It is a notion that just a few years ago seemed unthinkable. Portuguese who have left the country in search of a better life in France have now “almost definitely lost their idea of returning”.
The 13th meeting of Portuguese associations in France heard that these days emigrés do not consider themselves as second class citizens in relation to the French.
They put down roots, grasp opportunities, and become firmly integrated, giving up the ‘old fashioned’ ideas of returning home in retirement.
“It is a development that shocks me”, José Barros, vice-president of Santa Case da Misericórdia de Paris told Lusa. “We are accepting that there is no going back. A few years ago this idea would have been almost a punch in the stomach. Today, we have put a cross on the idea of returning”.
But as to the roots to Portuguese culture, these remains as strong as ever – with associations in France passionately connected to the Portuguese language.
Said PSD MP elected by the ‘circle of Europe’: “They are people who, day-to-day, do not show themselves, do not fly a Portuguese flag, but when Éder scored the goal (during last summer’s Euro 2016) they all jumped to their feet. That is the fundamental theme: this community has developed over time. Portuguese are no longer the poor things who have been here for 50 years and who don’t see their children develop”. In fact, he said, the car giant Peugeot-Citroen is “run by a Portuguese”.