One study With EU citizens living in the UK, six years after the Brexit vote, the country’s exit from the bloc still leaves an “open wound”. Respondents felt betrayed and distrustful of Britain.
Research by the University of Birmingham in collaboration with Lancaster University surveyed citizens from 22 EU countries who had lived in the UK for more than five years and remained there after Brexit. The results showed “a profound and lasting impact on the lives and sense of identity and belonging of EU citizens in the UK”.
Rebuilding trust in British institutions and politicians remains a challenge, the survey says, as “the consequences of Brexit continue to have profound effects” on the lives of EU citizens.
Respondents said that Brexit had significantly affected their view of Britain. While 72% still feel some emotional connection to the country, 89% say their opinion has changed since the 2016 referendum. Many still define the nation as “home”, but with words like “cheating”, “betrayal”, “sadness”, “desperation”, “anger” and “disgust”.
A 40-year-old Dutchman said: “I came here feeling that we have the same philosophy; Now I feel like that common sense is gone, and I feel more settled. Others said Brexit had changed their view of their home country: “I feel more connected to Germany since 2016,” said a 45-year-old German in the UK.
Meanwhile, a 62-year-old French woman declared: “I hope my motherland will never become as unfair and racist as England is now.”
Brexit has also boosted pro-EU sentiment, with more than 90% of respondents saying they felt more connected to the bloc after the vote. A 52-year-old French woman who returned to France said, “I now realize how precious [a União Europeia]Even if it’s not perfect.
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The 96-question survey – conducted between December 2021 and January 2022, a year after the end of the transition period from the federation – found around 30% of respondents had moved country since the referendum, with Brexit as one of the main reasons. (17%) – includes emotional, political and practical considerations.
However, immigration and residency status remained a constant concern, despite the majority of UK respondents having citizenship. There was widespread concern that the established status quo was digital only, with no paper evidence.
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A 64-year-old French woman who has been in England for more than 40 years said: “I cannot express how hurt I am. I came to England in 1979 and worked in the NHS [National Health Service, espécie de SUS britânico]. I felt betrayed, neglected and abandoned. I started suffering from anxiety. I decided to apply for British citizenship, not so I could become British, but so I could sleep at night again. When I got my British passport, I spat on it.
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