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Dash for Passports Starts as Brits Abroad Feel Deserted by Mothership

Dash for Passports Starts as Brits Abroad Feel Deserted by Mothership
The Brexit referendum has forced British citizens living in other EU countries to reassess the very basics of their existence. And there are about 1.2 million of them.
British passport holders could travel, live and work virtually anywhere in the EU as members of the 28-nation bloc. Depending on the agreement the U.K. negotiates to exit, such privileges could vanish outside the bloc. What will happen with their pensions and healthcare, many also wonder
Talking to Bloomberg News, 40-year-old Fiona Malcolm says she is flummoxed by such concerns. She has recently bought an apartment in Paris and has been living in France for 15 years. Her two kids hold British passports even though they were born in France. That arrangement may have to change.
“I like living here, I want to stay. I feel European and I didn’t need to have another citizenship until now. I guess I’ll have to apply with my kids for French citizenship,” said Malcolm, who works as a statistician in the health care sector.
Another British national living outside of the UK but within the EU says that the result left him trapped between two worlds.
“My first reaction was, ‘Oh no,’” he said. “I’m proud to be British, but I’m part of this community now, I’m European too,” tells Welsh pub owner Wayne Greenhalgh, who moved to Spain six years ago to the southern Spanish coastal town of Benalmadena tells Bloomberg.
He’s as puzzled now about his future as he was two months ago said Greenhalgh, who said the campaigning had left most of his concerns unanswered. He’s concerned about what this will mean for his pension, his savings in pounds and, ultimately, his livelihood running a British pub catering to tourists from the U.K. while he has no plans to move back to his home country.
“You want tourists feeling confident about spending money,” he said. “I think there’s a long way to go before we find out what’s going to happen,” he says.
The vote to leave the EU will start a march toward Scottish independence, says a 59-year-old Scotsman - Charles Gowans, who lives nearby. The nationalist government has already started preparations for another independence vote with results of Thursday’s ballot showing Scotland voted to remain in the 28-member bloc.
“I voted yes for independence, and no to leaving the EU -- for me, staying was important. I have no doubt Scotland will ask for a new referendum,” Gowans said.
A bid for German citizenship may be tough because authorities are overloaded handling the country’s refugee crisis, feels Gabriel Fawcett, a 40-year-old British tour guide, who works in Germany and several other European countries.  

Another challenge for officials across the continent is posed by the rush for EU citizenship. While the website for requesting Spanish citizenship crashed, the central post office ran out of Irish passport application forms in Belfast.

Christopher J. Mitchell

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