Thinking About Moving To Europe? What About Brexit?
I think it’s clear that we love it here in Spain. In fact, we like it so much that we are considering spending part of the year here on a regular basis.
But now, Joanna and I have to do some serious thinking about doing so. By now, You probably heard that the UK (by a very narrow margin) has decided to leave the European Union.
We are currently in the EU (Spain) and have not yet eliminated the possibility of moving here for part of the year. However, the UK voting to leave the EU is something we need to carefully consider as it could drastically change any current or future plans that we have for living in Europe.
Moving to Europe after Brexit: Now What?
Well, the process of leaving doesn’t officially begin until the UK invokes Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty and British PM David Cameron has already said he’s planning on stepping down by October. BUT, he will not invoke Article 50 before doing so (though this could change). So, in the immediate future, it seems nothing will happen.
Even if the UK invokes Article 50 on the day Cameron leaves office, they get up to 2 years to negotiate terms and treaties with EU members before they get kicked out of the union.
Basically, while no one is quite sure what’s going to happen, it’s not going to happen right away. I would guess it will be at least a year before the UK leaves the EU. My guess is so short because the EU leadership is really pushing them to move quickly (i.e. don’t let the door hit you on the way out).
Moving to Europe after Brexit: What does this mean for the rest of the EU?
Let’s see, it could mean nothing, right? As some people think: “So, what? They left. There are 27 more countries left.”
Well, here is the thing…
If you look at EU as a whole (which is the idea of a union), and nearly 20% of your GDP leaves overnight, well, I tend to think that there will be some problems.
And furthermore, other EU member countries, or at least some of their leaders, have already expressed an interest in leaving as well. So, I think everyone here will be watching very closely the events with the UK, as they unfold, and it is possible that this may start a domino affect and other countries leaving.
Moving to Europe after Brexit: So, who cares?
Although many of our friends back in the States don’t care. I believe they should.
Because if this causes the EU to spiral into a recession or worse, it will most definitely affect US and Asia. We have a global economy, after all. Remember how the Chinese were laughing because the US economy took a dive a few years ago? Well, shortly after, they stopped laughing when some of their factories had to close due to lack of purchases from the USA. We are now all connected, whether we realize it or not.
So, what happens in the EU from this point forward, and what happens in the UK, should be a concern or at the very least, of interest to everyone.
Moving to Europe after Brexit: Does this mean Europe is out for us?
Actually, no…… at least not right away.
Fortunately for us, we’re not planning any immediate moves to other countries and Puerto Rico is still our home base. This gives us some time to play the “wait and see” game before making any further decisions.
So, while we were working on straightening out our right to live and work in the EU, we’ve been looking more at warmer/less expensive areas along the Mediterranean coast. If we decide to leave our beloved island of Puerto Rico for Europe for part of the year, the big contenders for our new home – at the moment – would be Spain or Southern Italy.
We haven’t really given the UK much consideration as a place to live (beyond my dreams of moving close to the Guinness Factory – which Joanna doesn’t seem to share) because it’s more expensive and the weather kind of sucks.
Here is a list of things we decided needed consideration. If, like us, you’re considering a move to Europe, you might also want to consider the same list…
Ask yourself these questions:
- Do you have a job lined up with a British company? If so, your dreams of living in a cheaper country and telecommuting probably won’t happen the way you envisioned.
- Are you thinking about moving to one of the (poorer) countries getting support from the union? If so, the UK’s exit represents a 2.5 Billion Euro or 17% drop in GDP for the EU. This will probably, at least in the short term, affect EU funding for member countries.
- That same 17% “instant” drop in GDP could also destabilize the economy in Europe.
- After the markets stabilize, Brexit could be really good for the US economy.
- This probably means that Syrian refugees that would have gone to the UK will end up in the remaining EU countries. Regardless of your feelings about these refugees, it is a factor you need to consider.
Our list of considerations will almost certainly grow as more information about Brexit comes to light. However, as of yet, neither Joanna or I have seen anything that would disqualify EU as a possible destination – again for at least part of the year – especially after things settle down after Brexit.
On the other hand, we still suffer from a terrible case of wanderlust and we will roam the world much further before we settle down. On our list are still Asia and South America. And why not?
Are we the problem?
On a side note, we are starting to wonder if we’re bad luck for some countries. Consider the following:
- We considered Panama and within 2 years the Panama papers were released. This may shift a lot of wealth out of the country because rich people will want to continue dodging taxes without so much scrutiny.
- Next, we move to Puerto Rico just months before the government declares they can’t pay their debts and will default.
- And now that we’re considering moving to Europe part-time, Brexit happens…
Hmm… maybe we can get countries to pay us to stay away? 🙂