European Voices: Lithuania‎

The ‘British dream’ would fade into oblivion

Thousands of Lithuanians could lose their rights.

Daiva RepečkaitėJournalist

Kaunas – The joke here is that London is the third-largest Lithuanian city. So Brexit would inevitably affect dozens of thousands of Lithuanian migrant workers, including my friends. My colleague and I have recently interviewed a young single mother about her dream to leave for England. Spending her days in a remote village in Lithuania, where a school bus won’t stop because it’s too far off the main road, she expects better childcare for her little daughter and a simple manual job for herself to pay her bills. After the interview, I realized that her departure almost coincides with the referendum. Will she have just enough time to set foot in England before workers like her lose many of their rights?

My personal feelings about the United Kingdom are ambiguous. It has always been an exotic place to me, with their two taps, partly hereditary legislature and all things royal. At the same time, I am one of those who once had dreams to ‘make it’ in London, mesmerized by its cosmopolitanism, and I have taken a couple of networking and job-hunting trips to that end. It didn’t work out – maybe for the better, because I would probably be freaking out now. Let’s face it – we’re not talking about isolation. Students, tourists and investment would continue to flow across borders. It’s the right to work that would change. The ‘British dream’, just like the American dream in the 90s, would fade into oblivion, but it’s OK, we still have Scandinavia.


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