Number of Britons who move to EU at highest level in a decade

The number of Britons relocating to EU countries is at a 10-year high.

Number of Britons who move to EU at highest level in a decade
People protest against Brexit in Malaga, Spain on September 22nd. Photo: AFP

A new study has revealed the increasing number of Britons making use of their freedom to live and work in other EU countries.

The number has increased markedly and the rate of departure accelerated since the 2016 Brexit referendum, according to the report.

Up to 84,000 people are expected to leave the United Kingdom and move to EU countries this year, according to the analysis, which was conducted by the Oxford in Berlin group and the Berlin Social Science Centre (WZB).

The figure demonstrates a drastic increase when compared with the 59,000 who made the same move in 2008.

Migration researcher and co-author of the study Dr Daniel Auer said: “These dramatic jumps tell us we’re onto a significant social phenomenon here whose implications are yet to be understood.”

The study also looked specifically at relocations from the UK to Germany. A similar trend was observed here, with 11,500 people making that move in 2018, compared to 8,500 in 2008.

Citizenship and nationalization figures also follow the same trend. While 622 Britons received German citizenship in 2015, 7,493 were naturalized in 2017, the report states. For the EU as a whole, naturalizations rose from 2,106 in 2015 to 14,678 in 2017.

Daniel Tetlow, one of the researchers behind the study, said that researchers also conducted interviews with people who had moved from the UK to the EU, in an effort to understand the trend.

Changes to the way people see their British identity are part of the explanation, Tetlow told The Guardian newspaper.

“One of the things I find most striking is this new British-European identity that many refer to,” he said.

“And no, it’s not just the privileged metro middle classes; I’ve met proud British mechanics, ex-British forces, British ambulance drivers, British teachers and unemployed Brits, and because of Brexit almost all of them feel a new motivation in being active Europeans, and no less British as a result,” the researcher added.

The analysis is based on figures from the OECD and national statistics offices in the relevant countries.

Quantitative parts of the study looked at British nationals who left the country between 2008 and 2019.

As many as 30 percent of this group said that Brexit had affected their mental health, and half said that they would consider giving up their British nationality if necessary to be able to keep their EU nationality.

The deadline for Brexit is currently October 31st, with an EU decision outstanding on the length of an extension to be offered to the UK.

READ ALSO: EU27 fail to agree length of Brexit extension

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France may cut Channel islands ferry service after post-Brexit collapse in visitor numbers

Visits to the Channel islands from France have halved since Brexit, and French local authorities say they may be forced to cut the regular ferry service, asking for the passport requirement to be waived for French visitors.

France may cut Channel islands ferry service after post-Brexit collapse in visitor numbers

Travel to and from the Channel islands – which are British crown dependancies – has reduced significantly since Brexit, when passports became a requirement for those travelling in and out of the islands and their ports.

Now the president of the local authorities in the Manche département of France has asked that passport requirements be lifted, with hopes of increasing travel to and from the islands.

Jean Morin told Ouest France that there has been a “considerable reduction in the number of passengers on routes between the Channel ports and the islands” and as a result the ferry service between France and the islands was seriously in deficit.

“On these lines, we will never make money, but we cannot be in deficit”, explained the Morin. 

He added that if a solution is not found by the deadline of May 1st, 2023, then local authorities will stop funding the shipping company DNO, which runs the Manche Îles Express ferry service.

“If the passport requirement is not lifted by then, we will have no choice but not to renew the service contract for 2024-2025”, Morin told Ouest France.

Only around half of French people have a passport, since the ID card issued to all adults is sufficient to travel within the EU. 

READ MORE: Ask the Expert: How Brexit has changed the rules on pensions, investments and bank accounts for Brits in France

DNO re-launched operations in April and since then, the company, and by extension the département – who plays a large role in funding it via a public service delegation – has been losing significant funds.

According to Franceinfo, the number of passengers has been cut in half since passport requirements were introduced. Franceinfo estimates that for one ticket for one passenger costing €30, the département spends €200.

According to Morin, the ideal solution would be to require a simple ID for tourists seeking to take just day-long or weekend-long stays on the islands – which reportedly represents at least 90 percent of the boats’ usual passengers.

“The Jersey government is working hard on the issue and is waiting for an agreement from London and the European Union. There is the possibility that things could move quickly”, Morin told Franceinfo on Tuesday.

Prior to the Covid-19 pandemic and Brexit, boats going to and from the French mainland carried at least 110,000 people per year. In 2022, only 40,000 passengers made the journey, Olivier Normand, the sales manager of Manche Îles Express, told Actu France.

Normand had expected the decline, however. He told Actu France that the company had taken a survey, which found that almost half (between 40 and 50 percent) of their clientele did not have a passport.