EU referendum: Views of UK expats in Apokoronas

With only hours  to go to the UK EU referendum most of the 3500–odd British residents in Apokoronas who have registered to vote have already sent in their postal votes.

According to UN data, there are just over 4.5 million Britons living abroad, with approximately 1.3 million of them in Europe.  The number of voters in Apokoronas is therefore a tiny proportion of the overseas vote but with the two sides shown to be neck and neck in the polls, every vote will count.

The majority of the 35-odd people who had an opinion and spoke to Apokoronas News, were in support of remain. The most important deciding factors in this unscientific survey  were  worries  about pensions and  health service provision and the impact a possible Brexit may have on the economy. And in general about the ability to continue living in Apokoronas without any problems.

Even though the majority of the British residents in Apokoronas belong to the older age groups, the overwhelming  support for “Remain” ( over 60% in this unscientific survey of Apokoronas residents  who voted) goes against the trend in the UK, where older people are shown to support “Leave” by 57% to 36%.

Here  is a selection of typical comments from four of the people who talked to Apokoronas News

Remain – Barbara  from Manchester, a former language teacher :  

“ I will be getting my private pension soon and I do not want to see my income dropping like a stone as a result of a stock market panic. Because of all this referendum rubbish.

I am too old to wait for the market to recover today’s values. I want some financial stability in my life.

A lot of the older people are voting ‘Leave’ because of immigration  –  the have a misguided notion that immigration is responsible for all the country’s ills. 

In my case I’m afraid my voting decision is based purely on financial self interest .

I will vote Remain  but not because I like what Europe is doing

And it is certainly not because of what Europe stands for, having seen what Europe inspired policies have done to Greece in the last few years”

 Remain – Owen from Scotland who retired in Apokoronas  ten years ago.

“Both sides are using arguments that stretch the truth.

I am for Remain because of the possible financial implications of Brexit.

I think that the EU is in desperate need of reform but I listened to  whart a number of leading economists had to say. They all make the case of the financial benefits of remaining in the EU.

A side issue here is that 18 months ago Scottish people voted in a referendum to remain part of the UK. One of the arguments then was, that if Scotland was not part of the UK, then it would be thrown out of Europe. And now Scotland will be out of Europe if the rest of the UK decides to leave. If that happens I think Scotland will have grounds for asking for another referendum for Scottish independence”.

Remain – Kim recently moved to Apokoronas. He worked for an multinational  company in Belgium and the Netherlands.

 “Most people here are in support of remain because they know nothing will change if the UK remains in Europe. They do not know what will happen if Britain leaves.   There are British people all over Europe that they do not know what the future will bring.

And I am also thinking of the younger people who want the opportunity to work and live in Europe. There are a lot of job opportunities in Europe. When I was in Belgium we employed people from all over Europe except Switzerland and Norway because these two countries are not part of the core of Europe even though they have special arrangements with the EU. And that is what Britain will be missing out if it leaves the EU”.


Leave – Martin, an engineer, semi retired in Apokoronas with active business interests in the UK

“I started thinking that Britain would be crazy to leave Europe. I took on board  what Yanis Varoufakis had to say about changing Europe from within. But then, the more I read about the issues the more I thought ‘this is not right’.

Europe has become an authoritarian undemocratic institution and the ability of the UK to change things from within is diminished. And I have seen the way the EU has treated Greece. That’s what changed my mind. Seeing all the lies that have been told, seeing what the EU is capable of doing.

It might sound cynical, but all the support expressed by British industry leaders and politicians appears to serve their own vested interests.  The majority of British MPs support the EU because it offers them opportunities after they retire from UK politics. It is not all in the public interest.

The information is just not there. Nobody can predict what will happen. It’s all speculation or scaremongering. I believe that the UK has a better future outside this EU. I believe that i’m doing the right thing voting ‘Leave’  even though there is a risk  that Brexit might bring some changes in my life in Apokoronas”