Article 50 & Brexit in the UK. Everything you need to know!

Article 50 & Brexit in the UK. Everything you need to know!
©AFP / Getty Images

I didn’t want to write about this.

I wanted to write a bit more about our splendid trip to Austria.

Then Article 50 came up, and I simply couldn’t let it go without writing a few things about it.

On the 29th March, 2017, Britain said goodbye to the European Union (EU).

It was not a happy day.

For months, I’ve been involved in debating, talking, TV, radio and newspaper interviews on why my home-country is leaving the EU. In fact, just a week before Article 50, I received an offer to go on German TV to discuss my hopes and fears for Brexit!

See for yourself: Bye-bye Love: Reactions to Brexit and auf Deutsche – Bye-bye Love: Reaktionen zum Brexit.

Article 50 & Brexit in the UK. Everything you need to know!
@ JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP/Getty Images)

It’s not looking pretty.

All over Europe, British expats are rushing to start the process of double-nationality, or permanent residency.

In the UK, European expats are doing the same.

Luckily for me, I’ve been living in Germany for yonks, I’m married, I’m settled, I have a corporate job, and I speak German. And quite frankly, in these uncertain times, it doesn’t hurt to have double nationality….!

However, just to re-assure you, the British Ambassador for Germany – Ambassador Sir Sebastian Wood – on the status of UK citizens in Germany,  categorically said that “there has been no change to the rights and status of EU nationals in the UK, and UK nationals in the EU.” You can see his video speech here.

Brexit. Please don't go! ©Der Spiegel - Getty Images.
Brexit. Please don’t go! ©Der Spiegel – Getty Images.

After sixty (60) years of friendship, Brexit is the worse disaster that has happened to the EU since the beginning of World War 2!

Last June, my fellow British compatriots voted in a referendum on whether the UK should leave or stay in the EU.

The people voted to leave.

You know my opinion about this, but here’s a reminder:

Brexit: So Britain is out of the European Union.
Now what?
We're not leaving!
We’re not leaving!

It was quite upsetting and begins two years of wrangling, arguing, disputation, and down-right nastiness.

Brexit was triggered by a process known as Article 50.

WHAT IS ARTICLE 50 ALL ABOUT?

Theresa May’s Brexit letter in Brussels.
©Yves Herman / Reuters

Well, Article 50 of the Treaty of Lisbon gives any EU member the right to quit unilaterally, and outlines the procedure for doing so.

It gives the leaving country two years to negotiate an exit deal and once it’s set in motion, it can’t be stopped except by the unanimous consent of all member states.

Once in the EU, there has never be a way, or a need, to legally leave the EU before the Treaty of Lisbon was signed in 2007.

WHEN DID THE UK JOIN THE EU?
The UK joined the European Economic Community (the forerunner of the EU), on January 1st, 1973.

WHAT IS THE EUROPEAN UNION?

The European Union – otherwise known as the EU – is an economic and political partnership involving now, twenty-seven (27) European countries!

The European Union – otherwise known as the EU – is an economic and political partnership involving twenty-eight (28) European countries!

The idea of fostering economic co-operation, began with the Second World War notion that countries that trade together, are more likely to avoid going to war with one another!

Since then, the EU has grown to become a “single market” allowing goods and people to move around, as if the member states were one country. The EU has its own currency – the euro – which is used by nineteen (19) of the member countries, its own parliament, and it’s own laws, rules and regulations. With a GDP of more than $18,000 billion, and a population of more than 500m, the EU is the largest economy in the world!

HAS ANY MEMBER STATE EVER LEFT THE EU?
No nation-state has ever left the EU before. Except for Greenland – an overseas territory of Denmark!

THE UK HAS LEFT THE EU. WOULD IT BE ABLE TO REJOIN IN THE FUTURE?

No nation-state has ever previously left the EU.
Except for Greenland – an overseas territory of Denmark!

Yes!

The UK would have to start from scratch with no rebate, and enter in to accession talks with the EU. And every member state would have to agree to the UK re-joining! However, the issue of UK demands which Britain had before, would no longer be put into consideration.

WHAT IS THE LISBON TREATY?

The Lisbon Treaty (which became law in December 2009) is designed to make the EU “more democratic, more transparent and more efficient” and is an agreement signed by the heads of state and governments of countries that are EU members.

WHEN WAS ARTICLE  50 TRIGGERED?

Article 50 &Brexit in the UK. Everything you need to know!

Prime Minister Theresa May triggered Article 50 shortly before 12:30pm on March 29 2017, giving Britain a final official date of leaving the EU of no later than April 2019!

WHAT ARE THE REAL DETAILS OF ARTICLE 50?

The real details of Article 50…!

