The bright side of Brexit: the 'good news' for Brits in Italy

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Photo: Justin Tallis/AFP
16:16 CEST+02:00
Britain has voted to leave the European Union, and many if not most British expats in Italy are deeply concerned. But there are a few silver linings...perhaps.

Readers fed up with all the negativity have asked us to try and put some positive spin on the result of the Brexit referendum and the economic fall out, which began even before the results came in.

It has not been easy, but we've had a go at looking on the bright side of Brexit for Brits in Italy.

Cheaper visits back home

Photo: Tiziana Fabi/AFP

The value of the pound fell sharply to a 31-year low on news of the outcome of the vote, and although it gained some ground on Tuesday and Wednesday, it is still down more than 10 percent from levels held on June 23rd. On Thursday the pound was worth around €1.21. So while life in Italy for those Britons who rely on income from back home will be more expensive, it will certainly make trips home to see the family in the UK a little cheaper.

Christmas shopping at Harrods never looked so good.

We've been here before

Photo: Money Sharma

The fall in the pound is indeed worrying and Brits have told The Local they have already seen the value of their pensions cut, while those working and Italy but paid in sterling have seen their income hit, which will inevitably impact their purchase power.

But the one thing to remember is that we've been here before. Back in 2008 we almost lost parity between the euro and the pound, and the currency is always fluctuating.

Get rich selling your house

Photo: Money Sharma

Expats come, and expats go, so if you’re thinking of returning to Britain and have a property in Italy, then now might just be the time to put your home on the markets.

Thanks to the exchange rate you're going to be able to get more for your money back home. A drop in property prices is also predicted in the UK so you might get a bargain.

Nothing will happen for a while, if ever?

One thing that is certain is that nothing will happen for a while. And some, in fact many, are suggesting that it will become so complicated for the UK to leave the EU that it might never happen.

Italy may benefit from Brexit

Milan's Duomo - could the northern Italian city compete with Frankfurt, Dublin and Paris? Photo: Melanie Bowman

There has been talk of Italy being the next domino to fall, but Brexit could actually be beneficially.

For a start, it might just stymie the ‘brain drain’. We see this as a good thing, because if Italy retains its talent, surely that’s a good thing for employers desperately in need of skills? Earlier this year, we reported how thousands of tech and engineering jobs are vacant because employers can’t find people able to do them. Of course, this will require impetus from the Italian government to further invest making the country and attractive place for young talent to stay, or even return home to.

Paris, Frankfurt and Dublin are now jockeying to reap the benefits of Brexit as financial institution mull moving jobs to other European cities, so why can’t Milan, Italy’s biggest start-up hub, and Turin be up there too?

Europe might become stronger

Italian premier Matteo Renzi, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President François Hollande. Photo: John MacDougall/AFP

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Of course, no one knows what will happen with the EU now that the UK has voted to leave. But its leaders, at least those from France, Germany and Italy, are promising "a new impulse" to the EU now that the "enfant terrible" has it made it clear it wants a divorce.

It may be that the British public's rejection of the EU may force Europe to carry out the many necessary reforms to prevent other countries from following suit. And without Britain blocking the path, it may actually be possible to bring Europe closer together politically, which is what many economists believe is necessary.

In short, Brexit could give the EU an almighty kick up the backside and force it to take steps to make its economy stronger and to make the voters feel less disconnected from the decision makers.

It's a great time to become Italian

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

It's often said that Italians are the best cooks, the best dressed, the best footballers, the best designers. The list is endless. The country is also full to the brim of history, culture and beauty. So for all those who’ve always dreamed of being Italian, and to openly boast how proud you are of the country, this might be your chance.

What better excuse could there be to apply for Italian citizenship - if you qualify that is, than the potential troubles ahead if the UK does actually leave the EU?

Read more: Seven burning questions for British expats about Brexit

Becoming Italian would be positive on a number of levels, not least in integrating with the locals, who always appreciate a foreigner who makes an effort.

Better relations with American expats

There's nothing like commiserating about the trials and tribulations of Italian bureaucracy to bring people together. If Brexit happens, Brits would probably have to face the prospect of all kinds of administrative headaches and red tape that Americans have already been dealing with forever, so they're sure to make some new friends who will certainly be empathetic about their plight, and will no doubt have some useful advice.

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