Britain's Brexit Diaspora: Britons seek new lives in France as withdrawal process drags
Updated 09:41, 04-Jun-2019
As the interminable process of Brexit continues to drag on, some Britons are choosing to move abroad. The small city of Eymet in southern France is one destination for those seeking new lives on the European mainland. But as CGTN's Stefan de Vries explains, the shadow of Britain's impending departure from the EU still looms.
Brexit was supposed to be reality by now, but the UK is still a member of the European Union. In the southwest of France, the subjects of Her Majesty the Queen Elizabeth II have found a friendly place to feel at home, away from home, and more importantly, away from the Brexit uncertainty.
DAVID WHITE OWNER OF THE ROSE'S TEA ROOM "We came to this region, because we knew that there are English, that reside around Eymet, around Dordogne."
STEFAN DE VRIES EYMET, FRANCE "When you walk around Eymet, you see British flags, British licence plates and everybody seems to speak English. We could very well be in England. But only the nice weather reminds us that we are actually in the South of France."
Some of the Brits came here to retire, others to open businesses. David and Denise from Oxfordshire, moved here two years ago, because of Brexit. They serve typical British Tea and cakes to their fellow Brits and Anglophile French.
DAVID WHITE OWNER OF THE ROSE'S TEA ROOM "Brexit happened just as we were signing to come to France. And to be fair, I did think about not coming. But I'm glad we did. We set up the business here, and it's been going very well."
Just down the road from the tea room, Londoners Mark and Paul just arrived. They changed their busy city life for a cosy Bed & Breakfast in the quiet French countryside.
As Europeans citizens, they can live and work in the European Union wherever they want.
PAUL B&B OWNER "We opened just a couple of weeks ago. Since Freedom of movement, a lot of people from the UK have set up business here, like us here."
Brexit, however, could make an end to this privilege.
STEFAN DE VRIES EYMET, FRANCE "Many Brits living on the European mainland are in limbo about their legal situation after Brexit."
Some of them apply for French citizenship, like this wine maker, who is also a member of the local council of Eymet.
TIM RICHARDSON WINE MAKER "I sent the last paperwork in actually today, because they keep sending it back, asking me for other papers. So I sent it again, so hopefully one day soon, one year, two years, I will be a double nationality holder."
Tim risks losing his mandate after the Brexit.
TIM RICHARDSON WINE MAKER "I can stay on until the next elections, in spring 2020, but after that, it's over."
But the details of Brexit are unclear, making the situation even more complicated.
DAVID WHITE OWNER OF THE ROSE'S TEA ROOM "Nobody seems to know what's gonna happen. And what is happening."
PAUL B&B OWNER "There is a lot of uncertainty about what will happen post Brexit, so we are all waiting."
In the meantime, the Brits keep coming.
DAVID WHITE OWNER OF THE ROSE'S TEA ROOM "Every single week, we get English people in here, house hunting, every week. More English people want to get out now and set in France, before the final date of this Brexit."
Brexit or no Brexit, it is unlikely the Brits from Eymet will go back to the UK anytime soon.
PAUL B&B OWNER "We are here to stay!"
This is Stefan de Vries in Eymet, in the South of France, for CGTN.