Brexit: A Few Thoughts

I haven’t written about Brexit before. Truth be told I haven’t written about much over the last two to three years as I have been focussed on other things, but as an ‘expat residing in Spain’ at what are certainly interesting times, I have a growing inclination to put ‘pen to paper’ aka ‘fingers to keyboard’ once again.

I have shared my thoughts on the impact of Brexit on TRACES and PETS Scheme, over on our ALStrays re-homing and pet transport site, which covers Sands work re-homing the stray cats of Spain to Germany, and our cat and dog transport under the Pets Scheme and TRACES.

I will concentrate on the potential implications of Brexit on the expats life in Spain, but inevitably will touch on those residing elsewhere in the EU and of course the UK.

First though let me share a couple of views that I have which significantly shape my thought process.

1. The EU is a worthless, bureaucratic, self serving, inefficient waste of time! Back in the day the concept of a Common Market to ‘force’ previously fractious countries to trade and work closer together made a lot of sense, and still does to this day. A governing body was certainly required back then, with terms and agreements a necessity to get the concept up and running.

Now, don’t get me wrong. A EU with open borders, free trade, mutually beneficial arrangements with the stronger nurturing the weaker with a view to selling them goods and services when stronger makes sense.

But, after all this time do we really need a ‘central’ government, a ‘single’ currency to make this happen? Surely the scene is well and truly set now. Governments know what is expected of them, and in their best interests, what is and isn’t acceptable, what the consequences of their actions will be. If individual countries Governments aren’t strong enough and mature enough to work together after all this time then they need replacing.

The old saying of asking turkey’s to vote for Christmas comes to mind: the EU is unlikely to ever vote for or accept willingly anything that diminishes its powers, or ‘worse’ highlights how unnecessary the whole thing is.

2. I think the UK had Point 1) very much in mind pre Referendum when they tried to renegotiate their membership terms. The fundamental issue in my view was that the ‘club’ the UK joined all those years ago little resembled the club that it had become, which highlights two key issues: the UK had been to weak to instigate change from within, and the club had become to focussed on its own aims than the requirements of its members.

The choice was simple: stay in the club and fight for change, leave the club and fight for your own future. Opposite options but with the same basic needs: strong leadership, products and services that people want, and the courage of your convictions.

Unfortunately these are attributes that I don’t think the UK has so ‘doomed if you do, doomed if you don’t’ the reality is that the future of the UK will depend on how much the EU allows it to ‘retain’ from its membership once it leaves, and at what cost.

I know this theory means that the destiny of the UK will be determined by the EU, but wasn’t that always the case? Our inability to stop the EU becoming what it has during our time as a member, and our inability to renegotiate better terms pre Referendum only prove that point.

I can hear the groans at the thought of this, but maybe not so bad after all?!

My view. The EU had pretty much got its cake and is eating it, so why would they want to change too much? And more importantly why would they want to risk other members voting to leave because of what they allowed the UK to retain?

Let’s look at Spain for a moment. With 1.6 million British expats buying and renting properties, running businesses, paying taxes and contributing to the economy would they want to lose that income? With Spain remaining a popular tourist destination would they want to lose that income? And what of the other side of the coin? There are a significant number of young Spaniards working in the UK and with unemployment levels still high in Spain would they want these people back? Whether forced or voluntary a mass exodus of expats from Spain would have a devastating effect on a already weak property industry, and a return of Spaniards seeking work would further weaken the economy.

Like you I have seen the posturing, the statements regards a Hard of Soft Brexit, the threats from both sides, but I really don’t think a lot will change! Somethings will change of course, and the border issue will continue to dominate (although I see that as a red herring, but more on that another day)

For now that is enough. I will be returning to the issues one by one over time as and when they arise.

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