This blog has taken an unashamedly pro-Europe position for the past three years, for as long as the European Union became a contentious issue for some misguided and deluded British people. The UK’s madness has been a rather sorry business, but are Europeans depressed about it? No! Non! Nein!
Europeans are happy as ever, according to the results of the Eurostat Survey reported in The Guardian today. And much happier results are recorded because the UK was not included in the survey.
The Eurostat survey found that Europeans were more satisfied than ever, except in Lithuania, Sweden and the Netherlands. The happiest are to be found in Switzerland, Norway and Finland (although I think it unfair to include people who spent too much time with reindeer.) Across the EU28, satisfaction on a scale of 1-10 rose to 7.3 in 2018, from 7.0 in 2013.
The photo of the happy Norwegians that accompanies the article was clearly not taken in Finestrat, the large metropolitan village near here, which is very popular with Norwegians. They are not to be seen painting their faces or smiling ecstatically and waving in the streets of Finestrat. They are more likely to be found dining at home and serving a small salad without salad dressing to their dinner guests, served with a perfectly square piece of toast; but very happy indeed as they contemplate the surprise of their English dinner guests. Yes, this is really the main course.
Here in Spain happiness measures 7.2 on average. I have just surveyed the donkeys in El Parral, where we find a huge disparity: three donkeys on 8.5 but Rubí on 2.1 because she is a complete Eeyore. (The chickens refused to participate in the survey as they said it was a clucking waste of their time.)
Going for a meal yesterday with my friends and retired teaching colleagues Sarah and Steve, I measured happiness level between 8.5 and 9.2 on the scale but it would have been nearer 9.5 if the restaurant had stocked Estrella Galicia beer.
So, this is the official happiness level on an average Thursday afternoon for British immigrants living in Spain. Oh, and let’s drop the word “expat” please: it is quite offensive and we don’t live in the Indian Raj. Most people I know who think of themselves as “expats” are pretty dull and only become enthused when complaining about the shortage of pork pies in the British supermarket. The British deserve to be called migrants as much as the people who cross over from Morocco in rubber dinghies and get arrested on the beach when they arrive. Their happiness level on arriving without drowning at sea would be worth a special survey of its own, and they do at least want to be seen as European once they have arrived on EU soil, unlike the “expats”.
So what can we conclude from this short discussion of the European happiness survey? Well, the fact that the UK was not included in the survey probably says it all. I presume they kept the UK out of it because the low level of satisfaction with life (and the lack of pork pies) might have reduced the overall European happiness average to something resembling North Korea.