Category Archives: Events

Upcoming information events

The British Embassy is organising information events in order to ensure that Brits living in Germany are kept in the loop with information regarding the UK’s preparations to leave the EU. These events will be an opportunity for UK nationals to pose questions regarding individual situations and a British in Germany e.V. representative has also been invited to speak at each event.

DATES AND LOCATIONS

  • Berlin, 30 September – register here
  • Düsseldorf, 1 October – register here
  • Frankfurt, 10 October – register here
  • Hamburg, 15 October – register here
  • Munich, 24 October – register here

Please bear in mind that interested participants will have to register in advance. Details to follow.

Also see the Embassy’s webpage.

Event: Stunt for Citizens’ Rights

the3million, British in Europe and Unison are organising a flashmob-style stunt in Trafalgar Square on 12 October. Participants will be gathering to form a broken-heart shape, then morphing into an EU flag, all wearing (bio-degradable) rain ponchos in yellow and blue so this can be seen from above. Once photos have been taken, you will have the opportunity to join other rallies taking place in the area.

Learn more about the event here.

You can find more info on the3million here, on British in Europe here and on Unison here.

N.B. British in Germany is not affiliated with this event.

Event: Der Brexit und Mecklenburg-Vorpommern

The Mecklenburg-Vorpommern Centre for Political Education is holding a presentation and discussion on the effects of Brexit in MV this Thursday evening (26th) in Schwerin. The event will be led by Prof. Jakob Rösel, an expert in the field of the history and politics of the EU.

Entry is free but online registration is required.

Learn more about the event here.

N.B. British in Germany is not affiliated with this event.

BiG meets Brexpats Hear Our Voice in Rotterdam

Report by Ellie Sellwood (British in Germany Hamburg)

On Saturday 14th September, I travelled to Rotterdam to take part in a meet-up organised by fellow citizens’ rights campaign group – Brexpats Hear Our Voice (BHOV). The event was held at the Het Niewe Instituut in central Rotterdam and along with members of BHOV, there were also present members from British in the Netherlands, Brexit and the Belgium Brits, Young European Voices, British in Romania and British in Italy.

The theme of the event was “together we are stronger” and the aim was to introduce our groups and share our insights from our respective countries with each other.

Debbie Williams opened the meeting. Debbie is the founder of BHOV, and a member of the British in Europe steering committee. Debbie welcomed everyone and talked about the importance of working together especially in the coming months with Brexit scheduled for the end of October.

Debbie then gave the floor to the visiting groups. First to speak was Molly Williams – Debbie’s daughter, and myself as founding member of the campaign group – Young European Voices. Young European Voices was set up to advocate for the rights of young Brits and Europeans with regards to Brexit and so Molly and I talked about the specific problems facing young people i.e. that young people haven’t been in home countries throughout the EU long enough to apply for citizenship and young parents may lose access to child benefits.

Then I spoke as the representative from British in Germany. I introduced the group and talked about our work both on the federal and local levels. I also talked about our close relationship with the British Embassy and our events and elaborated on our recent successes and challenges – with regards to contradictory advice and differential treatment being offered to Brits by local German federal authorities.

Sara Parkes introduced the British in the Netherlands group, which has had some notable success with the Dutch parliament in the past few months. Louise Ham Sheppard then introduced Brexit and the Belgian Brits (BaBBs) and touched on her group having similar challenges to BiG in Belgium with the country having a federal system and advice being contradictory depending on the local authorities. Neal Whatson then introduced British in Romania and Clarissa Killwick introduced British in Italy.

For the remainder of the day we discussed how to attract the attention of local and British media, the In Limbo books – 2 books full of testimonials from Europeans living in the UK and Brits living in the EU, which BHOV created with Elena Remigi. We discussed how to use these to draw more attention to our situation in Europe. If BiG members are interested then they can ask for some copies from Debbie.

Then there was a role-play and discussion about Brexit and mental health from Valerie – a mental health professional. And, finally the meeting rounded off with a discussion about where we all go from here. Given the different Brexit outcomes, no-deal, extension and, perhaps more hopefully, Article 50 being revoked, it’s important for us all to work out how best to support the members in our groups and where to focus our efforts with regards to campaigning.

All in all it was a very uplifting event that went a long way to show how much stronger we can be together. Thanks very much to the Brexpats Hear Our Voice team for their kind invitation!

#stopthecoup Berlin Saturday 7 September 2019

Sara Gordon reports on pro democracy demonstration which took place in Berlin last weekend.

On Saturday representatives from British in Germany joined grassroots organisation Stop the Coup Berlin, also supported by Pulse of Europe, to defend British democracy in the face of the current government’s attempts to push through a no-deal Brexit.

