'It won't be romantic. But I need an EU passport'

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'It won't be romantic. But I need an EU passport'
Lucy Thomas (left), director at Give Something Back to Berlin. Photo: Private

The dust is beginning to settle a week after the results of the Brexit vote were announced. But the future of the United Kingdom is still unclear to many expats.


Katherine from Essex works at an English-language school in Berlin. Over the past week she hasn't stopped worrying about all the issues that the referendum has brought with it.

"Everyone feels in limbo," she says. Since the result, she feels there has been "a lot of uncertainty and doubt."

"We still have two years ahead of us," she laments, frustrated that the future of her home country is uncertain.

"Now there are people scrambling for Irish or EU passports," she says before pausing. "It's pretty grim."

Katherine has a lot of worries, one of which is her own personal future. The 26-year-old has lived in Germany for six years, and fears that the possibility of new red tape begs the question: "Can I actually stay in Germany?"

She also has concerns about the reverse – EU migrants to the UK. "The amount of racism and hate crime [since the referendum] is incredibly worrying."

'Enormous shitshow'

63-year-old Sophie Raphaeline, manager of the Berlin bookstore Another Country, also harbours deep concerns for Britain's future.

She is actively trying to help friends from the UK emigrate to the EU before it's too late, she says.

"I don't see myself being terribly affected by [Brexit]," says Sophie, who has lived in Germany since before the fall of the Berlin Wall.

"It might affect my business, but whatever."

Her main worries lie with EU citizens already living in Britain.

"Brexiters might start forcing EU nationals to leave," she says, regarding the recent increase in xenophobic attacks in the UK.

"It's pretty disgusting that David Cameron didn't say anything about the status of EU residents in the UK," she says, angrily.

"It's an enormous shitshow."

'Outraged that my vote got lost'

Lucy Thomas from Cardiff is primarily "pissed because my postal vote got lost" when it arrived too late in Germany for her to vote.

Five of her friends also had problems submitting a postal vote, but she thinks that the UK government is trying to keep their failure quiet.

"I'm outraged that my vote got lost, but I'm also outraged that there hasn't been any outrage," she says.

Lucy, a director of Give Something Back to Berlin - an award-winning organisation that provides social engagement for the city's refugee and migrant population - is considering getting a German passport.

But she hopes that Wales, which voted Leave, will leave the UK and rejoin the EU so that she won't have to wade through German bureaucracy.

"I one hundred percent want to apply for German citizenship now, and I won't be going back to the UK anytime soon, or maybe even ever," she admits, disappointed at how the voting system failed her.

"I'm quietly confident that I'll have time to figure out what I'm going to do, but I'm extremely concerned for the UK itself and the people living there," she admits. "I'm lucky that I'm here [in Berlin]."

"I've noticed a lot of Schadenfreude among Germans," she claims. "The feeling has been lurking for a while, but now I see it out in the open. People are saying that Britain got what it deserved."

'It won't be romantic'

Rose Newell, a Berlin-based copywriter and translator originally from Cornwall, is unhappy with the aftermath of the referendum.

"I'm most worried about the increase in racist attacks in the UK," she says.

Rose believes that the damage caused by having a referendum and the resulting anti-immigrant propaganda could be irreversible.

She and her German boyfriend have always planned on returning to the UK, but not in this climate.

"I'm scared the UK will become a country I won't want to come back to," she says. "My boyfriend and I were always planning on getting married in the future, but since this referendum we've decided to get married as soon as possible. It won't be romantic, but I need a European passport."

By Ali Butt


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