The Anglo-Portuguese relations have always been strong, from Vauxhall’s tube station all the way to Stockwell, you find yourself in the heart of Portuguese restaurants, hairdressers and delicatessens – which have gathered here over the last 30 years, earning the area its nickname – ‘Little Portugal’.
London attracts young people of working age from abroad, particularly those countries that were affected by the Eurozone crisis. With the influx of arrivals in search of employment, or studies, it’s little wonder Brexit is causing so much debate.
Goncalo Correia, 23 years old, currently living in the so called “Little Portugal” – has dreamed about his time in London since he was a child and is now afraid of what might happen.
Marta Ramos, a 32 year old portuguese, came to Vauxhall in 2017 – a year after Britain voted out of the EU. At 33, she confesses that her stay in the UK depends on the outcome of the deal. “My plan is to stay here for a while, and see how it goes. Obviously if the PM gets what she wants, the possibility of going back home is stronger”.
“What brexit is doing to us is: instead of picturing a life in London for the next 15 or 20 years, we are planning our lives for the next year. And we hate it”.
Joana Vaz, says she has been so “disappointed” with everything that is going on around Brexit, that going back to Portugal doesn’t make her sad anymore.
Nuno Ramos has been living in London for four years and believes that brexit has been a “misunderstanding”. “When we are discussing brexit, we are talking about an emigration policy. It has nothing to do with taxes or the NHS. I strongly believe that British people were unable to admit that they wanted to control the frontiers and as consequence we have Brexit.”
Joao Ranito, 25, says he is “scared” of Brexit’s outcome.
Paulo Costa, 60, says he isn’t worried about any outcome of this deal because he is ready to go home. Having lived in London for more than 10 years, he now confesses that the word “Portugal” sounds almost too good for him and that he has alreay sent his curriculum back to his home country.
Portuguese lawyer working in London, Manuel Goncalves, believes that if the divorce between the United Kingdom and the EU goes ahead “there is a great risk for all citizens in Europe, specially those living in the UK”:
Surprisingly, Portugal’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Miguel Santos Silva, says that the country is ready for all possible scenarios. He believes that Portugal is particularly interested in the Brexit process because of the many Portuguese citizens residing in the United Kingdom and to “very close” economic ties between both countries.
Augusto Santos Silva, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Portugal | Photo: Arno Mikkor
However he pointed out that Britain’s prime minister Theresa May had promised that the rights of EU citizens would be respected. Santos Silva also said the Portuguese government is working to reduce the maximum negative effects of Brexit.