Politics

Brexit-fearing Brits in Berlin are Anxious to Apply for German Passports

“The longer you’ve been away, the more you’ve got to lose,” Jon Worth

June 03rd, 2016
Sopiko Reizba, Berlin Global
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©Mirko Lux

Jon Worth, a political communications consultant and blogger from the UK who has been living in Berlin for several years, organised a “Brits, Brexit (and beer)” gathering in Berlin.  During his speech, Jon Worth stated that, “confused, resigned, and bewildered” are the words that best describe the feeling amongst Brits in Berlin about Brexit.

Around two million Brits living outside of the United Kingdom will be unable to vote in the UK’s upcoming referendum on its membership of the European Union. ‘’When a British person lives outside of the UK for more than 15 years, they lose the right to vote in any type of election back home. However, since expats’ lives could be turned upside-down in the event of “Brexit” (a British exit from the EU) they argued that they deserve a vote regardless.’’ It is difficult to get clear data on how many of the 140,000 Brits living in Germany have voting rights, or signed up to vote in the referendum: “In the 2015 general election, there were only 106,000 of 5 million Brits abroad who were on the electoral register,” said Worth.

The issue of voting rights has encouraged numerous Brits to apply for a German passport. Many Brits are troubled by the fact that they cannot vote in their home country or in Germany. Nicola Varns, British-born language trainer living and working in Berlin for over 17 years, was among them.

“I knew that if I wanted to vote again I would need to take German citizenship, but I did not want to give up my UK passport,” Varns states. “If I had not discovered that you can have both, that could have meant I would not have been entitled to vote for the rest of my life.’

Furthermore, Jon Worth claims that many of British citizens, “if push came to shove…would give up the British passport if they needed to, as living in Germany is more important to them.”

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