There are five elements to Article 50:

1. Any Member State may decide to withdraw from the Union in accordance with its own constitutional requirements.

2. A Member State which decides to withdraw shall notify the European Council of its intention. In the light of the guidelines provided by the European Council, the Union shall negotiate and conclude an agreement with that State, setting out the arrangements for its withdrawal, taking account of the framework for its future relationship with the Union. That agreement shall be negotiated in accordance with Article 218(3) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. It shall be concluded on behalf of the Union by the Council, acting by a qualified majority, after obtaining the consent of the European Parliament.

3. The Treaties shall cease to apply to the State in question from the date of entry into force of the withdrawal agreement or, failing that, two years after the notification referred to in paragraph 2, unless the European Council, in agreement with the Member State concerned, unanimously decides to extend this period.

4. For the purposes of paragraphs 2 and 3, the member of the European Council or of the Council representing the withdrawing Member State shall not participate in the discussions of the European Council or Council or in decisions concerning it. A qualified majority shall be defined in accordance with Article 238(3)(b) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.

5. If a State which has withdrawn from the Union asks to rejoin, its request shall be subject to the procedure referred to in Article 49.

WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?

Article 50 means that for the next two (2) years, Britain must thrash out a deal for leaving the EU. It’s a process that’s likely to be lengthy, complicated, and painful for all, as any deal must be approved by a “qualified majority” of EU member states, and can be vetoed by the European Parliament.

WHAT IS BREXIT ALL ABOUT AGAIN?

Article 50 & Brexit in the UK. Everything you need to know!

Brexit is a shorthand way of referring to the British exit from the EU. It is a word that merges “Britain” and “Exit” thus creating “Brexit” similar to the term “Grexit,” which was used to refer to the possibility that Greece might leave the Eurozone.

WHAT IS A REFERENDUM?
A referendum is a vote in which anyone of voting age can take part, normally giving a “Yes” or “No” answer to a question. Whichever side gets more than half of all votes cast, is considered to have won.

Yes (leave), won!

WHY DID WE HAVE A BREXIT REFERENDUM IN THE FIRST PLACE?

I might not have liked the outcome, but a Brexit Referedum was promised!
©Reuters / David Moir

David Cameron – the then British Prime Minister – promised to make this happen if he won the 2015 general election.

He won!

This act was in a response to the “European question in British politics,” reduced influence in European rules and regulations, and agitated calls from members of his own political party – the Conservatives – and the UK Independence Party (UKIP), who argued that Britain had not had a real say about issues since 1975, when it voted to stay in the EU, in a referendum at the time!

HOW LONG WILL BREXIT TAKE?

The official process of Brexit is supposed to take two years, but experts believe that it could take longer. The timescale can be extended, but only by the unanimous consent of the European Council, which technically means that every member state would have to agree.

The terms of exit will be negotiated between Britain’s 27 other counterparts, and each will have a veto over the conditions. Triggering Article 50 starts the clock. After this, the Treaties that govern membership no longer apply to Britain.

IS BREXIT REALLY GOING TO BE AN ISSUE FOR THE UNITED KINGDOM?

Article 50 & Brexit in the UK. Everything you need to know!
©Jonathan McHugh

On paper, not at all.

In reality, it’s all very complicated.

The agreement of a new trade relationship, economic tariffs, and the issue of free movement is going to be a sore topic, and could take a process of up to five (5) years!

WHAT’S THE BIG DEAL ANYWAY?

The EU is like a family and like all families, you have disagreements, and quarrels.

Well the thing is, the EU is like a family and like all families, you have disagreements, and quarrels. What you don’t do is threaten to leave the family unit, and hope to live happily ever after. Or worse, have all your demands fulfilled.

The fact is, other family members, although they love each other, believe in tough love, and don’t want to encourage tantrums, otherwise, everyone else will be threatening to leave too!

In short, European leaders want the agreements and conditions to be effective and brutal, so that other member states are discouraged from following suit…!

WHAT’S THE NEXT STEP FOR THE UK?

The Govt & many of the British working classes want Hard Brexit, but hopefully, common sense will allow a softer Brexit instead!
©NurPhoto via Getty Images

Theresa May (the British Prime Minsiter) plans to transpose EU laws onto British statutes allowing the Government to analyse and reject whatever laws it sees fit.

To do this, the UK government would have to perform three acts simultaneously:

  • Negotiate a new deal with Brussels
  • Win a series of major bilateral trade deals around the world
  • Revise its own governance as EU law recedes

The Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union – David Davis – will be supervising the process.

ANY POSSIBLE FUTURE PROBLEMS AS A RESULT OF BREXIT?

The potential for the United Kingdom itself to Break Up is more possible than you can ever imagine, as Northern Ireland might decide to Re-Unite with the Republic!

Sadly, yes.

AND WHAT ABOUT THE EU ITSELF?

