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Last evening I saw a brief video clip from HM British Embassy here in Vienna – with a very brief statement by the Ambassador, who is due to conclude her term here very soon. The video was published through the Embassy’s Facebook account, and was released yesterday.The very brief clip tries to convince people that there is no immediate change to be expected – and as such is short and to the point. The Ambassador remarks that there are good trade relations between Austria and for the time being the status of Britons in Austria and Austrians in the UK is unchanged. I would concede that there is really very little that can be said, as there is no official Article 50 notification, although the last couple of days have done very little to convince me that the result of the referendum will be overturned (or rather ignored).
The current state of limbo is, however, immensely trying to Britons in Europe – although had the notification under Article 50 already gone through, there would also have been great instability. I genuinely feel for friends and acquaintances, who say that their hunt for an elusive job has already got more difficult – local firms are just as unsure about what the future holds – and have reservations about hiring at the moment.
For all the news coverage there is also remarkably little news reported, and the saturation coverage is getting too much. Social media seems to have polarised people – I noticed that I was removed by some people as “friends” on Facebook, ostensibly for having posted pro-Remain sentiments, and the most saddening thing is more to do with the fact that some friendships have been long-standing ones.
While everything seemed like it was coming crashing down around us – the real wave has yet to hit us – we still are in the “immediate” aftermath of the referendum result – and sooner or later I am expecting that last breaker to come crashing in around me.
A valedictory post from wetheeu.com suggested that we have to try to do something positive – I have therefore decided that I should make it my job to try to assist in ensuring that Britons in Vienna are kept well informed as news is released, whether through the Embassy, reliable sources etc. and that the news is disseminated. Yesterday was a long day in the office (perhaps a good thing given the coverage from Brussels), and he whose surname sounds like Garage did little to help smooth the tensions at the European Parliament. Corbyn clings on barnacle-like and this promises to be an attritional summer. To fellow Brits in Vienna – remain strong – and if anyone is feeling alone and bewildered, get in touch.