right to live there – although in some countries they may have to report their presence upon arrival.



For us this means that we can go to France, safe in the rights we currently maintain as Eu citizens. Again I’m going to state that I’m not an expert in this, don’t gamble your house on it then sue me! But, could this apply to you too?

Brexit · Moving To France

Responding To Project Fear


Project Fear will now be used throughout the referendum campaign; keep these points in mind to ease your mind if the scaremongering gets too much in the coming months.

  • The Vienna Convention covers the majority of expats living throughout Europe already and gives them acquired rights.

  • Acquired rights of people running businesses in France and other countries are covered under the Treaty of the Functioning of the European Union.

  • This well established principle of acquired rights would probably be upheld in European Courts for retirees etc as well.

  • Failing this, it will be a long drawn out process!

I spoke in my last post about how my mother, being informed by English news in my folks home in Normandy, had been worried by the claims made. The one that annoyed me most of all was the suggestion that, aside from the fact that they would be immediately kicked out of their country of residence and therefore their own property, that when they returned to the UK they wouldn’t get housing benefit or rehoused in a council property either which, having lost their home in France, would effectively make them homeless. With dark humour she said that, should the referendum result in a decision to leave, she may be coming to live in our garage.

I’m really angry that people who wish the UK to remain in the union are using these kind of fear tactics – have we not learnt from the Scottish campaign? If it’s a vote for in using this kind of argument it won’t be a happy marriage but a shotgun wedding with all the implications!

As the hubby and I have been wanting to move to France for some time I’ve been researching what the implications of Brexit are and have pulled together some possible outcomes from before project fear got under way. If you’re a British expat who’s worried about what Brexit means for you please read them, and keep them in mind whilst project fear really gets under way. However do take into account that I’m not a lawyer (so don’t sue me!).

Will British Expats Be Expelled From Their Acquired Homeland Following A Brexit?

In June of last year The Telegraph ran an article challenging this. At that time Former Attorney General Dominic Grieve had said

“EU exit would make 2 million Britons abroad illegal immigrants overnight.”

The article stated that The Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties 1969 contains articles that are based on ‘acquired rights’, which individuals build up over time and hold despite any changes in future treaties enacted by their nation. I came across this article through a link on an expats message board dated from last year following the general election and the reality of a referendum. The poster included it as evidence that there was nothing to worry about.

Noting that the article was sponsored my suspicious nature kicked in, so I looked up the convention. The Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties concerns the international law on treaties between states. It came into force on 27 January 1980 and has been ratified by 114 states; below is an image of those countries that have signed up to it as of 2014. Those in green have ratified the treaty, those in yellow have signed up to it and those in red have done neither.

This means my brother, and others like him, who have bought properties in Spain would have their rights protected as they have done so before Brexit. However if you’re in France right now you’re probably seeing a big block of red – what does this mean?

The bad news is that the scope of the Convention is limited and applies only to treaties concluded between states, and the EU itself is not a state. With regards to the Vienna convention it appears that France may not have to play ball.


What About Acquired Rights In France?

The report further examines the issue of British citizens and businesses in the EU – and EU citizens and businesses in the UK – and the rights they currently receive. It asks; would they disappear over night?

Vested rights, such as the free movement of workers and freedom of establishment would very likely be covered by Articles 26 (internal market), 49 to 55 (establishment) and 56 to 62 (services) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU).

The articles refer to self-employed persons (perhaps gite owners), professionals or legal persons who are legally operating in one Member State may and carry on an economic activity in a stable and continuous way in another Member State, or offer and provide their services in other Member States on a temporary basis while remaining in their country of origin. It can be viewed that EU Member States have irreversibly vested the nationals of the Member States with a “legal heritage” of rights that can likely be enforced after withdrawal.

As France is a member of the EU these rights would therefore exist for those operating a business there.

Additionally Lord McNair confirms that private rights and statuses (not just those operating a business) created under a treaty that have already been executed and had their effect before withdrawal “have acquired an existence independent of it; the termination cannot touch them” and, in these circumstances, would be ‘protected’ by the “well-recognised principle of respect for acquired [vested] rights”. The fact that these are well recognised means that even if France hasn’t signed up to The Vienna Convention itself they would be recognised in a European Court where it is in the other member states; particularly in conjunction with these articles.

Could France And Simmilarly Placed Nations Be Used To Coerce Business As Usual In The Event Of An Brexit?

However, while the EU as a whole tends not to impose visa requirements on wealthy countries, it does expect such countries (such as the USA and Canada) in return to exempt all EU citizens from a visa. So if the UK wished to impose visas on Poles and Bulgarians, for example,  it would face pressure from the EU to waive such requirements – or face the imposition of a visa requirement for UK citizens. Further pressure could be applied by those countries, like France who have not ratified The Vienna Convention, with threats of the withdrawal of rights in defence of other member states.

