Brian Cave (Pensioners Debout!),

le Fourquet, 46300, Gourdon, France

Tel: (0033) (0) 5 65 41 42 69

E-mail  lefourquet@orange.fr

Web page -  http://www.lefourquet.net/

Blog site   http://pensionersdebout.blogspot.com/

 

September 23rd  2010

Copied to Mark Harper MP.

Dear David Lidington,

Mark Harper has forwarded to me your reply to him of July 22nd.

References  Mark Harper FD 7868…     Your Ref.. 85076

It has taken me some time to get around to replying.  I have desired to take as much care over my reply as I possibly could.  Enclosed with this reply is a small dossier of selected correspondence.  All in all everything indicates the depth of feeling which resides with the pensioner expatriate British Citizen in Europe, and their unhappiness with the British political system and bureaucracy.

 

I copy below an extract from your letter of reply.

“There are currently no plans to appoint a Minister for expatriates. Expatriate citizens contact government about a wide range of issues covering the responsibilities of different government departments and agencies and I think that it is both fair and logical to treat representatives from expatriates in exactly the same way that we do those from people resident in the UK, where it is the constituency MP who takes the case up with the appropriate Minister.”

 

 

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My response :-

“Representations” (sic) from European expatriates cannot be treated in the same manner as representations from citizens resident in the UK.  By the very fact of living in the wider community of Europe they have different problems.  Yet they are British Citizens and the Government has a moral responsibility to care for them.  Below are other cogent reasons why your statement above does not represent an appropriate approach.

My plea for a Minister for the Expatriate British Citizen living within the EU/EEA arises from issues affecting such Citizens.

In managing a blog site   http://pensionersdebout.blogspot.com/   with over 11,600 visits and an email correspondent list of numerous pensioners, I am particularly concerned with the British Government’s treatment towards the British pensioner in Europe.  But by extension, these matters also affect the younger British Citizen.

 

Current Representation

1.           Under the 1985 Representation of the People Act  (web link)  British Citizens non-resident in the UK cease to have any appropriate representation after 15 years of non-residency.  They cannot vote for the UK Parliament and do not have an MP to intervene for them.

2.           There are large numbers of British Citizens living in the EEA who have not been resident in the UK within the last 15 years and therefore cannot possibly have any official contact with an MP who will have their interest at heart.  This includes persons who have worked in some other part of the world and have retired to Europe.  They may even be retired consular staff. 

3.           One knows that the constituency MP is not especially interested in the European problems as described in items below.  I have had reported to me the instance where an MP has said that he is not that interested if the ‘constituent’ does not live in his physical constituency.  Often, the complexity of the issues is beyond the patience of the average MP to tackle.
The notion of a
UK based constituency MP representing the British Citizen in Europe is outdated and is non-viable.  There are 400,000 pensioners in Europe and many other younger citizens besides.
Comments are often made that the expatriate ‘cannot be bothered to vote’.  This apparent lack of motivation arises from the thoughts expressed here.    It is this lack of motivation, and thereby lack of feedback which in turn leads Government Ministers to be unaware that there are any European issues impinging on the British Citizen which need attention.


Treaties and Laws

4.           Britain signs European treaties in the name of all British Citizens.  Those who live beyond the UK in Europe are fundamentally affected.  There are, as I have experienced, various issues arising from these European regulations which are causing or have caused difficulties.   Certainly these laws are signed without consultation with those who are affected! The notion of the ‘Competent State’ for the social welfare of pensioners is particularly relevant.

5.           Many regulations enacted by the British Parliament also affect such citizens directly, particularly pensioners.  One may mention for example, such matters as passports, pensions, benefits and health costs.

6.           Many citizens are pensioners who have income from Britain and many still pay taxes to Britain. And again the fiscal arrangements passed into law in Westminster appear to be passed with little or no consideration for the 400,000  pensioners in Europe.


Future Representation

7.           One could hope that in the future the UK will follow the lead of France and Italy and have MPs directly elected by the expatriates, who represent the British Citizens within Europe.   This is unlikely to happen in the UK in the near future! 
Again, considering the financial constraints  leading towards a reduction in the total number of MPs, such a change is in the short term doubtful.

8.           Representation by elected MPs is not the complete answer, although the recognition that an individual MP is aware of one’s special needs has great merit. And, it retains the important element of electoral responsibility. 

9.           A well intentioned Minister would have the ability to draw many elements together.

The role of a Minister for The British Citizen in Europe.

10.       Such a person would soon realise the intricacy of issues affecting the citizen. He would need to study the EU regulations on …….

·             ‘freedom of movement’,

·             the ‘costing of health care’ 

·             and wider ‘social issues’ generally.  One must comprehend the significance of the EU concept that the UK is the ‘Competent State  for the Social Care of its pensioners in the EU.

·             The relationship of the British banking sector to the European expatriate.

·             He would need to consult with the expatriates  particularly in France, Spain,  Italy and Germany to understand how local laws impinge on the British Citizen. 

·             From this, one would hope that thoughts would arise on the development of British linked businesses, acting across Europe

·              There are the problems that arise from conflicting taxation. The interpretation of the Double taxation convention with France needs attention. And possibly similar examination is needed with other countries. 

In short, co-ordination and an overview of the regulations which affect the British Citizen in
Europe is necessary.
This would be a major step forward at hopefully relatively little cost. 

 

I finish with an overview of the socio/political future of Europe. 

The peoples of Europe are in a process of mingling.  From each nucleus of a State peoples of different nationalities are crossing borders.   Yet each still, even after a generation or two, displays allegiance, affection if you like, towards their home State.   In this manner each becomes an ambassador of their nationality.  There is a nexus of nodal States connected by the people.  The Government of the people has to be by the will of the people and (may I repeat the well- worn phrase) for the people.  Should not the ambassadors of the British way of life in Europe have a democratic say in the manner in which this nexus evolves?

It is necessary that the home State supports the needs of the British Citizen. 

 

A fresh political direction is required stemming from an understanding of the demographic changes which are occurring so rapidly.

I hope that you will reconsider your approach to this matter.

 

 

Attached --- dossier of correspondence.  [This is excluded here because it contains matters of a confidential nature.]