French immigrants (aka the British)

European freedom has been hard won

European freedom has been hard won. This is the route of the freedom trail across the Pyrenees

I just read that in a recent poll, 52% of British people think that they should be free to live and work anywhere in the EU while only 36% think that all EU citizens should have the right to live and work in the UK. I guess that’s what’s known as having your cake and eating it!

I hope that, if and when there is a referendum in Britain on whether to stay in or leave Europe, voters will remember that the British have always liked to travel, explore and to live and work abroad and have always accepted foreigners to their shores; it is the combination of these things that have shaped much of how Britain is as a country.

The British are also the most numerous owners of property in France after the French and, however much we love to bash the Gallic way of life, many of us secretly love and envy it. Does the UK really want to be isolated and be subject to controls on where we can travel and live within Europe? Europe is the envy of the rest of the world because of the freedom and tolerance we have created between very different countries and cultures. It is a freedom that previous generations have fought and died to preserve and a privilege that we should not underestimate.

As an immigrant (why does that word have negative connotations while ex-pat does not?) in France, I am clearly biased but I would argue that countries gain more than they lose from welcoming foreigners to their shores. Long may it last.

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