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

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BREXIT: The UK’s EU referendum – Real facts you should know!

BREXIT: The UK's EU referendum - Real facts you should know! @Dan Kitwood/Getty Images
BREXIT: The UK’s EU referendum – Real facts you should know!
@Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

In less than a week, we (British people) are going to vote in a most important election that will not only affect the United Kingdom, but that of its neighbours’ – members of the European Union (the EU) too.

If you’re a British expat living abroad within the last 15 years, you should have registered as an overseas elector. This entitles you to vote in the UK Parliamentary General Elections, UK – wide referendums, and European Parliamentary elections. The deadline for registering to vote in the EU referendum on 23 June has passed.

For more information on overseas voting, please go here.

Myself and Andrea Vannahme having High Tea on the rbb Abendshow LIVE! © Pascale Scerbo Sarro
Myself and Andrea Vannahme having High Tea on the rbb Abendshow LIVE!
© Pascale Scerbo Sarro

As The British Berliner and therefore, a British expat myself, I have been invited by various press and media organisations, to make comment on my views, and what it means.

Indeed, as the local British expert on socio-political things topics concerning Britain and the UK, I  have been regularly solicited. In fact, this week, I was so booked-up, I even had to turn down a few requests!

I was asked to participate in a short TV report on the 5th wedding anniversary of William & Kate for the European Culture Euromaxx programme of Deutsche Welle TV. I talked about the image of the monarchy and their role as a modern couple.  Deutsche Welle (DW) TV is a bit like the BBC, but made to promote German culture instead!

They really liked my part and sent me the link, but it was a busy time in my office so I hadn’t realized that it would only be available for a week, before it disappeared!

Sadly, I haven’t got a record of it and I was wearing my pink polka-dotted trench coat too!

We're not leaving! We're European too!
We’re not leaving. We’re European too!

Not long after, one of the Editors of FOCUS Magazin contacted me. She had seen my blog, and wanted to get my views on how British people living in Germany were feeling about the referendum.

The Magazine is based in Munich, so she interviewed me over the phone.

I was contacted by a reporter from the German Radio Station rbb Inforadio (ARD), who was doing a report about the Brexit discussion leading up to the referendum.

I had worked with the rbb station before so I was very happy to work with them again.

Berlin - very British - rbb
Berlin – very British – rbb

She wanted to meet me in person to do the interview and in fact, used to live in my Berlin gentrified neighbourhood!

We went to a French restaurant nearby, and over a few glasses of red wine, she whipped out her microphone and interviewed me!

Last week, I was contacted by many other media organisations but I was only able to accept a few because….drum roll pleeeeeease!

I'm going to be on radioeins - Radio 1! Die radioeins Morgenshow
I’m going to be on radioeins – Radio 1!
Die radioeins Morgenshow

I’m going to be on radioeins (Die radioeins Morgenshow) or in English – ‪‎on the Radio1‬ Morning Show with Stefan Rupp and Christoph Azone on Der schöne Morgen!

It’s a very busy time right now, so they’re going to ring me at home, and you’ll be able to hear me (pretty much LIVE), and speaking in German!

It’ll be broadcast on Monday morning (20.06.16) at 09:35!

Huge Gulp!

I'm a very happy British lifestyle, expat, travel blogger. Right here in the beautiful city of Berlin - © Pascale Scerbo Sarro
I’m a very happy British lifestyle, expat, travel blogger. Right here in the beautiful city of Berlin –
© Pascale Scerbo Sarro

But the most exciting biggest news of all, is that I was invited to join in a documentary‬ by a well-known British‬ ‪‎standup‬ / comedian,‬ for a famous‬ British TV station‬!

I can’t say more than that, except that I’m really thrilled!

I’ll be talking about Brexit‬ and how it affects ‪‎British expats‬ living in ‪‎Germany‬ and ‪‎Europe‬.

Marvellous stuff!

Now that I’ve told you what I’ve been up to, let’s get down to the serious stuff:

BREXIT: THE UK’s EU REFERENDUM – REAL FACTS YOU SHOULD KNOW!

BREXIT: The UK's EU referendum - Real facts you should know! ©Alamy
BREXIT: The UK’s EU referendum – Real facts you should know!
©Alamy

WHAT IS BREXIT ALL ABOUT?
Brexit is a shorthand way of referring to a possible 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.

