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When we used to refer to the “B word” it was to a swear word, and indeed now Brexit is becoming like a swear word, it causes upset or may be spoken in frustration by the British. Two and a half years from the referendum vote of June 23, 2016, there has been nothing but argument and discourse. It has split the British public down the middle.
There are still the Brexiteers shouting “Leave means leave” and “we won so Remoaners get over it,” which insensitively does not take into account the views of the 48 percent of the voters that opted to remain with the European Union. A winning margin of four percent is hardly a resounding decisive win, more of a just scraped over the line.
The British government gave the notice to quit the European Union, so the days are counting down to March 29, 2019—the exit day. The UK government has tried to reassure its citizens living in Europe with town hall meetings hosted by the British Embassy, but the poor ambassadors can’t really tell us much more than can be found in the news. The uncertainty is unsettling.
However, living in Finland it’s much easier to see the advantages of being within the EU. The freedom of movement for work or vacation. The lack of checks at national boundaries. The easy use of a single currency across many different countries. The guarantee that there are good standards for food and everything we buy. The European Union may not be perfect, but it is probably better than being a smaller fish in the big ocean.
After the UK has exited, British citizens living in the EU will probably have to register their right to live in their chosen country, if they haven’t already done so, or gained citizenship. EU citizens already living in the UK can register their permanent settled status to continue to enjoy their current rights, but it costs £65.
The British in Europe will have to do what the rest of the world has had to do, and if you don’t meet the country’s criteria could there possibly be deportations?
It’s frustrating to lose automatic rights because of leaving the EU club: Don’t forget to swap over your British driving licence because, after March 29, the UK government can’t even guarantee they will be accepted in the EU.
When all the countries of the world are looking to join different trading blocs, there’s an island off western Europe looking to leave one. It may all look like doom and gloom but there just might be a Brexit bonus for Finland. All these extra customs checks at the British borders will require piles and piles of paper.
I apologise for any bias in this article because I feel most frustrated by Brexit. If it happens, I may never be able to return to live in Britain, my home country, because approaching pension age, I can’t see my earnings exceeding the threshold set by the UK government for importing a Finnish wife.
Although being exiled in Finland or anywhere in Europe may prove to be for the best.