By Wendy Williams

It is official – the UK is one of the worst places to live in Europe.

And Spain is one of the best.

Aside from the glorious sunshine, the Spanish get 41 days annual leave compared to only 28 days a year in the UK, and they enjoy a longer life expectancy.

Moreover, UK food and diesel prices are the highest in Europe – in fact only Ireland and Sweden pays more for drinks than the UK.

And the UK’s spending (as a percentage of GDP) on health and education is far below the European average, which had a significant impact on its rating.

These findings are based on the European Quality of Life Index which ranked ten European countries according to 16 factors.

The study found France and Spain are the best places to live in Europe and the UK and Ireland are the worst.

According to Ann Robinson, director of consumer policy at, money can’t make you happy and whereas some countries work to live, UK consumers live to work.

She said: “We earn substantially more than our European neighbours, but this level of income is needed just to keep a roof over our heads, food on the table and our homes warm.

“There is more to good living than money and this report shows why so many Brits are giving up on the UK and heading to France and Spain.”


  1. I have been at work now for over an hour waiting for 3 different builders to turn up to price up jobs, one of which is a big job worth 3000 euros plus. it’s now 10.15 and how many have turned up? 0 and they wonder why the country has problems

  2. Mark,

    I am shaking my head and laughing at the same time. It is a nightmare living in Spain. Good to see you telling it how it is.


    Keep going. I think a lot of people would like to see the sugar coated advice on these web sites so they can keep the Spanish myth going and sell more houses for them only to be knocked down later. It will be difficult for anyone to sell properties in Spain the way the Town Halls, Estate Agents, Lawyers and Governments carry on. People are just saying no thanks and voting with their feet. Carry on Spain if you want no growth / money and high unemployment.

    A high handed arrogant attitude does not get you very far in most countries around the world. They all end up being like Iraq, Zimbabwe, and Nigeria….

    Spain is probably somewhere between Zimbabwe and UK with attitude and even the Spanish Born Euro MP likened Spain to Zimbabwe so it is not just me that thinks that.
    The Country will not prosper with that attitude. Spain, carry on to receive more of the same. The world knows what is going on.

  3. well myself I lived 3 years in Spain and 3 years in uk london and I realised 2 things that if u want good social life ,fiestas or whatever chose Spain and if u want succes ,bussines and money chose uk and to be perfect and u want both of them go to Romania .

  4. Pablo,
    you have never heard of fixed term contracts have you. The failures are the Spanish who spend 10 years in Germany doing menial work because they have no qualifications – they are the labourers or waiters and are lucky to have 20 words in German at the end of that time. Of course there are exceptions but not many.

    I worked in Norway on fixed term contracts on for example the then world’s biggest oil platform – the DB100. I worked in Wilhemshaven doing NDT work on German submarines – you hav’nt got a clue what NDT work is have you?

    It is the likes of the Brits and Dutch or Germans that have the skills to work all over the world – you are exhibiting the classic Spanish mentality – envidioso – jealousy, which is just ahead of the second Spanish characteristic – corruption.

  5. We phoned our Spanish neighbour the other day and he said in the local town a ‘soup kitchen’ has been set up for the people who can’t afford to feed themselves now, this is not for tramps, it is for the every day people. I was quite surprised about that but that is how bad it is in Spain now.
    Living the dream…

    Good place to retire to if you don’t have to deal with the Spanish corruption. I feel sorry for the hard working people as the corruption is stopping them working. Not many people would invest more money in Spain at the moment with all the corrupt politicians and Mayors.

  6. There are many sunny countries in the Mediterranean zone and in other parts of the world, why to choose Spain? a so negative place to live.

    Fred: you say that your work helps the Spanish economy and that you pay a big amount of taxes, please, would you be so kind to tell us which is your work? Thanks.

  7. Marcelo, I can only comment on what I find. I do not live in the other parts of the world, so I restrict my views to my experiences in Spain. As I’ve said, you can have a good life in Spain if you have no ambitions and comittments, and are retired with a nest egg, and just want to take it easy in the Sun (although that is not easy either of course). However, to come to live and work here, set up a business etc, I would strongly advise against it – Spain does not function correctly and its support systems are non-existent. Are you looking for a job Marcelo lol?

