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Urgent MEP Pledge 2019

British in Germany urges everyone to use their right to vote in the European Parliament elections on 23-26 May. Together with British in Europe and the3million, we encourage you to contact MEP candidates in your region (whether in the UK or other EU country) and ask them to sign the pledge to keep citizens’ rights on the agenda and guarantee our rights fully in the next European Parliament. If you are meeting any candidates at hustings or other European election events, please ask them to sign the pledge!

If you have decided to vote in the UK:

Click here to write to your existing UK MEP https://www.writetothem.com

Click here to see the list of candidates in your region (UK) https://whocanivotefor.co.uk

The pledge:

As a candidate for the European Parliament elections 2019:

  1. I support a commitment before the October deadline to safeguard citizens’ rights at EU/UK level, whatever the outcome of Brexit.
  2. I support a strong stance by the European Parliament on the protection of citizens’ rights in any negotiations on a future EU/UK relationship.
  3. I support freedom of movement, and will conduct an honest debate to explain the opportunities it has given people across Europe and ensure this right is protected in the next European Parliament.

Ask your MEP candidate to tweet a photo of themselves with a printout of the pledge below to @the3million, @britishineurope and @britishingermany

#thecitizenspledge #BritishinEuropeVote #BritishinGermanyvote

Further information:

The pledge is aimed mostly at British MEP candidates but can be endorsed by MEP candidates from other EU27 countries to support protecting the rights of EU citizens in the UK and British citizens in the EU27.

For further detail on how to secure rights by the October deadline, see https://bit.ly/t3m_BiE_April2019.

British in Germany does not endorse individual candidates or any political parties.

Note to candidates:

Please take a picture of yourself with the pledge on a tablet or on paper and tweet it.   Here is the pledge which can be enlarged and is also available on the 3 million.org.uk website and here on our BiG page:

We suggest you use the wording below:  As an MEP I will protect the rights of @the3million EU citizens in UK and 1.2 million @BritishinEurope #citizenspledge #the3millionvote

If you want to check out who has signed so far, you can visit the Signatories page.

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

Report: British Embassy Event, Berlin, 30 April 2019

On the 30th of April, the British Embassy in Berlin hosted two info events for British citizens living in Germany. Rachel King from the British Embassy introduced the event and discussed the current situation. She was followed by Herr Engelhard Mazanke, head of the Ausländerbehörde (Foreigners Registration Office in Berlin, LABO) in Berlin. To round up the speeches, Prisca Merz, the Embassy’s regional policy advisor, spoke about what the Embassy in Berlin is doing to keep UK citizens informed during these febrile uncertain times. The key points of the speeches in the order they were delivered are as follows:

From Rachel King: first, the current Brexit extension is to last until 31st October 2019. If a deal is ratified by both the UK Parliament and the EU before that date, the UK will leave on the first day of the following month. The withdrawal agreement protects the rights of residents in their current country of residence and allows for a transition period until 31.12.2020, this is the preferred course of the EU and the British government. The government of the UK does not accept a no deal scenario. Please see the policy paper on citizens’ rights in a no-deal scenario on the UK government website (www.uk.gov/world/living-in-germany). The policy paper discusses rights to work, study, receive benefits/ services, and pensions in Germany in all scenarios. It also gives dates and guidelines for families who are moving back to the UK, and explains how their family members can join them within the time limit.

The UK has decided to guarantee EU citizens in UK the ability to bring a partner, spouse, or dependent to the UK until 29 March 2022. It is unclear what the requirements would be after this date. In terms of higher education, EU nationals are eligible for home fees for 7 years after exit day if they have started their studies before exit.

If the UK leaves without a deal, UK nationals will not need visas for short stays elsewhere in the EU. You will be able to stay up to 90 days in another EU country, within a 180 day period. The request from the UK government is that the EU countries will respond in kind.

During the event, Germany government officials repeated many times that no UK citizen in Germany will be asked to leave due to Brexit.

