I picked the following post up from one of the many FaceBook Groups created by British ex-pats in a post #brexit referendum world. It could be a Russian troll spreading disinformation of course, but I know similar types in real life that really mean this!
“A quick word about the post Brexit attitude of the French towards Brits. Countries universally welcome tourists because of the wealth they bring. They spend billions advertising for and encouraging tourism. Tourists import free money. They bring prosperity in all its forms.
Many Brits in France, resident, semi resident or short term tourists all bring this wealth. Each Euro they spend is someone’s profit, and tax for the state. Consider taxes Foncière, d’habitation, fuel duty and TVA, before we come to direct taxation. Those self supporting and on S1 health arrangements are pure profit for the French State.
A priori the French would be acting against their national interest to cause this group to leave. ”
What follows is mainly my reply to this outrageous statement.
“There is so much wrong with this post, I don’t know where to start. Of course you can only write stuff like this if you are a Leave voting blue passport waving Brit with an enormous sense of entitlement.”
In pure balance of payment terms there is of course a grain of truth in this; all lies and propaganda have at least a grain of truth. Most of what follows is pure delusion.
Let’s consider the statement “every Euro we spend is someone’s profit”
As an example let’s take a simple pack of UHT milk we might all use in our tea or with our breakfast cereal. I like the milk that give farmers a fair share for their work.
These cost near enough one Euro per pack. Let’s see in whose pocket these 100 Euro cents end up.
Of course different percentages apply to non-food, alcohol and Cars, but you see how easily this Brexit myth was debunked when you think about it for just one second? It’s as these poor Brexiteers think this milk would be pored in a Ditch if British ex-pats didn’t buy it for their tea.
The example of ex-pats using an EHIC or S1 card to get medical treatment resulting in “pure profit for the French state” is even more ridiculous. As if Nurses and doctors in France are ‘free’ and don’t have to be trained and paid? As if they are just twiddling their thumbs waiting for the next Brit to wander into A&E ???
At the risk of making some assumptions and generalisations of my own here, when us British tourists or AOPs spend our cash in The Dordogne or the Costa del Sol, we’re in economic terms just handing out IOUs from UK Plc. The real economic value we represent we created a long time ago, when we ran our businesses in UK or worked on a Sunderland Nissan or Reading Honda production line assembling Japanese cars or whatever we did back in the UK.
As ex-pats, retired here in France (not working young Brits of course), we’re mainly distributing wealth created elsewhere. A young Romanian however, one that picks fruit in a UK orchard all hours God gives him or her, this person creates wealth in the produce they help create with the farmer. An EU nurse that changes a U.K. worker’s bandages after an NHS operation creates health. This also has an economic value. Us retired folk in France or Spain don’t do anything of the kind and our pounds are increasingly worthless as Brexit wrecks the U.K. economy back home.
I got quite a few thumbs up but also a lot of stick stating the obvious. First of all the author of the original post. I clearly touched a nerve here:
“How very sad. This comment is a economically illiterate as it is misleading. I have zero sense of entitlement in France. Facts are facts and not opinion. You are entitled to your opinion. It is all illustrative of the bitterness and stupidity that characterises the whole Brexit issue.
A more nuanced comment worth repeating here:
“We[this group] cover the range of [British] society in France from the beggar in the street to Lord Lawson in his mansion.
It’s possible to force an EU Citizen to leave the country if they’re not here legally but it’s much easier when it’s a third country national.
The thought that it would come down to our monetary value is horrific. I prefer the idea that it comes down to our legal position but I also realise that this will leave some people in a difficult position which may be impossible to hide once we have to be registered and our movements are monitored more closely.”
Until proven wrong. I maintain my statement that most of us ex-pats from UK living in France and on the Costas are not economically active. Certainly not full time. We’re not all big spending tourists. And bandying the myth about that it’s our paltry UK retirement money that keeps the French Economy afloat is not the way to make friends in France and influence the French administration in a post #brexit world. I’m personally sick of people with that outlook of entitlement. There’s only one group worse and that’s the one’s saying stuff like ‘you’d all be speaking German if it wasn’t for us Brits
As in the comments section as well as in the FaceBook group RIFT a fierce debate ensued how economically ‘active’ our British ex-pats exactly are in France, here’s a graph from the UK’s own Office of National Statistics. Look at the balloon at the top depicting our group and judge for yourself who gets the better deal, France or UK?