Why don't you go home?

I often hear of immigrants who are less than happy with their lives in France, possibly due to financial worries, cultural/language difficulties or simply homesickness. There would appear to be a quiet desperation in these people as the barrier to return to their country of origin is a financial one.

Have you ever considered returning to your country of origin or have you happily made the transition to a life in France?

If you did choose to return or were required to, would finances be the major issue or are there bigger concerns?

I understand the reason behind the sale of council houses, and the Labour governments were no great shakes with people living in houses for life and the right for their children to take on the tenancy when they could be earning more than enough to live in their own house.

It all became part of the something for nothing culture. What I object to is council tenants being given such a large amount of money towards the cost of buying their rental house.
What was really needed was stricter controls upon who should live in social housing.

Our daughter has not been given any such amount of money towards the cost of purchasing her home!!!

Now, now chaps... Considering it is many, many decades since there has been a true Conservative, for which our David is far too young to remember back that far, and there has never been a true socialist anyway, we are floating around in a miasma of theory anyway. They are all out to shaft us to their own ends it seems, but some of us still live in hope that our respective ideologies may be brought (back) to life.

Proud to be a member of the vermin class! Can't stand the creepy yellow envy and rank odour of socialism!

At the time of the DWP announcing the changes to WFA some of the media speculated a bit on the basis of what somebody at the DWP was saying. There has never been substance given to it but certainly my friends who are moving to Italy about now from Singapore, where both have full UK pension, were warned that it could eventually happen by somebody at the embassy. So, until now it is speculative but given how close the general election is coming and apparently a very large proportion of ex-pat voters being Tory supporters, I imagine they will not want to lose them. However, given the rather unpredictable nature of UK politics at present we do not know which party will be in office. With a change nothing would happen for a few years but with no change and cutbacks unlikely to stop who can really guess. For now it probably only needs to be kept in mind in case somebody does a dirty whilst we are not looking.

Doreen, the EEA has existed since the mid-90s and essentially has more to do with free movement of labour, etc than the EU in reality since it is more countries, that is to say the EFTA countries, EU ones plus a small number of places like Liechtenstein and Andorra... However, there is no social security agreement per se within the EEA, that is an EU matter. But OK Doreen, Connexion is probably right broadly speaking.

By the way, was your maiden name Marple?

Without wanting to be politically 'controversial', I must agree with your choice of word 'fraudulent' Doreen. That being the case, why is there no European Court of Human Rights case ongoing using the 2012 European Court of Justice judgement as a precedent on which to base the action? I have asked the question before and in several places and basically find that there are people who love to give big 'advice' or set up petitions that have mainly achieved nothing, but getting anybody to muster support for a ECHR complaint falls on stony ground. I think it is necessary to try that as a pre-emptive strike before ex-pat pensions are frozen, which many of us are expecting whichever party is in power in the near future. 2015 is getting closer and so I think we have missed the boat. I know that going to the ECHR as an individual is difficult without expert support, however I have not actually been able to find out who or where that may be, even from the 'experts' who so often blow trumpets about this and related issues. There are few incentives for many people to go back to the UK other than necessity and then we tend not to hear the outcome. I have no intention of going back and anyway my OH and daughters have Swiss nationality (OK, the girls are dual nats) which be a strong vote against if I wanted to return. A lot of people are going to be between the devil and the deep blue sea at some time in the future. That fraud was just the first shot in a bloody war against people they wish to cast off because we chose to use our freedom to live elsewhere.

If the government can give a reduction on the price of a council house of up to £75,000 to tenants who wish to buy, just why are they so anti the rest of their citizens who may wish to return?

I had, Doreen, believe me!

Taking Brian's point this autumn will be the last Winter Fuel Payment for those eligible in EU countries. From 2015 they will no longer be getting the payment. Thanks Ian Duncan-Smith! If there's a successful out of Europe referendum in whatever is left of the UK our state pensions will be frozen, along with us, as well.

To "go back" to the UK with your non EU wife (but British passported and nationality child) you need large cash deposits in your bank account for a minimum of six months, plus proof of income of up to the mid £20k's before you can be considered. Under these circumstances I would have to sell my French house and rent something in France for up to a year before we could even apply! Now if I was from sub Saharan Africa it may well be rather easier! At my age I must admit it's rather easier to think in terms of just seeing my days out here in France! At least the health service is up to par, and my wife gets it here as she is working in France. She would not be eligible in the UK until she eventually got a job. It's Catch 22!

Hahahahaha! Interest free loans! Love it. there is the DWP under Iain Duncan Smith cutting back on anything that would or could be considered a 'benefit', most public loans and grants are history (look at student grants for a good model) and this wonderful chestnut appears. Oh well, back to work with a wide grin....

Apart from that, Catharine's point is highly salient.

Yes good points Annette.

Perhaps they don't have any 'estates' as such Steve. Lots of expats are in serious financial trouble and returning to the UK is simply not viable. That doesn't make their situation here any easier or more palatable.

One of the biggest problems about leaving France, or anywhere else you are living and working I guess, is money - paycheck, mortgage and pension saving. It is costly and complicated, even within the borders of the EU.

