I do sincerely hope that some of my comments, advice and thoughts below may be of some help to others. I am elderly and somewhat illiterate due to lack of schooling during the Second World War, so please forgive any spelling mistakes etc. I would also like to think that I shall be forgiven for any inaccuracies.
Firstly, who would have thought a referendum vote could turn the British Parliament into a house of ‘Headless Chickens’. In fact the indecision, disagreement and unacceptable behaviour of some politicians during debates, has been disgraceful. Hard to accept the fact that these individuals, apart from other things, are supposed to be agreeing the future lives of a few million UK citizens home and abroad, especially if there is a final no deal withdrawal.
So after this shambles, one asks, who is there left capable of saving us from disaster? Well, Mrs May has been working her ‘butt off’ against all the odds in her endeavours to preserve our national interests without much success. How much longer she can survive of course is anyone’s guess, although she has now had a short reprieve after winning a no confidence vote in parliament by a final result of 200 for and 117 against.
The bad news being that this is nowhere near the majority she requires for any stability, because even her so-called cabinet supporters are praising her one minute and stabbing her in the back the next.
Anyway, in spite of that and during one of her amazing recent travelling efforts, she had obtained a ‘Brexit’ Withdrawal Agreement with 27 other European Heads of State that meant UK leaving the EU on March 29, 2019, virtually unscathed.
So having survived the no confidence vote, she left number ten the next morning by the back entrance and flew to Brussels in an effort to get some further concessions from the EU Parliament. But sadly, there was no further progress made and as the famous saying goes: ‘The answer was a Lemon’.
You know, until this moment in time I have always been proud of being British but sadly this feeling is now starting to wane somewhat.
I have now listed below, not in any particular order, some items which may or may not be of interest and help for some.
Tourism: Firstly, before throwing any ‘spanners’ into the works regarding what follows, it is worth remembering that the number of UK citizens visiting EU countries annually is vast, with approximately 20 million of them visiting Spain alone, so let’s hope this does not dampen their enthusiasm.
Driving: The UK Government has warned that UK driving licenses may no long be valid on European roads after March 2019 therefore, obtaining an international driving permit prior to this date for any holiday or business travel is essential.
Travel: In addition to this, you should also be in possession of a new valid UK passport (Pre 1976 blue type, produced and printed in France.), because presumably without these documents, you will be unable to use tunnel or ferry services or indeed fly and hire car service at European airports.
As far as UK citizens on package, sightseeing or visiting tours to EU countries are concerned, travelling in possession of a new passport should now be sufficient. However, everyone should remember that delays and queues at sea ports and airports regarding British travellers after Brexit could be ‘horrific’. And also, if flying to any EU Airport you should know that the airline you are with has had to obtain a new landing permit in order to get you there.
Note: International driving permits can still be obtained from most UK post offices at a price of 5.50 GBP However, this service is about to change as from January 31, 2019 when they will only be available from the government. Price and places of availability should be announced in due course. The UK government has also announced that the once easy task of exchanging UK driving licenses for those of another EU country will not likely be possible after ‘Brexit’.
As far as ex-Pats are concerned it is hoped that they will be allowed to use their present EU licenses to drive until they expire, after which time it will obviously not be possible to renew them and applying for an international driving permit will be necessary. It may also be of interest to know that all ex pat driving licenses are clearly marked with the wording ‘United Kingdom’ in their respective country of issues language.
Visa: It has recently been announced by Brussel officials that British tourists won’t be required to apply for a visa to travel to European Union countries after Brexit. It would mean that UK citizens would not need visas travelling to the Schengen area for short stays of up to 90 days in any 180-day period. But here again possession of a British Passport must be essential. However, the EU have warned that this free visa travel offer will be withdrawn if Europeans are not offered equal travel right. British citizens working abroad in the European Union will likely require visa post Brexit.
Residency: It is hoped that official residency in a EU country providing you have written confirmation and are registered with your respective town hall gives you some form of stability, especially if you also complete an annual tax return. Mind you, one dreads the thought that our ‘name status’ might be changed to ‘immigrants’. As far as non-residents are concerned I really don’t know what to advise, admittedly they must be considered ‘illegals’ but they too contribute an awful lot to the economies of their respective EU countries.
Health care: This I consider is probably the most important matter of all especially when you get to my age and there is a no-deal Brexit looming.
There is no doubt, present knowledge that NHS help is at hand in all EU countries should you be taken ill or involved in an accident is very comforting indeed for UK ex-pats and UK visitors alike. This of course also applies to EU citizens working or living in the UK. But once again will it still be the norm after March 29, 2019, if the UK leave with no deal. As far as Ex-Pats are concerned, could their EU medical cards (SIP cards in Spain) be withdrawn which would leave them no alternative but to take out medical insurance cover. Also it could become written law that UK visitors must have valid travel insurance before leaving the UK. Likewise, it would then apply to EU citizens living or visiting the UK.
However, those working in the EU or UK have, up until recently, had automatic cover in conjunction with their ‘work permits’. But for some time now the British Government (Pre-Brexit) have refused to either extend or issue new ‘work permits’ not only regarding EU works but also those from other countries. Consequently, there has been a steady stream for key workers leaving the United Kingdom, Finally, the EHIC of which you have been able to claim from the British Government for any medical expenditure encountered which visiting the UK may well become a card of the past.
Well I think that’s about it apart from some final comments below. If you happen to get this far please don’t bin it’ but use the other sides as scrap paper.
Even with today’s modern technology, there are rumours spreading that in some cases, the ‘dreaded’ pre 1976 paper work could be returning. Presumably, this will once again be issued at all Customs Offices for the importing and exporting of goods to and from the EU and UK. The major problem being that this will effect haulage companies and consequently mean long delays at ports for lorry drivers.
Did you know that the British Government has instructed all distribution warehouses that they must ‘stockpile’ all food products especially, frozen goods, up to their ceilings if necessary, in anticipation of shortages after ‘Brexit’. They also anticipate that this should give a yearly supply before any shortage problems take effect.
Did you know that they have given similar instruction to all pharmaceutical companies to also ‘stockpile’ medication/drugs (especially Mrs May’s insulin) for the same reasons? Of course, any main shortages in this field could prove to be very serious indeed.
Did you know that BUPA the largest private health care organization in the UK have stated that if there should be a no deal ‘Brexit’ then they intend moving their entire operation to Northern Ireland.
And best ‘Brexit’ quote of all: ‘Only Britain could colonise half of the world and then leave the European Union because it does not like immigrants’.
I note that in desperation the main topic of conversation in Parliament at present is about having a second referendum although, we were assured that this would never be an option. And also what is ‘Blair’ supposed to be doing announcing that he is all for it. Who the ‘hell’ cares what he thinks anyway. That’s nearly as bad as recent news that ‘Cameron’ is considering making a comeback.
You know, when the dust eventually settles over Brexit and it is transferred to the history books, there will be one stumbling block always remembered ‘The Northern Ireland Back-Stop’
My very best wishes and good luck for 2019 you are certainly going to need it.