“Brexit, the EU and You” is a survey by Europe Street News to test attitudes, expectations and fears of EU nationals in the UK and British nationals in other EU countries, and to better understand their information needs on post-Brexit rights.
The survey was however open to all and attracted responses from other EU ‘mobile’ citizens (e.g. Germans living in France) as well as ’non-mobile’ citizens (e.g. British living in the UK). Overall,
3,044 people participate. Of these, the vast majority are ‘mobile’ citizens directly impacted by Brexit: 45% are UK citizens living in other EU countries, 25% are EU citizens living in the UK, and 10% are British citizens in the UK who have previously lived abroad.
The results emphasise the implications Brexit has on the lives of mobile citizens, with 93% saying they feel more anxious since the referendum. 37% report having experienced discrimination because of their nationality.
The survey show that mobile citizens face three core issues with regards to Brexit and the European Union that may explain the anxiety:
1. Information gaps: significant and continued uncertainty and major information gaps about their rights, especially regarding social security and the recognition of professional qualifications. 70% do not know how to defend their rights if these are not respected.
2. Political gaps – Mobile citizens impacted by Brexit appear to be a highly engaged, but neglected, political audience. 69% report to have taken more interest in politics since the Brexit vote and 88% have participated in campaigns and petitions. Yet, 92% say they are not well-represented in the
political debate and 85% do not feel correctly portrayed in the media.
3. Protection gaps – 43% of mobile citizens have lived in three or more countries over their lifetime, and about 35% are considering moving to yet another country; the share is particularly high among those currently living in the UK. But very few (10%) want to return to their country of origin. This high level of mobility should be considered in the Brexit negotiations. In the event of no-deal Brexit, the negotiation of bilateral agreements on citizens’ rights between the UK and individual EU member states will not be a sufficient policy response to protect rights accrued across
The report was covered also on Londra Italia, a news site for Italians in London, on 29 October 2019.