Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Les frontaliers

My French family lived 4km from the French-German border. They all lived in France and spoke French at home, but they all worked in greater Saarbrücken and spoke German at work. They were known as frontaliers - people whose lives take place equally on both sides of a border.

My Danish family, for the most part, live in Copenhagen and again have been known to work on the other side of that Bridge, in Sweden. Again they are people whose lives take place equally on either side of the border.

Had I moved to France or Denmark, there is a great chance I too would have become a frontalière. 

When the Tory government decided to exclude this type of British emigrant (I refuse to segregate them using the superior 'expat', as they are no different to people like my Danish husband or French ex-husband, who simply chose to exercise their EU treaty rights by working in a fellow member state) from the Brexit vote two years ago, they showed an outrageous lack of understanding or respect for these people.

Even if they actually bother their arses to negotiate some sort of deal, which at the moment looks slim, they have no concept of what they are doing to these people's lives. If we withdraw from the EU, British citizens living in member states will become landlocked where they live, unable to work in a different EU member state. The government is so ignorant of how people actually live that they haven't even taken into account that this is a completely normal way to live on the continent, where landmasses touch and no borders exist. The people who will be most affected by their idealistic pie-in-the-sky Brexit are those who had no say in the matter - those like my husband, those British citizens relying on work in one member state to pay for their home in another.

They are so blinded by their own insular outlook that they don't even know that this is absolutely normal abroad.

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