Business Over Tapas 8 October 2015 Nº 132

08 Octubre 2015 1189 votos

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Editorial:

The date for the General Elections has finally been announced by Mariano Rajoy – the latest possible time for these elections, and right at the start of a long holiday season. The day chosen is Sunday the 20th of December. At that time of the year, to cheer us up, we have the biggest national lottery of all, plus the Christmas bonus for workers, the increasingly important presence (sic) of Santa Claus and the endless celebrations to put us in a good (and perhaps forgiving) mood. Parliament will therefore be dissolved on the 26th of October.

The PP, in power since November 2011, will likely lose a lot of its deputies in Parliament – whether it can hold on without a partnership of some sort is doubtful (Expansión gives the Partido Popular a partial victory – from a survey – without an absolute majority here). The chance of a better candidate than Rajoy for the PP is discussed by El Mundo here, but the likelihood of a last minute switch is slim.

So if you are a Spanish voter, adjust your holiday plans accordingly.

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Housing:

 

The Public Prosecutor has dropped an order for the demolition of five British-owned houses in Oria (Almería), in line with the new rules regarding full reparation to buyers in good faith before a demolition can go ahead. A photograph in a similar report at Europa Press shows some of the home-owners, together with the lawyer who specialises in these cases Gerardo Vásquez (2nd right), and with with Len and Helen Prior (2nd left and extreme right): famously unwilling experts in property demolition. Story at Ideal here.

Mark Stücklin’s Spanish Property Insight has a useful graphic showing the ‘house price index tracker’ here, and notes: ‘...the latest data suggests that Spanish house prices are stabilising after years of declines, but (the index tracker) does not support the official data (Govt. INE, & Registrars) picture of property prices starting to increase by as much as 5%...’.

How bad is the housing glut on the Coast asks Mark Stücklin’s Spanish Property Insight. ‘...According to ... estimates, there were 88,000 new homes, 243,000 re-sales, and a total of 331,000 homes for sale in coastal areas at the end of 2014...’. A large stock of homes needs a large demand for prices to be stable...

‘The number of Britons buying abroad plunged after the financial crisis but the strong pound and relatively buoyant UK economy are making a home in the sun look more affordable. Sky-high UK house prices have given many homeowners enough spare equity to fund an overseas purchase, while mortgage finance is cheap. Clare Nessling, director at overseas mortgage specialists Conti, says: “Spain remains top of the list for British buyers, accounting for roughly half of our enquiries.”...’ From The Express.

‘One in five properties sold to foreigners in Spain is purchased by a Brit, new figures have revealed. Foreign buyers bought 12.7 percent of all property sold in Spain in the first half of 2015, with Brits leading the way when it comes to properties bought by foreign nationals. British buys made up 19.8 percent of all foreign purchases in the first six months of 2015, according to Spain’s Colegio de Registradores...’. Found at The Local.

Spain’s College of Property Registrars (RDE), with help from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) and the Association of International Property Professionals (AIPP), has created a guide in English to buying a home in Spain. With this useful advice from the experts, nothing should go wrong! The 20-step guide is prosaically called ‘Guide to buying a property in Spain' and is available for download here. (Thanks to Jake)

‘The Mayor of Torrevieja, José Manuel Dolón, participated in a meeting convened by the British Ambassador to Spain, Simon Manley, along with the British Consul Sarah-Jane Morris, held this week in Alicante, to report on the project called Top Ten Towns. This week's meeting is part of an initiative by the British Consulate to work specifically with the towns and cities throughout the Valencia and Murcia region and specifically in the cities with the highest number of British residents in what they term the: 'Top Ten Towns' with Torrevieja ranking as the second, preceded by the much larger municipal region of Orihuela...’. From Round Town News.

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Tourism:

‘...the total spending by international tourists visiting Spain in August amounted to a new record figure of 9.46 billion euros. This represents an increase of 4.1% over August 2014, and equates to average expenditure of 305.2 million euros per day for the Spanish economy in August...’. Wow! Item at Kyero here.

‘The low-cost airline Ryanair will offer 52 destinations from Málaga during next summer, considered to be between April and October, including the seven new routes. The Marketing Director for Ryanair in Spain and Portugal, José Espartero, said his company will maintain 275 weekly flights to Málaga and expects to carry 3.5 million passengers, a commercial activity which creates some 2,700 jobs in Málaga province...’. From Typically Spanish.

