Brit expats in France join together online via new Facebook group

Published:  7 Jul at 6 PM
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Worried about their futures and angry that no single authority either before or after Brexit has taken their grievances seriously, UK expats in France are now united online at a dedicated Facebook page.

Around 2,000 frustrated Brits living in France are now part of the ‘Remain in France Together’ (RIFT), Facebook group, created just as the referendum results were being announced. The founder, Ros Petheric, told the local English language media she’d stayed up all night in despair as it became obvious the Leave campaign had won.

Within just two days, her newly-created Facebook page had become the focus of clear calls for action over the situation of British expats living in the country. During the past two weeks, membership has exploded into thousands, and includes a barrister happy to provide essential legal advice to protestors.

Ros stated she hopes the group will continue to expand its fight against Brexit on all levels, including legislature if necessary, up until the invoking of Article 50 and the start of Britain’s withdrawal negotiations. If and when that happens, she continues, the group’s focus will change in an attempt to influence deals being made concerning British citizens now domiciled in France.

At present, the RIFT page is a focus for suggestions as well as for calls to sign petitions, including one which demands the appointment of a minister responsible for protecting UK citizens’ rights to remain in EU member states. Another petition demands negotiations based on British citizens in EU countries opting to keep their EU citizenship.

Strategist for the group Emma Jell says the Facebook page is now a popular hub for those wanting to discuss the political aspects of Brexit on a dedicated page. She states that, as Brits in France have no representation either in the UK government or in the EU parliament, it’s essential their voices are heard through both online and conventional media.

Emma is concerned that UK expats may well be used as pawns in any Brexit-related negotiations, adding that allowing others to decide the future of thousands of British citizens is far from democratic. The group has already contacted lawyers, and a website will be constructed in the near future.
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