FRANCE 24 canvasses the opinions of British expatriates living and working in France following the UK’s rejection of a treaty that will bring closer integration in the EU.
Back to the article
HE SHOULD BE MAKING COUNCILS MAKE HOMES WARMER ESPECIALLY FOR OLD AND DISABLED PEOPLE WHO ARE TENENTS OF HASTOE HOUSING IN MILTON KEYNES HE ALSO NEED TO CHANGE THE IMMIGRATION LAWS THERE IS TO MANY FOREIGNERS HERE DOING BRITISH JOBS AND MILLIONS OF BRITS UNEMPLOYED HE MUST MAKE THEM WORK OR CUT BENEFITS FOR LAZY PEOPLE THE YOUTHS SHOULD BE PUT IN EDUCATION EMPLOYMENT OR TRAINING CAMPS LIKE NATIONAL SERVICE TYPE THINGS LEARNING TRADES SKILLS THEY CAN USE IN JOBS EXT
DISABLED PEOPLE NEED MORE RIGHTS FOR EXAMPLE A DISABLED PERSON WHO CANT WORK IS ON BENEFITS CANT INVITE A FOREIGN PARTNER OVER HERE TO GET MARRIED UNLESS THEY HAVE A LOT IN THE BANK WHICH MANY DON'T JUST 1 ISSUE I RAISE ON BEHALF OF THE DISABLED WE MUST STOP KISSING ASS IN THE EU AND LOOK AFTER THE UK
Go Doc, you've got my ear and vote.
We always have been, we are, and I hope that we always shall be, detested in France - Duke of Wellington
I thinks some of the comments regarding how some of the British love to complain about everyone else being the cause of the problem just proves the point. The British think that they are always right, its a sort of disease, almost a junior version of the USA but without the armed forces clout or the finance. As for thinking that Cameron did what he did in the UK's best interest, I really had to pour myself a glass of wine to get over the absolute cranial stupidity of the comment. Cameron doing anything for the UK! Cameron does everything for Cameron end of discussion. The reasoning regarding why he did it is perfectly clear and more enlightening; the City of London funds the Conservative party, and like all British Conservatives their mantra is Party first , the country a very poor second. Stanley Baldwin another Conservative prime minister remarked "If we had told the people the truth, we would have lost the election" That tells you all you need to know about Thatcher, Major and Cameron, greedy opportunists working in their or their masters own interests. As an aside, democracy is just about alive in the UK, for how long is anyones guess, as the country is becoming more and more like the USA. I know that I shall get shouted down by the little Englanders, but who cares! Vive la france.
Whether or not the proposed treaty will work to save the Euro will ultimately be decided by the Markets,not politicians. Financial and social integration across Europe is a long way off and is very likely not the answer to the problem. It is likely to make ordinary people in every European country poorer than they would otherwise be. Politicians are very good at grand gestures, but where is the detail ? Exactly how much suffering is going to be inflicted on the people of Europe to prop up the Euro. The British do not see why they should contribute large sums of money to save a project they were never part of. Eurozone debt means a Eurozone financed solution. There is also the loss of local democracy implicit in the integration treaty. If a government has to submit its budget to an unelected body for approval what are you voting for ? Policy is decided elsewhere and not necessarily in Germany either. In Greece and Italy elected governments have been replaced by political pressure from France and Germany.In Ireland a referendum was held twice until the 'right' answer was obtained.This was managed by an unaccountable pan-european elite who have tried to convince the weak minded that they should be acting as "good europeans". It is their interest being served not Europe's. I think the French people need to know how this proposal will affect them and not leave it to their politicians. On closer inspection it may become clearer that the British were right but possibly for the wrong reasons.
Finally,for those Brits who wish to denigrate their country in these comments rather than debate an argument - please stay exactly where you are.