  8. Marcelo, one does not only don’t only pay tax Spain if one works.

    Every time I buy something I usually pay 18% in IVA (unless it’s food etc). That’s nearly one fifth of everything I spend in Spain goes in tax to the government. Anyone just living in Spain is going to be paying a lot in taxes.

  9. We are outdoor people and thanks to the ‘island mentality’ of weather news in the UK I did’nt realise just how bad the climate is in north west Spain would be or we would never have considered moving to Galicia.

    Every other country in Europe I have lived or worked in shows the whole of Europe, Scandinavia and most of northern Africa in every weather forecast. I could have seen just how bad the weather is and blanked Galicia. The Spanish do an overview of Europe and Scandinavia every Sunday – Why can’t the English change and do the same.

    I knew that the weather would be hot behind the Sierra Nevadas but I never dreamt that 45C + would become normal summer weather in the Guadix region.This info would have been enough for us to blank Spain completely – information is everything.

    I just wonder how many of you Brits are couch potatoes. We once made the mistake of asking another Brit couple much younger than us to come for a walk – what a joke, they were pathetic, they were exhausted within half an hour.

    As many have said if you don’t have to work and if you are lucky enough to buy a genuinely legal property then Spain can be fine. However don’t listen to idiots that make the sweeping statement that Spain is sunny – only the south is.
    And very importantly I add if you are a slob, couch potato who thinks a 5 minute walk is exercise then fine.

    Near the beginning of this thread a Spaniard called Carlos made what is both A sad and hilarious statement that, even though he has never lived in the UK – ‘ he knows that Spain is better’.

    As I said earlier – information is everything. If all the foreigners had access to real facts on life in Spain, then only those who accepted the status quo would have come and be happy and the rest of us would have either stayed at home be it the UK/Netherlands/Germany or chosen another country.

    For us that other country is France. There is much I could say on this country but that is not relevant to this thread or i/net site. Because I am streetwise we could just pack up and leave.

    Today no one has any excuse for not finding out all the information nec. to move to another country, sadly this was not so just 10 years ago, that’s how much the i/net has changed things in this one decade.

    My advice is trust no one who is going to make money from your move, always assume they are lying. Do not buy – rent first. The Brits especially are obsessed with buying property – how many would have thanked the Gods for renting and avoiding the horror they find themselves in now.

  10. Marcelo, i would love to leave now and i wish i could because i have really started to hate the country where i live and its backwards ways. However, i have a business, my kids are in school here and i have a huge mortgage, so tell me what to do as i am trapped. By the way i employ 5 spanish in my business all who have contracts, pay all my taxes and only try to use local Spanish business to do work. If i could sell up tomorrow i would leave but that is not going to happen in this present econonmic climate there is always the hope of the lottery.

  11. Oh by the way i have lived in four different countries on 3 different continents so have a little life experience. It’s sad to say but take away the sun from Spain and you nothing about from a backward place which refuses to change. I speak about the South as i dont know about the rest of the country. If i have to hear another ¡joder, hace frio! this week i will scream, it’s 15 degrees aaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhh

  12. I would not agree with Stuart that it is possible to find
    out all the information necessary to move to another country – in Spain it just isn’t! There are just too many things to find out, and most are not researchable in any event. Hindsight is indeed a beautiful thing. Spain is a most disappointing venture.

  13. Fred, 10 years ago there were no forums that I know of. If I could have eyeballed this forum and seen half of what is said on here by people who came with the best of intentions as we did – we would’nt have.

    In reality for those who enjoy an outdoor life, winter is the only time to be in southern Spain and the northwest is green because it rains all year round. The Picos de Europa are amazing as is the whole coast of the north west but you really have to be lucky with the weather.

    That Spanish construction is crap I knew before we came but the unbelieveable corruption across the whole of Spain is something I did’nt know and that is so easy to find out about now but was’nt before we came.

    The one mistake that so many Brits made because of this obsession with buying property we did’nt make.

    Though we love it here in the Aveyron there is a very good chance that the Euro will not be here for long. Politically constructed monetary systems simply don’t last and looking at the bullying of Ireland by proxy carried out by politicians at the behest of bondholders and French and German banks it could be over very soon, so I’m glad that once again we are renting.