The extension also means that UK citizens can take part in the EU elections. They should register before 7 May for UK and before 5 May for Germany.

As a result of the uncertainty surrounding exit day, the German government has passed a law regarding social security contributions. This law also allows for UK citizens to join German health insurance:

Steps recommended to take now:

1. Register with German authorities (Anmeldungsbescheinigung)

2. Contact your local LABO for new documentation–for example, Berlin provides online registration. If you have not already registered, please do so. This is to help ensure you can continue to live and work Germany regardless of the uncertainty of not knowing when exit day will happen.

3. Change your UK driver’s license to a German one. You will be allowed to drive in the UK on a German license, but it is unclear at this time if you will be able to drive in Germany with a UK licence.

4. If you have qualifications that have not yet been recognised in Germany, you should do so now. This is not required for academic qualifications, such as a B.A.

5. Ensure that your passport is valid for a minimum of 6months after 31.10.2019.

Information is constantly updated on the embassy website and you can follow them on social media, sign up for emails, and check the website frequently for updates.

After Ms. King’s speech, Herr Mazanke, Head of the Foreigners Registration Office in Berlin started his speech with apologies. At this time he is unable to give any concrete details about what is in store for Brits in Germany after exit. With the lack of clarity in outcomes, he does not have all the information yet.

The process is still open and ongoing. He stated clearly that his advice is for Berliners only and that he cannot speak for other Bundesländer and is not informed as to how each of them is handling Brexit and the registration process.

He encourages all who are not from Berlin to make themselves known to their individual Ausländerbehörde and follow the instructions given.

What has changed in Berlin since the last information meeting? 10,000 of 18,000 (registered as living in Berlin at the local Rathäuser) Brits in Berlin have signed up with the LABO. 4,000 UK citizens in Berlin have been invited to appointments. Those invited so far have shown a long-term commitment in Germany and have been resident for over 5 years. 400 have already had their appointments and each have received a Niederlassungserlaubnis, a form of permanent residency in Germany.

There have been three main responses from UK citizens in Berlin that Herr Mazanke’s office have received:

1. Why have I been invited? You are all still EU citizens and no one is required to attend these appointments. If you choose not to come, please inform your case worker, so that they can offer the appointment to someone else. For every five people invited, four have shown up.

2. Fear. With responses such as: “my file isn’t complete,” “I do not have a valid passport,” or “will I be deported?,” etc. Herr Mazanke reiterated that no Berliners will be deported. You are here on your right to free movement as an EU citizen. Please come to the appointments.

3. Relief. People have expressed gratitude for the smooth process. Come what may,their residency in Germany is resolved. Please take the appointments seriously. There is no fee for permanent residency. UK families living in Berlin are being invited as a unit. If a person has not lived in Germany for five years they will receive a two year permit. This can be renewed until five years’ residence is reached. This is being done so that families can continue to live and travel together within the Schengen zone.

The current set of appointments given out by LABO has filled up all slots available to Brits until the end of June. All those who have yet to receive an invitation should check back on our website, as there will be a step-by-step process depending on happens in the UK from 1 July, dependent on whether the UK takes part in the EU elections – which is now certain.

The goal of the LABO is that all UK citizens in Berlin are given the chance to go through the registration process and that everyone has a residency title appointment before 31.12.2019. Of course this is dependent on how the Brexit situation develops. Herr Mazanke reiterated: please register online and follow our FAQs on the LABO website. Finally, Herr Mazanke thanked all Brits in Germany for their patience and understanding in this uncertain time.

At the end, Frau Prisca Merz, Regional Consular Policy Advisor at the British Embassy, then introduced the different tables at the information fair. These tables included information about health insurance, pensions, DAAD (education and access to universities), the German Federal Employment Agency, Citizenship and our British in Germany Verein . She concluded by repeating that anyone registered with the Ausländerbehörde and awaiting an appointment can continue to work and live in Berlin until they receive a decision on residency. It was suggested that the final acknowledgement screen is printed out and kept as evidence of having completed the online registration.

