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British Expat Newsletter: November 2017

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In this issue

This month

The Brexit clock ticks remorselessly onwards, and it’s becoming clear that the swaggering rhetoric of Leavers towards the negotiations was essentially empty. In spite of Boris Johnson’s cheerful endorsement of the suggestion that Britain should tell the EU to “go whistle” for the money it was reportedly demanding, it now looks as if the UK will be committing to pay about £50bn in order to ensure that discussions around a future trade relationship between the EU and post-Brexit Britain can go ahead.

Yet there are signs that that commitment may not be enough. The EU negotiators made clear that they expected satisfactory progress on three issues before the trade negotiation could start. Although some progress has been made on the divorce bill and the future status of EU citizens in the UK, the third issue – Ireland – is proving more difficult. The Irish government is insisting that the future border arrangements between Northern Ireland and the rest of the island must preserve the gains of the Good Friday Agreement, with no return to the “hard” border of security checkpoints and customs controls. But Theresa May’s minority government depends on the support of Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party, who are equally insistent that Northern Ireland must remain fully integrated with the rest of the United Kingdom. The conundrum facing May and her three Brexiteers is how to reconcile these two apparently irreconcilable positions, while delivering an exit from the EU that’s worthy of the name – withdrawal from the single market and the EU’s freedom of movement provisions.

The hopes of some in the Leave camp have been pinned on Ireland being deserted by the rest of the EU or by the Irish government itself imploding. Neither looks likely to happen just now. Although Ireland, like Britain, currently has a minority government, both the governing Fine Gael party and the Fianna Fáil opposition have been remarkably united over their stance towards Brexit – to the extent that Tánaiste (deputy prime minister) Frances Fitzgerald has just resigned over a scandal rather than risk provoking a general election at a crucial time in the Brexit negotiations. And European Council President Donald Tusk has warned on several occasions recently that there needs to be progress on the Irish border question if December’s EU summit is to allow the trade negotiations to begin.

In other news, it’s St Andrew’s Day today. Christmas is only three-and-a-half weeks away, and we’ve just had our first snowfall of the year – unusually early for Britain. We’re only glad it didn’t happen yesterday during our latest dash across the Channel. Talking of which, our latest Quick Quiz and Pic of the Week share a common theme of Belgium. How much do you know about the land of waffles, Magritte, and Hergé’s Adventures of Tintin?

Are you ever flummoxed by fancy foodie words, mystified by menus, or confused by culinary terms? Then head on over to and become enlightened by our quirky A-Z of food. And it’s got cartoons in it! Don’t forget to tell all your friends about it too.

Meanwhile, of course, the forum continues to provide information on a wide range of expat issues, as well as the opportunity to socialise with like-minded people all around the world. You can see the full range of discussion boards here.

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British Expat Amazon Shopping

Amazon don’t just do books, you know. We’ve teamed up with them to bring you the ultimate in online shopping—from a micro SD card to a garden shed! A great way to do your shopping online, especially if the shops aren’t up to much in your part of the world.
BE Amazon Shop: UK & EU | BE Amazon Shop: non-EU

So there’s a round-up of all that’s been going on. Come on over and see for yourself! Don’t forget…
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Till next time…

Happy surfing!

British Expat—the definitive home for British expats

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