    Forget about illegal properties – how many will be able to pay for private health insurance if the EU collapses. The economic fall out will be horrendous and how will local populations treat foreigners especially if they are seen as easy scapegoats by perfidious politicians,you yourself have remarked at how many Spanish blame us for all theri self induced problems.

  14. Well I agree with some things and disagree with some others. I am spanish from a small town, close to barcelona, and i’ve been living in northeast england (hull) for 2 years now. I know hull is not the best place to live though.
    I would like to clarify some things like the one that said that try to spend a year in barcelona, the humidity and loads of rain there…well, the brits would love the barcelona weather at any point of their geography..but no, sorry but u cannot compare the weather of barcelona with the uk. Barcelona is sunny, humid? yes, but sunny and quite warm comparing to the uk. It rains a lot???? well…in winter 6 or 7 days a month, in summer maybe 2 or 3 days a month…thats a lot??? but when it rains…rains a lot, but doesnt last for weeks like in england.
    About the food…I prefer spanish food for miles and miles and miles…it is healthily definately and no we dont like butter or margarine in sandwiches…is just pure fat, we prefer olive oil, sorry. Is that bad??? well i guess is very personal…but spanish food is better than english in all ways, and that can be said for most of the world. Is a fact. How many english restaurants are around the world??? (and I mean in parts where are no brits) there are no english breakfast if some english comunity is around. Why???because non-english people dont like it. And is a fact!!!
    About employement?? well thats the reason why i live in the uk. It is better paid here, more respected and better conditions but the quality of life for me is better in spain. Not in all spain though..but what i compare is Hull with my hometown Tarragona…and definately it is better back to spain. Although here is cheaper than where i come from. So for money The UK, for quality of life (if u dont need loads of money to live) Spain. Thats what I think.
    And for that reason…I will be back to spain soon :)
    Even though I like brits, they are friendly and nice with me, specially in the north, cant speak about the south though

  15. Xavi, your quality of life in Spain could soon diminish if you can’t get a job, or employment benefits, or you can’t get your house ‘legalised’, or you can’t get a mortgage to even buy a house (tried recently?), or when your country eventually requires its bail out and the austerity measures *really* kick in. I bet you can’t wait to get back lol.

    Unless you are a retiree with a nest egg, a decent quality of life is very hard to achieve. Quite simply, without steady work and future prospects, nothing else falls into place. That is my experience of living and working in Spain and the many friends I have seen come, and go, over the years.

    When people of a working age talk about ‘quality of life in Spain’, most mean to bum around all day with no job and sit on the beach in the Sun eating sardines lol.

  16. Xavi83,

    You summed that up well, and your English is very good. I have been to Barcelona with my Wife and we thought the food was fantastic and the entire experience was good. It was like new years eve every night. People go out late in Spain. I think next time I will stay a bit further out as in the centre is was a bit loud in the streets until about 6am but we had a great time there. The roads and transport systems are great.
    The food is a million times better than the South. If they took the corruption away it would be a perfect country to live but trying to change the mentality is either a long term thing or impossible.

  17. xavi83,
    you don’t know much about your own country do you?

    Ever been to the whole of north west Spain – Galicia, Cantabria,
    Asturias,Pay Vasco – it rains and rains and rains – I know because I lived there.

    You simply are’nt telling the truth about food in the UK and stupidly you mention English food – where have you eaten – how many restuarants have you tried – how many pubs. Do you mean England or the UK – you probably mean the UK as you again stupidly refer to Spain as if it is one homogenous region which it is’nt and in fact you live in Catalunya, where many refuse to speak Spanish at all.

    Having eaten all over Spain I can say categorically that the normal menu all over Spain is ‘meat and chips’.

    You unfortunately exhibit the mentality that is to be found all over Spain, irrespective of region – you cannot look at yourselves as you really are and cannot take on board what is the reality of countries you visit or live in.

    Quality of life has to include the home you live in – all Spanish home construction is total crap – seen how many apartment blocks fall down after only 20 years and that is in Catalunya – you have no building standards control and lets talk about how many people have died from gas explosions and carbon monoxide poisoning in Spain – it does’nt happen in the UK does it.