Article 50 & Brexit in the UK. Everything you need to know!
©Claudio Cadei – CartoonMovement

The focus is on driving a hard bargain on the rights of European citizens in Britain, and likewise, British citizens in Europe, making negotiations with the UK that we can all live with whilst at the same time, keeping the EU together, making demands that still open markets for trade on friendly terms, and unity on security and military co-operation to fight terrorism and crime, whether the nation-state is part of the EU or not.

WHY I THINK BRITAIN SHOULD HAVE STAYED IN THE EU?

The outcome of Brexit was crazy!
@Visit England – Rich J Jones

Britain is important. What we do or don’t do, matters.

Moreover, being a part of the EU gives Britain a boost in almost every way. We’re able to do business in the “single market,” we would be able to attract the best minds all over the world, who complement our economic prosperity, as well as our social future in the guise of helping to pay and provide for public services. To stay in the EU is to receive a big boost in reciprocal membership.

It’s simple really.

If we’re in the European Union, we have a say on what goes on within – economically, socially, and politically. We’ll be a secure part of one of the best clubs in the world – a 28-nation club – exclusively set up to protect and look out for each other.

At a time of extreme danger to our way of life, and an increase in terrorism, we  need the EU.

Now that we’ve opt to leave the Union, as an island nation. We’re out. Alone.

And really isolated from the rest of the Continent.

Now that Brexit & Article 50 has been triggered, as an island nation. We’re out. Alone.

Is anyone going to win?

Not really.

ARTICLE 50 & BREXIT IN THE UK. EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW!

Article 50 & Brexit in the UK. Everything you need to know!
©Kate Green/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

This article isn’t sponsored and all opinions connected to Brexit & Article 50, are my very own!

Next week, I’ll be writing my last article about Austria!

In April & May, I’ll be visiting Croatia, Sweden & Finland!

From 07.03.17 – 09.03.17, our friends – the British musical and comedy duo – Carrington Brown – will be performing Germany’s premiere of Carrington-Brown feat. The Swonderful Orchestra: Comedy meets Classics at Tipi!

I’ll be there. Will you?

If you’re not in Berlin in April. Well then?

Article 50 & Brexit in the UK. Everything you need to know!

Watch this space!

Note! I never travel without insurance as you never know what might happen.

I learnt my lesson in Spain. And obviously, in countries like Qatar, where technically the risk is higher, I can’t imagine going that far beyond, WITHOUT INSURANCE. No siree! You can get yours here, at World Nomads!

Please note that there are now affiliate links (for the very first time) connected to this post. Please consider using the links, because every time some sort of accommodation or travel insurance is booked via my links I get a little percentage, but at no extra cost to yourself!

A win-win for all!

Thanks a million!

Article 50 & Brexit in the UK. Everything you need to know!
Article 50 & Brexit in the UK. Everything you need to know!

What do you think of Brexit & Article 50? Do you fear it,or do you agree with it? Share & let me know below! 

See you in Berlin.

If you have any questions send me a tweet, talk to me on Facebook, find me on Linkedin, make a comment below, look for me on Google+ or send me an Email: victoria@thebritishberliner.com

If you like this post, please Share it! Tweet it! Or like it!

Advertisements

Is it safe to travel to Europe right now ‘cos I’m scared to travel abroad?

Is it safe to travel to Europe right now 'cos I'm scared to travel abroad?
Is it safe to travel to Europe right now ‘cos I’m scared to travel abroad?

It’s been a rough few weeks.

The citizens of France are in a state of shock.

The world is in a dreadful state.

Our sympathies and condolences are with the people, family and friends of Nice.

We're not leaving!
We’re not leaving!

First, we had that horrible referendum in which my fellow Brits voted to Leave the European Union, and won!

Shortly after, we had situations of terror in France, mindless shootings in the US, the senseless mass killing of the gay community in America, a mad axe-wielding teenager in Germany, an airport terror attack and a near military coup in Turkey, and the awful fact that Donald Trump, a laughable figure, might in fact, end up being the next President of the United States, and thus, the leader of the Free Western World!

Uggggh!

And just recently, very very recently, we had another disturbed teenager run riot of an evening, randomly shooting innocent shoppers, after luring them to a free McDonalds’ burger, in Germany!

Just what is the world coming to?

It's just so sad. ©Lionel Bonaventure / AFP Getty Images
It’s just so sad.
©Lionel Bonaventure / AFP Getty Images

It’s sad.

I’m in shock.

And I’m just so sad.

The terrorist attacks have struck my continent.

This wonderful continent of Europe might make tourists and visitors wonder.

They might think that perhaps travelling abroad isn’t all it’s made out to be.

10 reasons why being a British Eurpean is a really good thing!
10 reasons why being a British European is a really good thing!

They might think that Europe isn’t the place to be after all!

My blog isn’t about politics, and I’m not a politician or a secret agent, so outside of the odd look-between-the-lines rant, I can’t tell you what to do, or advice you as to who best to run your country. Or mine!

