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“Letter to EU” – UK citizens and expats join forces against Brexit

Tens of thousands of people joined a march against Brexit in London on Saturday and called for Britain to remain in the European Union. The march Unite for Europe tooks place just days before Prime Minister Theresa May will trigger Article 50 that will initiate the Brexit process from the EU next Wednesday.

The process is expected to last about two years with one of the tough bargaining cards to be the rights of UK nationals in EU and of EU nationals in UK.

There are thousands of people who feel devastated about the perspective of UK leaving the EU. Not only UK citizens. Expats living and working in Greece, Spain, Italy, France and other EU member countries. I know a lot of people, readers of KeepTalkingGreece who feel desperate about the Brexit. One of them, an expat  lady living on a Greek island, forwarded to me the letter below – an initiative by UK citizen Alison Cuff who also opened a group on Facebook.

Letter to the EU

A Group Opposed to Brexit

Organiser: Alison Cuff

https://www.facebook.com/groups/1697006720597047/?ref=group_cover

23rd March 2017

Dear Sir or Madam,

STRONG OPPOSITION TO “BREXIT”

There is a large and growing movement in the UK against Brexit. A lack of coverage in the UK media gives the impression that we do not exist. People who are against Brexit have sometimes found that pro-Brexit Members of Parliament (MPs) have blocked them on social media, seem to be ignoring email and letters, and are refusing to meet anti-Brexit constituents. Many of these MPs were pro-EU but have changed sides since the 2016 Referendum, either because of the untruthful Government claim that Brexit is “the will of the people” or because they are afraid to disagree with the party line set by their leaders.

We, the undersigned, are concerned that our fellow EU citizens have gained the false impression that the majority of United Kingdom citizens are pro-Brexit. We therefore wish to make it clear that, in fact, it was only 52% of voters who voted to leave the EU, which is significantly less than half the full electorate and around a quarter of the total population. This contrasts with the ‘overwhelming majority’ that the Government is claiming. It is also significant that the UK government did not allow many UK citizens living in your country to vote and that 16 and 17-year-olds were excluded, as were non-British EU citizens living in the UK.

The strong pro-EU lobby is trying hard to prevent Brexit through lobbying and protesting, but is ignored by a largely anti-EU press and obstructed by well-funded nationalist pressure groups. We value the peace, prosperity and stability which the EU has brought to Europe since it emerged from WW2 and, of course, the Union’s collaborative nature. In particular, we cherish freedom of movement, human rights, employment rights, consumer rights, environmental protection, scientific and medical collaboration, and educational and cultural exchanges. We recognise, too, the importance of the Single Market and Customs Union, and the fact that the EU has a powerful voice in world affairs.

We hope that Brexit can be avoided but, regardless, we will continue to strive to protect the rights and dignity of EU citizens in the UK and of UK nationals in EU countries. Rest assured that we truly value our EU citizenship and we will not give it up readily. Indeed, with Article 50 likely to be activated this month to initiate Brexit negotiations, a broad and robust campaign to re-join after an anticipated (but not definite) formal exit in 2019 is already beginning.

Please spread the word that millions of UK citizens wish to remain in the EU. Approximately 73% of the people did not vote to leave. Any support that you can give us would be greatly appreciated.

Yours faithfully,

Alison Cuff + more than 270 signatures

There are currently more than 300 signatures on the copy of the letter KTG received.

The letter was translated in several EU languages with strong UK Expats communities and was sent to mainstream media.

I have no information tell how many of them and in which countries the letter was published.

The Group on Facebook is named Letter to EU.

I suppose you can add your signature or simply support the cause.

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9 comments

  1. I and my wife are expats living in Greece. The result of the referendum was clear, the fact that many people could not be bothered to vote does not mean that those who disagree with the result can claim the votes of those who did not vote.
    The vote has been cast, democracy must be respected, those who lost the argument must now accept defeat and get behind the majority to get the best result for the U.K. not keep trying to get their own way like spoilt children, grow up.

