Petition over French citizenship refusal attracts tens of thousands of signatures

Published:  4 Feb at 6 PM
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British expats in their tens of thousands have signed a petition after a popular Brit was refused French citizenship.

Mark Lawrence has lived and worked in France as a carpenter for 27 years and serves on his home town’s local council as well as being fluent in French and supporting his four children. The news he’d been refused French citizenship was a shock to the expat father and caused anger across the entire British expat community in the popular country.

Once the story reached English language expat news, a petition supporting his citizenship application was a friend’s immediate response. Currently, an amazing 33,000 people have signed, all agreeing the French authorities’ decision is absurd and cruel. The reason given for his rejection was that he didn’t earn enough, but a required amount wasn’t even specified.

In an interview with AFP, Mark said France is his home, adding he’s now French in his head and even thinks in the language. Now, he said, I’m neither French nor English and it feels as though I’ve lost my place in the world. Mark was conceived in the village where he now lives after his parents bought a small farm in a peaceful part of the Dordogne. As a child, he visited France with his parents some three times every year until he became 21, at which point he decided to stay and live on the sprawling farm.

Over the past decades he’s become totally integrated and now provides for his French partner and their son, his three other French children and his partner’s daughter. He believes the period chosen by French authorities to assess his earnings potential includes several years in which he stopped working in order to look after his children from his first marriage when his former wife fell sick. The time out of work, he said, could have skewed their perception of his suitability.

In addition, he’ll now have to resign his local council seat when the March elections take place, and will join many more expats who’ll not be allowed to serve their community and region in this way.
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