EU Brexit for Expats: Walls Come Tumbling Down ?
Sam Orgill of ProACT Partnership considers the background and implications of EU Brexit for Expats Living and Working Abroad
The Clash wondered ‘Should I Stay or Should I Go?’ Indicating a level of indecision with narrow margins. The Jam successors Style Council replied with ‘You don’t have to sit back… you can actually try changin’ it an Walls will come tumbling down’. This was the 70’s angst of the UK as they agonisingly choose to be led into the ECC as it was then.
1950 the ‘European Coal and Steel Community’ was formed for commerce and security.
1957 the founding Treaty of Rome was signed creating the European Economic Community
1973 - Great Britain joined the European Community in 1973, but only in….
1975 did the people get asked in a referendum vote on joining saying ‘qui’ with a 66% yes vote. But much has changed since then; the European Community doesn’t exist anymore!
1987 The Single European Act created the European Economic Area (EEA) with free movement of labour, capital, services and people
1991 Maastricht Treaty created a single currency
1993 -The European Union was only formed in 1993 – Britain didn’t get a say.
2002 The Euro single currency was created.
2007 The Treaty of Lisbon amends and renames the 1991 treaty to the ‘Treaty of European Union’ and the 1957 treaty to ‘The Functioning of the European Union’.
2016 - Fast forward to 2016 and Great Britain votes 52% to leave – an 18% swing. The EU walls come tumbling down, along with political careers, jobs and lifestyles. What went wrong with the relationship between the British and their European Cousins?
Will the EU Walls come Tumbling down?
There is a scenario where the UK renegotiates a win-win Brexit Lite that keeps the UK within the European Economic Area (EEA) with free movement of labour, capital, services and people like Norway and Switzerland; members of the EU in all but name. If Australia can be allowed into Eurovision; then why not a creative win-win ‘new vision’ for the EU? This would have a minimal impact on expats living and working abroad.
As an alternative, the UK Brexit vote could be more like the Polish revolution of 1989. The Polish Solidarity movement through election and negotiation cast the first stone that collapsed the Soviet Empire. Full Brexit. A political, security and trading community that ran for 75 years. Could other disaffected EU countries move towards an EU Break Up after 66 years? This is the world of the unknown. The world of change.
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