What I can tell you is how to cope, and how to keep on living, doing whatever it is you’re doing.

I’m a British person and I live in Europe. People are worried and concerned:

I’M SCARED TO TRAVEL ABROAD!

I want to travel the world with you but I’m scared to travel abroad...
I want to travel the world with you but I’m scared to travel abroad…

You don’t need to be.

However!

I’ll tell you something for nothing.

We Europeans are as stoic as we come.

Europe is thousands of years old and has been through battles many, many times.

We’re not strangers to attacks.

Or threats.

Or war.

The most horrifying Jewish concentration camp in the history of Nazi Germany. Auschwitz.
The most horrifying Jewish concentration camp in the history of Nazi Germany.
Auschwitz.

You’ve only got to look through the last century to see that.

Britain has been blighted by the IRA in Ireland for years, and tourists still love to come to the UK.

Spain has had train explosions from people fighting for the separation of the Basque Region from the country, and tourists still love to visit Spain.

Heck! World War II was started by a madman from Austria, who terrorised the whole continent by his fantasy of German supremacy. Not to talk of the Berlin Wall that was to divide a nation for 38 years, and tourists still love to come to Germany too!

The point I’m trying to make is:

DON’T LET FEAR TAKE CONTROL

Don't let fear take control!
Don’t let fear take control!

Walk outside your front door.

Drive your car.

Get on that train.

Take a flight.

Sail on a ship.

Take a step at a time.

Don’t let fear take control!

IS IT SAFE TO TRAVEL TO EUROPE ‘COS I’M SCARED TO TRAVEL ABROAD? 

Sure it is. Everyone is welcome!
Sure it is. Everyone is welcome!

Sure it is!

Millions of international tourists and travellers visit and travel through Europe every year, and most visits are completely and utterly trouble-free.

However, if you have any concerns, or need help, or information, I recommend the following:

  • As much as possible, stay away from large crowds and high-profile events
  • Don’t leave bags or baggages unattended. Take care of your belongings and passports at all airports and train stations
  • Remain vigilant but don’t go crazy and finger-point at random innocent people, going about their business
  • Follow the instructions of the local authorities
  • Monitor media and local information sources
  • Allow extra time for your journey due to increased security measures at airports, important train stations and international borders
  • If you’re British, contact GOV.UK for foreign travel advice to any country!
  • If you’re German, contact the Außenministerium der Bundesrepublik Deutschland – Andere Länder
  • If you’re American, contact the Embassy of the United States in whichever country you’re in
  • Take out travel and medical insurance BEFORE you travel

Don’t panic remember:

Keep calm! Don't worry! Don’t panic!
Keep calm!
Don’t worry!
Don’t panic!

Crime rates in many countries are low.

Standards of living are high.

Education is free, therefore literacy is high.

Many Europeans speak at least three languages.

There is social security, therefore the social gap is lower than outside the European continent.

Health and health insurance is taken seriously and in many cases, is the law.

Social infrastructure works wonderfully and is available to all.
Social infrastructure works wonderfully and is available to all.

Social infrastructure works wonderfully and is available to all.

Tolerance is extremely high.

Fairness and truth are important.

Ordinary people don’t carry weapons of any kind. There isn’t a need to!

They say that most accidents and deaths occur near to, or in the home. Statistically, you’re safer outside your home!

And if you’re still not sure take a peep.

Victoria’s Summer European Challenge Campaign!

Sit back & relax while I go on Victoria's Summer European Challenge Campaign!
Sit back & relax while I go on Victoria’s Summer European Challenge Campaign!

Yes, that time is soon nigh.

Summer baby!

Get ready for…..

Victoria’s Summer European Challenge Campaign!

European Challenge what?!

Oh. Cooooome. On!

I’ve already told you about this. Remember?!

Every weekend, I’m going to be visiting a different European city! Yeeks!
Every weekend, I’m going to be visiting a different European city!
Yeeks!

Every weekend, I’m going to be visiting a different European city.

Every weekend!

For six (6) weeks!

So, since I’m a happily married woman, a responsible mother, and it’s going to be the summer holidays (being smart here), I’m going to be taking the “Tall Young Gentleman” with me!

And.

Get this.

We’re going to be travelling completely by train!

OMG!

WHERE ARE WE GOING?

Copenhagen:

Demark's most famous icon. The Little Mermaid of Hans Christian Anderson!
Demark’s most famous icon.
The Little Mermaid of Hans Christian Anderson!

Copenhagen is the capital of Denmark and has a population of just under 600,000 people!

Copenhagen is situated on the eastern coast of the island of Zealand, partly located on Amager, and is separated from a town called Malmö which is actually in Sweden, by the strait of Øresund!

