My eroded feeling of Britishness

A keyboard warrior felt motivated to recently accuse me of “treason” due to my having decided to start the naturalisation process to become Austrian. I dismissed the comment, filed the e-mail and will take the matter further if there is some kind of follow-up from the “gentleman” in question (the mail was signed with male forename).

Today, The New European, posted an article about people applying for EU passports. This week I have had a couple of very illuminating chats with over expats – some “waiting and seeing” (in one case they have to in order to meet the residence threshold) and another who felt fazed by the potential process (and who got in touch to thank me for explaining some of the quite baffling legal side of it all). I always say that of course what I do write does not substitute a consultation with a lawyer, but hope that the information compiled as a goodwill gesture to help others does achieve this aim. I also use this blog to try to dispel the half-truths and rumours that circulate (possibly due to stille Post) in expat circles – a number of groups I casually browse only muddy the waters due to reliance on spurious sources (in this regard the Julia Longbottom Q&A session did have an ounce of value in exhorting people to regularise their residency in the EU and also to recommend them to use regular sources of information.

It would be right to suggest that I might not have pursued Austrian citizenship, had it not been for the fact that Brexit makes exploiting the option/opportunity a worthwhile and attractive one. My consideration is also due to the fact that as the FCO has no real news, and their current statements do little to help Britons in the EU sleep better, coming across as best as a “keep calm and carry on” fudge.

There are still emotions of Britishness in me – which was why I also watched the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall jump into their car and head off to the airport at the end of their visit to Vienna (in all fairness I was only a stone’s throw away from the Embassy that day). I remarked to my accompanying colleagues that I wondered about what country Charles will become King of.

I am aware that I will have to revoke my British citizenship – there is no legal avenue open to me to have dual citizenship (British/Austrian) – since I will not apply for award im Interesse der Republik, even though there might a tangential case for this. As someone who has lost their democratic rights (currently as an EU citizen I will only be able to vote at the next EU elections if the UK is still a member, voting through my Austrian place of residence), for me to regain a democratic right, naturalisation is the only way.

I can’t identify with a nation that no longer identifies me as one of its citizens in democratic terms. PM May certainly does not speak for me.

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