Pension savings has turned out to be a bigger issue than I had imagined it could be, I guess because every EU country has it's own way of collecting/saving for this.

Leaving the sausage question aside Steve, James started this thread on the subject of people who want to go back but can’t.

I love my life in France, I just hate my (expletive) job. Well that's not 100% true, it pays the bills and keeps me in the lifestyle I'm accustomed to.................scrimping and scraping.

I would like to have more contact with other expats and French mixed rather than separate.

Would love better summers, you know, the ones we've been used to!

But all in all I'm happy with my lot and see a lot of people in a much worse state than we are and I genuinely feel for them. Well at least for those who are making an effort.

Annette, I hate bloody cell-phones as wel, and having idiots bellowing in my ear on the Metro or in shops or even in the street. That probably makes me a hateful person too, and I will live with that, but personally invasion of my space pisses me off mightily and I fail to see why people need to prattle on all day about bugger-all - and in my ear. Cell-phone usage to come with a 'how to be polite' notice not that most of the brain-dead users I hear would know what that meant. Bt then of course, they wouldn't be able to show how busy they are, how important and/or how many friends they have.

Guess who doesn't own a cell-phone? Guess who doesn't want cell-phone? - and for thoe that invariably come up with the argument about the car breaking down, or an emergency in an accident, well I have jogged along for almost 75 years under these conditions, and I daresay I will struggle though for the last remaining years.

Annette, I lived in the Middle East so know all about hatred towards non-Islamists. I lived in Riga and sa the hatred towards the Russians there. Having been a Lecturer in Eastern Europe I know how that was resented. Hungary was the only country where the hatred against me was overt - but not by everbody. There are nasty little bastards wherever you go, but I have never come across that in France and I have lived in 4 different parts of France including the Saint Denis part of Paris - where I owned a flat.

Yes you can get into scrapes easily enough, and yes, I think I do know a bit about hatred. I don't think Scandinavia is any better than anywhere else although I confess I never went further North than Estonia. Most hatred comes from fear or jealousy both ways, and when you get bad neighbours in Denmark it will be just the same feeling as what you feel about France - possibly worse as you will understand it better.

As I say I wish you well, but fear you could still be disappointed at some stage. The world isn't perfect, everybody isn"t polite, some people DO wish you harm and so it goes - but they are always in a very small minority everywhere, or so I have found.

Yes Annette, I once followed a woman to Norway with stars in my eyes. When I did all the officialdom to be able to stay, or at least be based there, the forms included questions about my ethnic origins and religion. Officially there is no sexism, in the north in practice it is the norm.Then, the powers that be decided they wanted me to give up my consultancy work to work with the immigrants, mostly refugees and asylum seekers but a few 'dumped' Thai wives and the like. So, as soon as I had finished my three month obligatory, daily Norwegian language course that was their plan for me. As luck might have it my great romance did not last long, partly because I called her country all but a fascist state with its interests in origins, beliefs and more or less saying what job one would do. That experience was my 'writing on the wall' moment and I am half expecting it to begin elsewhere. If a few weeks in Norway was too much for me, then my few remaining years with no escape will be mental torture.

Annette, yes to the prejudices. They are increasing, mostly in the large cities where there are tensions. Last week we were in Switzerland and watched the speech by Didier Burkhalter, the president, at the Swiss ambassadors' conference in Lugano. He was talking about openness, compassion, internationalism and how the confederation will operate the 'quotas' for EU workers in their country. Even that latter point is suspect, it looks like the 70% of all specialist medical personnel in their country are foreign, similar numbers of engineers, academics and other professionals will be as at present, skilled and qualified artisans will be more or less the same but all of the unskilled people will be controlled. Family members were saying that it meant black work will increase. At present the way foreigners are being treated is getting nasty. Moslems are being given a hard time, Jews are having fingers pointed and Eastern Europeans staring to have shades of Nationalsocialist Germany's way of seeing them. Then cross over the nearby border to Italy a few minutes away, no better. Go to Germany and attitudes are turning, albeit that the Turks there for generations are still not too badly treated and anti-Semitism is a no no (now). The Netherlands and Belgium are also losing their former tolerance and so what is so different here? Those of us from the UK can see, if we wish, just how racist it is becoming there. Just last week there was a demonstration of people openly holding placards saying 'Jihad against Christians' with women veiled completely with them but they were clearly surrounded by heavily armed police. Did the BBC or other news services show what I was watching on Italian news? The tensions go two ways. It is all escalating because the world is becoming factional and nationalist at one and the same time. That is only going to cause tension.

It is everywhere. If those of us who are here and wish to stay keep quiet and our heads down we can even get away with not noticing any of it. Some of us cannot. Personally, I am quite scared about what is happening, not for myself but for society in general. If Denmark is OK at present then good for them, but given the way your neighbours are changing I am not sure it will last. Of course, in essence we are nominally 'safer' in our own countries because linguistically and culturally we fit in but woe betide anybody who swims against the stream when things turn nasty. It drives me to tears to see what is happening. However, where do I belong? It is a long time since I knew and there are many of us in that position.

Just being nosy and distracting myself from what I'm (meant to be!) writing today :)

Also I periodically fancy emigrating to Scandinavia too....