At the British in Germany table Jane, Jenny, Rachel and I spoke with many people about their concerns and about what British in Germany as an organisation does. We received many thanks for the hard work being done behind the scenes in Germany, and by our umbrella organisation British in Europe. Most who came to the table signed up for our emails and others offered to volunteer. We look forward to seeing many of those at the next Stammtisch on 11 May.

Sara Gordon
BiG Volunteer and Stammtisch leader.
______


NOTE: The next BiG Stammtisch in Berlin will take place on 11 May at BrewDog (Berlin-Mitte) from 1pm-5pm. BrewDog is a British bar with craft beers and cider on draft. This week we will be discussing the current Brexit situation, new information from the Ausländerbehörde Berlin, and your questions. Please note that the Stammtisch will now be monthly, so don’t miss this chance to meet up with other Brits and have a pint. We look forward to seeing you there!

Upcoming Stammtisch Events

Here are the next British in Germany Stammtisch events that we are aware of, plus a list of past events for those interested in being in touch with established Stammtisch groups around the country:

Next:

Bremen

Time: Tuesday 28 May, 19:30 – 23:00

Place: Loft Bremen, Bahnhofsplatz 5 – 7, 28195 Bremen

Details: Facebook event

Hannover

Time: Friday 17 May, 19:00 – 23:00

Place: Ständige Vertretung (Friedrichswall 10, Hannover)

Details: Facebook event

Past Events

Berlin

Time: Saturday 11 May, 13:30 – 17:00 (approx)
Place: Brewdog
Ackerstraße 29, 10115, Berlin

Time: Saturday 13 April, 13:30 – 17:00 (approx)
Place: Brewdog
Ackerstraße 29, 10115, Berlin

Time: 19:30-21:00 – Brexit discussion (speakers tbc)
21:00 until very late – Music and dancing

Place: Freudenzimmer
Mehringdamm 61, 10961 Berlin

Price:  €4 online, €5 on the door
all profits go to British in Germany, e.V.

Details: jonworth.eu/fuxit2/

Stammtisch March Time: Saturday 16 March, 13:00 – 17:00 (approx)
Place: Brewdog
Ackerstraße 29, 10115, Berlin

Stuttgart

Time: Friday 29 March, 19:00 – 22:00 (approx)
Place: Grand Café Planie
Charlottenplatz 17, 70173 Stuttgart

Nuremberg

Time: Friday 29 March, 19:30 – 23:00 (approx)
Place: O’Shea’s Irish Pub & Biergarten
Am Wespennest 6, 90403, Nuremberg

Munich

Time: Friday 29 March, 18:30 – 23:00 (approx)
Place: Paulaner im Tal
Tal 12, 80331 Munich

Hamburg

Time: Friday 29 March ,19:00 – 23:00 (approx)
Place:Simian Ales
65A, Langelohe, 25337 Elmshorn
Resister at Eventbrite

Frankfurt

Time: Friday 29 March, 19:30 – 22:30 (approx)
Place: Fox and Hound,
Niedenau 2, 60325, Frankfurt

Hanover

Time: Friday 15 March ,17:30- 19:45 (approx)
Place: Meiers Lebenslust
Osterstraße 64, 30159 Hanover, Germany

Köln

Time: Thursday  14 March ,17:30- 19:00 (approx)
Place:Tasty Pasty Company
Mauenheimer Str. 28, 50733 Köln

Münster

Time: Friday  8 March ,19:00- 21:00 (approx)
Place: Spook’s
Hammer Str. 66, 48153 Münster

Berlin

Time: Saturday 2 March, 13:00 – 17:00 (approx)
Place: Brewdog
Ackerstraße 29, 10115, Berlin

Bremen

Time: Saturday  2 March ,17:30- 20:30 (approx)
Place: Loft Bremen
Bahnhofsplatz 5 – 7, 28195 Bremen