WHY ARE WE HAVING A BREXIT REFERENDUM IN THE FIRST PLACE?
David Cameron – the British Prime Minister – promised to make this happen if he won the 2015 general election.

He did!

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!

BREXIT: The UK's EU referendum - Real facts you should know!
BREXIT: The UK’s EU referendum – Real facts you should know!

WHEN IS THE EU REFERENDUM TAKING PLACE?
Thursday, June 23rd, 2016.

WHAT WILL HAPPEN IF THE UK VOTES FOR BREXIT?
It’s difficult to say as nobody seems to know the details!

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

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

WHAT DO THE EXPERTS THINK?
Most Economists believe that leaving the EU would be a fatal damaging step for the British economy.

However, some experts think that technically, it would be possible for Britain to leave the EU, thus removing the right for the free movement of EU citizens, whilst at the same time retaining access to the EU single trade market. Other experts believe that the UK could follow the Norwegian initiative which is not to be a member state of the European Union (EU), but to have a close association through membership in the European Economic Area (EEA), or like Switzerland, which is not a member state of the European Union either! In this case, relations between Switzerland and the European Union are framed by a series of bilateral treaties that allow Switzerland to participate in trading agreements.

In short, having our cake and eating it!

Athletes at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, running for their country.
Athletes at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, running for their country.

WHO CAN VOTE IN THE UK’s EU REFERENDUM?
Anybody who is a British, Irish or Commonwealth citizen (including Australia, Canada, India, and 48 other Commonwealth nations who are living in the UK), citizens of British overseas territories, such as the Falkland Islands, Bermuda or Gibraltar, and “special” EU citizens from Ireland, Malta and Cyprus, over the age of 18 and resident in the UK. Expat British people can also vote, if they are UK nationals who have lived abroad for less than 15 years.

HOW DO YOU VOTE?
If you have registered to vote, you’ll be sent a card telling you when voting takes place and where you should go to vote on June 23rd. On that day, when you go to the polling station you will be given a piece of paper with the referendum question on it. You then go to a booth, which will have a pencil in it for your use. You then put a X in the box which reflects your choice, and put the paper into a ballot box. Alternatively, you would have been able to opt to vote by post.

BREXIT: The UK's EU referendum. Real facts you should know!
BREXIT: The UK’s EU referendum.
Real facts you should know!

WHY SHOULD BRITAIN STAY IN THE EU?
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.

If we opt to leave the Union, then as an island nation. We’ll be out. Alone.

And really isolated from the rest of the Continent.

The United Kingdom is an island nation. We'll be out. Alone.
The United Kingdom is an island nation.
We’ll be out. Alone.

WHY SHOULD BRITAIN LEAVE THE EU?
According to the latest opinion polls, the British public are fairly evenly split.

Some people believe that Britain is being held back by the EU, which they say imposes too many rules on business, and charges huge amounts of money, for little in return. They also want Britain to take back full control of its borders, and reduce the number of people coming to live and/or work, as one of the main principles of EU membership is free movement within member or associated member states. They also don’t like the idea of an “ever closer union,” and what they see as the beginning of a movement towards the creation of a “United States of Europe.”

WHAT ABOUT BUSINESS?
Business is generally in favour of Britain staying within the EU, due to the ease and flexibility to move people, products, and finance structures, around the world.

On the other hand, there are some business agencies who favour negotiating trade deals with individual countries, “rather than being one of 28 nations.” Many small and medium-sized firms would also welcome a cut in red tape and “petty regulations.”

SO WHO’S CAMPAIGNING?

BREXIT: The UK's EU referendum - Real facts you should know!
BREXIT: The UK’s EU referendum – Real facts you should know!

BRITAIN STRONGER IN EUROPE: The main cross-party group campaigning for Britain to remain in the EU is headed by former Marks and Spencer (M&S) Chairman Lord Rose. Influential backing also includes Prime Minister David Cameron, Chancellor George Osborne, the Lib Democrats, Plaid Cymru, the Alliance party, the SDLP in Northern Ireland, and the Green Party.

LABOUR IN FOR BRITAIN: Headed by the party leader Jeremy Corbyn and Alan Johnson, and supported by most Labour MPs.

REMAIN: The Scottish National Party (SNP) is running its own Remain campaign in Scotland, as it does not want to share a platform with the Conservatives. Several smaller groups have also registered to campaign.

