By Humphrey Carter

THE recession may well be forcing a sizable number of European pensioners who have retired to the Balearics and Spain, in particular Britons who have also been hit by the drop in value of the pound, to return home but Spain continues to be Europe's top retirement destination.

According to a recent survey carried out by employee management consulting firm Aon Corporation, the new sponsor of Manchester United, sun, sea and sangria come top of the list for European pensioners seeking to relocate for retirement.

The Aon Corporation found that one in four Europeans wishing to retire abroad would like to move to Spain, followed by France, Italy and the United States. “I imagine it must have something to do with the weather”, Peter Abelskamp, director of health and benefits EMEA at Aon Consulting said..
Less than half of the British workers questioned wished to spend their retirement years in their home country, in contrast with 87 percent of Spaniards.

Most French workers were content to stay in France after retiring, unlike German respondents, of whom only 46 percent wished to carry on living in Germany. “Cheap air travel and the communication tools available over the internet means that retiring overseas doesn't necessarily mean being completely absent from your family's life”, said Oliver Rowlands, head of retirement for Europe, the Middle East and Africa at Aon Consulting in a statement.

Over 7'500 workers from Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, The Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Switzerland and Britain were polled for the study. Retirement emigration could force some governments to rethink social policies and healthcare budgets to deal with the needs of a large ageing population, Aon said in the statement alongside its survey results.

But, with so many Europeans wishing to retire here in Spain, the survey suggests that Spain could be facing a grey immigration crisis over time, altering the population balance of the country and perhaps putting a strain on the health care resources.

Over one-eighth of employees outside Spain said they would like to retire here and most of those could come from Germany, Ireland and the UK where employees said that they were least happy at the prospect of retiring in their home country with over half stating they would want to move elsewhere.


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