Britons become French to hold onto EU rights

The French Embassy in London sees a 40 percent rise in applications by British people to become French following the Brexit referendum.

LONDON, ENGLAND, UK (MARCH 27, 2017) (REUTERS) – Married to a Frenchman and having lived in several different European countries, British journalist Melanie Goodfellow has always felt European.

Brexit has prompted the Londoner to make that official by applying for a French passport so she can retain her EU freedom of movement rights.

The mother of two is part of a huge surge since last June’s referendum in Brits married to EU nationals who have seized the opportunity to remain part of the European Union.

The French Embassy in London told Reuters that applications for passports had risen by 40 percent since Brexit.

Goodfellow’ family live in a part of west London full of similar households – Britons and French joined by marriage and their dual nationality children. The area is known by some as “Little France”.

But she says she has no immediate plans to leave Britain.

“I am not going to run away from Britain because I mean, 16 million of us still voted to remain European and I think we need to stay here and make that heard,” she said.

The French embassy says there are 300,000 French people living in the UK. Some estimates put that higher. Chances are if they are married to a Briton, Brexit will have prompted that spouse to apply for a French passport.

Artist Lucy Bequalt also has a French husband and three dual nationality children.

The lack of clarity around any future Brexit deal is what prompted her to want to hold French as well as British citizenship.

The triggering of Article 50 on Wednesday (March 29) will dismay many of the 48 percent who voted to remain in the EU.