Brexit referendum leaves Europeans based in the UK anxious

On the day that one of Britain’s biggest companies, BT, tells its employees why its chairman and chief executive are intending to vote to remain in the EU, Italian, Portuguese, Irish and German parents at the school gates at an inner London school remain anxious about the looming poll.

Most of these middle-class families are in the UK on EU passports and have been living here for many years, have bought homes in the capital, have started businesses here, have raised their children here and consider it their home.

Yet they are facing uncertainty over a poll in which most will be unable to vote.


Claudia, an Italian who works for a foreign bank, says that the EU poll has prompted her and her husband to apply for citizenship: “We have been here since 1998. My husband has just passed the tests and submitted papers for the citizenship. Leaving is really not in my scenario.”

For those who work in the City, there is concern that jobs will disappear to other European capitals – perhaps Frankfurt.

Sandra, from Cologne, who has lived in London for 14 years, is not personally worried for her family as she is married to a British passport holder. “But I am worried for other people who might lose their jobs and be sent home.”

What makes her angry, how­ever, is that the debate is being conducted without reference to the reasons for establishing the EU.

“What is completely missing from the discussion is the history of the EU, why it is there in the first place. I find this sad that people, despite celebrating Remembrance Sunday hugely every year, have forgotten this. A union is the way forward, ­rather than each state doing it for themselves,” she says.

Those who own businesses – restaurants, boutiques, estate agents – have also experienced a very real slowdown in spending in recent weeks, which they tend to attribute to concern over the poll.

Those who travelled outside the capital’s cosmopolitan boroughs in recent weeks were also shocked by the very visible Leave posters they saw en route to seaside resorts and ferry terminals.

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