lobbying MEPs

The campaign –

lobbying MEPs on citizens’ rights in November 2017, courtesy British in Europe.



At the time of writing I confess that I am not 100% sure of the exact status regarding myself and family with regard to our current citizenship.

My situation. I am 66 years old and a pensioner, I have been living apart from my wife for 4 years.  We have 2 children. My wife, at least in the eyes of German law as I understand it, resides in France, where she is obliged to look after our youngest daughter who is 15 and at the local Lycée. Our eldest ( 19 ) is studying at Lille University.

For reasons which are out of my control I cannot return to France at least until sometime in  2018. Next year I could also return to the UK, but this is dependant on the outcome of the called called #Brexit negotiations, with particular regard to #citizens rights and moreover the freedom of movement element.

Technically I am economically inactive ( moribund ) … should I need to relocate to the UK, say because my annual income falls below that required by the German State so as NOT to be a burden on their resources, or if I somehow fall foul of the law here, my feeling it that my private pension fund will be subject to a tax of ( I believe ) 55% of the total.

My fund is a QROPS ( I changed from a SAS  some years back. )

Both pensions are as I understand it approved by the HMRC, although the fund is registered in Malta. With regard to my UK state pension, compared to say most German that I know, the monthly payment is poor even though I paid in to the NI scheme for over 38 years.

I have been tax resident in Germany for 4 years, and have paid copious amounts to the tax authorities here, due to an inheritance. Whilst I was happy to receive this inheritance, to my personal calculations the net result for my has been a mere 10% or so.

I believe that the marital status with my wife as far as the French tax people is that we are married, but living apart… a status not, as such, recognised by the German authorities,

I would like to return to France, ideally, in order to be nearer to my children. When we first moved to France in 2003 our income was sufficient, but my healthy pension pot was halved during the financial crash … ergo the draw down ( income ) was also halved. Of course we are not the only ones to have suffered in this respect. But now financially at least my out goings far out-way my income. So what ever life savings I have are being rapidly depleted in that I pay rent here in Germany, I pay my daughter’s rent also.

This is not just to do with tax, and income it is more to echo the quandary that we like many others we find ourselves in. I am falling asleep now…

It is my intention to apply my personal details to both the English and German versions of this letter. And once I have clarified that I am doing this correctly, I shall convert these into Posts on this WordPress site, with a view to messaging all of the 70 German MEPs whom I have found and followed on Twitter.

I shall shorten the resultant URLs of these posts and message them directly to the recipients. This page serves merely as an aid memoir whilst I try and work out the whys and wherefores.

At this moment in time and throughout process I acknowledge the author’s copyrights.


Template for letter to host state and UK MEPs

Template for letter to host state and UK MEPs Please adjust the bits in square brackets to fit your own circumstances.

[Ronald Birks]

[Florastr8 Krefeld 47799 [Heute]

Dear MEP,

I am a British citizen who has lived in [town/province/region] for [number] years. I am writing to appeal to you as one of my MEPs. It is now 18 months since the Brexit referendum [in which I had no right to vote as the legislation authorising the referendum denied the right to vote to those who had lived abroad for over 15 years]. Despite promises by both Mr. Barnier and Mrs. May that securing our rights as citizens would be a top priority and that Brexit would not affect our daily lives, no agreement has been reached on our rights, leaving us in limbo and constant anxiety as to our future. [My family and] I remain fearful about what will happen to [me/us] and unable to plan for the future.

I understand that although there has been some agreement during the negotiations on aspects of Citizens’ Rights, there are many issues that are extremely important to British people like me on which there is no agreement. The negotiations are now at a critical stage and the European Council has to decide in mid-December whether “sufficient progress” has been made on, among other things, Citizens’ Rights. It is crucial that the Council does not confirm ‘sufficient progress’ simply so that talks move on to the next phase if there is in fact no agreement on all fundamental issues on citizens’ rights. If that were to happen we would literally become ‘bargaining chips’ with critical elements of our rights being bartered by M. Barnier and Mr. Davis against future trade relationships.

