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Why no EU action on vote rights?

Letters from Inge SINGLETON, by email,Stuart ROSS, Willeman (Pas-de-Calais), Tony LEA, Argèles-sur-Mer, Richard ARMSPA

YES, it is frustrating to have no say in how your taxes are used because there is no EU law to give residents a right to vote in national elections (Connexion, July). I sometimes wonder about this: for whose benefit was the EU created?

I am Danish, living in France and married to an Englishman. We lived in the UK, where I worked full-time as a primary school teacher for 35 years, I paid my taxes and national insurance, but voting? No chance.

I wonder if either of your previous writers on voting rights would have backed me up when I complained, or just mumbled: “Oh well...” At least I had the satisfaction of being honest by saying: “I didn’t vote for them” when someone complained about any government.

However, if a right to vote was tied to the paying of taxes, would one then lose that right by being a housewife or on state pension? Citizenship is more permanent.
Inge SINGLETON, by email

WITH all respect to your correspondents, there really is no need for campaigns to obtain voting rights for expats. Such rights are immediately available to them by way of the simple expediency of obtaining French citizenship. If you decide to reside in a foreign country, you must expect to comply with its laws, not demand that they be changed to suit your own requirements.
Stuart ROSS
Willeman (Pas-de-Calais)

IN response to John W Clarke’s letter on voting (Connexion, July), I could not agree more, but fear this will be a case of noises before and little action after the election. A simple solution for anyone who feels strongly about this is to take up French nationality. Statistically this does not appear to be a popular option.

I believe much more important than the few who may want to vote for a French president are the estimated five million UK expats who have had their vote for UK government arbitrarily removed from them by the 15-year rule clause contained in the Representation of People Act. That right should be restored. Tony LEA, Argèles-sur-Mer

WHAT a thought-provoking letter from Alan Akhurst (Connexion, June). I completely agree with his point about being disenfranchised as a fiscal resident in France.

My wife and I have been fiscally resident in France for 20 years having left our native UK in 1992. In that same year the Maastricht Treaty provided for EU citizens resident in another EU country to have the right to vote at local and European elections. This directive was passed into law in France in 1998, giving EU residents domiciled in France the possibility for the first time to vote in the European elections in 1999 and in the French municipal elections in 2001.

Fine, but what about the parliamentary elections? To my knowledge there is no EU country that allows EU residents in that country to vote in their parliamentary elections unless they are citizens of that country. Why not? As Mr Akhurst points out, we pay all of our taxes but we are disenfranchised. Why should one have to take up citizenship of the country in order to vote?

In order to get EU-wide resident voting at parliamentary elections on the agenda, no doubt we will have to wait for Brussels to implement an update to the Maastricht Treaty, but getting unanimous agreement on this would be difficult if not impossible. So, what a great opportunity it would be for France to take a lead on this and for our new Président Normal to speak out in our favour.
Richard ARMSPACH
by email

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