aidez-lecosse1In the second of our series inviting European citizens living in Scotland to reflect on the Brexit crisis, Jean-Loup Rebours-Smith contributes. #EU2

I’m originally a French citizen but I have now lived in Scotland for 16 years and would gladly offer my views on the matter you raised in the article entitled “Scotland is a European country”

How has the Brexit vote altered your view of Britain?
If anything it has cemented the idea that Britain as a country is well and truly dead. There is so much dichotomy between Scotland and the rest of the country that the united implied in the country’s name exists only on paper

How has the Brexit vote altered your view of Scottish independence?

I have been a fervent supporter of Scottish independence since 2013 and if anything this vote has truly cemented the idea that in order for Scotland to thrive, or even simply survive, independence is the only way we can achieve that.

What are your fears about what will happen as a result of Brexit?

The Westminster government isn’t exactly well-known for its respect of human rights. It is also unwilling to provide guarantees to those of us who were born in a different European country that our right to live and work here will remain protected regardless of the outcome of the negotiations. So the fear really is to be told to pack our bags and go back to a place I no longer call home.

Would you support Scotland to remain a member of the EU?

Absolutely. As many experts have outlined, you cannot have economic cooperation without freedom of movement. The EU isn’t perfect but it can be reformed. The failure of TTIP which was powered by the relentless people protests across many EU nations are proof of that.

What are the consequences for you, your friends and family?

I have a 7-year old daughter who may not have the opportunity to go and study in a different country like I was fortunate to do because of Brexit. This opportunity gave me the chance to better understand other nations and other cultures and appreciate the fact that it’s ok to be different. My wife, who is American, has had the right to live and work here for the past 11 years because of my EU citizen status. She’s now forced to look into spending thousands of pounds to acquire British citizenship to safeguard our future here. We work hard, pay our taxes and contribute to society and have done so for as long as we’ve lived here, yet this vote has made us feel like pariahs in the greater context of this so-called United Kingdom. We’re grateful for Scotland’s open and repeated words of welcome but until the Scottish Government gets devolved immigration powers, or better still, independence these will remain nothing but words as we have no trust that Westminster listens to what Scotland has to say.