Migration: some Europeans move to Spain to escape huge energy bills

Famous for its golden beaches, the sunny province of Alicante in eastern Spain has become a beacon for European travellers.

To avoid skyrocketing energy bills this winter, some in the north of the continent are opting for towns on the Mediterranean Sea, such as Calpe, a hundred kilometers from Valencia.

In recent years, almost half a million people from 98 different countries have settled on the Costa Blanca and its 200 kilometer long coastline.

Most choose this area because the winters are mild, but as the cost of living crisis continues, those lucky enough to work remotely further north are reconsidering where they live and why.

According to Statistica, the data analytics platform, a single working adult in the UK needs to earn at least €28,000 to reach a minimum acceptable standard of living in 2022. Across the Channel in France, the second Eurozone economy, forecasts for economic growth could be undermined as the war in Ukraine continues.

Anne Dingenen, restaurateur in Calpe, says: “I think there is a better quality of life here. 65% of my employees are Belgian, but I also have English, Spanish, French and Germans. I have them all, yes.”

Attracted by the climate, more and more Belgians, Britons and Germans are making the leap.

“There is no need for heating here.

“And people are saving money by coming here without having to pay for gas or electricity, and now with the price going up, I imagine a lot more people will want to emigrate,” says council adviser Hilde Backaert. Municipality of Calpe.

Calpe is home to the largest Belgian community in Spain – who, according to Annie Gaudens, president of the Belgian Association of Friends, enjoy a better quality of life here than at home.

“It’s not possible for a retiree to go to a restaurant every day in Belgium, but there you go! Here, we enjoy life.

“My daughter calls me and says, mum, I paid €250 in bills for a month, and I say, well, I paid €28. Because the weather is nice here.”

The cost of energy in Spain has doubled since the start of the war in Ukraine, and inflation is now over 10%.

However, in the southern and eastern coastal areas, winter temperatures rarely drop below high temperatures, so central heating is not required.

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