It's been two weeks since the Brexit vote, and Brits in France have decided that it's time to start tackling the next steps – “Can we stop Brexit?” and “What happens next for us?”
Nearly 2,000 Brits in France have gathered together in a new Facebook group called Remain in France Together (or Rift) in an attempt to get to the bottom of these issues.
The group founder, Ros Petherick, told The Local that she created the page after watching “in despair” as the referendum results came in.
“Along with many other British citizens living in France, I sat up all night watching with a growing sense of insecurity and despair as the results of the referendum became known.”
She said the group originally was a means for Brits in France to “let off steam”, but within 48 hours there was a clear demand for action.
“I hope the group will combine to fight Brexit on every level (including legislative – we have a barrister on board) until such time as Article 50 is invoked,” she said, referring to the process that will kick-start Britain's exit from the EU.
“If the latter does happen then the direction of the group will change and focus on trying to influence any deal made in respect of British citizens living in France. We all want, passionately, to continue living in a country which we love and which has become our homeland.”
Recent posts, for example, include calls to sign a petition appointing a minister to maintain the rights of UK citizens in the EU, and another petition to negotiate the possibility of British citizens opting to keep their EU citizenship.
The group's strategist, Emma Jell, says that the page has proven to be a vibrant hub for people who want to talk politics without clogging up other expat feeds on social media.
“This is specifically a place for Brits in France to come and discuss what's happening and what the Brexit vote means for UK citizens living in France,” she told The Local.
These Brits have no representatives in the UK or EU government, so it's a matter of getting a voice that can be heard and shared, she added.
“Brits in France make up a unique percentage of UK citizens, and it looks like we may be used as pawns in post-Brexit negotiations and used as a bargaining tool. If we don't initiate being part of these negotiations, then it looks like others will be deciding our future. That's not part of democracy, is it?”
She said that the aim was to host a space away from political opinions and rants where UK citizens could unite and find a way to remain in France.
The group has already been in contact with lawyers, and eventually plans to have its own dedicated website.
Click here to join the Remain in France Together Facebook group.