Originally a Viking fishing village founded in the 10th century, the name of the city reflects its origin as a harbour and a place of commerce. The original Danish name was Køpmannæhafn, meaning “merchants’ harbour,” or often simply Hafn or Havn meaning “harbour” and so in the early 15th century, Copenhagen became the capital of Denmark.

Doesn't Denmark look as if you could eat it! ©NordicFoodFestival.
Doesn’t Denmark look as if you could eat it!
©NordicFoodFestival.

Since the turn of the 21st century, Copenhagen has seen strong urban and cultural development facilitated by investment, in its institutions and infrastructure. It is one of the major financial centres of Northern Europe and has become integrated with the Swedish province of Scania and its largest city, Malmö, forming the Øresund Region!

I’ve been to Denmark many times, but it’s been twelve (12) years, since I was last there, and we’re going to be staying at a hotel hostel-style, ‘cos Danish prices are out of this world!

Eeeek!

Lucerne:

Lucerne in Switzerland
Lucerne in Switzerland

Lucerne is a city in the German-speaking part of central Switzerland and is the capital of the Canton of Lucerne, and the capital of the district of the same name!

With a population of about 80,501 people, Lucerne is the most populous city in Central Switzerland.

Owing to its location on the shore of Lake Lucerne (der Vierwaldstättersee), within sight of Mount Pilatus and Rigi in the Swiss Alps, Lucerne has long been a destination for tourists.

The official language of Lucerne is Swiss German, which is very different from German-German and very sing-songy…!

I live in Germany and Switzerland is practically next door but…

Shock & Horror! I've never actually been to Switzerland!
Shock & Horror!
I’ve never actually been to Switzerland!

Shock & Horror!

I’ve never actually been!

Mainly ‘cos it’s frightfully expensive!!

This time I’m going to cough up, and just go for it. And with a demanding growing lad too.

Gulp!

Luxembourg:

Luxembourg, otherwise known as the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg,
Luxembourg, otherwise known as the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg

Luxembourg, otherwise known as the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, is a country in western Europe.

It is bordered by Belgium to the west and north, Germany to the east, and France to the south.

Its capital Luxembourg City, together with Brussels and Strasbourg, is one of the three official capitals of the European Union, and the seat of the European Court of Justice, which is the highest judicial seat in the EU!

The culture, people, and languages of Luxembourg’s are highly intertwined with its neighbors, making it essentially a mixture of German and French!

Luxembourg is one of the smallest sovereign states in Europe!
Luxembourg is one of the smallest sovereign states in Europe!

With an area of just 2,586 square kilometres or 998 square miles, it is one of the smallest sovereign states in Europe, and about the same size as the state of Rhode Island in the US, or the county of Northamptonshire in England!

Luxembourg has a population of just 524,853 and is one of the least-populous countries in Europe!

It is a democracy with a constitutional monarch, headed by the Grand Duke of Luxembourg, and is the only remaining grand duchy in the world! Not only that, but Luxembourg is considered to have the world’s highest GDP per capita!

Wow!

Luxembourg will be a new country for me, and I’ve heard lovely things about it.

To put the cherry on the cake, we’re also going to be guests of Visit Luxembourg.

I’m pretty excited to visit, aren’t you?!

Bratislava:

The local folk of Bratislava, in Slovakia!
The local folk of Bratislava, in Slovakia!

Bratislava is the capital of Slovakia, and with a population of about 450,000 is Slovakia’s largest city!

Bratislava occupies both banks of the River Danube and the left bank of the River Morava, which borders on Austria and Hungary making Bratislava, the only national capital in the world, that borders two independent countries!

In fact, Bratislava is so small, that most people end up taking a day-trip to Vienna (Austria) that is just one (1) hour away by train!

As lovely as Prague!
As lovely as Prague!

Yipee!

I’ve always been impressed by the history of Slovakia as after the dissolution of the Austro-Hungarian Empire in post World War I, the Slovaks and Czechs established Czechoslovakia!

On 1st January 1993, Slovakia became an independent state after the peaceful dissolution of Czechoslovakia. A very prime example of how two nations, even after separation, still live together and or are, connected to each other, without hate and strive!

As you know, I used to live in the Czech Republic and whilst there, I lived briefly in Slovakia too!

In those days, there was hardly any difference at all, so I’m going to have to find out if it’s still true!

Germany:

I live in Germany. We can all choose our lifestyle.
I live in Germany.
We can all choose our lifestyle.

And because this is my blog and I can do whatever I like, I’m going to add two German destinations!

Bremen:

Bremen - a Hanseatic city in northwestern Germany, otherwise known as the Free Hanseatic City of Bremen!
Bremen – a Hanseatic city in northwestern Germany, otherwise known as the Free Hanseatic City of Bremen!

Bremen is a Hanseatic city in northwestern Germany, otherwise known as the Free Hanseatic City of Bremen!

Bremen is a commercial – industrial city, with a major port on the River Weser.

