Dear Prime Minister David Cameron,
Political commentators said that the referendum you called on Saturday on membership of the European Union was one of the most important events of our lifetime. You echoed similar words in your speech outside Downing Street. But there are thousands of British citizens living in Spain who can have no say on this important issue. They may live in Europe and within the European Union but their voice will remain silent because of the 15-year-voting law. Prime minister, I would ask you to re-consider the voting law and allow them to have their say. Many people living in Britain question why expats who have left Britain should be able to vote in British general elections. The answer is simple: decisions taken by the British government affect us. The state of the British economy, the strength of the pound are two clear examples of why those living in Spain beyond the 15-year-old rule should be able to vote. But the referendum you have called, prime minister, will probably affect us more than those living in Britain. If Britain leaves the European Union, it could change the daily lives of thousands of British expatriates. They may have to seek a work permit and they would not enjoy many of the benefits which they have at the moment. The thousands of expatriates living in Spain have first-hand knowledge of Europe and the European Union. They live with the euro and the Schengen Treaty of cross-border travel. They speak to fellow Europeans about European issues. Now, I do not believe for a moment that the majority of expat Britons would vote to stay in Europe. Like in Britain, there are many who are eurosceptic. All British expats living in Spain should be able to voice their opinion on such an important decision. And not just Spain, in the rest of Europe as well. You mentioned trade in your speech. Many of our readers are business owners who have much experience of working and living in the European Union.
It is often said that British expats surrender many of their rights when they leave Dover and move abroad. I can understand this but there is one single issue which unites us all, and that is Europe, because we live on the European continent.
Expats do not enjoy a good press in Britain. We live in a privileged environment. Yes, this is the case. But expats are still British citizens who have paid into the British system and should be able to have their say on an issue which is so close to home. Thank you, prime minister, and I hope you return to Pollensa for your summer holidays soon. Don´t worry no one will bother you, because we can´t vote any how.
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