Many Brits living in Germany along with the vast majority of EU citizens living in the UK were not able to vote in the referendum, a decision that will detrimentally affect our lives and futures. The threat of a no-deal Brexit has caused fear, anger and distress, compounded by stressful cliff-edge situations and the threats to democracy in the UK government under Boris Johnson. Many in British in Germany face uncertainty until they are granted some form of residence permit, and many will not be able to apply until Brexit happens. Brits elsewhere in the EU may be even less fortunate. A disorderly Brexit could make them illegal overnight – resulting in traumatic chaos.

Aware of the potential consequences of a disorderly Brexit both here in Germany and back in the UK, Brits and EU citizens banded together to form Stop the Coup Berlin. Following on from smaller protest on 31 August, a core of seven people went to work, lost lots of sleep, and organised a larger demonstration on Pariser Platz directly in front of the Brandenburg Gate on Saturday 7th September. 

Speakers included MEP Sergey Lagodlnsky (Bündnis 90/die Grünen), who spoke about the importance of democracy; Berlin-based British political commentator Jon Worth, who shared his analysis of recent events; Daniel Tetlow of British in Germany, who spoke about citizen rights, academic Prof. Dr. Mareike Kleine (LSE / Freie Universität), who spoke about what happens when democracies go bad; newlywed British-born German Rachel Marriott who detailed some of the experiences of Brits living in Germany in the face of Brexit. This was followed by a brief open-mic session, followed by Scottish stand-up comedian Neil Numb who added his lighter-hearted take on all this. 

The whole event was accompanied by local musicians Espin and the Noisses, the highlight of which was perhaps the duet set of EU-inspired songs by Noisses’ singer Lucy Stubley and Espin, including “Nothing compares to EU”.

The protest was a resounding success! At peak, we counted 150 attendees and collected over 220 signatures for the letter to Ambassador Sir Sebastian Wood, which was delivered to a representative on the day by coordinator Rose Newell and logistics man Maurice Bennet. 

Depending on events over the next few weeks, British in Germany will continue to coordinate with Stop the Coup Berlin and Pulse of Europe on the best way to proceed. It is highly likely that another demonstration will be organised in the near future. 

We would like to thank all that attended the demonstration and encourage more to come out next time! 

Until then, we encourage you to visit the British in Germany Berlin Stammtisch this Saturday (14th September) at BrewDog Mitte (1 to 5 pm) and keep in touch via Facebook, Twitter and email. 

Images (c) Sara Gordon, 2019

The event was cover by several media outlets. Here are a few links to their reporting:

Reuters: Demonstrators protest against no-deal Brexit in central Berlin

Berlin Spectator: British Expatriates Stage Protest Against Brexit

For more about Stop the Coup see their website.

Sara was also interviewed by the Guardian recently in their article ‘A beautiful dream destroyed’: Britons in EU on no-deal Brexit

British Embassy hold their first Facebook Live Event

Report by Elise Shepley (BIG Intern)

The British Embassy in Berlin led an hour-long Facebook live Q&A on August 6th 2019, in an attempt to directly address the questions and concerns of British citizens living in Germany in the run up to Brexit.

Over 200 questions were answered, and the Embassy has subsequently produced a summary of the event, which documents all of the questions and answers posed during the Q&A session. All questions posed within the hour-long time frame received a response from the Embassy over the following 24 hours.

The Embassy’s document has been organised into eight categories determined by the questions posed:

  • Residency (103 questions)
  • Work, qualifications, pensions, and benefits (36 questions)
  • Travel (15 questions)
  • Healthcare (24 questions)
  • Passport and nationality (18 questions)
  • Miscellaneous (16 questions)
  • Returning to the UK (5 questions)
  • Education (1 question)

Residency was therefore by far the most recurrent theme, with particular concerns about registration for residency permits being raised. The Embassy reiterates that anyone previously exercising free movement rights in Germany may be granted a residency permit, with permanent permits only being granted automatically to those who have been in Germany five years or longer.  The Embassy also confirms that the residency permit is not tied to any German language requirements, nor to employment status.

Other recurring themes included questions about the future status of health insurance policies for UK citizens in Germany (S1), queries about dual citizenship and the position of family members of different nationalities, and about potential issues in travelling into Germany and returning to the UK.

The FB live event created on the whole very positive feedback from BiG members and the Embassy committed a significant amount of manpower and resources to the event.    We hope this will set the precedent for further FB live events in Germany and across Europe as British citizens living in the EU face increasing uncertainty and anxiety about their lives and livelihoods living in Europe.

You can also access the full Embassy document with all of the questions and responses.

Open Evening and Stammtisch in Hannover, Friday 17 May

British in Hannover have two upcoming events this Friday, 17 May.

Open Evening for UK nationals, 4 pm – 7 pm, NordLB Building (Friedrichswall 10, 30159 Hannover) 

In collaboration with the Honorary Consul in Hanover Thomas Bürkle and British in Germany e.V., the British Embassy Berlin will host an Open Evening for UK nationals on Friday 17th May 2019. This will be an opportunity to find out how the UK leaving the EU might affect your rights to live and work in Germany.