    How could any open minded (are there any?) Spaniard who has worked in Switzerland/Germany/Britain not come home to Spain and demand outright to live in identically specified homes – you never do, do you – can you even admit how inferior your Spanish construction is.

    You make no mention how the whole of life in Spain is permeated by the corruption system – ‘enchufargo’ – do you count that as quality of life as well?

  18. This article is a load of tosh. The UN released a report in 2010 which placed Ireland as the 4th best country IN THE WORLD. While Spain ranked below Israel at a low 19th. Germany also ranked above France and Lietcheinstein,Switzerland and Belgium were also seen as more developed. Spain is not a better place to live. The Employment is high,it rains plenty,the sun does not always shine,the towns are grubby and overpriced. They have got eh petrol wrong as well,Norway,Finland and Greece pay more as well. Who wrote this??? they should be fired!!! If the UK was worse,why are Brits leaving Spain in droves to return their and many other European countries banging on the door all the time!!!

  19. In what way is Spain better than Britain? Ah, the weather? hostile heat for all of the summer months- In every other way Britain is better, I lived 30 years in Spain, it’s great but The UK is far better, I feel lucky to have a second crack at the whip. I’m plugged in here, and enjoy city life and relax and feel very at one with the beautiful countryside- yeh, Spain was O)K but thank goodness I came home (I spoke Spanish fluently and mixed with Spaniards, my children are 1/2 Spanish, I am very fond of my ex whois Spanish) but madly perhaps, I feel that my children have been denied all this . The UK rocks!

  20. in Short:- take the SOL out of Costa Del sol… and it reverts to a wasteland…The area is blessed with a good climate…take that away and..there is nothing…! even the charm that was once there vanished in the 1980’s…!

  21. ……. it seems that most posts come from around the famous C-d-S zone – as a reminder the C-d-S was created with the “rather” British retired lower middle class in mind and has not a lot to do with Spain but has become much more the “Banger & Mash Province” you craved and now seem to hate, maybe now that your money doesn’t separate you soooo much from the terrible uneducated corrupt heathen Natives anymore ??? I guess in the end you all got what you deserve …… now its back to social services, disgusting food, hoodlums, shitty weather, rich Arabs and happy sheep ADIOS MUCHACHOS

  22. “C-d-s … has not a lot to do with Spain”

    Maria, I don’t think the (Spanish) people living in all of the large coastal towns and cities along the Costa del Sol would share your opinion that they have not a lot do with Spain. Malaga for a start. Perhaps you need to go back to school for some geography lessons? lol

  23. Mark has hit it on the head… “I dont mind living in spain but hate owning a business here. Yes there are pros and cons to comparing the UK to Spain but when it comes to work or business Spain has to one of the worse places to live.”

    Like most who are not retired it becomes a trap if you have opened a business and have based your life in Spain (or rather the CDS)…and now in crisis for the past 4 years (Marbella at least)…it is harder to sell and go…! The bubble has burst…Spain is not cheap any longer and it’s in tatters…coruption has been a major point in it’s downfall. marbella natives knew one and all 100% what was going on…but turned a blind eye as all was going well…the moment it imploded…they were all up in arms…. ! Well you get what you deserve… when you vote..but then again all parties are as bad as the other! How many town halls are in debt?…Ronda, Estepona, Coin etc…how?… become Alcalde and then employ every idiot in your family and their friends to run the place…!

    But really the real problem is also the fact that in Andalucia they are happy to take your money but in real terms resent you. Jealousy is a major part of the spanish make-up. So yes… OK to live say 6 months of the year…but apart from that..? The CDS has had it’s day !

  24. “all of the large coastal towns and cities along the Costa del Sol”

    which large coastal towns and cities along the Costa del Sol do you mean ?

    There is only one

    Torrebenalfuengimarbelspedroestepoonasotogee ?

    if this city represents Spain for you then well – Nada really ?

    I evidently wasn’t talking about the city of Malaga because it has nothing to do with the origin of commentators in this post or how many Brits are living there in your humble nitty gritty opinion ?

  25. Welcome ad and Maria Pepina de la Huerta (is your name for real? You’re certainly no Spaniard with your wry sense of humour and colloquial English!) to this thread. You both make good allies for Fred, Stuart Crawford, reap and all the other don Sabelotodos, with their/your negativity about Spain.

