Brexit & You

Brexit & You

With Britain and the EU seemingly no closer to agreement over the shape of Brexit, the talk in the UK this week has focused on what might happen if the country crashes out of the European Union without a deal.

For some Brexiteers this is the preferred option that will deliver the immediate freedom from interfering foreign bureaucrats that they have desired for so long. For Brexiteer Chris Grayling, now transport minister, the food shortages that might result could largely be solved by British farmers growing more.

Meanwhile, demands that the British government come clean over their secret papers assessing the impact of Brexit on the British economy are getting louder. Even without official government studies, there’s concern about the impact on a whole range of sectors – with the wine industry and airlines among those voicing their worries this week (see below).

Those of us on the continental side of the channel at least don’t have to worry about incipient hunger, but people are getting anxious nonetheless about what a Brexit crash landing would mean for citizens and the economy. Below we report on why the Dutch are fretting. And in this week’s feature article, Alex Macbeth looks at how Brits in Spain are organising themselves to deal with the repercussions.

We hope you enjoy this week’s edition. Let us know what you think – email us at or find us on Twitter @thelocaleurope.

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Between a rock and a hard place: Brits in Spain and Brexit

If citizenship rights are the key issue at stake in the Brexit negotiations, then in no other country do Brits have more to lose than in Spain. But the British exit also poses challenges to a vitally important trading relationship.

At least 300,000 UK citizens officially live in Spain, although some estimates say the number is closer to one million. That’s more than a quarter, possibly as much as half or more, of all Brits living in the European Union.

Many face an uncertain future and at least two citizens’ rights groups, Bremain in Spain and Brexpats, have been lobbying and campaigning for the rights of UK citizens in Spain since the Brexit vote.

“We have nearly 5,000 members from all areas of Spain but we are represented in Alicante, Valencia, Malaga, Cadiz, Almeria, Tenerife, Lanzarote, Mallorca and Granada,” Anne Hernandez, founder of Brexpats, who has lived in Spain for more than 30 years, told The Local.

Brexpats acts as a lobby group for the rights of UK citizens and “is in close regular contact with the Consuls,” says Hernandez.

Bremain in Spain is another initiative by Brits in Spain. The lobby’s Facebook group has nearly 5,000 members. Sue Wilson, the founder, says she spends 50-70 hours a week running the initiative, which is self funded by members.

See full newsletter in The Local

Lack of Dutch courage? The Netherlands is feeling low about Brexit

The Dutch economy is beginning to feel the pinch of Brexit uncertainty, if local media reports are any barometer of concern.

“The Netherlands also has a lot to lose in Brexit,” writes Dutch current affairs portal The report cites employer concerns at major trade hubs and ports such as Rotterdam and Amsterdam Schiphol Airport.

“Over 11 per cent of the port’s total imports and exports – some 54 million tonnes – are shipped between the British Isles and the port of Rotterdam every year,” states a communication from the Port of Rotterdam vis-a-vis Brexit.

Landmark events such as the Aalsmeer Flower Auction, the world’s largest flower market, have expressed concerns about the impact Brexit could have on business too. Some 40 million flowers are traded every day in Aalmseer, according to the region’s tourism site.

More than 100,000 jobs are also at stake in the fishing sector, adds the report, citing joint agreements on fishing that may need to be renegotiated.

The Dutch pharmaceutical industry could also be affected as it relies on imports from the UK, according to the article.

See full article…

Last in, first out? France’s largest British community

For one of the largest British communities in France, there is a lot at stake in the Brexit negotiations.

While Brits in Paris, Marseilles, Lyon and other major cities will no doubt be watching the negotiations carefully, more than a quarter of France’s 150,000 resident Brits live in the newly created region of Nouvelle Aquitaine, in southwest France, according to, France’s national statistics office.

Many Brits only moved to the region in the early 2000s. In 1968, there were less than 1,000 UK citizens living in the area, the capital of which is Bordeaux.

Now there are more than 39,000 officially and Brits constitute the second largest foreign population in the region, after the Portuguese, and the largest British community in any French region. The average age of Brits in Nouvelle Aquitaine is 52 and more than 47 percent are retirees.

British visitors also sustain the local tourism industry. Brits booked 545,000 hotel rooms in 2016, 73 percent of all overnight stays in the region. British companies are well embedded in local commerce too; one fifth of all foreign companies in the region are from the UK.

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Brexit Events Europe

Get the run down of Brexit events happening all over Europe in the coming months.   Find one close to you.

