The UK has been a member of the European Union for 40 years. Throughout that time there has been intermingling of people and institutions which can be most clearly seen in the growing number of bi- and mixed-nationality EU families in the UK and their children, many of whom born in the UK and holding a British passport. This is a growing, and yet understudied and underreported, segment of the British society. In a post-EU referendum context, where the rhetoric about curbing EU immigration has permeated political, media, and popular discourses, producing a stark ‘us and them’ narrative, the question left unasked and unanswered is what are the human and emotional costs of this abrupt geopolitical shift if ‘us and them’ are the same?
Through the study of Eurochildren and their families and their experience and responses to Brexit, this project – funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) as part of The UK in Changing Europe initiative – aims to portrait the emergence of a new politics of belonging which reconfigures discursively and legally who belong to a post-EU Britain and establish a baseline for future research on migration and settlement decision making in families with EU27 nationals following the formal exit of the European Union. In order to do so, we will:
1) Profile and map the population of UK- and EU-born children of EU nationals in the UK and examine, at the aggregate level, different types of EU families and measure their socio-economic inclusion into British society.
2) Investigate how families with at least one EU27 member experience and respond to the process of exiting from the European Union and identify factors that shape such responses.
3) Examine the impact of the EU referendum and its aftermath on different age cohorts of UK-born Eurochildren, examining in particular how they articulate their sense of belonging and attitudes vis-á-vis the UK and the EU.