    • No-one is behaving like spoiled children. What we are doing is exercising our democratic right to protest. If you truly believe in democracy, you should embrace all of it, and not just those bits that suit your personal agenda.

  2. I am an English ex pat living in Greece and would have voted in favour of Brexit for the sake of my country, regardless of my personal situation, if I’d been allowed to vote. Ex pats who are crying about Brexit care only about themselves. Living in Greece has shown me what a disaster the EU is. OUT and best of British luck to us.

  3. I’m a British citizen living in Greece, denied a vote in the referendum. My children are half Greek, half British – i.e. European. I would have voted to remain in the EU. On a personal level, yes I care about my pension rights having worked a third of my working life in the UK and expect the other two thirds in Greece, will I end up with no pension if the UK is not part of the EU when I am of pension age and I dont have enough ‘stamps’ for a pension in Greece? (currently as two EU countries they are all counted together). Will I be allowed to remain in Greece to live and work, even though I have Greek family? Will I have to pay for that right? Luckily I have health insurance from working in Greece and do not rely on the reciprocal health agreement as many British pensioners do. Regarding the bigger picture, trade, freedom of movement etc will likely be a disaster with a ‘hard’ brexit and many opportunities for young UK people, to freely live and work in any EU country are going to be taken away from them.

  4. I interested that you say large and growing movement.
    My knowledge is that there was a deep dissatisfaction in those that voted to leave the EU.
    A lot more people would have voted for Brexit but they we scared by all the negative propaganda and some of the patent but relatively minor Brexit distortions.
    There was a very significant `Bremain’ vote that did so on the basis of “better the Devil you know” who now say actually they can see the advantages of Brexit and they dont like all the pushy stuff coming from EU.
    As for the Liberal “Democratic” Party whose idea of democracy is voting again and again until you get the result you want – lets just call the the Liberal Party!
    Anxious voters were told that the sky would fall in and it hasn’t.
    They were told that the UK will be punished – perhaps like the Greeks. But while the Greeks have an amazing spirit being in the Euro has weaken them so they have to do what the Germans want -the UK hasn’t
    and we are strong enough to say enough is enough and I would commend the Greeks to do the same even if the costs in the short term appear bad. Get your country currency back and then get your country back Greece.
    Those of you who are resident in Europe – of course its a worry but in the UK the sensible people are on your side and we are not giving away the reciprocal card. It should be in boths sides interest to respect to allow current immigrants status and the fact that we in the UK have not unilaterally disarmed is a strength.

  5. The remain campaign wasn’t and still isn’t about “better the devil you know”.

    I voted remain due to the following
    * economic benefit personally from a weaker pound, higher tariffs, increase in inflation and products in the uk
    * economic benefit for our country as a whole as this is where we do a lot of export and import so it’s beneficial to our businesses
    * economic benefit and support for certain areas of the uk such as Cornwall which have been neglected by our government and been subsided by the EU
    * the fact that many big businesses, financial bodies who put their case as to why it would be better to stay in the EU

    So no I don’t think the remain campaign was scaremongering, using Greece is not a fair comparison, look at Ireland who experienced economic difficulty but have come back stronger

  6. It’s surprising to read people who still blame the EU for the situation in Greece. The primary trigger lets not forget was the financial crisis caused by the de-regulated US financial sector. Greece had in the preceding years fully exploited all the benefits of the EU, but due to it’s inherent kleptocracy and institutional corruption suddenly found itself with nothing to show but a very large debt. Even now Greece fails to reform it’s farcical tax system, civil service, pensions and corrupt voting system etc. Greeks need to take some responsibility for the situation they are in and stop blaming others.

    It does see consistent though that people constantly blame the EU for the failings of their own sovereign governments who are the real reason for the problems their countries face. This however also requires voters to also take some of the blame, but it’s always someone else’s fault.

  7. Dear Samson
    You need an intense lesson in political economy. It will help you become a more informed citizen and voter in the future.

  8. Thank you for your erudite response Iannis, but perhaps your advice would be better targetted at your elected leaders.