This and other reasons may mean that any Brexit may not result in a dramatically different change to the status quo!

So Should You Pack Your Bags?

If all this fails it is important to note that immediate expulsion is not on the cards! Reading the House of Commons Research Paper on the subject it’s clear that a state wishing to withdraw must notify the European Council (EU Heads of State and Government), which will consider the matter and set out negotiating guidelines; these are based on the European Council Guidelines. It has been acknowledge that a long negotiation period under Article 50 TEU would be necessary because “withdrawal from the Union would involve the unravelling of a highly complex skein of budgetary, legal, political, financial, commercial and personal relationships, liabilities and obligations”.

There is a maximum two-year negotiating period which would aim to conclude both the withdrawal agreement and any consequent amendments to the EU Treaties. During the negotiation, the withdrawing Member State (i.e. us) would continue to participate in other EU business as normal, but it would not participate in Council or European Council discussions or decisions on its own withdrawal.

It is highly likely that withdrawal would take the full two years as, the paper gives as examples, we couldn’t withdraw from the Common Agricultural Policy overnight without causing enormous disruption for farmers. Additionally transitional arrangements for an alternative regime to be put in place would have to form part of the withdrawal agreement. Similar problems would have to be dealt with in relation to projects, joint ventures etc, for example in the field of research, which are being funded by the EU as part of a long-term programme.

Brexit · Moving To France

June 23rd – France’s Response


With our plans to move to France we have closely watched the negotiations between Cameron and the Europe. Now a date has been set there are, of course, four questions that loom over us.

Will we Brexit?

Would that be good?

If we do, what happens to the English living in France?

How are the French responding to all of this?


You may think that the fourth question isn’t an ‘of course’; but it really is. It’s an ‘of course’ because when you move to a country you must build relations as an outsider. This always involves cultural baggage, and you want to minimise the negative aspects. I have witnessed first hand the generous nature of the French welcoming people from outside through my parents move to Normandy. But when times are tough things can get tricky – for God’s sake, we don’t want the animosity left over from the recent Scottish referendum to be replicated!

So out of curiosity, and completely un-scientifically I grant you, I’ve been reading a left, Libération, and right wing, le Figaro, newpaper’s arguments along with the comments sections underneath. The comments sections are often the most illuminating don’t you think?

A brief overview of the responses are as follows; but please take into account that there were only 16 responses at the time of writing on the Libération article, so this is perhaps more representative of the right wing view.

‘Good for the Brits, when will we get our turn?’

I was actually really surprised by this as I was secretly afraid of the toxic environment the Scottish referendum had last year and how there seemed to be a considerable number of people who responded with the feeling of – well stuff you then! Remember when Andy Murray came out for the Scots to leave? 😖

My fears were based on the statements in our press attributed to Hollande and the belief that the remainder of the Europe would see it as England trying to get special treatment. Whereas what came across again and again were the French people’s fears that the EU was not working and they wanted their opportunity to make a similar decision too.

The majority of the responses to this kind of statement weren’t an argument against the sentiment, but repeated statements that France did get their opportunity to vote, they voted ‘No’ to further integration but, in the words of one commentator, Sarkozy voted ‘Yes’.

A minority of responders where basically -‘ Screw the Brits, we’re better off without them anyway.’

This was the response I was afraid of. However, having read pages and pages of comments this sentiment was very much in the minority in Le Figaro, and in the smaller sample of Libération too.

What was satisfying was that whenever this sentiment was displayed there were several responders defending the British and not supporting the original responder. Phew!

The argument against this was clearly made – the Brits give in more money than we do, so if they go it will effect us more negatively! Nice to be appreciated, huh?

There was just just one commentator that I’ve read over five pages which was – ‘They only come and take our jobs anyway, good riddance. We can send them all back.’

Literally one responder that I read over five pages. That’s good, huh? Again, several responses and all not supporting the op, but stating clearly that there are far more French people working in England than visa versa who are all earning better money than in the France. Their fear was what would happen if they got sent back in a tit for tat response?

This last point is especially comforting if you’re an ex-pat Brit somewhere in Europe and you’ve been listening to what I’m calling Project Fear. I’ll be writing about possible responses to a Brexit in coming posts, but I’m getting a bit mad at this scaremongering already. My mum was really worried speaking to me about this yesterday. These posts show something which my previous research over the situation highlighted should a Brexit happen – the mass ejecting of British people from the EU zone is highly unlikely just because of this point.

If you’re worried tonight bear this in mind.

I’d love to hear your responses to this post and any thoughts or concerns you have – but particularly the responses your hearing from your French neighbours (or Spanish, German etc).