In my last post I set a list of questions that I wanted to ask pro-Brexit Britons in Austria. Below are the first responses – from a long-term Briton in Vienna (who would appear to have been living in Austria for a similar period as I have).I have added the questions that I set, and hope the responses are interesting reading. Thank you to my first respondent for answering these questions.
On the subject of whether they are eligible to vote in the referendum as well as to what extent they also vote in local and European elections in Austria/or in the UK – as well as possibly with which Austrian political party they would most readily identify with.
Like yourself I’ve been outside of the UK for too long to be able to vote in the referendum. I have always voted whenever I could local, national European etc etc. Since moving to Austria I have largely been disenfranchised, voting for the local district council only. My political leanings don’t seem to match any party as I have voted for (in the UK) both Labour and Conservative, at the time I looked at which party was the best choice for my constituency. In Austria it’s much the same I have supported policies of the Greens, SPÖ, ÖVP and the FPÖ but no one party matches my political views.
About their thoughts on the issues surrounding their background in relation to their life in Austria (e.g. at what point of their life they moved here and for what reason, as well as when (i.e. in which year) and continuing relationship to the United Kingdom (how long they have been in Austria, where they consider as home “home”, how frequently they visit the UK – either for work or privately), as well as how they see their future, and where they consider to be the centre of their vital interests.
I moved to Austria not long after the country had joined the EU, I moved here for a job and adventure, I was in my early twenties and restless. I had not planned on remaining for so long but I found Vienna at that time to be an incredibly liveable city. I have always had the view that home is where you make it so if I decided to move to Berlin or Moscow I would make my home there. I visit the UK several times per year to visit friends and family and do a bit of shopping. Do I consider living outside the UK and within the EU as centre to my vital interests? Not at all and the future is yet unwritten.
How integrated do they consider themselves to be in terms of living and working in Austria, in terms of their language skills, cultural immersion or other factors that could be considered as a measure of integration.
Living and working in Vienna (big difference between Vienna and Austria) I would say I’m reasonably well integrated, you certainly won’t see my pasty legs wrapped in Lederhosen but nor will I be caught teaching Morris Dancing. I understand custom, tradition, cultural attitudes and many other aspects that you only really get by living within the culture and not with the culture from an expat bubble. My language skills should be much better than they are but I always use German first with neighbours, colleagues, strangers, etc etc if possible and I watch TV in German and read local newspapers.
How do they think a Brexit might affect their continued living in an EU Member State – both in the short-term and the long-term.
In the short or long term a Brexit will have no effect on where I live. I am lucky to be free from such worries as, Vienna convention aside, I am married and my partner carries an EU passport.
What would the consequences of a No (i.e. “Brexit”) vote be and what would a “No” vote’s impact be a) for the UK and b) for the EU as a whole.
How long is a piece of string? For the UK it would secure sovereignty, taking influence away from the unelected and giving it back to the people that make the decisions, the electorate. I feel that a Brexit will result in the unravelling of the EU as we know it today and result in, at the very least, a tremendous amount of reform.
What would the consequences of a Yes (i.e. “Bremain”) vote be and what would a “Yes” vote’s impact be a) for the UK and b) for the EU as a whole.
A Bremain, could see the UK as a very dysfunctional EU member depending on the margin of victory. If the result is very slim then the issue will not disappear and there will be another vote shortly after a future general election.