This is for your first commentator - Peter Hawkins, freelance writer in Marseilles. I'd just like to assure him that no-one here is deluded enough to imagine that we are 'a central player on the European scene', geographically or politically. We know we're not and we don't want to be thank you very much. However, we are the second biggest net contributor into the pot financially, so I think that alone entitles us to be able to say 'no' to things we don't like the look of, and we didn't like the look of this. Given the disgusting anti-British behaviour from some Eurocrats and MEPs calling for punishments and reprisals and for the UK to be marginalised and 'made to feel their loss of power in Europe' .. I think a few other countries will be discovering what happens to anyone who dares to say 'no. What a lot of people in France need to be reminded of is that we are not in the Euro, and have stated repeatedly that we have no intention of joining the Euro. We are the only country in that position. All the others are either already using the single currency or are committed to joining it at some future date. It's only a few weeks ago that Mr Sarkozy was telling Cameron to 'butt out, you aren't even in the Euro' .. so now he's butted out, and they still aren't happy. C'est la vie and all that. But being a Brit yourself you will know that all the threats and name calling coming from Europe will only serve to harden resolve. Say what you like about us, but we won't be bullied - 26 to 1 or not.
Why should the City pay for the survival of the euro? Perhaps because City work with European money, not British money, perhaps because it will not exist London City if UK is not in EU, but it will be for example Paris City or Berlin City?
The Germans have a name for the Brits: inseln affen, meaning Island Apes and so I am minded to quote Jonathan Swift "the YAHOOS appear to be the most unteachable of all animals: their capacity never reaching higher than to draw or carry burdens. Yet I am of opinion, this defect arises chiefly from a perverse,
restive disposition; for they are cunning, malicious, treacherous, and revengeful. I was born in London but live most of my life in various European countries. I avoid going anywhere near the UK if at all possible, chiefly to avoid the Yahoos!!
You have laid out my exact feelings in the matter.
I am in the unfortunate position of wishing to shove off out of this disaster zone, and here in Wales it's as bad as it gets, to somewhere about mid France.
As said, Unfortunate in that my family are against the idea, at my age, although pretty fit, if not pretty, I am the epitome of a committed European, but cannot make a move, because to do so would set my wife and I at one another's throats. She says she cannot move to somewhere she does not speak the language of.
My answer is to tell her, our vacation experiences have proven that is not a necessary requirement, but women, can't live with em can't live without em.
Our trouble is, we are on a blasted island, this creates a problem in the minds of some of the British, we know we are isolated by a water barrier, we very much like the idea of being pals with Europe, we just cannot commit to becoming European.
I am speaking of those who cheer every word that emanate from the mouths of the "little englander" brigade, which unfortunately appears to be a majority view on this side of la Manche.
I also appreciate the question asked by A.N.Other re the matter of passports, visas, reporting as aliens...etc.,should we fully withdraw from the EU.
It's bad enough being compelled to show the passport when leaving the UK, in the knowledge that is likely to be the only time it is demanded, as to travel the Continent all one is likely to see is a small notice on the side of then road as on e crosses borders within Europe.
However, I am thankful, if annoyed ours is the only border where such is demanded.
My French friends and acquaintances ask me why that is.
They ask, ...
"Don't your people want to be Europeans?
Which irritates me no end. as I DO want to be, in fact I tell them.... "I am. a European, despite how the rest appear to yo!"
The british had no choice on bank transaction tax, would the french except a 40 billion a year tax on there car industrie, no they would be on the streets and closing the ports as they allways do.
The next time the french want to demonstrate they will have to go by bus to berlin and beg the germans for some money.
I can not see this state of affairs being popular in france, but unfortunatly this is the sad position the euro zone has got into.
This has not happend by accident if you want to force countries together create a crisis,but this one is bigger than what the eurocrats bargained for.