VOTE LEAVE: A cross-party campaign that has the backing of senior Conservatives such as Michael Gove and Boris Johnson, plus a handful of Labour MPs, including Gisela Stuart and Graham Stringer, the UKIP’s Douglas Carswell and Suzanne Evans, and the DUP in Northern Ireland. Former Tory chancellor Lord Lawson and SDP founder Lord Owen, are also involved.

The UK Independence Party (UKIP) leader Nigel Farage is not part of Vote Leave, but his party is running its own campaign.

OUT: The Trade Union and Socialist Coalition is also running its own out campaign.

FARMERS FOR BRITAIN

MUSLIMS FOR BRITAIN

OUT and PROUD.

All three are affiliated groups that are anti – EU.

BREXIT: The UK's EU referendum - Real facts you should know!
BREXIT: The UK’s EU referendum – Real facts you should know!

IF THE UK LEFT THE EU, WOULD UK CITIZENS NEED SPECIAL PERMITS TO WORK IN THE EU?
It depends!

If the UK remained within the single market, it would almost certainly retain free movement rights allowing UK citizens to work in the EU, and vice versa. If the government opted to impose work permit restrictions, then other countries could reciprocate, meaning British people would have to apply for visas in order to work in Europe.

IF THE UK LEFT THE EU, HOW WOULD THIS AFFECT EU NATIONALS WHO WANT TO WORK IN THE UK?
Again, it depends!

If the UK government decided to introduce a work permit system of the kind that currently applies to non-EU citizens, limiting entry to skilled workers in professions where there are shortages, then EU nations would most likely reciprocate, and do the same.

HOW LONG WOULD ALL THE PAPERWORK TAKE?
The minimum period after a vote to leave, would be two years.

During that time Britain would continue to abide by EU treaties and laws, but not take part in any decision-making. In practice it would probably take longer than two years, depending on how negotiations would go.

BREXIT: The UK's EU referendum - Real facts you should know!
BREXIT: The UK’s EU referendum – Real facts you should know!

IF THE UK LEFT THE EU, WOULD IT BE ABLE TO REJOIN IN THE FUTURE?
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 has now, would not be put into consideration.

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 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!

The free movement of goods, services, money, and people within the European Union, is good for business.
The free movement of goods, services, money, and people within the European Union, is good for business.

WHAT IS THE SINGLE MARKET?
The European Union single market, developed in 1992, allows the free movement of goods, services, money, and people, within the European Union, as if it were a single country.

The idea was to boost trade, create jobs, and lower prices. However, it requires a common law to ensure products are made to the same technical standards and level of quality and expectation. Critics say it generates too many petty regulations, and robs members of control over their own nations. Other critics state mass migration (free movement) as having been abused by poorer East European countries who flock to wealthier West European nations.

SO WOULD BRITAIN BE BETTER IN OR OUT?

I think you know my answer to that, and I’ll be in the German media throughout the week discussing it!

Would Britain be better In the EU or Out of the EU? ©Philippe Huguen
Would Britain be better In the EU or Out of the EU?
©Philippe Huguen

This article is not sponsored, and all opinions connected to this most important referendum, are my very own!

From June 28th – July 2nd, I’ll be at Berlin Fashion Week.

Save the Date!

June is going to be outrageous darling!

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 June, you must be out of your mind!

Watch this space!

BREXIT: The UK's EU referendum - Real facts you should know!
BREXIT: The UK’s EU referendum – Real facts you should know!

Would Britain be better In the EU or Out of the EU? Have your say?

See you in Berlin.

If you like this post or 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

 

15 incredible reasons why you should visit Bath in 2016: Heigh Ho!

A close up of a statue outside the Roman Baths. ©VisitBritain Simon Winnall
A close up of a statue outside the Roman Baths.
©VisitBritain Simon Winnall

2016 is going to be an awesome year and with so many wonderful destinations, you simply can’t go wrong! However, there is one country that I didn’t mention.

My own!

Yep!

Ye olde England.

The land of Shakespeare, punk-rock and meadow-stricken poetry. Steam trains, historical ships and windy beaches. That country of quaint rose-budded cottages, fairground dodgems and draughty castles. The land of Hope. And Glory.

And History!