Bremain in Spain marches against Brexit in Manchester

Bremain in Spain marches against Brexit in Manchester

WHILST Catalunya descended into chaos yesterday (Sunday), a protest march against another referendum was taking place over 1,500 kilometres away: tens of thousands hit the streets of Manchester in a huge ‘Stop Brexit’ march.
Among them were members of the campaign group Bremain in Spain, which represents the interests of Brits living in Spain or with holiday homes there who are concerned as to how far their lives will be affected by the UK’s decision to leave the European Union.
The 5,000 – and steadily increasing in number – members of Bremain in Spain were not all able to go, but the small number who did were represented by indefatigable group leader Sue Wilson, whose realistic and straight-to-the-point speech attracted whoops and cheers from the 50,000-plus who joined the march to the Conservative party conference being held in the north-western UK city.
The demonstration kicked off with Lib Dem leader and passionate anti-Brexit campaigner Vince Cable, philosopher AC Grayling and The New European‘s editor-in-chief Alastair Campbell giving their views.

Vince Cable: “The first thing Mrs May should do is protect citizens’ rights”

Sir Cable said he ‘hoped the Tories down the road’ were ‘listening’ to the crowd’s ‘very clear message’: “They are not all leavers; far from it. There are plenty of Tory activists who are very unhappy with the way things are going. I hope Labour are listening, as well – a lot of people forget about Jeremy Corbyn’s anti-EU stance.”
Sir Cable said there were many ‘specific things’ the UK government could be doing at the present time, the main issue to resolve being that of citizens’ rights, both Europeans in Britain and Brits in Europe. “Currently they are scared and many are leaving,” Vince, pictured here with Bremain in Spain’s Sue Wilson, revealed.
“If Theresa May is so confident she is going to get a good deal, why does she not put it to the public?” The Lib Dem leader wondered.
AC Grayling pointed out that those who oppose Brexit are ‘much more than 48%’ of adult British citizens, something Bremain in Spain’s Sue Wilson stressed in her speech, referring to those UK nationals living in the EU who were not allowed to vote in the referendum due to having been residing abroad for 15 years or more. Her punchily-delivered discourse came at the end of the march, after the 50,000 paraded down the streets of Manchester chanting en masse, ‘b******s to Brexit’.

Nobody should have their rights removed against their wishes”

Get full transcript of speech in thinkspain article

Bremain in Spain protestors to march in Manchester to ‘Stop Brexit’

Bremain in Spain protestors to march in Manchester to ‘Stop Brexit’

A GROUP campaigning for the rights of British citizens in Spain, will be making its presence felt at the Stop Brexit march in Manchester today (1 October).

Chair of the organisation, Sue Wilson, will be speaking at the event alongside ten other anti-Brexit speakers including Alastair Campbell, AC Grayling, Bonnie Greer and Alison McGovern..

Bremain in Spain is concerned that Theresa May made scant mention of the rights of British citizens in the EU27 and EU citizens in the UK during her Florence speech, giving very little reassurance to those who have been living in limbo ever since the referendum.

Sue Wilson says: “We hold the Tories responsible for the mess that is Brexit. Our voices must be heard – we have been invisible for too long.

“Members of Bremain in Spain will be marching at this event to demonstrate that our anger, fear and despair at Brexit has not dissipated and we’re not giving up.

See original EWN report…

Sue Wilson Speech in Manchester




Miles de británicos, contra el “monstruo” del Brexit

Miles de británicos, contra el “monstruo” del Brexit

El “monstruo” del Brexit marcó el camino. La criatura amorfa y fallera, con las cabezas de Theresa May, Boris Johnson, Michae Gove y David Davis, abrió la multitudinaria manifestación pro-europea de Manchester. Un río de banderas azules recorrió las calles de la ciudad industrial hasta las puertas del Hotel Midland, para cantar serenata a la premier en el arranque de la conferencia del Partido Conservador.

Por tercera vez en un mes, más de 50.000 británicos hicieron causa común y acudieron al reclamo anti-Brexit, que vuelve a sonar con fuerzas renovadas en medio del fiasco de la negociaciones y entre las divisiones que no cesan en el gabinete May. En un mensaje dirigido a los conspiradores de su propio partido, May declaró que piensa continuar en su puesto, culminar la salida de la UE y crear “un país que funcione para todos”.

ver artículo original…



Another Flying Trip to London: Sue Wilson – September 2017

Another Flying Trip to London: Sue Wilson – September 2017

DExEU – with British in Europe and the3Million

My first meeting of day 1 in London was with fellow British in Europe Steering Committee members, Jane Golding (Chair) from Germany and Fiona Godfrey from Luxembourg. We were meeting in advance of our scheduled appointment at the Department for Exiting the EU, to compare notes and talk strategy. We then headed over to DExEU, which is located in the Ministry of Defence building in Whitehall. Although I had previously attended a DExEU meeting at the British Embassy in Madrid, this was my first time at their offices in Whitehall.

