Had enough of Brexit and fancy a change? Maybe you’re tired of the political squabbles between parties, referendums, and surprise snap-elections? If you’re looking to escape Britain and head somewhere different, there are loads of places you can relocate to that cater for those seeking culture, new adventure, and political diversity.Whether you’re looking for innovative city hubs in countries remaining in Europe, or want to escape everything and head for rural landscapes and a simple lifestyle, there are countries all over the world that appeal to those looking for a different way of life. What’s more, with this modern day and age offering many the ability to work from home or commute long distances quickly, it’s never been easier to pack up your laptop and head overseas for a different lifestyle.
Canada has a reputation as a forward-thinking nation and part of that includes its progressive political stance. In the 2016 Social Progress Imperative Report, Canada came in second place (the UK was ninth), with personal rights and tolerance of gender orientation and minorities being notable. The Canadian cabinet has made headlines in recent years for having an equal number of men and women and includes an array of people from different backgrounds, including a millionaire business mogul, a Paralympian, a refugee who escaped the Taliban, and a geoscientist – talk about diversity! What’s more, Canada has a very likable, self-proclaimed feminist and down-to-earth prime minister – Justin Trudeau.
Trudeau says: ‘My career as a politician began in a parking lot. A grocery store parking lot, to be precise, directly across the street from a shawarma restaurant and a barbershop. It was just me with a clipboard, approaching strangers to ask if they would pay ten dollars to purchase a Liberal Party membership. This wasn’t the actual election campaign. It was the opening days of the nomination battle to choose the candidate who would carry the Liberal banner in Papineau once the election was called. I was in the fight armed with limited money, barely any retail-politics experience, a couple of friends as volunteers, and a staff of one, who happened to be my wife.’
Trudeau made headlines this year after his meeting with confident US President Trump for resisting the handshake that so many other global leaders had experienced. The Canadian President has been labelled by some as the anti-Trump and as the US President recently almost threw in the towel on the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), Trudeau appealed to his better nature reminding him that they both had the same obligation—to help people find and keep jobs. Disruption to NATFA would cause heavy losses and affect thousands of families.
What’s more, for those seeking diversity, Canada is a great choice. With such a massive expanse of land making up the nation, there’s a variety of different climates and a host of French speaking regions for you to flex your language skills.
Finland took the top spot as the most socially progressive country in the world; in fact, all the Nordic countries managed to make it into the top 10.
The social think tank and creator of the Social Progress Imperative Report, says it embodies: ‘The capacity of a society to meet the basic human needs of its citizens and communities to enhance and sustain the quality of their lives, and create the conditions for all individuals to reach their full potential.’
The index is designed to help business leaders and government officials form a structure to societal developments and encourage progress. Finland’s gross domestic product (GDP) may not be as high as other nations, but the index has shown a country doesn’t have to be extremely wealthy to come out top in terms of social progress. The US, for instance, came in 19th place on the list despite its wealth. Other nations that had better social freedoms, educational systems and accessible healthcare were able to rank higher.
Finland’s President, Sauli Niinisto, took the title in 2012 marking the first time a conservative had been voted into the role in five decades. His predecessors for the past 30 years had all come from the same party – the Social Democrats. His win signified voters admired his pro-EU views and wanted to remain as part of the currency bloc. The role of President is predominantly expected to focus on bigger picture politics and be an important influence over public attitude.
Meanwhile, 2015 made way for a new Finnish Prime Minister – Juha Siplia. His Centre Party reigned victorious in the election and the coalition government he commands includes the Finns Party and the National Coalition Party – the latter being the President’s party. Siplia is a millionaire businessman, making his fortune in his previous role of telecoms executive.
Belgium is thought to be one of the best governed countries in the world. The country harbours a federal political system that gives regions substantial powers. The country also holds within it the headquarters of NATO and the EU meaning that there’s no shortage of diplomats and civil servants.
King Phillipe holds the throne in Belgium and liberal party leader Charles Michel is the Prime Minister; Michel is the youngest Prime Minister since 1841 as he was 38 when he was elected. The government is currently a right-wing coalition consisting of Michel’s liberal Reform Movement party, the nationalist New Flemish Alliance, Flemish Christian Democrats, and the Open Flemish Liberals and Democrats.