    Clearly there are two (or more) Spains. You shouldn’t really talk about Spain as a whole when what you mean is the CDS. In the Spain where I live the country is not in tatters, the bubble has NOT burst and it is still cheaper than the UK for most things.

    That notwithstanding I think M P del H’s views on the CDS are very perceptive: “the C-d-S was created with the “rather” British retired lower middle class in mind and has not a lot to do with Spain but has become much more the “Banger & Mash Province” you craved and now seem to hate, maybe now that your money doesn’t separate you soooo much from the terrible uneducated corrupt heathen Natives anymore ??? I guess in the end you all got what you deserve …… now its back to social services, disgusting food, hoodlums, shitty weather, rich Arabs and happy sheep”.

    Yep, I’d agree with that – that’s why I don’t live there and why I don’t visit more often than I have to!

  26. I see Ms Pepina did an abrupt U-turn when she realised Malaga is on the CDS lol. Malaga actually has a large expatriate population. Never yet seen Bangers & Mash in Malaga (city). At the end of the day, the CDS is what the Spanish have allowed it to become. They pandered to tourists and sold their soul to the concrete mixer.

    Paul, contradictory comments you make. You ally me with Ms Pepina when I was actually in disagreement with her on this specific point.

  27. @Maria Pepina de Huerta

    explain to me why if you know about “terrible uneducated corrupt heathen Natives” and life is so bad/ corrupt in the South why does the rest of Spain stand back and do nothing about it? Last time i looked the country had a few money worries so maybe it would be wise to apply the law for once. Just if things like: “working without contract, working without contract while claiming “paro”, none paying of tax on rented property (long term/short term), crazy tax declarations” were all cracked down on Spain would be in a much healthy position.

    It is a normal way of life in Andalucia to cheat taxes and break the law. When someone is caught out they are considered unluck rahter than getting what they deserve. I am constantly shocked at the openness of the law breaking/ tax dodging here which in these hard times puts you at a LARGE dis-advantage if you follow the law. Normally in hard times the strongest survive but not here. To give you an example of had bad it is, i do buisness with a local firm who make money from machines in my bar. At the end of the first quarter he handed me declartion to give to my gestor for the turnover of the machines in that period which was 186euros. I refused to sign this as the actually turnover was 2245euros and to me what he was doing was wrong. Of course he got angry and got back in his brand new 4×4 Audi and drove off with various hand gestures. This is why when i see an Andaluz in a nice car here i dont think they must be successful but wonder who they ripped off to make their money (goverment/people), of course they could of sold a piece of land but honestly working hard for it, no chance.

  28. ad, there is a reason why they may resent you, I am sure it is not personal, but rather a form of protecting their way of live ……

    After 20 years living here and being integrated, family and all in Andalucian live I have yet to meet one Spaniard who is jealous about anything a foreigner can throw at him – au contraire most think you are a poor tonto who has no clue whatsoever ……..

    Andalusia has thousands of years of an extreme mix in culture, I say extremely because the 700 year Arab rule from around 700 to 1400, there is nothing similar in Europe where two such clashing cultures mixed for so long, long ago one might say but these 700 years surely left the Andalusian gene pool mixed sort of like interesting coffee 50% Arabian – 50% Iberian, with all the mixes that make up a true Iberian !

    I think what you and many others who came to the CdS didn’t grasp was that this is not per se California ….. it has similar weather and fauna but that is where all similarities end.

    It certainly is not the cultural mix you will find in a Starbucks Coffee House in Santa Monica, CA ……. what you will find in Santa Monica, CA is a fairly young, historically speaking, population, who’s forefathers have shed a lot of their cultural straightjackets and left this old continent because they wanted a better live, then the feudal system most EU countries (I know …. EU) had back then offered, so they went and conquered this newly found country east to west, pioneer style…….. once they had done they founded Hollywood, started making movies and Hamburgers ……. who says history is complicated ?

    They say, even though not as easy as it used to be, you can still go there and if you aren’t lazy, are willing to work, are business savvy and have your Mamas best recipe for a good Burger, you can became a millionaire within no time ……….. and it is true, I know of several stories !

