Brexit · Moving To France

June 23rd – France’s Response


With our plans to move to France we have closely watched the negotiations between Cameron and the Europe. Now a date has been set there are, of course, four questions that loom over us.

Will we Brexit?

Would that be good?

If we do, what happens to the English living in France?

How are the French responding to all of this?


You may think that the fourth question isn’t an ‘of course’; but it really is. It’s an ‘of course’ because when you move to a country you must build relations as an outsider. This always involves cultural baggage, and you want to minimise the negative aspects. I have witnessed first hand the generous nature of the French welcoming people from outside through my parents move to Normandy. But when times are tough things can get tricky – for God’s sake, we don’t want the animosity left over from the recent Scottish referendum to be replicated!

So out of curiosity, and completely un-scientifically I grant you, I’ve been reading a left, Libération, and right wing, le Figaro, newpaper’s arguments along with the comments sections underneath. The comments sections are often the most illuminating don’t you think?

A brief overview of the responses are as follows; but please take into account that there were only 16 responses at the time of writing on the Libération article, so this is perhaps more representative of the right wing view.

‘Good for the Brits, when will we get our turn?’

I was actually really surprised by this as I was secretly afraid of the toxic environment the Scottish referendum had last year and how there seemed to be a considerable number of people who responded with the feeling of – well stuff you then! Remember when Andy Murray came out for the Scots to leave? 😖

My fears were based on the statements in our press attributed to Hollande and the belief that the remainder of the Europe would see it as England trying to get special treatment. Whereas what came across again and again were the French people’s fears that the EU was not working and they wanted their opportunity to make a similar decision too.

The majority of the responses to this kind of statement weren’t an argument against the sentiment, but repeated statements that France did get their opportunity to vote, they voted ‘No’ to further integration but, in the words of one commentator, Sarkozy voted ‘Yes’.

A minority of responders where basically -‘ Screw the Brits, we’re better off without them anyway.’

This was the response I was afraid of. However, having read pages and pages of comments this sentiment was very much in the minority in Le Figaro, and in the smaller sample of Libération too.

What was satisfying was that whenever this sentiment was displayed there were several responders defending the British and not supporting the original responder. Phew!

The argument against this was clearly made – the Brits give in more money than we do, so if they go it will effect us more negatively! Nice to be appreciated, huh?

There was just just one commentator that I’ve read over five pages which was – ‘They only come and take our jobs anyway, good riddance. We can send them all back.’

Literally one responder that I read over five pages. That’s good, huh? Again, several responses and all not supporting the op, but stating clearly that there are far more French people working in England than visa versa who are all earning better money than in the France. Their fear was what would happen if they got sent back in a tit for tat response?

This last point is especially comforting if you’re an ex-pat Brit somewhere in Europe and you’ve been listening to what I’m calling Project Fear. I’ll be writing about possible responses to a Brexit in coming posts, but I’m getting a bit mad at this scaremongering already. My mum was really worried speaking to me about this yesterday. These posts show something which my previous research over the situation highlighted should a Brexit happen – the mass ejecting of British people from the EU zone is highly unlikely just because of this point.

If you’re worried tonight bear this in mind.

I’d love to hear your responses to this post and any thoughts or concerns you have – but particularly the responses your hearing from your French neighbours (or Spanish, German etc).


2 thoughts on “June 23rd – France’s Response

  1. Firstly the relationship between the French and the English has always been one of love hate, and that goes back to William the Conqueror and onwards to the 100 years war. Historically in Normandy that unhappy history will never really die away, yet today, in reality the french are overwhelmingly positive to foreigners who come into France with the will to integrate and speak the language. I have never come across anything but positivity, generosity and welcome.
    There are far more french people living in the UK than british in France. So much so that in London they have had to open a second french lycée and create a french seat in local government to cover the french nationals interests in London! French people have far better job oportunities in England than the English do in France. The French are far more resistant to employing english nationals, and far less recognising of english degrees and diplomas than the english are of french job seekers and their qualifications.
    I suspect, but don’t know for sure, that many french would prefer to be out of “europe” and regret the introduction of the euro, salaries were converted from the franc to the euro but food and day to day commodities shot up in price, and many swear that when it came to the cost of living, essential groceries simply had the franc sign changed for the euro, and a huge proportion of the french nation practically overnight fell below the national poverty line.
    The question is – and this is perhaps what many fear, what would happen to prices and the value of commodities if france reverted back to the franc?
    I hope you make the move, whatever the result of the referendum, France is a great counrty to live in, and my view is that the majority of french people are charming, hospitable, generous and less competitive that their english counterparts.


    1. Him thank you so much for your comment. My parents, who live in Normandy, have certainly been welcomed and its part of the reason we’d love to go. My only worries at the moment are how difficult it will be to do so should the uk vote to leave – it seems to be any rights to live there are only existent if you already are there at the time of the withdrawal. I’ve got some ideas about how best to increase ur chances though through my parents Irish heritage.
      I didn’t know that about the transfer of the France to the euro and the cost of living. Whenever the hubby and I go there we talk about how expensive everything is – no wonder people are so frustrated! I know from reading French newspapers there’s a lot of I’ll feeling towards the eu and this goes some way to explaining why that would be the case.
      I really think that, if Cameron had thought through his negotiation points properly, he could have done so with many other European countries in mind and therefore got a better deal because it would have helped them too and that would have been the morally right thing to do. It’s all so frustrating. I didn’t know how European I had actually become in my subconscious until the laity of leaving was there.


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