17 Oct, 2013 @ 18:30
1 min read

Britain’s outgoing ambassador tells expats in Spain to help themselves

Giles paxman embajador RU

BRITAIN’S outgoing ambassador to Spain has told expats they must learn to help themselves.

Giles Paxman, who will step down from his post later this month, said that Brits living in Spain could avoid ‘dramas’ by being better prepared.

The 61-year-old stressed that the consular service in Spain – the world’s busiest – has a duty to focus on the most serious cases.

“If you’re living here you can prepare for the sort of difficulties you might face so that if those difficulties do occur, they remain simply difficulties and don’t become dramas,” said Paxman.

“A lot of British people who live here don’t speak Spanish and I understand that, but more and more local authorities do have people who speak English.

“We have to focus on the most serious and demanding cases.”

Last year, Britain’s consulates in Spain handled more than 6,000 cases.


  1. Wow, this guy says some daft things, no wonder he’s being retired. Expats have been helping themselves for decades. Who else is going to help them?

    Chris, you don’t need to speak Spanish to live in Spain. It definitely helps to learn Spanish, but it’s not a prerequisite to living in Spain.

  2. I agree, I don’t think a lot of people prepare themselves properly to live abroad. They come in “vacation mode” or “when I studied abroad mode” and then become disillusioned when real life kicks in.
    I do think one should have some level of Spanish if you live here.

  3. Maybe learning some very basic Spanish should be a condition of living in Spain. It would certainly help a lot of people out! I mean the ex pat percentage who just: move out here – sunbathe – ask for ‘pints of lager’ – get bored – bitch.

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