image of a man tied up

Have you ever had the feeling you’re swimming in molasses, against the tide, with your hands tied behind your back? That’s the feeling I and I’m certain a few other expats living in the EU are currently feeling. It was bad enough for those of us Brits who voted to stay in the EU, but to now have the divorce settlement saga go on and on and with no sign of a resolution, it’s getting a lot of people down.

Okay, so it’s my own fault for living in the EU, in Cyprus. It was my choice and yes, I have to live with that choice. But to be fair, at the time I moved to Cyprus from England it was 2008 and there was not a whiff of a campaign to drag Britain out of the EU kicking and screaming.

True, I moved at the height of the financial crisis and true, five years later Cyprus almost went bust and there have been various mini traumas of varying natures and each were problematic and some made worse by where I lived. But it was my choice to live in the EU so I can’t cry over my spilled milk.

But that doesn’t stop me bemoaning the fact that the UK government has announced that EU residents in the UK will have their right to live in the UK honoured. Nobody that I know of in the EU has come out and stated that British citizens living in the EU will be given the same status. In other words, the divorce happens at the end of March 2019 and we Brits living in the EU, almost 2 million of us, have no idea what to expect in around 23 weeks time.

So we look at best case scenarios and worse case scenarios. We speculate on moving back to the UK, which will make us look like refugees in our own country, or we speculate that the EU will welcome us with open arms and make us EU citizens… sorry, I’m English, I don’t want to be Cypriot, I just want to live in Cyprus. Yes, you could say I want my cake and eat it. Why not, I’ve worked (and still working) bloody hard to get to this position where in ten years I’m pretty settled and looking forward to retirement. Then the rug is pulled from under me, and many of my compatriots, and we’re all left wondering what will become of us.

Theresa May and Jean-Claude Juncker probably have the utmost respect for each other, but as the clock ticks away, they seem to have forgotten about the people on both sides they are there to represent.

It must be as frustrating to the people of Northern Ireland who have no idea if they will be forced to go back to a hard border between the north and the south. Having lived in Northern Ireland I know how much the people there appreciate the non-border with the south.

There are many people, across Europe, whose lives are balanced on a knife edge while the politicians bicker and leak damaging little stories against each other. It can only end in tears and slowly, inevitably, the clock ticks down to an acrimonious divorce of Britain from Europe.

Copyright Tom Kane © 2018

As a English expat author living in Cyprus, you may think my life revolves around cocktails by the pool. You would be wrong. In ten years on the island I’ve had my fair share of adventures and interesting experiences.

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Living in Cyprus: 2015 here

Hitler’s Secret Atomic Bomb here

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Living in Cyprus: 2015 here

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