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UK citizens living in the EU don't have warm feelings towards Britain, a new study has revealed.
According to a survey of 1,328 British nationals across the continent, conducted by Lancaster and Birmingham universities, Brexit "has brought deep transformations to the lives of British citizens in the EU and EEA”, and is impacting people's "sense of identity and belonging".
Losing free movement has become a big issue as asked whether their past or future migration plans had been affected by Brexit, 27 per cent of respondents said it had affected them a great deal, and 14 per cent a lot.
One respondent said: “I moved to France in 2020 in order to protect my right to live and work in France post-Brexit. My migration is 100 per cent a result of Brexit.”
Meanwhile, Brexit, and the government’s handling of the Covid pandemic, strongly affected 80 per cent of respondents’ feelings towards the UK, with responses including “deep shame”, “disappointment”, “a shit show”, “embarrassed to be British”, “shambolic”, and “like watching a house on fire”.
Just over 30 per cent said they still felt very or extremely emotionally attached to the UK, compared with 75 per cent who said they felt a very or extreme emotional attachment to the EU.
And people who want to return to the UK at some point are worried because non-British partners and other family members coming with them are now be subject to UK domestic immigration controls.
“I have a house in England,” said one respondent, who has lived in the Netherlands for 10 years. “I was going to retire there. It’s now being sold. My wife is Dutch. I do not think she could even relocate back to the UK – despite joint ownership of a house, having lived there for 15 years, being fluent in English and having two dual-nationality kids.”