I Am A European

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I have been away for the week.  I voted by proxy.  When I landed back here this morning it occurred to me I was an unwelcome alien in my own country. I am a European citizen living in the UK.  Just like lots of people from Poland and other European states are.

I’m not sure a referendum can take that European citizenship away from me,  it’s mine.  I certainly don’t want to lose it and I am wondering what choices I have to remain one.

Perhaps I can apply to be a European citizen? Could I have dual nationality, be European and be British but have two passports? Or must I select another EU nation to affiliate with, perhaps Belgium to be neutral, Polish to make a point or Scottish for convenience.

It would be interesting if 10s of millions of us did something like this. The most likely route being some form of dual nationality.

How do I apply for some form of European citizenship? It is what I choose and I am going to have it thank you.

You cannot take away from me who I am. It is not that I won’t let you, or that it isn’t fair, you actually, simply cannot. I am a European.

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2 thoughts on “I Am A European

  1. Anthony, I’ve always loved your passion. How do you feel about the reaction from Brussels, France and Germany? Of course, I know their public reaction is part of the negotiation that’s already started with the UK, and we are right to take our time. But I am very uncomfortable with this notion that the UK should be punished because it has decided to leave the EU.

    In most commercial relationships you have “good leaver” and “bad leaver” provisions. If you’re a “bad leaver” then there is usually a price to pay for exit, and rightly so – it’s usually as a result of some act of bad faith. Usually exercising a voluntary right of exit allows a party to leave without punishment. Clearly compensation/payment has to be made for any unmet commitments and no doubt the UK will be fully paid up by the time we leave in 2-ish years. In all of this, we should remind ourselves that we are “good leavers” – to my knowledge, we’ve done nothing wrong but allow the crazy notion of democracy to run its course.

    If we had made commitments to “ever closer union” and signed up to the single currency, then I could line up with a view that opting out, at this point, would be seen as backing away from our commitments. But, I don’t think the UK has ever misled Europe on these matters – we have always been/led the “sceptics” in the club; much to the frustration of the EU Institutions because it would have been easier to keep all Member States on the same path.

    The EU should have dealt with this issue when we opted out of the single currency. At that point, it would have been better to position the UK outside the EU but within EFTA, like Norway, or within some other tier of Member States that weren’t fully paid up members within the single currency. However, we managed to keep an equal position at the table with all the other Member States, with all the influence on governance and regulation as others have, even though we had no stated desire to get to full union, and no “skin in the game” vis a vis the single currency. That’s quite a free ride we have been afforded by EU Member States for some time – but they allowed it to continue and gladly took our net contributions each week. And yet, now it seems they want to punish us and I wonder whether this is now more because they now realise this was their mistake.

    Like you, I voted to remain and am for free movement of goods, services and labour. I have no problem contributing £350bn a week into the EU for it to be distributed around the EU to equalise social benefits for all. I also want the UK to be open and giving (perhaps more) than it’s fair share to supporting displaced refugees. I believe we can afford this. But, I want us to be doing these things voluntarily because they are the right things to do not because we are under duress.

    Positioning the EU, now, as a club where once you’ve joined, you can’t get out of it voluntarily without serious financial penalties for decades to come, seems to me to be counter-productive. Particularly at a time when nationalism is on the rise. The EU, Germany and France know that the EU project is under threat and needs rebalancing, so surely it would be better to promote the EU as a union of like minded nations trying to do the right thing by its peoples. If Member States no longer wish to be part of that ideal, then they can leave freely; and the financial penalties of pulling out of the single currency are enough of a deterrent for those who have made the ultimate commitment – you only have to look at Greece to see this.

    At this point dealing with the UK as a “bad leaver” will only strengthen the resolve of those in the UK who have voted to leave. It will also fuel the nationalistic fires that are beginning to burn dangerously around the world. That will not be good for the EU and not be good for the UK. We have done nothing wrong and I still believe, on the most part, we want to remain close to the EU not further away. I really hope we have some sensible long-term thinkers at the negotiation table in the next couple of years, on both sides. Unfortunately, I suspect those who voted to leave will soon begin to realise that being at the table with the ability to influence governance and regulation, without any skin in the single currency game, was probably the best position the UK was ever going to be. If we now end up positioned alongside Norway we will have cut off our nose to spite our face.

    Perhaps your next blog should be about accountability, and how we should all realise that in the next election – general, local, referendum – sitting back and allowing populists to take over the debate, will lead to more disappointment. This outcome has not been done to us. This outcome is a result of a lack of accountability for which I accept my share of the responsibility.

    See you soon for a beer and further debate, no doubt. Jim.

    • What do I think

      I saw a news clip at the weekend. An English reporter, BBC I think, asked a senior EU official, Juncker or Tusk whether he thought this decision would cause the EU to alter course in any way (words to that effect), he said, “No”, and left the stage.  

      I voted to remain but have long been frustrated by the EU. That simple exchange sums up why. 

      There were then terse statements that we should invoke Article 50 immediately. Similar unthinking arrogance. Rightly ignored.

      On Sunday Angela Merkel injected a note of sanity, pointing out the need to stabilise and progress calmly (words to that effect).

      That we will have some arrangement with the EU is obvious. That that needs to serve the interests of both parties like any contract equally so.

      It should also reflect the 48:52 result and be a balance. We won’t get what the more rabid leavers want but Boris’s statement yesterday which boiled down to, “don’t worry, we’ll keep all the good bits”, is probably another lie.

      We should be calm and maintain our values and behave well.

      What do I Feel?

      I’m appalled by the lies and the selfish power games.

      I’m upset for my children.

      I’m upset about Scotland.

      I’m frightened about Ireland.

      I’m disgusted by how people are behaving on the streets and online.

      I pity Jeremy Corbyn.

      I don’t trust Boris. 

      I’m proud of Hilary Benn, Nichola Sturgeon and a few others.

      I’m grateful to Angela Merkel.

      I never ever realised how much I loved my country. 

      You can bet your bottom Euro that the core of those voting to leave will tell you they love it even as they dismantle it.

      We can work most of this out, it is just change, and I’m at the angry stage. We will certainly have to try. Some bits might well be disorderly and chaotic.

      Feel free to cheer me up 🙂

      Anthony 

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