I therefore urge you as one of my elected representatives in the European Parliament to do all within your power to see that the rights I mention below are safeguarded and that there is no artificial finding of “sufficient progress” if they are not.

British in Europe, the coalition of groups of UK citizens living in Europe has written to you spelling out the big issues which are still outstanding. As one of the millions of citizens directly affected, I would like to support what they have said, and urge you to support our claim to:

  •   Continuation of our right to family reunification, so that families are not divided by Brexit;
  •   Continuation of our right to freedom of movement throughout the EU27, vital to so many UK citizens who came to Europe to work;
  •   Relaxation of the rule that will deprive us of the right to return to our homes after Brexit if we have to leave them for two years or more (“the two year rule”);
  •   Acceptance by the EU of the UK offer to lift the two year rule for EU citizens in the UK in exchange for freedom of movement for UK citizens in the EU. This has not yet been accepted by the EU negotiators despite being in the evident interest of their own citizens.
  •   The continuation of full recognition of all professional qualifications throughout the EU27 and in the UK, vital for so many who work;
  •   Continuation of existing cross-border working and other economic rights throughout the EU27 for those who are exercising them at the moment;
  •   Continuation of our existing rights to vote in EU and local elections.
  •   Ring-fencing any agreement that is made so that the progress which has been made
    on matters like securing residence rights, health-care, pensions etc. is not lost.
    Please do all that you can to see that we, the British citizens who left the UK to embrace the European ideal, and the EU citizens who moved to the UK in the same spirit, are protected against the consequences of a referendum in which the majority of us had no vote. It is vital that both sides in the negotiations live up to their promises that Brexit should not affect our daily lives.
    Yours sincerely,

Dear MEP,

Ron Birks


[Sehr geehrte Frau … / Sehr geehrter Herr … ]

Ich bin [britischer Staatsbürger, der/britische Staatsbürgerin, die] seit [Anzahl] Jahren in [Stadt/Bundesland/Region] lebt. In meinem heutigen Schreiben spreche ich Sie in Ihrer Funktion als für mich zuständiges Mitglied des Europäischen Parlaments an. Es sind mittlerweile seit dem Brexit-Referendum [, an dem ich auf Grund des Gesetzes, das britischen Staatsangehörigen, die länger als 15 Jahren im Ausland leben, das Wahlrecht absprach, nicht beteiligt war,] 18 Monate vergangen. Trotz Zusicherungen seitens Herrn Barnier und Frau May, dass die Sicherung unserer Bürgerrechte höchste Priorität habe und dass Brexit unser alltägliches Leben nicht beeinträchtigen würde, ist bisher keine Einigung bezüglich unserer Rechte erzielt worden. Somit hängen wir in der Luft und haben fortwährend Angst um unsere Zukunft. [Meine Familie und ich haben/ Ich habe] nach wie vor Angst um [unsere/meine] Zukunft und [können/kann] nicht entsprechend vorplanen.

Mein Verständnis ist, dass – trotz einer gewissen Übereinstimmung im Laufe der Verhandlungen bezüglich einiger Aspekte von Bürgerrechten – es viele ungelöste Fragen zu Themen gibt, die für britische Staatsangehörige wie mich von enormer Bedeutung sind. Die Verhandlung sind an einem kritischen Punkzt angelangt und der Europäische Rat muss Mitte Dezember eine Entscheidung darüber treffen, ob – unter anderem – in Sachen Bürgerrechte „ausreichende Fortschritte“ erzielt worden sind. Es ist eminent wichtig, dass der Rat das Vorliegen „ausreichender Fortschritte“ im Bereich Rechte der Bürger nicht einfach bestätigt, damit die Gespräche über die nächste Phase beginnen können, ohne dass jedoch in allen grundlegenden Fragen der Rechte der Bürger wirklich eine Einigung erzielt wurde. Sollte dies eintreten, wären wir im wahrsten Sinne des Wortes ein Faustpfand, mit dem M. Barnier und Mr. Davis einige unserer zentralen Rechte gegen künftige Handelsbeziehungen eintauschen könnten.

