In this post InformED expert Benjamin Tallis offers an insight into the prospects for Czexit.
Believe me, you don’t want to feel like I did on the morning of June 24. And every day since.
Brexit means losing my EU citizenship and with it the ease with which I live and work here in the Czech Republic. But beyond practicalities, it means losing so much more.
I have spent much of my life working for, studying, researching or advising on the EU. Brexit means losing the chance to continue to contribute in the same way to the integration project that is Europe’s unique guarantor of peace, prosperity and liberal values. But its more than that too. I have lived the benefits and ideals of the EU, crossing borders freely, meeting people from across Europe, exercising my rights to mobility, residence and work.
This lead to meeting and marrying a wonderful Czech woman and settling in Prague. Unthinkable during our childhoods on opposite sides of the Iron Curtain, but an everyday occurrence in the EU. Now, suddenly it felt like the rug had been pulled from under my feet, that I could lose my sense of place in this Europe that the EU provides with a matchless combination of freedom and security, social protection and possibility.
Seeking consolation, we’ve talked about me applying for Czech citizenship and I hope that, as our family lives here and that I work for a Czech Institution, pay taxes, contribute to public debate and am trying to learn the language, it might be a possibility. However, our conversations along these lines soon turned to the inevitable question – what if it happens here too? What if Brexit were to be followed by Czexit?
A few weeks ago this may have still seemed far-fetched but now, with the President calling for a referendum and the government moving to put enabling legislation on the books, it is becoming increasingly possible. As a potential ‘Brefugee’ (although I prefer Brémigré!), I hope that these reflections can be of use to Czechs who, like me, want to stay in the EU.
Brexit has shown Britain to be anything but a united kingdom. As well as Scotland and Northern Ireland, London and the other multicultural, internationally connected cities voted to stay, but this wasn’t enough to counter the leave votes from the English suburbs, small towns and countryside. It is in these places that perhaps one of the biggest lessons can be learned.
To read the original on OpenDemocracy, click the image below.