Ridiculous delays in post from the UK, more complex requirements for entry into UK airports, not to mention being virtually cut off from making purchases from any UK supplier. Brexit may well have been good for the UK in the long term, but what about us?
As far as UK residents feel, The Guardian reported “Brexit divisions in UK society appear to be as entrenched as ever, according to the latest British social attitudes survey, with little sign that the issue is losing its polarising force. Nine out of 10 of leave and remain voters said they would vote the same way again, it found.”
I suspect those of us living outside the UK may feel differently. Brexit did little, if anything, of benefit to us. In theory we should be concerned for our home country, the reality is that we think more about how it has affected us, and there is little positive from the UK expats viewpoint.
According to a report in the Financial Times, “An estimated 5m British citizens live outside the UK, and they leant overwhelmingly in favour of remaining in the EU. Independent research conducted by global expat network Angloinfo put the split at 73 per cent Remain and 20 per cent Leave, with 7 per cent undecided”. People in the UK may still be 50/50 about Brexit, expats clearly see it very differently.
Many of us over the years have become quite dependant of ordering goods we like from the UK. You only have to read the many articles that have recently published, not to mention the reader response, to know this is very close to many people’s hearts. There are those who say we shouldn’t want to buy anything from the UK and find what we need here in Portugal. Great theory, but it doesn’t really work.
One thing to bear in mind is that if you have started to buy from Amazon in Germany or Spain, they don’t stock many of the products that were easily available form Amazon UK. Also remember that prices between Amazon Germany and Spain can be up to 30 percent different. Be sure to look on both sites.
Has the EU issued instructions to members to make it difficult and expensive to import from the UK into a EU country? All the evidence says yes. Remember the EU wants to make it clear to other members that they don’t want any other country leaving the EU ‘family’.
The Daily Express reported at the end of 2020 that the EU was aware of growing discontent from certain countries. The Covid 19 package of measures for EU countries has further heightened tensions within the group of nations, with Poland and Hungary vetoing the original package.
Who is next?
Believe it or not, bookmakers are now taking bets on who will leave next. Italy is the bookmaker favourite to be the next country to exit the European Union. Betting odds slashed to 7/1 on Poland leaving as a Warsaw court challenges the supremacy of European Union law.
Betfair offers Italy 3/1 - Current betting has Italy as favourites to follow Britain in the "go it alone club". Italy seems to be increasingly at odds with many of the diktats from the EU. Italy has a strong right-wing coalition, and it is fair to say they are not fans of Brussels. They have been favourites to leave since the market was created.
Hard on the heels of Italy is Greece. This is despite the EU bailing out Greece when their economy ran into trouble. Many citizens, because of the imposed austerity measures, are hostile towards the EU. Paddy Power is offering 6/1.
Paddy Power will give you 7/1 on Poland. Many in Poland who rely heavily on coal are angry that the EU is heading in a greener direction and imposing their will on the country. This has incensed the miners of Upper Silesia and could see the Polish Government defying the EU over carbon emission targets, this issue could be a tipping point. Add in LGBTQ+ and abortion rights and some within the heavily Catholic nation are questioning their EU membership.
Hungary has been in the news recently in their disputes with the EU. Hungary has benefited from membership with its economy doing well. However, the Hungarian government seems entrenched in their views about, how they should spend their EU money, open borders and immigration, this has led to friction between themselves and the EU.
In June 2021 Hungary passed a law banning LGBTQ content to be taught in schools, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said “for me, Hungary has no place in the EU anymore". Of all the current European leader's President Orban of Hungary seems to have the most animosity towards and from Brussels. Paddy Power was offering 14/1 on them leaving.
Readers will be relieved to know that both Portugal and Spain are right down low on the list of countries who might consider leaving the EU. Being a member of the EU has been very good for Portugal
Personally, I wouldn’t be betting on any of the above, though if I were to be tempted, it would probably be Hungary.
What other ‘advantages’ did Brexit bring us? The polite answer is, not a lot. If you have a UK mobile, which many people do, you are now being charged for roaming. Travelling to and from the UK has become more complicated. The simple ‘turn up and take off’ is a long-gone concept. There are many products we used to be able to buy in local supermarkets that catered for the British expat that are frequently out of stock or just not available any longer. Open borders came with a lot of advantages for travellers. Last, and far from least, you can’t get anything from Amazon UK anymore. There are more people saying yes to that than you might imagine.
We can’t change what has happened, but Brexit is hardly greeted with much enthusiasm by the UK expat community.