At the end of last year, we moved out of Cumbria after twenty happy years; though we are not far over the border, and I still get my Sunday newspaper in the county.  The move came with all the usual complications and stresses – but it was of our own choosing.  There are British people outside the UK who have had to move without the luxury of a choice. 

Brexit has produced some surprising results.  In data published by the EU statistical office, Eurostat, 2,250 UK citizens were ordered to leave EU countries between 2020 and September 2022.  What came as a huge surprise was that nearly half that number came from Sweden.  While France expelled 95 people from the 175,000 Britons living there, and none of Spain’s 300,000 Brits have been affected, Sweden asked 1,050 of its 30,000 expats to leave.  The story has been highlighted by The Local, the excellent Swedish English-language news website.  The Local hadn’t been able to discover the exact reasons why these Britons were ordered to leave.  In the run up to the Brexit deadline, the website carried a warning by a leading group of Brits in Sweden that the authorities in the country weren’t doing enough to reach UK citizens to make them aware of the date.

One such person who hadn’t clocked the advancing deadline was a Stockholm chef.  After twelve years, he was well-integrated into the country and most of his friends were Swedes.  And thanks to his anti-social working hours, he admitted he wasn’t really in the loop as far as the British community was concerned.  He was totally unaware that his “permanent residence” in Sweden had ceased to be valid.  Having returned to the UK for the first time since before Covid to visit his mother, he had a nasty shock on his return when he wasn’t allowed back into Sweden.  Despite the fact he could produce his rental and job contracts, and that he had two Swedish children, he had to return to the UK.  He had the humiliation of being escorted to his plane by four Swedish police officers.  After jumping through various hoops, he is now back working in Sweden awaiting the Migration Agency’s decision.

After the story broke, The Local asked Migration Minister, Maria Malmer Stenergard for a comment.  She replied: “This is actually complete news to me.”  But she did promise to look into it.

I don’t know if it’s a case of Brexit bringing EU nations closer together, but the results of an interesting survey arrived this week.  The business magazine, Dagens industri, asked around 2,000 Swedish business leaders whether they thought the country should join the euro.  In the 2003 referendum on the matter, a healthy majority of the population (55.91% to 42.02%) voted to retain the krona.  In the latest business survey, 51% thought the country should join the euro.  It was a significant increase from a similar poll in 2020 where only 40% supported the idea.  From a purely selfish point of view, I hope they won’t make the move away from the krona.  Despite the continuing pounding of the pound, we’ve miraculously enjoyed a good exchange rate over the years.  Not being an economist, I have no idea how, but I’m hoping it’ll stay that way for our next trip to Sweden in May!