One of the major differences between the UK and Europe is political education. The average Brit requires something quite drastic to drag him/herslef away from beer, football, the X Factor or "Soaps" Short of a nuclear holacaust nothing will get them to focus on anything of intellectual value. The French on the other hand debate avidly fully aware of policies, strategy and necessary action. But, times are changing. Cameron and Osborne who between them appear to be hell bent on destroying what Thatcher started, has probably overplayed his hand. That object of desire of most Brits House prices, are falling steeply except for London. This means that the handy piggy bank the mortgaged house, cannot be used to buy flash cars, holidays abroad, useless electronic gadgetry and wide screen TVs. No government has survived house depreciation in the UK or the financial penalties that accompany it repossession and bankruptcy. Cameron can no longer blame the Euro, the last labour government or anyone else. He has managed in less than 18 months of ideological cuts to almost put the patient (the UK economy) beyond recovery. Unemployment continues to rise despite Cmeron and Osborne banging on about the Private Sector replacing jobs lost. Try explaining that to an IT specialist with 20 years experience on a good above average salary who can only find a part time job paying the minimum wage; or to a university lecturer faced with the same choice because of cuts. THe UK has not yet come out of recession, and by all accounts looks as though it will go deeper into recession and probably into the worst of all worlds, stagflation. The cost of basic commodities continue to rise, fuel costs continue to rise, energy costs continue to rise. These rises coupled with the cost of funding unemployment benefits and the loss of revenue from VAT, NHI and income tax, together with severely reduced spending tells its own story. The austerity program is not working. Cameron is a typical right wing ideologist, a sight worse is the Chancellor who's economic incompetence knows no bounds. The bleeding dry of the middle and working classes in the UK will continue for a little longer. Using the veto by Cameron will be the final nail in the coffin for the Tory party,the rising unemployment costs, failure to invest and damage to the financial institutions will eventually take their toll of this inept blinkered ragtag government. I was in France a little over a week ago near Pau. The difference between Pau and any City in the UK is refreshing. Pau today is like the UK used to be 30 plus years ago. People smiled, families chatted in restaurants, strangers gave bonjour. Speak to a stranger in the UK today, at the best you get a surly snarl, at the worst you could end up being assaulted, no one shows respect or politeness. Perhaps the French will understand when I say I am now more ashamed to be English than at any other time in my life. I apologise to Europe for the antics of our childish schoolboy politicians, but please don't judge us all the same way, we are part of Europe and wish to play an active part and contribute to the effort required to making Europe a prosperous group of countries capable of balancing the unbridled power of the USA.
The people in my state get irritated every time we have to bail out California or New York due to their really stupid socialist programs. Why should Britain have to bail out Greece or Italy because those countries can't control their own socialist spending. Cameron did the right thing.
So, If Cameron and the Eurosceptics succeed in removing the UK from the EU, how will your expats feel about going though the immigration process, and obtaining visas and work permits? Will they avoid it all by becoming citizens of an EU country such as France?
Maybe its time the Uk became great and traded with the nations who wish for us to deliver the goods. Its time we decided who we accept or reject into the country or not, not Brussels.
I am fed up of the Uk paying Millions out and constantly being critised by the rest of the Eurozone.
Britain is not a member of the Euro zone and has no rights or responsibilities for the Euro. It follows that the Euro group have no rights to interfere with British Fiscal policy. The politics of the Union are dubious when the Commission has not an audited account in its history it is unreasonable that they can demand larger contributions. The UK pays its dues to the IMF and that should be sufficient for the Euro zone as many of its members do not contribute to that fund, yet receive the to the benefits. We have already contributed a large amount to the Irish republic without ant obligation to do so whilst Germany fails to meet it's obligations to the Euro zone and is looking for an escape route which has no risk for them. The morality of their approach is the greatest danger to the Euro.
While I do not agree with some of the views expressed above, why should the UK support an organisation which has failed to have the accounts signed off for around eleven years? All the while that some states thrive on corrupt practices the Eur will never be successful. That is what needs addressing. Who elected Merkel and Sarkozy to try to push everyone around? London is a centre of international finance, and I see that Germany wants to get it all for its own banking system. I have no doubt that UK (not just England) has had some benefit from EU, but at what cost to our sovereingty? Does any country really want to give up everything and be told what to do by Brussels bureaucrats. Ireland held a referendum and the result was said to be the wrong one by Brussels - democracy Brussels style. Good for Cameron in standing up to the bully boys!
Of course the U.S. prints funny money (that we don't have) for Europe because we're again bailing out the big U.S. banks. Common sense and morality be damned. Or as someone said to me recently, the rich have no country. Soon, none of the rest of us will have any country, either--no food, no clothing, no shelter. I previously thought capital accumulation was the answer but after the MF Global robbery, I see even that isn't possible. I'd say head for the hills--but what hills? Sprechen sie Mandarin?
Glad to see the UK is not following the rest of the sheep.