    I went there in the early 80’s, to lived there for about ten years, first to study – then to make my millions …….. turns out even though I studied and I make a killer Burger, I somehow spent more time on the beach checking out the girls and waves……… thing young man used to do. So I guess am lazy at heart, nor business savvy, I have always spend more then I made and was never good in asking others to invest in any of my ventures (1st rule of success – never use your own) ……. eventually I came back to Europe, but just couldn’t deal with the wannabe Americans, even worse while trying to be like them, criticizing them all the time……………

    Spain was, until the introduction of the, in my humble opinion, useless for some countries, Euro, a great country to live in, at least for someone like me, …….. the people where much friendlier, the food was better, prices were normal – in accordance with the average income, food, housing etc. etc. we had normal roads, none of that highway madness that has crisscrossed the country but then the amount and type of cars on the roads where normal too but most important – it was a society that didn’t run around trying to find happiness behind the Armani, Rolex, BMW Owned by the bank BS.

    Now thanks to greedy opportunistic banks and their puppet politicians all that has changed …. and in my view definitely not for the better, the retiring expat community that has evolved on the CdS and other ghetto enclaves in Spain has come here believing that their style of live, mostly “Crappy American TV Series” influenced idiotism (Dallas, Denver & Co – derived Coronation Street ……) should be doctrined on the poor natives so they can also see the light ?

    The Pound – Peseta come Euro exchange gave their money much more value for about ten years and thus they felt even more superior, telling the Spaniard how to everything – Eat, drink, drive, talk,………….. one wonders how they even lived before the so Educated Brit Saviour Ret. appeared and one can guess why most Spanish didn’t really want to have too much to do with these arrogant knowitall’s – Well no worries thanks to the imbecile “money is everything” system washing over the country, it will take some generations but they will soon be just as lost as most of them ……..

    As to working here …….. I have always worked as a service provider, mostly bridging cultural differences for companies coming from N. Europe and N. America and done quite well, I think because I know and respect both sides of the bridge ……

    This is not California, there is very little opportunity here ….. its a rather antiquated feudal system protecting itself ! Important try to see it through the eyes of the locals not through yours, you are the immigrant after all – so even things that you think are hot shit might not work here as in Manchester, Frankfurt or, or or ………. Make sure that you can live of the Expat (a lot are returning home because of money reasons – too bad so sad) or be prepared to wait a long time to succeed …….. Please remember Europe is great because we are all different so please lets respect those differences ?

    In 200 years we will all be living in a Deutsche Bank owned Disneyland anyway — at least the ones still alive then ………..

  29. What I said at the end of my sentence is that Paul Whitelock should go back to darning socks in Ronda if he is going to keep writing silly things like suggesting I am cosying up to Ms Pepina.

    And Karl, please stop censoring and editing posts. If you need something to do, fix your website which gives an ‘error 500’ almost all day this week so far.

  30. Not ALL Brits, Maria, just the likes of Fred, Stuart Crawford et al.
    I like it here (inland Andalucía) and I like the Spanish and I’m ashamed at the attitude of some of my fellow countrymen towards both.

  31. The problem with people like Maria and Paul is of course that they are in classic denial syndrome. Their view of Spain is that nobody should be allowed to make any criticisms, even if they are valid.

    Maria, should people stop moaning about planning and legal abuses in Spain? Should they stop moaning about Spain’s useless government, that can’t even balance the books and provide jobs for its young people? Should people stop moaning about the awful fact that a large percentage of people live in poverty in Spain? No, of course not.

    Maria, you must have missed the march of the indignant. They were Spanish people btw.

    Why is it shameful to criticise the ridiculous way in which some aspects of Spain are run, Paul? What is shameful is that you cannot write any critical articles about your new host country, even though, secretly, you have lots of dislikes, but to air them publically would be at odds with your position of Spanish advocate blogger.