Hanover

Time: Monday 28 February ,18:00 – 21:00 (approx)
Place: Duke Irish Pub, 
Raschplatz 6, 30161 Hanover

Frankfurt

Time: Monday 25 February ,19:00 – 21:00 (approx)
Place: Daheim im Lorsbacher Thal, 
Große Rittergasse 49, 60594 Frankfurt

Hamburg

Time: Thursday 21 February ,19:00 – 22:00 (approx)
Place: Alles Elbe
Hein-Hoyer-Straße 63, 20359 Sankt Pauli

Berlin

Time: Saturday 16 February ,13:00 – 17:00 (approx)
Place: Brewdog
Ackerstraße 29, 10115, Berlin

Berlin

Time: Saturday 2 February ,13:00 – 17:00 (approx)
Place: Brewdog, Ackerstraße 29, 10115, Berlin

Stuttgart

Time: Thursday  31 January ,19:00 – 22:00 (approx)
Place: Academie der schönen Künste, Charlottenstraße 5, 70182 Stuttgart

Bremen

Time: Thursday  31 January ,19:00 – 23:30 (approx)
Place:Loft Bremen, Bahnhofsplatz 5 – 7, 28195 Bremen

Frankfurt

Time: Wednesday 30 January ,19:00 – 21:00 (approx)
Place: Daheim im Lorsbacher Thal, 
Große Rittergasse 49, 60594 Frankfurt

Also see our Events Calendar.

Reminder: register to vote for the EP elections!

The voter registration deadlines for the European Parliament elections are approaching. We are still EU citizens, so let’s make our votes count! Please check out British in Europe’s Register to Vote site for all the details: where, when, how.

If you’ve been away from the UK for less than 15 years, you can choose to vote in the UK, or in Germany. The UK voter registration deadline is Tuesday 7 May, and UK overseas voters may have to re-register this year – check with the local authority where you last voted; full details on how to vote can be found here.

If you’ve been away for over 15 years, you can only vote in Germany, where the voter registration deadline is Sunday 5 May.

If you are registered here, you should already be on the electoral register.  It’s important to check with the Wahlamt (electoral office) at your local municipality (Bezirksamt or Kreisverwaltung) as we’ve had some cases of members appearing to be no longer listed, despite being registered last year.

If you are not on the electoral register, you need to opt in. The forms for this are available from the Federal Returning Officer: these must be signed and returned in person or posted to your local municipality by 5 May.

Further information on voting in Germany is available from the EU’s European Elections 2019 site.

Image: Jordiferrer, Wikimedia Commons

 

Registering to vote – Deadline is early May!

With the UK’s withdrawal from the EU now postponed until 31 October at the latest, the chances that the UK will take place in the elections for the European Parliament on Thursday 23 May in the UK and Sunday 26 May in Germany has increased.

As we will continue to be EU Citizens at this point we will continue to have the right to take part in these elections.

The deadline to register in the UK is 7th May, and in Germany 5th May, so you will need to move fast!

Together with British in Europe we have re-opened the voter website last used for the 2017 General Election. CLICK HERE, to see British in Europe’s all you need to know Voter Registration Info site.

You will have two choices:

  • If you have been absent from the UK for less than 15 years you can still vote in the EU elections in the UK at your last registered address.
  • If you have been absent for more than 15 years or if you prefer to vote in Germany you can register to vote there instead.

Voting in the UK

A summary of the information on the British in Europe Voter Reg Site about voting in the UK:

The  UK Government Website details the options for voting when living abroad.

The site run by the Electoral Commission is also useful.

If you have not already registered to vote, scroll to the end of the page and find the link to register to vote either online for England, Scotland and Wales, or by post in Northern Ireland. Latest inquires from our members suggest 7th May is the deadline to register for the EU Elections.

Even if you think you are registered it would be worth checking by contacting the Electoral Registration Officer  where you think you are registered. Registrations are confirmed each year by post and you may have become deregistered if you have moved addresses and not informed them.