Ich bitte Sie als [einen/eine] meiner gewählten Vertreter im Europäischen Parlament, alles in Ihrer Macht Liegende zu unternehmen, um die Sicherung der unten aufgeführten Rechte zu gewähren und – sollten die Rechte nicht gesichert sein – dafür zu sorgen, dass keine Vortäuschung „ausreichender Fortschritte“ stattfindet.

British in Europe, ein Zusammenschluss von britischen Staatsbürgern, die in Europa leben, hat Sie bereits angeschrieben, um die großen noch offenen Fragen darzustellen. Als [einer/eine] der Millionen von direkt betroffenen Bürgern möchte ich das, was BiE geschrieben hat, untermauern und Sie ersuchen, unsere nachfolgend aufgeführten Ansprüche zu unterstützen:

  •   Fortbestand der Gewährleistung des Rechts auf Familienzusammenführung, damit keine Familie wegen Brexit geteilt wird;
  •   Fortbestand der Freizügigkeit von britischen Bürgern innerhalb der EU27-Ländern, die für viele britische Staatsangehörige von wesentlicher Bedutung ist, die in ein europäisches Land gezogen sind, um zu arbeiten;
  •   Lockerung der Regelung, die uns nach Brexit das Recht abspricht, nach einer Abwesenheit von unserem jeweiligen Gastland von zwei Jahre oder mehr dorthin zurückzukehren („Zwei-Jahre-Regelung“);
  •   Annahme durch die EU des Angebots des VK, die Zwei-Jahre-Regelung für EU-Bürger im VK gegen eine Freizügigkeitsregelung für britische Staatsangehörige in der EU aufzuheben. Dies wurde von den Verhandlungsführern der EU noch nicht angenomen, obwohl es eindeutig im Interesse ihrer eigenen Staatsangehörigen liegt.
  •   Fortbestand der vollen Anerkennung aller beruflichen Qualifikationen in allen EU27-Ländern und im VK, da dies für viele Arbeitnehmer von existentieller Bedeutung ist;
  •   Fortbestand der bestehenden grenzüberschreitenden Arbeits- und Wirtschaftsrechte in allen EU27-Ländern für alle, die diese Rechte im Moment ausüben;
  •   Fortbestand unseres bestehenden Wahlrechts bei Kommunalwahlen und der Wahl zum Europäischen Parlament;
  •   Feste Verankerung aller getroffenen Vereinbarungen, so dass der erzielte Fortschritt bezüglich der Sicherung von Gesundheitsleistungen, Renten usw. nicht später durch einen eventuellen “Kuhhandel” verloren geht.
    Bitte unternehmen Sie alles in Ihrer Macht Stehende, damit wir – die britischen Staatsangehörige, die im Namen des europäischen Grundgedankens das Vereinigte Königreich verließen, sowie die EU-Bürger, die im selben Geist aus ihren jeweiligen Heimatländern ins VK zogen – gegen die Auswirkungen eines Referendums geschützt werden, an dem die meisten von uns nicht teilnehmen durften. Es ist wichtig, dass sich beide Verhandlungsparteien an ihr Versprechen halten, dass Brexit unser alltägliches Leben nicht beeinträchtigen wird.
    Mit freundlichen Grüßen,


Ronald Birks



At the time of writing I am stood up using my ironing board as a workstation!

Why? basically I spent probably 12 hours sat on the side of my bed, using my laptop…errr…on my lap. I have now got severe pains in my calf.

I hope that it’s just a pulled-muscle rather than a blood clot. NB: I have a pump spray bottle of Nitrangin within reach. I haven’t had to us it yet for my extremely high blood pressure ( it’s a heart attack prevention medication ) which I believe opens up your valves allowing obstructions to flow through the network of veins, or should that be arteries? can’t remember.

It is Sunday here so no Docs are available, ambulances in emergencies are expensive, as are cabs to take you to A and E.

I have entitled this post as Disclaimer, simply to commit something to text whilst I research the complex ins and outs of German copyright law and the penalty of death threat from the LINK TAXERS.

I only started this blog 2 days ago in response to a directive designed to lobby MEPs ( in your country of residence ) in order to persuade them to champion the cause of those of us in the UK and Europe with regard to Citizens’ Rights.