  32. I have made a few posts on the above, some go back to last year.
    I have just returned back from Spain after a long holiday. People in Span (Spanish working age people) are fairly down now and my neighbours come out with their guns if a stranger comes along the road now. I think a few gipsy types are out and about to see what they can steal.
    Most of the neighbours are fairly self sufficient with growing their own food so they will always have food on the table. They go hunting as well and shoot anything they can eat. They only plant trees that give a return so you never see anything planted because it looks good, nothing wrong with that. In general I would have to say my neighbours are fine but there is an underlying tension in the air in Spain. 5 million people unemployed at the moment. My Wife speaks good Spanish, almost fluent I would say, and she often tells people that you are better off not knowing the language as your view on the country is better if you don’t understand the arguments that are going on between the various neighbours.
    The management of the country is what is letting Spain down. As in my posts above, the corruption is everywhere and until they address this they are going nowhere. I do not know of anyone in the UK who does not know of land grab, holiday homes from hell with the Priors etc. Trying to build anything is almost impossible or modify your house. The Town Halls are corrupt. No wonder there is no work people gave up trying with planning permission. My Brother has had plans in the Town Hall for 7 years. He gave up many years ago. After 8 months of my plans being in the Town Hall for an extension I gave up as well. People walk away from it where they can, like me, but many others are not so lucky.
    I was talking to some people on the way out to Spain the other week and they were as green as grass. Sold a house in the UK moving to Spain. They had already handed a deposit over and when I asked them if the property had an escritura they did not even know what one was. The funny thing was when I told the couple, the husband even seemed a bit offended that I would be putting his Wife off buying the place. Some people are still eager to throw their money away.
    Spain is a bit like the house makeover programmes that used to be seen on the TV in the UK, Spain has gone past this fashion now and most people are not interested anymore. In the UK the post works, not everything goes missing or is stolen, there is more to do and it is not as boring. Yes, I can afford to retire to Spain and that was once my aim but I don’t think I could do it now. The people and culture are more important than a few rays of sunshine. We don’t all live in a rough area in the UK as well so a few riots on the TV don’t bother me. One of the driving factors for many though is that they can swap their 3 bed semi in the UK for a bigger property in Spain. I just cannot think of too many positive things to say and I have lived in Spain as well so it is not just coming from someone who does not know the country. The country for me is just good for a bit of sunshine in the summer. That is it. I really understand where Mark is coming from. I often think that these people in their nice cars must have conned someone, via property or no paying their taxes.

  33. For once I’m on Fred’s side. I don’t think anyone is criticising the general population of Spain, except for their apparent apathy. Thus an ex-mayor who has spent 5 months in prison for suspected embezzlement and general corruption, can still gather 25% of votes in local elections!! Pure apathy or just possibly endemic corruption at work?
    This produces problems which we as immigrants see almost daily but seems to be accepted as ‘normal’ by most natives. Of course the more informed know how to manipulate this to their own advantage, thus small-time back-handers, etc., leading eventually to gross injustices.
    What is mainly being criticised is the overweight establishment which sits right on top of the people, in effect robbing them of the means to live a ‘normal’ life. I know a Spanish employee working for one of the Juntas, she says it is totally overstaffed, with large numbers having little or no work to do. A rather extreme example of the long-dead British disease of ’empire-building’ with pay determined by the number of staff ‘managed’.
    I’ve also heard it said that most of the bosses of big companies, banks, utility service providers, etc., are in some way connected to whats left of the Franco regime and its cronies; and they know exactly how to keep the workers in their place.
    I feel nothing but as-one with the people I see on a daily basis, scratching a living from their olive orchards, a dozen or so goats, odd-jobbing, etc. but also feel uncomfortable with my own relative wealth.
    But if we, as mere immigrants, can attempt to point out what we think is wrong with the Spanish System and open the eyes of even a few, then we should be viewed as friends of the Spanish people.

  34. I must be mistaken. I though this subject was “Spain is a better place to live than Britain”, not “Let’s moan about what we Britts don’t like about Spain”. I’ve got my eyes wide open, Fred, my country is not perfect (neither is yours), and Movements like 15M are not just about complaining against corruption and politics (its seems you only read British press) but its main purpose is to propose measurement and ideas that could improve Spain and make it a (even) better place to live. I honestly don’t undertand why all the Brits that are complaining don’t go back to their country, since Spain is such a terrible place. I wouldn’t stay somewhere where I’m not happy. You’re most welcome if you want to stand up and work to improve all those things you don’t like. If all you’re going to do is nothing but keep moaning I still recomend you take a plane. BR

  35. Fred. Listen to Maria – she’s talking sense. You should take a few hours (no, it would be weeks!) to re-read all the posts you’ve ever made on OP threads over the last couple of years and try to consider them objectively. They really are extremely negative.

