Dordogne villagers fear financial ruin if Brit expats leave

Published:  29 Dec at 6 PM
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Tagged: France, UK, Germany, Jobs, England
A charming small village in France’s southern region fears Brexit will be the end for its jobs and small businesses.

The picturesque French village of Eymet is nicknamed ‘Little England’ due to its high number of British residents, and is now in a state of near-panic about the possible effects of Brexit on the entire community. Local business owners are convinced their livelihoods are now at stake as the EU negotiations proceed. More than 33 per cent of the business done in Eymet is to British expats, with a hard Brexit deal threatening local prosperity.

According to one seller at the thriving local market, should the British leave, the market would be reduced to just a few stalls, especially during the winter months when 35 per cent of all sales are made to British residents. Cheesemonger Phillipe Barb agreed but put it more bluntly, saying, ‘if the British expats leave, we’re screwed’. Around 300 Britons have homes in the medieval village, which also has an English pub, a shop selling British foodstuffs and a traditional English tea room.

Typically, the British contingent in Eymet are downplaying the possible disaster looming over the village’s businesses, shrugging off fears that EU negotiators are about to play hardball with their own finances as well as putting villages like theirs at risk of collapse. However, they’re fully aware the village’s economy would fail without their financial input, with one telling it like it is and saying ‘if we were all kicked out, the town would die overnight’.

However, Eymet’s business owners as well as a good number of expat residents are on the same side when it comes to a bad deal as final result of the negotiations. Conflicting statements from various EU member states on the subject of a trade deal are emerging, with the German foreign minister now at odds with Michel Barnier’s idea of the UK having to choose from a template of already-agreed and existing deals. Many are seeing this conflict as a sign a hard Brexit may be the only answer, and the assumption that both Brit and EU expats may still be caught up in the chaos is one reason for Eymet’s fears.
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