Roman History to be exact, and which can be found all the United Kingdom.

The steaming Roman Baths!
The steaming Roman Baths!

Even my own original home-town of Manchester began with a civilian settlement and was once known as Mancunium established sometime around 79 AD, so is it any wonder that I often find myself drawn to old cities rather than the new. Cities that by merely stepping on them, you know you are encroaching on the heads of many civilisations before us.

Cities such as Bath.

If you recall, at the end of 2015 I went to Bristol, and whilst there, I decided to avail myself of the opportunity to visit the city of Bath too. For Bath, I wasn’t comped but was given press passes for Visit Bath.

Thanks so much!

Now Bath isn’t a new destination to me, in fact, I’ve probably been there three (3) or four (4) times previously, but it was years ago.  And you know what they say about people and cities changing…!

Surprisingly, it  had hardly changed at all except for one or two rather marvellous things. Read on to find out what they were!

BATH

A night view of the Great Bath of The Roman Baths - a World Heritage site ©VisitBritain - David Angel
A night view of the Great Bath of The Roman Baths – a World Heritage site
©VisitBritain – David Angel

Bath is in England.

It’s a city in Somerset, in a county in the South West of the country, and has a population of about just 89,000 people.

Bath really became famous when it turned into a spa and was known as Aquae Sulis or the waters of Sulis by the Romans, who built sophisticated baths and a temple in the valley of the River Avon, sometime around AD60. Like Budapest, the hot springs and waters were already known to have magical properties way before the Romans ever came on the scene!

Don’t you want to know more?

WHY GO TO BATH?

The Pump Room in Bath.
The Pump Room in Bath.

Bath is simply, quite English. I’m going to give you ten (10) incredible reasons why!

  • It’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site: The city of Bath is one of the only few places in the world that includes that of the whole city. Yep! The complete city of Bath is the Heritage Site itself! Isn’t that marvellous?
  • It’s an architectural feast: Bath has an impressive showcase of Georgian architecture, such as the very famous No.1 Royal Crescent, the Circus, the Pump Room and the Assembly Rooms,
  • Roman spas: Bath has the steaming remains of Britain’s most beautiful Roman spas and you can still drink the waters too and I did. It was warm but slightly salty!
Sham Castle.
Sham Castle.
  • History: When you think of the Georgian era in England, that era begins from the reigns of the first four Hanoverian kings of Great Britain who were all named George: George I, George II, George III (otherwise known as Mad King George!) and George IV. This most splendid era covers periods from 1714 to 1830 and is typically used in the contexts of social history, architecture, the introduction of the Gothic Revival style, and a golden age of building design. This era also brought about massive social change not only in Britain but also abroad, as this was the birth and beginning of the Industrial Revolution, British world domination in the colonies, and the new British Empire!
  • It’s small: Just imagine, genteel strolling down wide streets, bonnets, breeches….and other things! Bath is so small that you can practically walk everywhere, there’s a lot of pretty things to see and there’s really no need to use public transport at all!
  • It’s famous for films & television shoots: I’m sure there’s not one person among us who hasn’t fallen prey to the romantic gestures of the gorgeous Mr. Darcy or the heaving bosom of Elizabeth Bennet in Pride & Prejudice. How about The Duchess or the very English tragi-comedy of Vanity Fair? All filmed or shot in Bath.
Jane Austen & I!
Jane Austen & I!
  • Bath’s most famous writer: You can’t even think about Bath without first mention of the most talented Jane Austen who found Bath not only lively and fashionable, but quite romantic and exciting! Think Sense & Sensibility, Northanger Abbey, Persuasion, and of course, Pride & Prejudice. Jane Austen even has her own museum which is based in a house on her old street where she used to live! The museum is actually a Centre in which you get a tour, watch a film, wear the clothes and stay for tea!
  • Because the first (1st) ever postage stamp in the world, known as the Penny Black, and with the profile of young Queen Victoria, was sent from Nr 8, Broad Street, on 2nd May, 1840 in Bath!
The Bath Abbey.
The Bath Abbey.
  • Bath Abbey: The beautiful Abbey Church was founded in the 7th century and even though Bath is a city, it doesn’t have a Cathedral! In fact, if you ever get lost, just look for the steeple tower of the abbey!
  • Fashionable Bath: Bath became most fashionable and the place to be, in the 18th century and this was reflected in it’s shopping. It still is, as Bath is the official residence of the famous Sex in the City shoe-maker and designer – Manolo Blahnik!
  • Bath has a river: You know how much I love rivers having been born in Manchester previously lived in Prague as an expat, and now living in Berlin. Bath has the River Avon and the Avon Canal running right through which you can walk, cycle or canoe through.
The famous Sally Lunn Bun!
The famous Sally Lunn Bun!
  • The Sally Lunn Bath Bun: Bath is famous for a popular local speciality known as the Sally Lunn Bun. It’s one of the things that you must try when in Bath. The Sally Lunn can only be found in Bath’s oldest historic eating house from the 17th century! The Sally Lunn Bun is a light and airy semi-sweet bread-like bun and is sort of a cross between a scone and a traditional bun which is only baked and sold, in Bath.
  • Culture: There are so many museums in Bath that you’ll leave far cleverer than when you arrived! There’s the Museum of Bath Architecture. the Museum of Bath at Work, The Herschel Museum of Astronomy, The Sally Lunn’s Historic Eating House & Museum, The Postal Museum, The Old Theatre Royal & Masonic Museum, The Motor Museum and the American Museum in Britain. There’s even a Fashion Museum which I enjoyed very much!
©VisitBritain Joanna Henderson
©VisitBritain
Joanna Henderson
  • It’s genteel: Bath is polite. It’s clean. It’s respectable. It’s refined and cultivated. It’s England.
  • Because Bath: Where else can you find a city with a name like a bathtub!