  36. Maria, I have never said my country is perfect.

    It is very difficult for many ‘Brits’ to move back to their home country because of Spain’s massive problems with its housing sector. “Irregular” houses, the collapse of the economy and Spanish banks, an impotent Spanish government, and of course the massive devaluation in Spanish property values and endemic corruption at all levels, has left many expats unable to move, simply because the economy does not facilitiate it. I’m sure you realise that, but still you eluded to mention it.

    And before criticising the British press you should take the time to realise that the Spanish press all sing from the same hymn sheet. Spain has a very closed system when it comes to accessing information. Journalist Rosario G. Gomez, in El Pais, summed it up very well:

    “British journalists know, to the last penny, what it costs the treasury to pay for official cars, compensation to IRA suspects, or the placement of cameras that measure the speed of cars. In Spain, to learn about waiting lists at hospitals is a titanic task, and the salary of a news anchor on public television is a state secret.”

    You said that I’m welcome to stand up and work to improve all of the things I don’t like, and so I am doing just that. Unless people express their opinions, this cannot happen can it? So you’ve answered your own question. Getting on a plane will not solve Spain’s problems. It needs to attract professional people, who purchase homes and gain employment, and pay taxes. Losing people is the last thing Spain wants, hence the PR exercise the Spanish government is undertaking to tell all the expats how ‘safe’ Spain is.

    Paul, conversely, all your highly positive posts about Spain also attract attention, mainly for not being rooted in any sort of day-to-day reality lol. In your eyes nothing at all is wrong with Spain, and of course you know that not to be the case but choose not to write about it.

  37. “Paul, conversely, all your highly positive posts about Spain also attract attention, mainly for not being rooted in any sort of day-to-day reality lol. In your eyes nothing at all is wrong with Spain, and of course you know that not to be the case but choose not to write about it.”

    You’re evidently reading the wrong stuff. Check out, my own blog, where over the last 12 months alone I’ve written at least 15 articles which are negative about or critical of Spain. The subjects covered range from bureaucracy, to the maltreatment of animals, naming and shaming Telefonica and other big companies for poor service, crime, noise, the rising cost of electricity, waste in government, etc.

    As for my OP blog, my brief was to be up-beat about the Serranía de Ronda, Andalucía and Spain, although a couple of negative posts have crept in, eg

    Top and bottom of it is, you rarely write anything positive about Spain, whereas I, more often than not, do. I guess we balance each other out…

  38. Come on, you’re making a good start Paul. 15 articles in 12 months is one and quarter a month, so just multiply that a few times each month and you’ll be well on your way. Come on, there’s loads more to moan about.

  39. Trouble is, Fred, I’m quite a prolific blogger and in the last 12 months I’ve posted 178 articles. Of those 15 were “critical” so the other 163 were positive. Sorry, I’m not in your league and never will be!

  40. Expats? Hahaha Brits always call themselfes an expats. Even in Norway where surely they moved for a weather ;). You are
    immigrants. You don’t like it where you are? Go back home ! Simple.
    I would like you see calling Polish or Czecks expats.

  41. Sorry british, but it is true. Spain is solo much better. I´m sure that you guys are super proud of being british and stuff like that but you don´t have anything to be proud about.
    Most of the other countries in Europe are better than the UK.
    France, not having the weather that they have in Spain, is so much prettier, the people is so much nicer, and the food is definitely so much better.
    Italy, prettier, people is nicer, weather is amazing… even with the economic crisis you are still going to live better there than in the UK.
    Spain is full of culture, amazing food and the most important thing, amazing people. We love meeting people from around the work but when it comes the turn of the british… You guys are cold, and you think you are the best when you are not. And another think that sucks about you is that you think that you are to good for being part of the EU, I´m looking forward for you to leave, so we don´t have to see your ugly red faces.
    Another thing, Gibraltar is Spanish and if you don´t give it back we will take it from you and I´m sure that we would have the help of the EU and the USA.
    Everybody around the world love Spain and hate England, wake up and realize it. I´m sorry but it´s how it is.


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