The final ten kilometres of the A7 motorway between Almería and Málaga were opened on Tuesday. Now, those never-ending 1,060 curves of the old N340 between the two capitals are truly just a memory. El Ideal has the story.

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Finance:

 

S&P has a high opinion of Spain’s future – as long as the PP continues with the stewardship. The agency likes ‘the solid and balanced behaviour of the economy’ which, it says, ‘is benefitting Public finances’. Other possible governments, the agency worries, ‘may not be able to preserve or grow in an appropriate way’. Indeed, Standard and Poor’s has raised Spain’s credit level from BBB to BBB+ following Rajoy’s reforms. El Mundo has the story here.

 

‘Spain's "bad bank", set up to relieve ailing lenders of their soured real estate assets, said on Friday it faced more charges from the falling value of its properties, which have already eaten into its earnings. Sareb, which was created in the wake of the 2012 financial crisis, will have to carry out valuations on half of its properties by the end of the year under new rules set out by the Bank of Spain...’. From Reuters.

The Government has pushed through a law stopping ‘double charges’ on ATM withdrawals. Now, the card-issuing bank may decide to make a charge or otherwise on withdrawals from competing banks, while the paying bank may not (from January 1st).

The European Commission is unhappy with Spain’s budget for 2016. A blog called Gurusblog sums it up: ‘The budget is an election joke’. Indeed, Brussels insists that the new Government following the elections in December ‘should prepare a proper full budget for 2016’ (says Expansión here). The Spanish deficit for 2015 at 4.5% of the GDP (instead of 4.2%) will be nearer 3.5% next year, says Brussels, than Spain’s estimate of 2.8% GDP. The IMF has also cast doubt on Spain’s budget deficit, with estimates of their own of 4.4% for this year and 3.2% for 2016. However, El País in English looking at Spain’s estimation of growth for 2016, notes ‘...(the IMF) predicted that Spanish GDP would increase by 3.1% this year and 2.5% next year. That forecast is somewhat less optimistic than that of the Spanish government – which is expecting growth of 3.3% in 2015 – but it would still be enough to put Spain among the best-performing economies in the EU.

Unemployment figures for September are now in, with a small increase of 26,000 workers registered as being in paro. El País has more. A study at El Blog Salmón shows that Spain remains the second highest state in Europe’s 28 (after Greece) at 22.2% (August figures). Over 20% of those in work have miserable and poorly paid jobs, says Ideal here.

Imagine turning down an inheritance! Many people are doing just that as the taxes on these gifts from the grave can sometimes prove to be too high. Last year, one in ten inheritances in property was turned down, according to the notaries. The taxes on these gifts are higher in Andalucía, Murcia and Asturias than in other parts of Spain – for example, an andaluz would pay 107,000€ on a legacy valued at 500,000€, whereas a Catalonian would pay just 272€. (Graphic here).

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Politics:

 

Mariano Rajoy says that the choice is simple. Continue forward with the recuperation provided by the Partido Popular, or return to the worrisome days of the past. More at ABC.

 

The PP is worried that Rodrigo Rato could end up in jail and thus dampen their chances of winning the national elections in December. The Cadena Ser tells the story of corruption within the Partido Popular. (See ‘Corruption’ below). José Manuel García-Margallo, the Foreign Minister (known to one of our correspondents as ‘Motormouth Margallo’), reckons that the Rodrigo Rato affair will not particularly affect the PP, ‘as the entire political class must bear the weight of corruption’. The PP, he added, is working hard to eradicate corruption from Public Life. More on this at Euro Mundo Global here. Meanwhile, showing uncommon valour, the Judge investigating Rodrigo Rato confiscated his passport on Tuesday. Indeed, poor Mr Rato must now report to the Court once a month... Of course, as El Diario points out, you don’t need a passport to visit countries within the Schengen agreement, like Switzerland for example...

For any post-election coalitions, ‘you can count us out’, says the leader of the Ciudadanos in Catalonia, Inés Arrimadas, presumably speaking for her party nationally. ‘If you vote for Ciudadanos, you vote for us, not for Rajoy or Sánchez’. More here.

As for ‘who speaks what?’, an amusing article in Teleprensa finds that, of the four main candidates for president on the 20D (as these General Elections are called), Mariano Rajoy is the only monolingual one, since Pedro Sánchez (PSOE) speaks English and French, Pablo Iglesias (Podemos) speaks English, French and Italian and Albert Rivera (Ciudadanos) speaks English. Furthermore, Artur Mas speaks Spanish, Catalán, English and French, and to finish, Esperanza Aguirre speaks quite beautiful English.