Once registered you should consider how you wish to vote, either by post or by proxy.

If you choose a postal vote then your voting papers will be posted out to you in Germany where you can complete them before returning them. Be aware that the time available to do this limited as the voting papers can take several days to arrive and must be return promptly to be counted.

The most assured way to vote is via a proxy. This could be a friend or neighbour you are happy will vote as you direct them to, or an alternative is to contact your party of choice locally (most have websites to allow you to find a contact name) and they can be authorised to vote on your behalf. In both cases a form needs to be completed and returned to the Returning Officer so start making preparations now.

In the UK the election in on a regional list system and you will have one vote for the list of your choice.

Voting in Germany

The German Government Website (in German) details the options for voting in Germany:

  • If you are a German citizen, you should be on the electoral register here automatically.
  • If you are a UK / other EU citizen and not also German, you aren’t included automatically on the register for the European Parliament, you need to opt-in.
  • If you have opted in for a previous European Parliament election in Germany since 1999 you should still be on the register, even if you have moved home within Germany. But you might want to double check this with your local Wahlamt to confirm you are on the list (particularly given all the recent uncertainty re Brexit)
  • If you used to live in Germany but then moved away before moving back again, you will need to opt back in again to the European Parliament electoral register. This can be done up to 21 days before the vote, i.e, 5 May. The necessary form can be found on the website but must be handed in personally or by post to the Wahlamt – electoral office – in your local authority area (e.g. Bezirksamt or Kreisverwaltung).

It is possible to set up a postal vote, otherwise you would attend the polling station indicated on your voting card and on presenting your passport will be given a voting paper.

In Germany the election is on a nation wide list system and you will have one vote for the list of your choice.

Information across the EU is available on an EU sponsored website and includes a section for the UK and for Germany.

Image: By Man vyi – Self-photographed, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=5004689

InfoEvents in Berlin, 30 April

In cooperation with German partners and British in Germany e.V., the British Embassy Berlin will host an Open Afternoon and Evening on Tuesday 30th April 2019. This will be an opportunity for you to find out how the UK leaving the EU might affect your rights to live and work in Germany.

Economic Counsellor Rachel King will give an update on issues relating to citizens’ rights and what this means for you after the UK leaves the EU. She will be joined by the Head of the Berlin Foreigners Authority (Ausländerbehörde) Engelhard Mazanke, who will explain the registration process in Berlin.

Following the introductions there will be an Info Fair, where you will be able to speak to representatives from key German authorities on pensions, health insurance, residency, naturalisation, studying and Erasmus, and working in Germany (participating organisations to be confirmed).

Location: British Embassy Berlin,
Wilhelmstrasse 70, D-10117 Berlin, Germany

Afternoon Event:

14:30 Doors open

15:00 Welcome addresses

15:30 Info Fair

17:00 Event closes

Spaces are limited – please register on Eventbrite.

Evening Event:

18:00 Doors open

18:30 Welcome addresses

19:00 Info Fair

20:30 Event closes

Spaces are limited – please register on Eventbrite:.

If you reserve a ticket but find yourself unable to attend, please let us know so that we can allocate the ticket to someone else.

Please not that only registered guests can be permitted entry to the Embassy and photo ID is required.

Image: By Jean-Pierre Dalbéra from Paris, France – L’Ambassade du Royaume-Uni (Berlin), CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=6791741

InfoAbend in Bad Kreuznach, 15 April

The British Embassy and Antje Lezius, Member of the German Bundestag, in collaboration with British in Germany, will host a German-British Information Evening on citizens rights in Bad Kreuznach on Monday, 15th April at 6:30pm.

Time: Monday, 15 April at 18:30 – 20:30 (doors open 18:00)
Place: Brauwerk, Saline Karlshalle 11, 55543 Bad Kreuznach
Registration: Eventbrite

HM Consul General Rafe Courage will give an update on the impact of the UK leaving the EU on citizens’ rights of UK nationals living in Germany and what this means for you. Antje Lezius will present the German government’s plans, as will the Foreigners’ Authority Bad Kreuznach. They will be joined by Amanda Diel from British in Germany e.V. Following the speeches, there will be plenty of time to ask any questions you have.

