Why British people in France may not be able to vote in European elections

British people living in France are concerned they will not be able to vote in the European elections this week due to problems with both the French and UK authorities.

Why British people in France may not be able to vote in European elections
Photo: AFP
Electoral rolls in France
Britons who are already on the electoral  people who live in France and have the right to vote here are having difficulties. 
Some of them have found that despite already being on the French electoral register they have since been removed, meaning that they would not be able to vote in the election on Sunday when voters are set to head to the polls in France. 
A members of citizens rights group Remain in France Together (RIFT) who investigated the issue said that this had been confirmed by the French authorities as illegal. 
So, if you were previously registered to vote in France and assumed you still would be you can check if you're on the electoral roll here
And if you find that you are no longer listed you can visit the Tribunal de Grande Instance (High Court) before Sunday they will have to add you back to the lists.
Photo: AFP
For many of the 300,000 Britons living in France, it was difficult to know whether to register to vote in the European elections at all what with the uncertainty over whether the UK would still be a member of the EU when voting time rolled around. 
The British government did not finally confirm that it would be taking part in the European elections until May 7, by which time the deadline to register in France had long passed, and there was less than 24 hours left to register in the UK.
However that isn't the view of France's top administrative court.
When the case of a British woman who was unable to register to vote in the upcoming European elections was taken to court, her lawyer argued that France should exceptionally have allowed Britons wanting to take part to register after the usual French closing date of March 31st. 
Barrister Julien Fouchet, who represented her, said that this would have been reasonable due to the fact that it was not clear before then whether Britain would still be in the EU during the elections. 
Originally Britain was expected to leave the EU on March 29th before that date was pushed back to April 12th then again to the current deadline of October 31st.
However the administrative court ruled that British people living in France should have been aware that Brexit might be put off and registered to vote in the European elections in France anyway.
This means that some British people in France will be left without a vote anywhere, which will no doubt come as a blow. 
French words to know: 
European elections – Élections européennes
Electoral roll – liste électorale
Vote – Une voix
Round of voting – Un vote

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Five signs you’ve settled into life in Switzerland

Getting adjusted to Swiss ways is not always easy for foreign nationals, but with a lot of perseverance it can be done. This is how you know you’ve assimilated.

Five signs you've settled into life in Switzerland
No lint: Following laundry room rules is a sign of integration in Switzerland. Photo by Sara Chai from Pexels

Much has been said about Switzerland’s quirkiness, but when you think about it, this country’s idiosyncrasies are not more or less weird than any other nation’s — except for the fact that they are expressed in at least three languages which, admittedly, can complicate matters a bit.

However, once you master the intricacies and nuances of Swiss life, you will feel like you belong here.

This is when you know you’ve “made it”.

You speak one of the national languages, even if badly

It irritates the Swiss to no end when a foreigner, and particularly an English-speaking foreigner, doesn’t make an effort to learn the language of a region in which he or she lives, insisting instead that everyone communicates to them in their language.

So speaking the local language will go a long way to being accepted and making you feel settled in your new home.

You get a Swiss watch and live by it

Punctuality is a virtue here, while tardiness is a definite no-no.

If you want to ingratiate yourself to the Swiss, be on time. Being even a minute late  may cause you to miss your bus, but also fail in the cultural integration.

‘The pleasure of punctuality’: Why are the Swiss so obsessed with being on time?

Using an excuse like “my train was late” may be valid in other countries, but not in Switzerland.

The only exception to this rule is if a herd of cows or goats blocks your path, causing you to be late.

A close-up of a Rolex watch in Switzerland.

Owning a Rolex is a sure sign you’re rich enough to live in Switzerland. Photo by Adam Bignell on Unsplash

You sort and recycle your trash

The Swiss are meticulous when it comes to waste disposal and, not surprisingly, they have strict regulations on how to throw away trash in an environmentally correct manner.

Throwing away all your waste in a trash bag without separating it first — for instance, mixing PET bottles with tin cans or paper — is an offence in Switzerland which can result in heavy fines, the amount of which is determined by each individual commune.

In fact, the more assiduous residents separate every possible waste item — not just paper, cardboard, batteries and bottles (sorted by colour), but also coffee capsules, yogurt containers, scrap iron and steel, organic waste, carpets, and electronics.

In fact, with their well-organised communal dumpsters or recycling bins in neighbourhoods, the Swiss have taken the mundane act of throwing out one’s garbage to a whole new level of efficiency.

So one of the best ways to fit in is to be as trash-oriented as the Swiss.

READ MORE: Eight ways you might be annoying your neighbours (and not realising it) in Switzerland

You trim your hedges with a ruler

How your garden looks says a lot about you.

If it’s unkempt and overgrown with weeds, you are clearly a foreigner (though likely not German or Austrian).

But if your grass is cut neatly and your hedges trimmed with military-like precision (except on Sundays), and some of your bushes and shrubs are shaped like poodles,  you will definitely fit in.

You follow the laundry room rules

If you live in an apartment building, chances are there is a communal laundry room in the basement that is shared by all the residents.

As everything else in Switzerland, these facilities are regulated by a …laundry list of “dos” and “don’ts” that you’d well to commit to memory and adhere to meticulously.

These rules relate to everything from adhering to the assigned time slot to removing lint from the dryer.

Following each rule to the letter, and not trying to wash your laundry in someone else’s time slot, is a sign of successful integration.

Voilà, the five signs you are “at home” in Switzerland.

READ MORE: French-speaking Switzerland: Seven life hacks that will make you feel like a local