French nationals suffer post-Brexit abuse, claims ambassador

Britain, European and French flags © Philippe Wojazer
Many of the 300,000 French nationals living in Britain are reassessing their futures in the country following racist abuse in the aftermath of the EU referendum, France’s ambassador to the UK says.

Sylvie Bermann says many of her country’s citizens in Britain, including highly skilled workers, have been subjected to “negative or aggressive language” since the Brexit vote and feel like foreigners where they once felt at home.

Speaking before a House of Lords committee, Bermann said: “They were not used to this sort of abuse in a country where many of them have lived for decades and which they regarded as a success story in terms of dynamism and respect for others.

“And some of them now view Britain in a different way and are ready to change their plan in the short run.”

The government is yet to guarantee the rights of EU nationals living in the UK post-Brexit. It is expected their status will be confirmed at the same time the EU’s remaining member states guarantee the rights of British citizens living in their countries, according to the Independent.

“A lot express a sense of sadness and of course are waiting for answers,” Bermann said.

The number of attacks on foreigners and British Muslims has grown to an unprecedented degree since the Brexit result.

The Home Office confirmed that in July, the month after the referendum, the number of hate crimes leapt to 5,468 – 41 percent higher than the same time the previous year.

In June, a neo-Nazi group plastered stickers around Glasgow declaring certain areas to be a “white zone.” Stickers bearing slogans such as “go home to Africa” have appeared in Cambridge, while signs saying “rapefugees not welcome” were on display in South Shields.

Migrants have also experienced vandalism to their homes and shops since the Brexit vote. A Polish center in London was targeted with anti-migrant graffiti.

In August, a gang of teenagers in Harlow beat a Polish man to death after hearing him speak his native language.

Last month, a Polish woman miscarried after being kicked in the torso by a man after he followed her to her car and allegedly assaulted her outside a Milton Keynes supermarket.