The event is primarily aimed at UK nationals living in and around Bad Kreuznach. Family members and friends are, of course, also welcome to attend, as are German citizens with questions regarding travel to or study in the UK following the UK’s exit from the European Union.

Doors open at 6.00 pm. The event will run from 6.30pm to 8.30 pm.

This event will take place in English and German.

Should you be attending by car, there are parking spaces available at Brauwerk Bad Kreuznach (charges apply).

We look forward to welcoming you then.

For information on this event in German please see:

http://bit.ly/German-British-Information-Evening
or
https://www.facebook.com/events/2013393622289961/

Report on the “Not the Brexit day” Stammtisch in Munich 29 March

Despite the cheery faces on the photo collage of this event (click the image for the full collage), the general mood in Munich was sombre and reflective. It has been a long haul since Article 50 was invoked and many of us are incredulous at the lack of progress since then. Special scorn was reserved for those politicians seen as responsible for STILL not providing clarity on vital aspects affecting the lives of UK citizens in Europe, such as healthcare and pensions.

Listen in to what Brits (and Germans!) in Munich were saying on the day the UK did not leave the EU (that at least gave some cause for optimism….):

Fiona: I breathed a sigh of relief today. We need to press the pause button and give everybody a chance to get a deal with consensus, one in which citizens rights are protected.

Ingrid: There are people here tonight who don´t know if they will have health insurance next week! Or if their pension contributions will be counted in both countries. Or if they can continue to work for customers in countries across the German border! That´s how bad things are for us here.”

Mike: So much money has been spent on all this, by governments and businesses – if the UK doesn’t in the end leave all that will have been totally wasted.

Ulrike: Die UK war nie wirklich 100% dabei. Aber die Politiker haben jetzt total versagt. Ich bin traurig für die nächste Generation.

Trevor: Hope that if there is a second referendum that young people will turn out. Clicking on ‘Like’ is just not the same as voting.

Dave: B******* to Brexit. We´re ok over here – we´ll still be able to buy food and medicines!

Bob (disenfranchised): Hoping that British pragmatism will lead to a second referendum.

David (not DH): “Now that the deal has been voted down, it leaves options open for a soft Brexit.

Athol: At one time I was proud to be British, now I keep quiet about it.

Ian #1: If we have to leave, it has to be in an orderly manner, but of course my preference is to stay.”

Ian #2: It´s all a muddle – they need to have a rethink. And an extension to work it all out.

Linda: Thank goodness we are British and have a sense of humour.

The waiter (an economics student): Ich denke, es ist nicht so verheerend für Europa. Langfristig wird man zusammenhalten.

Julia: A catastrophe! Everyone is laughing at us.

Gisela: Es sollte eine Verlängerung geben, und die UK sollte an den EU Wahlen teilnehmen.

Ryosuke: If there is a second referendum, people should be guided by the economic outlook, and the effects already being seen in terms of people´s jobs. The UK was such a strong state, I don´t understand why all this is happening.”

Tim: The best we can hope for is for a customs union, but one that allows for freedom of movement.

Jochen: Why change a running game? It has worked well so far, I don´t understand what is going on.”

Leoni: I´m amazed that so many MPs actually voted for no deal! They are completely disregarding the catastrophic effect this will have on the lives of poor and vulnerable people.”

Anon.:

Politicians have no sense of responsibility.

Everything is so screwed, that it looks like the UK will crash out on 12 April. But I don´t wish it.

The last four years has been a farce.

The older leave voters have enjoyed the benefits of the UK´s membership of the EU, and now they don´t want to pass that on to the next generation!

UK´s influence in the EU is now much diminished, whatever happens.

No common sense in Parliament.

They should just b***** off.

Image (c) Sue McInerney