"What will happen to British citizens outside the UK?"

Flandersnews asked its readers from the UK to have their say ahead of the UK’s EU referendum. One reader who was keen to share his views is Briton Vic Day. Vic has lived in Flanders in Belgium for over thirty years and also spent time living in France and Germany. He is particularly worried about the answers that he believes the Leave campaign are not providing.

Vic Day writes: “Brexit is something that has been forced upon the British people, because of problems/fears within the UK Conservative Party, not because there is a fundamental disquiet within the population. However, because of the pumped-up media coverage and political agitation, it has now become an "issue" requiring a referendum.”

“For decades, the British news media, in particular the red-top newspapers have spread false reports of the negative effects of the EU membership for the UK. They are frequently required to publish corrections to their false assertions, however these corrections are embedded deep within the newspaper and are barely more than a couple of sentences, in contrast to the bold, false headlines on the front page. Regrettably, the readers remember the bold headlines, but fail to notice the retractions, days later. Consequently, a large proportion of the population has been misled about the EU, for decades.”

“One popular phrase, repeatedly used, is "... the unelected bureaucrats in Brussels ...” implying that "foreigners" are setting the laws for the UK. The UK public seem totally unaware that, on every EU law/directive agreed, the UK elected/appointed representative(s) has (have) had an input and a vote. This is rather like a supporter of the opposition party in the UK complaining that the laws have been made by a party (s) he did not vote for. There is also an unbelievable, outrageous arrogance that only the UK has the competence and capability to make sensible laws and regulations and that everyone on the other side of "the Channel" is an idiot or incompetent.”


“I would suggest that less than 1% of the UK population has any idea how the EU rules and directives are compiled and voted on. Nor is there any effort being made, within the Brexit debate, to explain that process to the populace. The voting turnout in the UK for EU elections is lamentable, and reflects their total lack of understanding of the process.”

“Years ago, many of the UK beaches failed to meet the EU standards. Many in the UK chose to complain that the EU was imposing something on them rather than recognise that, as a country, they were failing miserably (i.e. "our beaches couldn't possibly be polluted - we're British").”

Roaming charges

“A more recent example is the capping of telephone roaming charges - an action by the EU. Is this being reported in the UK as a benefit of being in the EU? Hardly any mention of the EU's role has been made, and the telephone companies are "selling it" as their own competitive offer, not because they have been obliged to do it.”

What will happen to British citizens outside the UK?

“There are millions of British ex-pats living outside the UK who have been denied the right to vote on an issue that will directly affect them. What will happen to British citizens, like myself, living outside the UK, if we cease to be EU members and no longer have the implicit right to residency within fellow EU countries? Will I have to sell my house, leave my children and grandchildren behind and return to the UK, increase the load on the overburdened NHS (ironically, they may send me back to Belgium for treatment), search for a house within the under-supplied housing market?”

“If the UK leaves the EU, will it send home all the present EU citizens living in the country and carrying out jobs that the UK nationals seem disinterested in performing (fruit-picking, labouring, building, plumbing etc.)? Will this release jobs for the UK nationals? Will this improve the economy? I don't think so.”

Red tape

“There is much talk made of "red-tape" imposed by the EU, but very few examples given of what this means, or how it will be removed and replaced with - what? If an external UK has to trade with the EU, it will still need to meet the EU requirements - all that red-tape, then!”

“The Brexit arguments are based on hope and speculation, such as "renegotiating better trade conditions with other countries". Again, unbelievable arrogance that, because they are British, they can do better than everyone else.”

Have your say

Our series on Britain’s EU referendum reflects the views of our readers. Are you a Briton living in Belgium or abroad and do you feel strongly on these issues? And would you like to share your views with our readers? Please don’t hesitate to set them out in an email. Please also include a photograph of yourself and let us know where you live. Many thanks.