By Humphrey Carter PALMA

A lack of information, being unable to speak the language, not wanting to pay local taxes or preferring to remain anonymous are some of the reasons the majority of retired European Union residents are not registered with their local council here in Spain.

According to an in-depth study of the retired EU resident community carried out by the country's leading think tank the Real Instituto Elcano, one in five of the 2.5 million EU residents are retired and the majority of them are not registered with their local town hall.

As a benchmark, the researchers focused on the 65-74 age group and, either by post or in person, interviewed a large number of EU residents from the main 15 bloc countries, plus Norway and Switzerland, as well as consulting organisations and associations which have close relations with the foreign resident communities.

According to the report published yesterday, there are an estimated 400'000 retirees from the main 15 European Union countries living in Spain and 90 percent of them either reside in Mediterranean coastal regions or the Canaries and of course, here in the Balearics.

However, due to the fact that a large majority are not registered with their town hall and not on the official census, not even the National Statistics Institute knows exactly how many EU retirees are living in Spain.

According to the latest figures from the National Statistics Institute, there are 122'010 European Union residents registered in the Balearics and 8'265 of those are retired Britons.

In total, there are 30'875 residents from the 15 selected EU countries plus Norway and Switzerland registered as living here in the islands with the largest registered community aged over 55 comprised by the 13'389 Germans.

But nationwide, there are 176'952 registered British residents aged over 55, just over double the total number of Germans in that age group.
According to the report, those who have registered with their town hall, have done so for a variety of reasons. 71 percent have done so to be officially recognised as a resident of the municipality in which they reside.

47 percent are registered in order to have access to the Spanish national health system while a further 29 percent have signed on with their town hall to benefit from the Social Security system . Nearly 40 percent have registered because they understood it was obligatory.