The government is undertaking significant reforms including tax cuts and a two-year retirement age increase as a way of bringing the budget deficit lower.
Norway is renowned for its high standard of living – something that can be largely attributed to the uncovering of offshore oil and gas in the 60s. In global rankings, it’s the seventh largest oil exporter but has chosen to carefully assign its profits rather than spending them frivolously.
King Harald took the throne in 1991 upon the death of his father and the Prime Minister of the right-wing coalition government is Erna Solberg who won the vote in 2013. The PM’s conservative party may only rule in minority, but Nordic nations are familiar with minority governments. The coalition involves both the Liberals and the Christian Democrats.
Solberg is the nation’s second female PM and allocated half of the positions in the cabinet to other women.
New Zealand seems to have escaped the kind of populist party surges we’ve witnessed in Europe – something that’s been accredited to the leadership of the country. John Key resigned as Prime Minister in December 2016, following three successive terms as leader. Key’s National Party has been in power since 2008 and has grown in popularity as the years have progressed. Key appealed to a huge number of voters across many different spectrums, but he made the decision to resign early – something that came as a shock to the press and the people.
Key said that many leaders failed to recognise when they should leave and that he didn’t want to tread those footsteps. By leaving when he did, he planned to give Deputy Prime Minister, Bill English, enough time to settle into the main role ahead of the next election scheduled for around November. Also playing the role of Finance Minister, English has steered New Zealand through the Global Financial Crisis (GFC) and a catastrophic earth quake in 2011, as well as creating a ‘social investment’ programme which is designed to prepare the country for expenses in the future.
Populist parties haven’t had much opportunity to succeed while the National Party has been taking both right-wing and left-wing action to improve the country and keep the citizens happy.
As an aside, New Zealand has been used as the location for major Hollywood pictures for a number of years due to its gorgeous terrain, meaning you’ll not only be surrounded by happy citizens, but lush sunny surroundings too.
Politics and Exchange Rates
This year there’s a host of political events taking place in Europe that are likely to rock the market. The euro may become very sensitive around the time of the French election, as well as the German election in the Autumn. What’s more, the euro could find itself under pressure as developments in the Greek debt situation unfold, as well as being sensitive to how Italy’s banking system performs after some institutions have sought government bailout.
Another very pressing issue in the near future is Britain’s snap-election – the pound could become a wildcard in the market as polls relay their findings and speculation as to whether a Conservative party landslide victory will occur heats up. If Theresa May wins as polls predict, the pound could gain significantly as the PM would be seen to have more power when it comes to Brexit negotiations.
Markets are extremely sensitive to political developments – the pound has been notably weaker since the Brexit vote occurred and it softened further on the prospect of leaving the EU without a trade deal. However, Sterling then rallied on the back of comments made by Cecilia Malstrom, the EU’s Commissioner for Trade, when she stated that although the negotiations would be in uncharted waters, she was certain the UK would be able to make a free trade deal with the EU.
These kinds of political events cause a lot of uncertainty and the market can shift in an instant on any developments. Using a currency broker like FC Exchange gives you the ability to lock an exchange rate in place to use up to two years in the future, giving you some peace of mind if a negative market shift occurs.
Moving Overseas, Moving Money
If you’re planning on expatriating overseas you’ll want to ensure you’re taking as much of your money with you as possible, without losing out to poor exchange rates and transfer fees. Whether you’re heading for the Trans-Tasman to spend your days in glorious New Zealand, or making your way to Norway in the hope of seeing the Northern Lights, speaking to a currency expert is a great starting point to pre-empt your move.
It doesn’t matter if you’re looking at euros, New Zealand dollars, Canadian dollars or Norwegian krones, if you need to exchange your pounds for another currency, get in touch with a specialist as soon as you can so you can trade smartly. A reputable broker gives each of its customers their own dedicated account manager, to make sure they’ve got an expert to guide them through the currency transfer process, answer all their questions, and be at the other end of the phone whenever they need them.
By using a currency specialist like FC Exchange, you’ll be able to open an account in minutes and begin planning your currency transfer right away. Your account manager will be able to guide you through the process and help you navigate economic indicators and geo-political factors that can impact how much your chosen exchange rate is worth. They’ll keep you up to date with market movements and events that impact your chosen currency pair, so you can choose the optimum time to trade.