TAKE ME THERE?

20 years of Easy Jet flying!

If you recall, even though I was a guest of Visit Bristol, I paid my own way for Bath.

If you’re an international tourist, you can either fly directly into Bristol Airport or fly into London and take the train from London Paddington into Bristol Temple Meads which takes just 90 minutes. Bath is just 15 minutes away by train.

Just like Bristol, there’s an Airport Air Decker Bus which goes to and from Bath to Bristol Airport and takes about 1 hour, has a frequency of every thirty (30) minutes, and costs £20.00 for an Adult Return ticket!

If you’re already in England and looking for a cheaper way to get into Bath, the bus-coach is the way to go with the National Express or Megabus. It’s not the quickest way being almost 3 hours, but it runs straight from London Victoria Coach Station, London Heathrow and London Gatwick and if you book waaaay ahead, tickets can be as little as £1.00!

IS IT GOING TO BE CROWDED?

Hundreds of people watch a re-enactment of a fighting scene, Sherwood Forest, Nottinghamshire
Out of my way by Jove!

It can be!

Bath is a popular destination not only for international tourists but British ones too.

WHAT IS BATH LIKE?

Pulteney Bridge in Bath!
Pulteney Bridge in Bath!

Bath is very nice.

With just 89,000 people, it’s also quite small.

I was there for only two (2) days but I found plenty to do.

Bath is appealing and easy to get around. It’s full of history that is out there and alive, is of pleasant charm, and packed with a fabulous mix of independent shops and top high-street names.

I DON’T SPEAK ENGLISH VERY WELL.

Don't worry!
Don’t worry!

Not. A. Problem.

Everywhere you go are people with huge smiles ready to help you.

AM I GOING TO LIVE IN A HUT?

Ha! Ha! It’s England. We’re cultured and civilised!

I’M ON A BUDGET. WHAT SHOULD I DO?

Pulteney House B&B in Bath, England.
My B&B in Pulteney House!

Bath isn’t London but it isn’t known for being your cheap destination either!

Being that I was on my own dime, I found “acceptable” accommodation more difficult to find within my budget, as when travelling solo I’m a lot more flexible and prefer to spend less, rather than more lol! Happily, I found something that fitted my requirements.

As a lifestyle travel blogger, it’s necessary to try a variety of outlets but as you know, I prefer the more quaint boutique, the art design or classy establishment, but from time-to-time, I go back to basics and give my custom to the more traditional place who have never even heard of a blogger, and since it was my “rest-I-have-no-appointments-and-I-don’t-have-to-be-anywhere-or-do-anything” days, I paid full price for it lol!

I decided to stay at a B&B called Pulteney House.

Myself outside Pulteney House!
Myself outside Pulteney House!