It’s part of the Bremen/Oldenburg Metropolitan Region and is with 2.4 million people, the second most populous city in Northern Germany!

Bremen is a major cultural hub and home to historical galleries and museums, ranging from historical sculptures to major art museums.

I’ve been to Bremen a few times, but I remember the very first time that I visited. Over twenty (20) years ago…!

Gulp!

The Musicians of Bremen, in Bremen!
The Musicians of Bremen, in Bremen!

I couldn’t believe that the animal statues that were dotted all over the city, were the animals in the old Grimm folk story – The Musicians of Bremen!

You can imagine how I felt when I found out that Hamelin from the The Pied Piper of Hamelin fame, actually existed and is based on a real true life event….!

Usedom:

On Usedom - a Baltic Sea island in Pomerania, Germany!
On Usedom – a Baltic Sea island in Pomerania, Germany!

Usedom is a Baltic Sea island in Pomerania which originally used to be one single island region but since 1945, was divided between Germany and Poland!

About 80% of the island belongs to the German district of Vorpommern-Greifswald in the state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern.

The other side and the largest city on the island, are part of the Polish West Pomeranian Voivodeship!

The island’s total area is 445 square kilometres (172 square miles). The German part is 373 square kilometres or 144 square miles, and the Polish part is 72 square kilometres or 28 square miles.

With a population of just 76,500 people – 31,500 on the German side and 45,000 on the Polish side, Usedom is the sunniest region of both Germany and Poland, and it is also the sunniest island in the Baltic Sea Region!

On the pier in Usedom - a Baltic Sea island in Pomerania, Germany!
On the pier in Usedom – a Baltic Sea island in Pomerania, Germany!

I’m absolutely thrilled, as we’ve been lucky enough to be invited as guests of the Usedom Island courtesy of Usedom Tourismus GmbH!

I’ve never been to Usedom before, so I just can’t wait to experience 42 kms of beach, which is even said to rival that of Brighton!

I am excited to be able to see the magnificent historic bath architecture villas on the German promenade, the echo of nobility and the wealthy bourgeoisie, artists and intellectuals of the 19th century, as well as lakes, marshes, dunes and woods, all blended into tiny countryside villages within a Natural Park!

Yes! Yes! Yes!

ANYTHING ELSE?

We're going to be travelling by train!
We’re going to be travelling by train!

I live in Berlin.

In Germany.

And Germany is right in the center of Europe.

It has airports, train stations, bus stations, bicycle stations, cars, ships, ferries, and every possible means of transport.

I travel a lot for leisure and pleasure so we’re going to be travelling by one of my favourite forms of transport.

We’re going to be travelling by train!

See you next week!

 Is it safe to travel to Europe right now 'cos I'm scared to travel abroad?
Is it safe to travel to Europe right now ‘cos I’m scared to travel abroad?

This article is not sponsored, and all opinions about taking control of travel nightmares, are my very own!

July is Pride Week!

From 02.07.16 – 24.07.16, the LGTB (community), well-wishers and gay-friendly supporters will gather in Berlin to celebrate and advocate a tolerant and open-minded society.

Throughout the summer months of July & August, all the museums in Berlin will be open each and every day! This will conclude with the bi-annual Die Lange Nacht der Museen otherwise known as the Long Night of Museums taking place on 27.8.16 from 6p.m. in the evening ’till 2a.m in the morning!

The Pop Kultur Festival is a new festival based in hipster Neukölln, over three (3) exciting days of new international and German bands, live concerts, performances, talks and reading, taking place from 31.08.16 – 02.09.16.

I’ll be attending an Exclusive Food Tour with Fork & Walk on Wednesday, August 10th organised by the Berlin Chapter of Travel Massive.

Berlin Art Week will take place from 13.09.16 – 18.09.16 so if you like contemporary art, this is the place for it!

Save the Date!

July is going to be hot!

I’ll be there. Will you?

As usual, you can also follow me via daily tweets and pictures on Twitter & Facebook!

If you’re not in Berlin in July, you’re missing all the action!

Watch this space!

Is it safe to travel to Europe right now ‘cos I’m scared to travel abroad?

Note! I never travel without insurance as you never know what might happen.

I learnt my lesson in Spain. And obviously, in countries like Qatar, where technically the risk is higher, I can’t imagine going that far beyond, WITHOUT INSURANCE. No siree! You can get yours here, at World Nomads!

Please note that there are now affiliate links (for the very first time) connected to this post. Please consider using the links, because every time some sort of accommodation or travel insurance is booked via my links I get a little percentage, but at no extra cost to yourself!

A win-win for all!

Thanks a million!

Is it safe to travel to Europe right now 'cos I'm scared to travel abroad?
Is it safe to travel to Europe right now ‘cos I’m scared to travel abroad?