I totally agree with Iain Black, very blunt and straight to the point, trust me, and time will tell, The French will be the biggest loosers once the euro collapses. Basically The Germans are leading the race, The French, Im not convinced the really want to be following the Germans!!! wait until the latest bailouts prove to be unsufficient, and big economies start to collapse needing more bailouts!! does anyone think The French will put their hands in their pockets and shellout again???? noway, They will blame the Germans!!! not theselves and may be the third conflict will start!!! at that point they will turn around and ask help, from who, emmmmmmmmmmm difficult to answer I think!!! may be The Brits will come to the rescue!!!!
Its good to see that Frrance 24 has taken an objective view on reporting the British veto. In the UK we can all see that mr Sarkozy is in a massive corner and appears to suffer from the little person problem. The worst thing about Mr Sarkozy is that he actually believes Mrs Merkel suports him. The sooner the French electorate sling this guy out the better for France and the better for Europe. Given none of teh 26 have actually signed anything and merely showed intent, the killer will always be in the detail and given to date the detail has been anything but forthcoming this is nt a done deal at all.
We, the British public, have never thought that we were central players in Europe in fact the British public have consistently wanted out of each escalating round of Pig in a Poke Treatys foisted on us by our politicians. maybe now we will be able to paddle our own canoe instead of falling over ourselves to toe the bureacratic stupidity of Brussels
We who still reside in the UK are quite happy that Cameron has said NO. The EU has become bloated, undemocratic, unaccountable and seemingly run solely for the benefit of it's "fonctionnaires". This new "treaty" will do nothing to ease the eurozone crisis and will only serve to bind the hands of the other member states. Those who threaten and froth with rage at the UK's decision to consider its own interests first should remember that we have already been conned into shelling out to support a currency we do not use by the misapplication of "emergency" measures under the Lisbon Treaty.It therefore seems a little churlish to expect us to tax one of our few profitable industries into extinction for the benefit of others who have failed to control their own spending. It's a bit like expecting your neighbour to pay your credit card debt for your profligate lifestyle when he barely has the money to feed, clothe and shelter his own family. Generally Brits are happy to give to an emergency appeal and more generously than some but charity begins at home and this is still our home.
It's not about not being in Europe. It's about not being shoe-horned into a one size-fits-no-one treaty. We who are actually in the UK have never been offered a referendum on the formation of an EU Federal state. We said yes to a trading agreement in 1975
If someone thinks the other 26 nation states have signed up blindfolded, with muffs over their ears, he must be befuddled in his thinking. Just because they don't, naturally, speak English does not mean they are any less canny than their British counterparts.
Britain, has nowhere to go, unless we opt to be the 52nd state of America, 100% unacceptable across the Pond I would suggest, more likely we will become what we once were heading to become, before we half took the opportunity to be a part of Europe proper.An empire less state on the fringe of the EU, which, once the current situation is resolved, will dominate, but without any influential input from this renegade island nation.
What has happened to the Euro, is temporary, just as what happened to all the other currencies that were found wanting when the global fiscal implosion occurred.
As for Cameron 'protecting' the City of London, Brown did most of the work in that when bailing out the thieving banks, the thanks for which took place, lay in that same City of London financial centre.
The explosive forces rippled out from the major Bourses, including Wall Street, Frankfurt, Paris and elsewhere, not one of these constructs were blameless, so for Cameron to offer support, as he chilled towards any attempt to set in motion corrective means to an end by our European partners, is hypocrisy of a very high order.
He attempted to blackmail our Continental partners, his bluff was called, and he, tail between his legs like a whipped cur, walked.
I seriously doubt, if given the full facts, with less of the flag waving crap from the media,that the average citizen would consider following the line taken by our Thatcherite, (in part at least), leader, and his henchmen in Cabinet.
Europe made the mess to start with, greedy bankers, stupid eurcrats, spendthrift governments, why should the English have to sort out Europe and KowTow to Brussels???????pulled their nuts out of the fire in two world wars, and the french still owe the Brits for the 1st WW loans.
A banker is not in favour of a tax on banking transaction?! Next you will be telling us that the Pope is Catholic.
