A vote to leave the European Union is set to trigger an exodus of British expatriates from the continent, an investigation by The Timeshas found.
Every day a hundred British residents of Spain leave the country as economic woes grip the Mediterranean. Uncertainty over the future of healthcare benefits and the value of the state pension if Britain withdraws will bring a further increase in the number returning home, experts have predicted.
Officials in France have said that thousands of Britons there could lose their right to public healthcare if the UK left the union. The flight of expatriates from the EU means that there is now a huge and growing disparity between the number of Britons who live in Europe and the number of Europeans who live in Britain.Oh dear. But then the article goes on:
All countries in the EU except France, Spain and Luxembourg now have more of their population in the UK than vice-versa. In total, there are 2.9 million Europeans in Britain but 1.2 million Britons in the EU, according to the latest United Nations data.So, if (and it is a big if) the UK votes for Brexit, all those 2.9 million EU residents in the UK will also lose their right to healthcare benefits. Essentially the net loss will fall on the EU. Plenty of scope for establishing reciprocal arrangements.
The Brits in my quaint little fishing village in Andalucia are far from panic. And I see little sign of a continuing exodus.