It started with a typically whiny Guardian piece yesterday titled "No one cares about us - Brits in Europe". It's part of a big whine from many of the 1m Brits living in Europe for special status - a status that can only come at a cost to the British. It is a typically selfish and self-obsessed whinge, as is normal today. My own view is that those of us who have chosen to make homes in Europe must make shift for ourselves; we made informed decisions. I want no-one in the UK to pay for my choice.
Anyway, I commented to this effect. What 'protection' do you need, I asked, "To be permitted residence in Austria you have to prove you have an
adequate income and are a member of an Austrian health insurance scheme -
to demonstrate you are not a burden on Austrian taxpayers. Same before
Brexit, same after. What's the problem?"
The problem, it emerged, is that several Guardian readers living in Austria are here unlawfully. If EU or EEA citizens intend to be here for more than 3 months, they must apply for a residency certificate, and do so before the end of month 4 or face steep daily fines. I have my residency certificate. The Guardian readers do not. One declared that he classed himself as a free spirit and didn't agree with documentation in general, others said they had been here for many years and not been deported, others that said they didn't think the requirement was important. Not one seems to have read the widely available guidance from the Austrian government detailing residence requirements. All seem just to have understood that the EU meant free movement and acted on that - and now that they face problems post Brexit, are whining and moaning that the UK government and all the British people back home should get them out of the shit.
My own view is that the UK should not lift a finger to help them. If they are stupid enough, arrogant enough or misguided enough not even to understand the most basic residence requirements of another country then Austria is probably best rid of them - sorry, UK, you will get some irredeemably stupid and bitter Guardian readers back. I had a drink with my young German mates last night and asked them if they understood the Anmeldebescheinigung. Sure, they said - all of them working or studying in Austria have the 'yellow certificate'. They simply couldn't imagine anyone moving to Austria without checking out the requirements in advance. "They're Guardian readers" I explained "fantasists, dreamers, away with the fairies". They nodded, not quite understanding.