The UK suffered badly when they were forced to exit the old EMU and were never convince of the Euro.The aim was good but no one
checked the wealth of countries joining.We now know that Greece
should not have been let in.Ot her countries have since been brought to the brink.I also read that Baroso had his eye on using the UK taxes to prop up the EU itself.Its a/c have not been audited for 16 years and we read of abuse of the money by many employees.I supported the EU from over 30 years ago and went to seminars in Germany in the seventies.Strict fiscal discipline should have been in force to avoid the present state
This was a crude trap set by Merkozy that failed from the outset. The 2 things that are doomed at the moment are the Euro and Sarkozy's presidency which is uppermost in his mind. Of course the thing uppermost in most expats minds is our relationship with France and the Euro when the merde coincides with the ventilation, and although it might effect me and mine here in France, I wouldn't trade my comfort for the decline of the United Kingdom which some of your correspondent would.
Well done Cameron,finally someone who will stand up to Merkel and Sarkozy, 'little man syndrome'. If we don't take a stand now all the arrows point to a take over by Germany for it to be the power in Europe, something which they have always wanted. Read your history books!
See it from Camerons point of view.
1) He instigated and forced through a new law stating that any change of or new EU powers were to be subject of a referendum in the UK. He did this not for one moment think that this would be enacted during his tenure.
2) He had just sufferd against a 3 line whip 81 of his own MPs voting against him jsut a few weeksd ago on an EU debate.
He was therefore between a rock and a hard place. there is no way that any of the european ruling elite would allow a referendum on any EU question. He could not agree therefore and if he did and tried to aviod a referendum he would be ousted by his own party and he was not going to get kicked out of office. So he used the veto to stay in power and judged that Merkosy would not be around in a few months when he would be it was the best move he never made.
Who cares anymore about a country that tryed to enslave the world and is now a spent force of x factor idiots.
IS DAVID CAMERON FOR CLEANING UP CORRUPTION IN GOVERNMENT THAT CREATED THE ECONOMIC MESS AND IS HE FOR UNION BLOC JOB CREATION: FOLLOW MY BLOG ON MYSPACE: LATEST UPDATE: 11/12/2011 - DAVID CAMERON - EUROPEAN UNION - FRANCE
British expats react to David Cameron’s ‘non’ to the EU
FRANCE 24 canvasses the opinions of British expatriates living and working in France following the UK’s rejection of a treaty that will bring closer integration in the EU.
By Tony Todd (text)
British Prime Minister David Cameron on Friday said the UK would not sign a new treaty aimed at tightening fiscal rules across the euro zone.
Is it a determined drift towards greater isolation from Europe, or is the UK right to protect its own interests beyond those of its continental neighbours?
FRANCE 24 spoke to some Britons living and working in France.
Peter Hawkins, freelance writer, Marseille
It’s not an irreversible decision, and it’s definitely more about British domestic policy than about the EU. Britain has always been the awkward partner in Europe, and I think Europe actually benefits from having an awkward partner.
From what I’m hearing I think the French are unfazed, unsurprised and unbothered. It’s just the way that it has been reported in the UK that makes Britons feel that their country is a central player on the European scene. It isn’t. Britain is on the fringes of Europe and it always has been.
Jonathan Holburn, entrepreneur, Paris
I am shocked and disappointed. This riles me incredibly. The UK is the one country in the EU that is the least committed to the euro, a currency whose survival is crucial to Britain’s economic health.
And if we’re not in Europe, where are we? Tied to the US? The euro may have been badly implemented, but Europe is committed to sorting this mess out. We should be pulling out all the stops to help our neighbours, because it is in our interests.
It’s embarrassing that this news confirms the sad truth that it is the eurosceptic little Englanders who are running the ship, and that the UK is just fiddling around on the outskirts of Europe.
Gavin Doughty, banker with HSBC, Paris
David Cameron was protecting British interests and I believe he did the right thing. In principal, keeping out and protecting the British banking sector from having to contribute a damaging transaction tax is a good idea.
I disagree with many aspects of the banking industry, but a transaction tax, which would have been imposed if the UK signed the new treaty, is a bad idea.
My French colleagues actually appreciate the way the British stand up to people the way Cameron has. And I believe they wish their own leaders would do the same. I think Nicolas Sarkozy is in a corner and Angela Merkel has him exactly where she wants him.
Britain is different from France and Germany, we have an island mentality and the French understand that.
Iain Black, barman at the Bombadier pub, Paris
The euro isn’t our currency, so why should we be expected to save it? It’s as simple as that. The overwhelming majority of income from the proposed transaction tax would come from London. Why should the City pay for the survival of the euro?
