Brexit: A Croatian View from Ireland

Total Croatia News

As the fallout and uncertainty over Brexit continues on June 28, 2016, a Croatian view from Ireland. 

UK ‘not a great place to be’ after Brexit, as the Irish Times headline said on Sunday.

While in the midst of cheering our soccer teams on EURO 2016, we were hit overnight with the UK leaving Europe decision. Everything changed. The other day my hubby received a question from another Croatian IT guy (currently undergoing interviews for a job position in Ireland), what do we think about the #Brexit and what is our opinion about the effects on Ireland. Actually, he is justifiably worried about his decision to move to Ireland in times like this.

Well, after giving time to digest the events, I decided to write this article for everyone who might have similar questions.

On the surface, for ordinary people in Ireland, nothing has changed significantly, but in the realty it was.

First of all, Ireland lost 360 mil. € overnight on the stock market. Connections between Ireland and Britain are huge. Economically, around 40% of goods exports is to UK. Only in 2015. total exports to UK were 5,906,079 tones, that or 12.766BN. Only slightly less were imports from UK. 18000 workers cross the border everyday and 5200 students, as published by Michael Noonan, Ireland’s Minister for Finance. And there is much, much more.

There is a question of Northern Ireland and the borders. With both countries being part of the EU and the borders easily crossable, peace was established and people lived normally. Now everything changes. Northern Ireland, like Scotland voted to stay in the EU.
To quote the Independent from Jun 24th,

“Nobody wants a return to a physical border but the terms of a UK exit and the negotiations with the rest of the EU may determine whether we’re in for tailbacks on the M1.

Revenue is looking into what customs controls will be necessary if Brexit happens, with electronic checks being considered as one possibility.

There are also fears that a Leave vote could undermine the fragile peace process that has been supported by €1.5bn in EU grants since the first ceasefires in 1994.”

Already there has been huge demand for Irish passports. There are 600 000 Irish-born immigrants in UK and I don’t know how many Britons have lived for decades in Ireland, never thinking about getting Irish passports until now.

In the light of all this, news from the UK about attacks and threats on UK citizens with different accents, skin colour or faith, gives additional worry wrinkles to our faces. Being a Croatian, I already know how awful, horrifying and deadly hatred can be. How overnight, neighbours can become your worst enemy. In our minds are still very fresh memories of the last war and not to mention the stories from WWII that were retold to us by our grandparents. Concentration camps with horrible crimes committed against humanity still exist in Croatia as a memorial not to happen ever again. And to read about the threats and real fear that was felt in the UK schools where Polish kids were verbally attacked, or how Jewish family advise their youngsters to hide the David’s star pendant and not to speak Hebrew in public, or how coloured British citizens are receiving threats – Muslims go home etc.. I know that is just coming from a small group of people in the UK, but it is real and horrible.

So, yes, the situation hass changed in Ireland. We are to close to the UK and the connections are to tight. Irish are cautious and optimistic, at least in the public. No one wants to think about the worst. Life goes on. It is still raining here, down south. The craic is still going on.

We don’t know what the future holds, no human can know that for sure. We can only use our right mind and wisdom acquired from the past experiences. If I need to give the advice to anybody thinking to move to Ireland right now, my answer would be: Please, don’t move. Not now.


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