The meeting was hosted by civil servants, and as usual, Chatham House rules apply, so I am not at liberty to discuss our deliberations. Suffice it to say that there was a genuine feeling that some progress is being made on citizens’ rights issues, and I do believe there is a strong will to ensure that we are protected. I just wish that we felt the same level of reassurance after listening to May and her Ministers, as we do when speaking with the Civil Service. The meeting was also attended by 3 members of the 3Million, including their Chair, Nicolas Hatton.

The DExEU meeting overran by 30 minutes, giving me just 15 minutes to get to my next appointment at the Remainiacs recording studio in Soho. In my haste, walking briskly across Trafalgar Square, my “trip” took on new meaning when I went flying landing on my hands & knees. I was more concerned about my phone, which went flying from my hand – I had been using it as a GPS. Thankfully, no damage to phone or person, more embarrassment than injury.

Remainiacs Podcast


I arrived in Soho in time, especially as the Remainiacs podcast was running late. My appearance on the weekly anti-Brexit show had been planned for weeks. However, at the last minute and after weeks of trying, Gina Miller also agreed to be on the show. It was a real bonus for me to finally be able to meet her, having seen her twice at the Supreme Court, but not having been able to get close enough to speak.

She was absolutely charming, and told me that she is currently looking into pensions regarding Brits abroad, so I gave her my business card and will hopefully be able to continue a dialogue. It was also a great pleasure to meet host Ian Dunt, number one on the Insurgents Power 250 List. I was interviewed and recorded for 20 minutes, but will have to wait for a future broadcast date.

Naturally, with Gina being available at the last minute, the broadcast episode on 22nd September was dedicated entirely to her, and I can’t think of anyone I would rather be bumped for.

Listen to the broadcast
The One with Gina Miller

Best for Britain

In the evening, I met with Eloise Todd (CEO) and Sara John of Best for Britain. We were joined by Nacho Romero of Españoles de Reino Unido, who I have worked with often and am happy to call a close friend. I had met with Sara before but this was the first time of meeting with Eloise.

Best for Britain have been very active recently and have very definitely shifted their stance from one of support for a Soft Brexit to a strong position of No Brexit. They are very supportive of everything we are doing and have had some great initiatives recently. A few weeks ago we helped them put together a YouGov survey, and just last week, they brought out an excellent template allowing anyone to write to their MP regarding how they had voted on the Withdrawal Bill. We will continue to work very closely with them, and I will be meeting Eloise again in Brussels, her home town, at the beginning on November. If you are not already a member, please join, so you can keep abreast of their activities.

Sign up to Best for Britain HERE

#StopBrexit Ltd

My final meeting was with Peter French & Patrick Lohlein to discuss the march and rally in Manchester on 1st October. I have met Peter many times before, and was delighted that he asked me again to speak at the #StopBrexit rally. We are all really excited at the prospect of marching on the Tory Party Conference, with our whistles, claxons, bells and horns. The Tory government have not been listening to Brits in EU – on 1st March, we will be impossible to ignore!

Peter tells me that the Jacques Tilly float for the march is coming along nicely, but he is keeping the design a closely guarded secret, despite all my pleas for a sneak preview. Apparently we will love it! Can’t wait for the big reveal in Manchester. I’m sure it will draw a great deal of attention from the world’s press.

What Next?

I have 3 more anti-Brexit trips planned over the next few weeks:

  • 1st October – #Stopbrexit Rally & March on Tory Party conference
  • 3rd November – British in Europe Steering Committee in Brussels
  • 2nd December – Bremain in Spain Annual General Meeting in Málaga
  • 5th December – Next visit to London

If only Ryanair had a frequent flier programme!


Sue Wilson
Chair – Bremain in Spain

Conversations with Europe

Conversations with Europe

In the wake of the Brexit referendum on 23rd June 2016, as many of us grieved, pondered and tried to make sense of things, a number of pro-active individuals started to campaign. Some campaigns were linked to legal challenges around the vote itself; some campaigns were about celebrating Europe and saying to our fellow EU countries ‘we don’t want this!’ Some were simply an overflow of anger and grief. Not all of those initial campaign groups had a long life. However, some of the most enduring, and necessary are the groups which emerged to campaign for citizens’ rights.

The EU is ultimately all about citizenship – though this barely made it into the Leave/Remain discourse in 2016. It is terrifying enough to many British citizens living in the UK that a marginal vote, won by dishonest propaganda, is on the verge of taking away a whole chunk of our citizenship rights. But for others, this is combined with an uncertainty about their homes, families, friends, jobs, indeed, their whole way of life.

For those from other EU countries living in the UK, we saw campaign groups like The 3 Million and the beginning of projects to collect testimonies such as Our Brexit Testimonies and the resulting book, In Limbo. The reflection of these groups are those representing British citizens who have made their homes in other EU countries. What of their rights? One of the most high profile campaign groups representing British citizens abroad is Bremain in Spain.

Read original ‘Conversations with Europe article…