More info and registration (required) at the Eventbrite page. Please bring proof of registration and photo ID with you on the night.

Straight afterwards is the British in Hannover Stammtisch, at the Ständige Vertretung (in the same building, Friedrichswall 10, Hannover), from 7 pm until closing time. Come along for a pint and an informal chat! You can check out the Facebook event here.

Image of Hannover by fmcato at Creative Commons

British in Bremen Stammtisch, 28 May

British in Bremen are meeting at 7:30 pm on Tuesday 28 May, at Loft Bremen, Bahnhofsplatz 5 – 7, 28195 Bremen – join us for a beer and a friendly chat!

Our Stammtisch is a friendly place to meet other fellow Brits living in and around Bremen. Of course with Brexit all up in the air, this topic will probably come up, but it is not the sole purpose of the Stammtisch! Come to catch up and get to know new people.

For the politically minded amongst you, the next Stammtisch will be just in time to discuss the results of the EU elections!

You can check out the Facebook event here.

Image: Bremen 2011 by Softwahn at CreativeCommons

UPDATE ON UK CITIZEN STATUS IN GERMANY DEAL OR NO DEAL

First and foremost, the German government has been emphatic in their assurance that post Brexit, UK nationals will be allowed to carry on living and working here in both deal and no deal scenarios.
Who spoke, when and where?  (video link below)
Jane Golding

An Information Evening was held in Berlin on 18th December, hosted by the British Embassy and addressed by Sir Sebastian Wood, British Ambassador, Jane Golding, Co-Chair of British in Europe and Chair of British in Germany, Engelhard Mazanke, Head of the Berlin Foreigners’ Registration Office (Ausländerbehörde), and Christoph Wolfrum, EU Policy and Strategy Unit of the Federal German Foreign Office (Auswärtiges Amt). Christoph Wolfrum explained how the German government is preparing for both deal and no deal scenarios.

Deal Scenario:
Engelhard Mazanke

In the case of a deal and ratification of the proposed Withdrawal Agreement, Germany plans to have an application or constitutive system.  This means that British citizens will need to apply for the relevant status, subject to the conditions and provisions set out in the Withdrawal agreement. However, during the transition period planned to last until at least 31 December 2020 our status (other than voting rights) will remain as it is now. That’s all dependent on some form of Withdrawal agreement being agreed.

No Deal Scenario:
Sir Sebastian Wood

Following on from the European Commission´s Contingency Action Plan published on 13 November, the German government is now starting to put its no-deal plan together. Part of that is to introduce measures to ensure UK nationals in Germany can continue to live and work here legally after 29 March 2019. Mr. Wolfrum explained that, in the case of no deal, a ministerial decree would be adopted and British citizens would have a three month transition period post March 2019 during which they would be exempt from needing whichever new status would ultimately apply to UK citizens in Germany. UK citizens would need to apply for the new status with applications to be processed by end 2019 latest – it is not yet clear what that would be but it would be a third country national status, given Brexit is taking us out of the EU.

What Berlin has said:
Christoph Wolfrum

Engelhard Mazanke, Head of the Berlin Foreigners’ Registration Office, set out what process the State of Berlin is planning for UK nationals resident in Berlin in case of a no-deal. In January 2019 his office will be launching an online system to provide for voluntary “registration” on the Ausländerbehörde website.  Based on that registration the Ausländerbehörde will then issue a certificate confirming that the individuals were resident in Berlin before March 2019. 

What is British in Germany doing now?

The British in Germany team is currently seeking clarification on a number of questions raised by the Berlin proposals, as well as the proposals outlined by the Auswärtiges Amt. The proposals on the process described above only apply to Berlin but we are also seeking information on what other Länder are planning.  In addition, British in Europe/British in Germany together with the3million, have already requested meetings with both the Brexit team in the Auswärtiges Amt and the office of Heiko Maas (Foreign Minister) for early January in anticipation of more public information about Germany’s plans and we have been informed that both offices will propose dates shortly.  More information on this website as soon as we have it.

Video link to the event:

Here´s the video link with all the speeches given that evening. Jane Golding speaks from 27:10. Mr Wolfrum from the German Foreign Ministry (which has a steering role in the Brexit process in Germany) starts speaking at 19:09 and Mr Mazanke, Head of the Foreigners´ Office of Berlin, speaks from 39:00 onwards.

We will continue to work for the rights of UK citizens living in Germany and do all we can to keep you across the changes that will affect our lives in the coming months and years.

Please, if you are able, support our work here, or consider giving membership to BiG as a Christmas gift at this critical moment in all our lives.

Best wishes and a very Happy Christmas.

British in Germany. e.V.