I chose Pulteney House not only because the price was right but ‘cos it was a large 1852 Grade 2 listed Victorian house and a family business located in a leafy residential area, and just a 10 minute brisk walk from the Bath Abbey.

I loved the walk as you have to pass the river and the cricket club is just 5 minutes away. Pulteney House is very convenient, safe and clean.

I booked the Single Room (sigh!) with a private bathroom and although my room wasn’t en-suite, my private bathroom was across the hallway opposite my room, and was exclusively for my sole private use. Phew!

British bedrooms are small and this one was no exception, but fitted my needs and had a large flat screen TV which I tried to use, but fell asleep watching, wardrobe, sink-in-room, desk and table, tea and coffee-maker, dressing gown and fast free WiFi.

Lovely porridge & honey.
Lovely porridge & honey.

The dining room was a little 1970’s with the grandfather clock and the red-patterned carpet, but the daily breakfast of fruit, cereal, croissant, toast, varieties of teas, mustard, brown sauces, and traditional English breakfast, plus bowls of porridge was quite lovely and really, to be highly recommended!

The owners were friendly and helpful. It’s not the Ritz Carlton by any means, but if you’re looking for the “real deal” then the Pulteney House B&B is one to try.

For a Small Single Room with Private Bathroom, I paid £60.00 a night. Double en-suites are between £80 to £120 a night. With a full English breakfast.

For Bath. Quite the bargain!

I’M LOOKING FOR SOMETHING A BIT DIFFERENT. ANY IDEAS?

An English breakfast in Bristol.

Sure!

Book with the boutique Bed and Breakfast (B&B) – Brooks Guest House. I had already stayed with them in Bristol and I was awfully pleased however, it was necessary to try a variety of outlets so the traditional B&B it had to be!

Yes indeed!

WHAT ABOUT TRANSPORT POSSIBILITIES?

You can walk everywhere in Bath!
You can walk everywhere in Bath!

Honestly, Bath is so small that there’s really no need to use public transport at all which I found out on the first day! I arrived in the evening and being that it was winter, it was also very dark, so I took a taxi. The taxi driver charged me £7.00 for effectively taking me one (1) minute around the corner! Both the bus and train stations are about 10 minutes away so I could have walked!

Oh, and he took the long way too!

ANYTHING ELSE?

Grab yourself some English fish n'chips!
Grab yourself some English fish n’chips!

Take a stroll and run along the field of Nr. 1 Royal Crescent.

Don’t even think of missing the Roman Baths.

Have a sip of the waters.

If you’ve got some time, get yourself some traditional fish n’chips with mushy peas, gravy and a good old meat pie!

Switch off the heating in your room as it can get rather stuffy and open the window. If you can. Just don’t forget to close it…..!

Oh yeah, there’s some sort of bizarre comedy walk in Bath. I was too tired to venture into “town” again but if you’re up for it, I hear that they’re quite hilarious!

MY VERDICT:

I’m a great fan of Bath.

It’s got art, culture, a sense of humour, great history and a vibrant cosmopolitan vibe.

Highly recommended.

WOULD I COME AGAIN?

Absolutely!

Bath is impressive. I hope to visit again very soon.

Go Visit Bath!

Take a bath in Bath! ©VisitBritain Jon Spaull
Take a bath in Bath!
©VisitBritain Jon Spaull

This article is not sponsored and even though I was given press passes for Visit Bath, all opinions and the wonderful Sally Lunn Bun I devoured, are my very own!

If you have any questions about Bath, the UK, Germany or anywhere in Europe, don’t be shy, I’m an expert! Go ahead and ask me!

I have so much to share with you so next week you can read what I did at Fashion Week Berlin!

It’s January. Yippee!

Berlin Fashion Week is coming up and will take place between January 19th and January 23rd, 2016. Save the Date!

The Conference on the Future of Fashion will take place at #FASHIONTECH BERLIN on January 20th. Tickets are free!

The British Shorts Short Film Festival will take place between January 21st and January 25th. It’s going to be really cool. I went last year & enjoyed it very much plus, there’s a festival workshop & a 48 hour film project absolutely free of charge, but you have to hurry!

If you’re not in Berlin in January, where the hell are you.

January is going to be exciting!

Watch this space!

15 incredible reasons why you should visit Bath in 2016. Heigh Ho!

Have you ever been to the city of Bath? Have you ever been to a Spa?

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