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Britain and the European Union


The result of Brexit, hard or soft, for French property purchasers will probably be that you will need a residence permit (carte de séjour) and, if you want to take a job or go for an occupation, you will need a work permit (permis de travail).  For these purposes you will need to stand in lengthy queues at the Service des Etrangers in the local Préfecture once or twice.  But in my opinion it is a forgone conclusion that you will get these documents, so Brexit will not constitute any practical hindrance to your living and working in France.  At the beneath political level, life will largely go on as before.


L'Acquis Communautaire is a French expression not fully translatable into English, which is why it is used.  Nevertheless, as a Member of the Institute of Translation and Interpreting, I shall proffer a translation :  The European Achievement.


I will set out some of the salient elements of the European Achievement as follows :


-        Peace between Germany and France for more than 70 years.


-        A single market without Customs barriers.


-        A legal framework for setting bounds to commercial competition.


-        A legal framework for persons moving from one Member State to another while accumulating Social Security entitlements and Pension rights.


-        Common safety standards.


-        Common legislation and standards for restricting pollution.


What a short-memoried and short-sighted thing it is that Britain has decided to dump the European Achievement and walk away from it.  Twenty-seven European countries cooperate with each other.  Britain refuses.  Shame!


Yes, something needs to be done about immigration.  There ought to be agreed EU procedures whereby a Member State can set limits to immigration from any particular other Member State or from all other Member States for periods of time, perhaps lengthy, to be determined on a case by case basis.  Those limits need to be agreed by the European Commission, subject to the control of the European Court of Justice at Luxembourg.  I expect that all this will come about in fairly early course.


Britain has now served its two-year Notice of Withdrawal from the European Union, and the attitude of the present British Government is one of hard Brexit.  It seems that nobody knows how much this is going to cost particularly in terms of lost sales into the single market hit by the common customs barrier, but it is beginning to dawn on the British people that the downwards effect on the British economy is likely to be considerable, dragging on for years and making most of us poorer.  It gloomily sounds far too expensive.


Together with the majority of Londoners, the majority of voters in Scotland, and the majority of young people, I consider all this to be economically foolish and politically unwise.  Therefore there must be quite a lot of doubt as to whether we are really going to go through with it.  Public opinion, already uneasy, is getting ready to change.  Are Mrs May and her political chums going to land up in the Brexit bunker :  fixated on their splendid isolation all by themselves?  That is what I am beginning to expect.


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