Is it safe to travel to Europe right now? Are you scared to travel abroad? Will you let terrorism take control? Have your say?

See you in Berlin.

If you have any questions send me a tweet, talk to me on Facebook, find me on Linkedin, make a comment below, look for me on Google+ or send me an Email: victoria@thebritishberliner.com

If you like this post, please Share it! Tweet it! Or like it!

Is it safe to travel to Belgium or Europe?

Shocking times. © Anneleen Bouttery.
Shocking times.
© Anneleen Bouttery.

The citizens of Belgium are in a state of shock.

The world is in a terrible state.

Our sympathies and condolences are with the people, family and friends of Belgium.

THE FACTS.

A map of Belgium.
A map of Belgium.

There were explosions at Zaventem International Airport and Maalbeek station in Brussels on 22nd March, 2016.

On 24th March 2016, the Belgian threat level was changed to Level 3. Police operations are ongoing.

There have been a number of police raids and arrests in the Brussels region and other Belgian cities in recent weeks.

Belgian security operations are likely to be carried out at short notice. If you’re in an affected area you should follow the instructions of the Belgian security authorities.

Don't reveal police operations on social media!
Don’t reveal police operations on social media!

Police have asked the public not to comment on police operations on social media.

Public events and busy public areas across Belgium are likely to see additional security and some public events and tourists attractions, might be cancelled or closed. The general advice is to contact event organisers for information on whether specific events are going ahead.

I’M IN BELGIUM WHAT SHOULD I DO?

Millions of tourists visit Belgium and you're always going to be welcome! ©Augustijn_TCoussement.
Millions of tourists visit Belgium and you’re always going to be welcome!
©Augustijn_TCoussement.

Millions of international tourists and travellers visit Belgium every year, and most visits are completely and utterly trouble-free.

The official advice if you’re in Belgium or about to travel to Belgium, is to remain vigilant, stay away from crowded places, and follow the instructions of the Belgian authorities.

However, if you have any concerns, or need help, or information, I recommend the following:

Help others if you can.
Help others if you can.
We're all in shock. Try not to panic!
We’re all in shock. Try not to panic!
  • If you’re anywhere near the former World War II battlefields, and you see anything that looks like a shell or munition, don’t panic! Move away from the site and call the police emergency number 112.  Stay on the footpath and exercise caution.
  • Stay away from large crowds.
  • Don’t leave bags or baggages unattended. Take care of your belongings and passports at all airports and train stations in Brussels and elsewhere.
  • Remain vigilant but don’t go crazy and finger-point at random innocent people, going about their business.
  • Follow the instructions of the Belgian authorities.
  • Allow extra time for your journey due to increased security measures at airports, important train stations and international borders.
  • If you’re British, contact GOV.UK for foreign travel advice to Belgium or any other country!
  • If you’re German, contact the Außenministerium der Bundesrepublik DeutschlandAuswärtiges Amt über Belgian oder Andere Länder.
  • If you’re American, contact the Embassy of the United States in Belgium.
  • Take out travel and medical insurance BEFORE you travel.

I’m a British person and I live in Europe. People are asking me one very important question:

I’M SCARED TO TRAVEL ABROAD!

I wanna travel the world with you....
I wanna travel the world with you but I’m scared…

You don’t need to be.

Let me clear, my blog is not about political affairs and neither am I a politician, a civil servant, or a secret agent!

I wish!

My opinions are my own and my own only, however.

However!

I’ll tell you something for nothing.

We Europeans are as stoic as we come.

Roman cohorts at the Varus Battle in Osnabrück. © Tourismusverband Osnabrücker Land e.V.
Roman cohorts at the Varus Battle in Osnabrück.
© Tourismusverband Osnabrücker Land e.V.

Europe is thousands of years old and has been through battles many, many times.

We’re not strangers to attacks.

Or threats.

Or war.

You’ve only got to look through the last century to see that.

The madness of war.
The madness of war.

Britain has been blighted by the IRA in Ireland for years, and tourists still love to come to the UK.

Spain has had train explosions from people fighting for the seperation of the Basque Region from the country, and tourists still love to visit Spain.

Heck! World War II was started by a madman from Austria, who terrorised the whole continent by his fantasy of German supremacy. Not to talk of the Berlin Wall that was to divide a nation for 38 years, and tourists still love to come to Germany too!

The point I’m trying to make is:

DON’T LET FEAR TAKE CONTROL!

One day, I'll travel the whole world.
One day, I’ll travel the whole world.

Walk outside your front door.

Drive your car.

Get on that train.

Take a flight.

Sail on a ship.

Take a step at a time.

Don’t let fear take control!

IS IT SAFE TO TRAVEL TO EUROPE OR BELGIUM?

Sure it is. Everyone is welcome!
Sure it is. Everyone is welcome!

Of course!

Crime rates in many countries are low.