As for Cameron, I don’t really believe the reasons he gave. I think he was pandering to the right-wing British press, who love him for it, while protecting his rich friends, who will stay rich with the UK keeping its distance from Europe's problems.
As for the French, I honestly believe that they wish they were in the same position as the UK, with the power to say “no, we will not bail you out this time.”
John Airson, tourism executive, Paris
I feel that this decision - which let’s face it was inevitable - is just as much motivated by nostalgia for a time gone by, as it is in a getting-off the speeding train/economic-protectionism ploy.
I think it wouldn’t be such a bad thing if more countries attempted to go down the road of economic-independence. This is what most people are crying out for after the recent series of domino-effect economic crises.
I think the French secretly envy the British for taking this path. They trust their politicians about as much as they understand the rules of cricket.
I don't know how the facts are being reported on the Continent, but it seems to me that the UK has been deliberately forced into a trap, whereby the UK is painted as the bad guy.
This is simply creating a scapegoat, to hide the reality that Sarkozy & Merkel have absolutely no credible plan to save the Euro.
All David Cameron did was stand up for British interests, in protecting our financial centre of London from a blatant attack (the proposed financial transaction tax) that would be paid mainly by Britain. Obviously no British Prime Minister could have agreed to that.
Most Brits are happy to be isolated from a rapidly sinking ship, with Merkel & Sarkozy at the helm. They seem determined to take things to the brink, when we all know there is only one outcome - the ECB will have to print money & buy Bonds, otherwise the whole thing will collapse. Will they just get on with it, please! And stop blaming the British - our vision is simply to be part of a free trade zone, and nothing more. Brits have never wanted any of the integration inflicted on us by the EU, and hence most people in the UK would now rather withdraw from the EU altogether, then we will get on so much better.
David Cameron is absolutely right to reject this new 'treaty'. As a concept Europe is in a mess from which it will not emerge any time in a hurry. France will probably soon have a new president with very different ideas, Italy now has an unelected government imposed by Brussels, while both Greece and Spain have their hands now completely tied. The Eurozone is decidedly not a good place to be
That bloke who said the British think they're at the centre of the EU needs to come back to Britain for a while. I believe we see ourselves as increasingly irrelevant in the EU as the eurozone introspects over its problems. I also think we think that is no bad thing and we are lucky to be out of it.
What will the average Frenchman say when you point out that the EU Commission will approve the French budget before the National Assembly does ?
What Treaty is that - No one will know what that Treaty will contain until after the event - and that's when you are told - You should have read the small print. We've been had too many times to fall again for EU duplicity
Perhaps if more EU members actually realised what a "Fiscal Contract" will mean for their countries in the long term, they to would have voted NON.
Speaking as an 'ex-pat' property professional who has been full time resident in SW France for over a decade the decision of David Cameron came as no surprise. Yes I think it is 'little Englander' isolationism , yes I think it is pandering to his Right Wing, and I think it is sad that Britain doesnt take on board the need for a powerful united European block to counter both US Imperialism and the rapidly emerging dominance of China and the East. This attitude is wonderfully summed up by a news headline often used in the UK in times of bad weather .... "Storms in the Channel, The Continent cut off" ... when the reality is that the Continent still continues to trade with each other - by road - and its is actually Britain that is 'cut off'.
I love France and live here most of the time. I voted to join the Common Market, but I abhor the dinosaur the EU has become and find my opinion is shared by most of my French friends, who did after all vote against the EU constitution before it was rebranded as a treaty.
The Euro was always flawed and has made life much more difficult for those nations with debt problems. It will never work except perhaps between a few countries with similar economies and fiscal structures.
Cameron taking the stand that he did was not anti-EU, but an act of common sense. It is the very act of trying to force upon the EU electorate startegies which they do not want that tcauses these problems in the first place. I love Europe for its variety of cultures. This variety will always mitigate against a federal Europe which the unelected leaders in the EU are trying to achieve via the back door.
Britain has once again shown lack of leadership and a total ignorance of what it means to be European. They now join the xenophobic 'Republican' party of Ireland on the looney fringes of Europe. My French, Irish and German friends are aghast at their attitude. Lets get on without them!! I'm European and proud of it.
IN THE WORLD PAPERS
IN THE FRENCH PAPERS