Juggling Choices

I was born in GB and brought up in a very cosmopolitain family with an English mother and an Irish father. I came by chance to Germany over thirty years ago and have always felt very welcome here.

I greatly enjoy the freedom of the EU; travelling without boundaries, expanding my horizons and learning several European languages to get to know other cultures better.

I was disgusted that I, as a British citizen, was not allowed to participate in the Brexit vote, such an important decision. After all, I was one of those who knew what ‘Europe’ meant and, at that time, I was still intending to return to Britain permanently, when I retired.

Before Britain finally left the EU, it was necessary for me to make a decision about my citizenship. Thanks to the great generosity of Eire, I was able to obtain an Irish passport (my father being Irish) at a relatively low cost and was therefore able to secure easily my right to remain living, working and travelling without hindrance in Europe. Germany has allowed British citizens to stay without problems but I wanted a ‘European’ passport to really secure my status.

Directly after the Brexit vote, I tried to avoid disclosing my nationality; no-one here could understand the vote to leave and wished me to explain the decision. That was something I just could not do. Since then, Britain has become a bit of a laughing stock in Germany, particularly due to recent politics, and being British has become embarrassing. If I have to prove my identity, I always show my Irish identity card, not my British passport, and a broad smile always appears on people’s faces, as Ireland has such a positive image here. It is a relief to be free of the negative ‘Brexit’ tinge. I feel a bit of a fraud because I have never spent a long period of time living in Ireland, although I very strongly identify with the country on an emotional level.

I have now reached retirement age and have decided to stay in Germany permanently. I would like to apply for Germany citizenship to really feel at home; amongst other reasons to give me electoral franchise again. However, that would require me to surrender my British citizenship. Emotionally I would like to do that but, as the majority of my pension comes from a British state pension and a British private one, I am afraid that my pensions might not be honoured some time in the future if I were not a GB citizen. There is no knowing where British politics is going.

Esta, British/Irish, in Germany since 1990

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