The organisers of the directive have supplied links to MEPs and a host of pre-written letter templates, with a view to having some voices heard in Brussels or wherever.

My reaction was to try to help out…. more for my self and family than the other 3 million bargaining chips out there. Soz gang, but its dog eat dog here!

The terms I am Europe, I am European, Brits in Europe, #iameuropean to me are all much of a muchness, in that they tell the same story.

I assume that the lobbyist group was intending to persuade followers to email their reps in the EU ( or UK ) … frankly I thought this was a tedious excise for me to undertake.

My idea ( just pour moi ) was to track down the 90 German MEPs via Twitter. ( a great mass audience hitter is this platform, which as we all know was invented by the President of the World… Mr. Tower. )

It took me 3 hours solid to smurf through and find my 90 MEPs. Firstly I was struck by the fact that many were conspicuous by their absence.

Yeah, many were traceable as they have been “mentioned” by way of a #hashtag or email… or jut their name in a Tweet, but didn’t seem to have a Twitter page of their own. Many who did had few tweets showing, followed few, and had precious few followers… less than 100 followers in many cases… much less than the pages run by cats and hamsters, I note!

Whether this means that they are unable to interact with their following and co-twitter-ers, I don’t know…one eminent chap had his page set to private ( quoi? )….Anyway I have followed the 70 or so German MEPs which are listed as such, on my Twitter Page which is Ronnie Birks…that’s my name don’t wear it out, as they say.

This is as far as I have got so far with that side of my endeavours,…My idea was NOT to email these people with an amended “template “ laudable thought that is, but to put the text heavy items in a Post on a Blog, shorten the URL and hit these people direct with a few pics and  pertinent hashtags attached.

So far so good!

For what it’s worth some time ago I was coordinating some 70 or so WordPress sites ( the free ones ) in tandem with a raft of other platforms….

Many of the WordPress sites have been mothballed for some time, not deleted  but left moribund due mainly to the spectre of this proposed Link-tax… and, I suppose fear of being hacked… usurped, yada yada.

The content of most of my online activities was creative, and a few with a commercial bent…not for myself, and to monetize ( hate that expression ) but to help a few associates on their way with their start-up. Please note I never charged a penny nor expected anything in return….

No, I am not a serious Blogger. but I am a degree qualified designer, who cut his teeth in the advertising Industry with J. Walter Thompson as a Pack Designer/Art director, working on account such as That famous Irish stout, Cadbury’s et al.

I also ran several Photography Studios which boasted clients such as Castrol, Motorola, WH Smith etc. Plus Uk based Advertising agencies and design studios such as The Titanic Design Company  which employed over 30 creatives and billed some 250k PER MONTH in the 80s.

I retired at 50, and subsequently became a Blog hobbyist…and explored the discipline of NEW media … just to stave off dementia…( hmmm that doesn’t seemed have worked that well… )

Oops I digress. The reason for this post was to point out that I haven’t had chance, as yet to insert any legals, disclaimers nor an impressum…. But I will as soon as I can.

Trust me I am as transparent as a pair of Silk Stockings.

In the mean time I am only trying to do my bit, not for gain nor glory.

So if you want to sue me, go ahead I ain’t got anything worth having.

I insert here the hashtag #iameuropean if only that is what I AM.



Yesterday I spent 40 bucks on this WP URL

The choice of pertinent URLs which are not bespoke is limited when you are trying to conjure up something commencing BRIT…mainly by people referring to Disney’s ex-mouskateer Britney Spears ( used to know her cousin Asparagus Tips. )



Guy Verhofstadt* the most articulate MEP favours this hashtag  #IamEuropean so I am hurling that in wherever I can.

*he never found time to reply to my question regarding contrails, but he must be quite busy.

PPS I SHALL link out to this page…as to me I don’t care if you think this topic is only for conspiracy theorists….I see this stuff in the sky…look up and if there ever IS a clear day you will see it for yourselves.

Please see https://wordpress.com/page/britineu.blog/164 for disclaimer