Spain, The Over-Indebtedness of European Consumers: A View from Six Countries

61 Pages Posted: 31 Aug 2017

See all articles by Pablo Gutiérrez de Cabiedes

Pablo Gutiérrez de Cabiedes

Universidad CEU San Pablo. Facultad de Derecho

Cantero Gamito Marta

European University Institute - Department of Law (LAW)

Date Written: January 10, 2014


After a number of years into the global economic and financial crisis, many European countries have suffered profound economic, political, and social repercussions. Governmental and constitutional crises, high levels of public debt, the adoption of austerity measures, unprecedented levels of unemployment, and the spreading of poverty have marked many European societies. While the EU is in a process of re-examining the whole design of the banking system with far-reaching political and institutional consequences, the impact of the economic crisis on indebted consumers, and specifically those with mortgages, has been much less discussed. The Working Paper presents the result of a research on the effects of the financial and EURO crisis in Spain (along with other five European countries within and outside the Eurozone: Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Portugal and Romania) having in common that they received international bailout loans under the condition of implementing intrusive austerity measures. Consumers are still facing increasing levels of (over-)indebtedness and struggle with the effects of the crisis, both in financial and social terms. In this light, the studies pay attention to both the social reality and the legal change which is undergoing as triggered by legislative reforms and judicial decisions. The studies also lay open the shortcomings of a EU consumer policy which is largely based on the image of the reasonably circumspect consumer who is supposed to be autonomous, self-reliant, and reasonably well informed. In this regard, the EU suffers from a clear internal market bias that promotes and requires easy access to consumer and mortgage credit, without paying sufficient attention to the possible drawbacks in terms of social exclusion.

Keywords: Financial Crisis, Over-indebtedness, Household Debt, Consumers, Consumer Law, Consumer Bankruptcy, Mortgage, Eviction, European Union, Crisis económica, Crisis financiera, Sobreendeudamiento, Consumidores, Desahucios, Hipoteca,

Suggested Citation

Gutiérrez de Cabiedes, Pablo and Marta, Cantero Gamito, Spain, The Over-Indebtedness of European Consumers: A View from Six Countries (January 10, 2014). EUI Department of Law Research Paper No. LAW 2014/10, (eds. Domurath, Irina; Comparato, Guido; Micklitz, Hans-Wolfgang), pp. 108-161, European University Institute, Firenze., Available at SSRN:

Pablo Gutiérrez de Cabiedes (Contact Author)

Universidad CEU San Pablo. Facultad de Derecho ( email )

Calle Julián Romea, 18
Madrid, Madrid 28003

Cantero Gamito Marta

European University Institute - Department of Law (LAW) ( email )

Via Bolognese 156 (Villa Salviati)
50-139 Firenze

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