Standards of living are high.

Helsinki Monument, Finland. @VisitFinland
Helsinki Monument, Finland.
@VisitFinland

Education is free, therefore literacy is high.

Many Europeans speak at least three languages.

There is social security, therefore the social gap is lower than outside the European continent.

Health and health insurance is taken seriously and in many cases, is the law.

Estonian Young Folk.
Estonian Young Folk.

Social infrastructure works wonderfully and is available to all.

Tolerance is extremely high.

Fairness and truth are important.

At 10 Downing Street in London! Even our local Bobbies don't carry weapons, although they do, outside the Prime-Ministers' house!
At 10 Downing Street in London! Even our local Bobbies don’t carry weapons, although they do, outside the Prime-Ministers’ house!

Ordinary people don’t carry weapons of any kind. There isn’t a need to!

They say that most accidents and deaths occur near to, or in the home. Statistically, you’re safer outside your home!

And if you’re still not sure take a peep.

THIS IS BELGIUM!

Horse Carriage in Bruges. ©VisitFlanders.
Horse Carriage in Bruges.
©VisitFlanders.

Let’s talk a little about Belgium.

Because we should.

Belgium officially known as the Kingdom of Belgium, is a country in the Western part of Europe unlike Latvia which is in Central Europe or Poland which is in the Eastern part of Europe!

It is bordered between Germany, Holland, France and Luxembourg and has a population of just eleven (11) million people!

Hanswijk procession Musicians, Mechelen. in Belgium. © Jan Smets.
Hanswijk procession Musicians, Mechelen. In Belgium. © Jan Smets.

Culturally, Belgium is Dutch-speaking, French-speaking and if it couldn’t get more complicated, German-speaking too!

The Dutch-speakers tend to be Flemish comprising 59% of the population, the French-speakers are Walloon comprising of 41% of the population and the German-speakers are the minority, who live around the borders surrounding Germany!

Officially, Belgium is, like Canada, officially bilingual being Flemish (Dutch-speaking) and French and known as being from the Low Countries, or the Benelux group of states, consisting of Holland, Luxembourg and Belgium itself.

Belgium was a Roman province known as Gallia Belgica and was a prosperous centre of business, commerce, trade and culture from the Middle Ages right up to the 17th century.

In 1830, Belgium spilt off from Holland and became independent in its own right, and during the 20th century participated in the colonization of the African continent, as well as itself being occupied by Germany in WWI and WWII.

SO WHAT’S BRUSSELS ALL ABOUT THEN?

The Manneken Pis Fountain in Brussels! ©VisitFlanders.
The Manneken Pis Fountain in Brussels!
©VisitFlanders.

Well, Brussel is the capital of Belgium.

The last time I was there was really for a long weekend where I spent all my time rambling but that was years ago! You know how I love strolling along cobbled stones of yore, and poking my nose into every nook and cranny. Belgium does that for you.

It’s also a city that has a river running through it and you know how I do love my rivers, brooks and lakes.

TinTin at the Belgian Comic Strip Center in Brussels. ©VisitFlanders
TinTin at the Belgian Comic Strip Center in Brussels.
©VisitFlanders

It’s also a city of history and culture so I spent quite some considerable time going to galleries and museums as I like Old Art, architectural treasures, Art Nouveau and Art Deco buildings.

Brussels also has Contemporary Art in spades too, as you only have to look at Belgiums’ most famous comic strip artist who wrote the amazing stories and adventures of TinTin to realize that art and culture is all around.

Waffles! Yeah! ©VisitFlanders.
Waffles! Yeah!
©VisitFlanders.

Brussels is also big on waffles, craft beer, and chocolate.  I don’t really like chocolate so….!

I know!

You’re going to have to explore and discover the chocolate Museum and all its’ delights for yourself!

ANYTHING ELSE!

Mussels, chips and chilled white wine, in Antwerp! © Antwerpen Toerisme en Congres.
Mussels, chips and chilled white wine, in Antwerp!
© Antwerpen Toerisme en Congres.

Yep!

Crispy Belgium frites and mussels cooked in exquisite white wine are to die for.

Go see for yourself.

This article isn’t sponsored and even though it saddens me that I even had to write it at all, opinions, thoughts and ideas, are my very own!

As usual, you can also follow me via daily tweets and pictures on Twitter & FB!

Watch this space!

Is it safe to travel to Belgium or Europe?
Is it safe to travel to Belgium or Europe?

Have you ever been to Belgium? Are you frightened of travelling to Brussels, Belgium or anywhere else in Europe?

See you in Berlin.

If you like this post or if you have any questions or concerns about travelling anywhere in Europe, send me a tweet, talk to me on Facebook, find me on Linkedin, make a comment below, look for me on Google+ or send me an Email: victoria@thebritishberliner.com

Please Share it! Tweet it! Or like it!