What an interesting letter from Julian Stevens about the EU. He raises some points which I very much agree with.
For instance, why can't UK insurance companies insure British people living in Europe, with the honourable exception of Friends Provident, but then you can't get the normal contracts? Surely it cannot be beyond them to arrange this?
Why can't we routinely have investments denominated in euros? I have a request from someone living in Spain who wants to purchase a life annuity, quite a large one, in euros and I have been unable to find somebody who will provide it. Would a provider get in touch with me? I know there is one but have been unable to track them down.
These should be routine matters now we are in common trading partnership, with many using the same currency.
What I totally disagree with is Mr Stevens' comments about Italy. It does not have a corrupt political system. They have gone over to a very similar first-past-the-post system as we have, leading to more stability. It can be argued that Mr Berlusconi may not be the ideal person to lead a country as he has so much control over the media but it is not the system which is wrong. Indeed, with Mr Stevens having mentioned that the UK is the world's fourth-biggest economy, I think I am right in saying Italy is the fifth.
As for Italy and the mafia, this is mainly limited to one small part of Sicily and bear in mind there is a strong mafia system in Russia and there used to be one in the US.
Mr Stevens says Harry Katz should go and live in Italy. I wish I could. The health system is much better. We have had to use it twice and were seen immediately and the treatment was second to none.
The food in Italy is the best in the world, the people are some of the most friendly and I cannot imagine anywhere that would be nicer for retirement and I fully intend to spend at least part of my retirement in that splendid country. Of course, there are snags but does Mr Stevens believe there is no corruption in the UK?
Jamieson Financial Management,