A site called Marea Granate has a useful guide for those Spaniards who live abroad and would like to vote in the General Elections Here.

The new venture from Pedro J Ramírez, El Español, begins on October 14th. Intro here.

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Corruption:

Here’s an astonishing and exhaustive list of corruption from the Partido Popular, each with its own links to newspaper articles.

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Catalonia:

 

Artur Mas writes in The Guardian: ‘The Catalan people have spoken. Will the Spanish government listen?’ It begins: ‘On 27 September Catalonia’s voters went to the polls and with a record 77.4% turnout gave a win in every single electoral district to the political forces whose campaign promise was, if elected, that they would follow a “roadmap” towards Catalan independence from Spain. Pro-independence lists obtained 48% of the votes and 72 seats out of 135, whereas unionist lists got 39% of the votes and 52 seats...’.

Rajoy has the answer... a short video from Polònia – a comedy show from Catalonia.

Alistair Ross, at Catalonia is a Nation, blames Mariano Rajoy for the intensity of the support for Catalonian Independence here.

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Courts

The Banco Santander has been charged with ‘endorsing a financial product designed to always leave the client with losses’. Story at El Diario here.

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Various:

It seems a sad truism that senior politicians find, on retirement, a new job on the board of an electric company or similar (with suitably impressive remuneration). The latest to move to the board, in this case of Telefónica, is Trinidad Jiménez, an ex-minister under Zapatero. She will be paid 200,000 euros a year for her valuable input. Story here.

Capital cities with the highest risk of poverty. La Voz de Almería provides the list: Ceuta has 44% of its population at risk, followed by Murcia at 33%...

Spain on Friday granted citizenship to 4,302 people whose Jewish ancestors fled after being told in 1492 to convert to Catholicism or go into exile ahead of the Spanish Inquisition that saw many Jews burned at the stake. The naturalizations were approved a day after Spain adopted its new citizenship law for descendants of Sephardic Jews, said Justice Minister Rafael Catala. It allows applicants to maintain their original citizenship so they can have dual nationality...’. From The Washington Post. Oddly, other groups with historic claims on Spain have not been considered in this peculiar piece of legislation.

The huntin’ and shootin’ magazine Revista Jara y Sedal makes the valid point that domestic and feral cats are lethal on the small rodent and bird population – besides causing an estimated 14% of extinctions worldwide in the last few centuries.

Just to be clear, as some cannabis clubs try and evade the law, the Supreme Court has once again ruled that the use of cannabis in illegal in Spain. Story here.

Spain is now the leader in Europe of GM crops, since they are now banned in much of Europe. The subject is discussed by El Diario here.

‘In 1961, then-first lady Jacqueline Kennedy decided that art could serve as a cultural bridge to strengthen the ties between countries. So she introduced a program that is now known as Art in Embassies. ... On Thursday, James Costos, the US ambassador to Spain, and his partner, interior decorator Michael S. Smith, for the first time officially presented the exquisite art collection that graces their private residence at No. 48 Paseo de la Castellana in Madrid...’. From El País in English.

Feel sorry for the Top Manta people, those Sub-Saharians who sell dodgy stuff in markets and on the pavement most evenings? Now they have their own union, the ‘Sindicato Popular de Vendedores Ambulantes’. Wish them luck. More here.

A list of censored or manipulated articles and features has been prepared by journalists from the National Television TVE. Read it here.

Spain’s Battle of the Bull. The BBC explains in audio here the viewpoint from the pro and anti ‘taurinos’.

News concerning the US version of the Modelo 720 – the declaration of foreign assets: ‘Foreign financial institutions still scrambling to get their books in order can take a temporary breather as the IRS extends the FATCA deadline—due to kick in on Sept. 30, 2015—by a further 12 months...’.

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See Spain

 

Fifty Stunning Places To See in Spain (photos), found at The Weather Channel here.

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Letters

         

We are pleased to report that the recent change to the Criminal Code has resulted in good news for five British owned homes in the Rambla de Oria area in Almeria.

We feel that the change to the Criminal Code, as a result of a campaign by AUAN and SOHA, to require prior compensation for purchasers in good faith has given the courts the tools to deal fairly with homeowners who were the victims of unscrupulous promoters and careless administrations.

We expect that the courts will take the new legislation into account in future cases where the homeowners have made the effort to establish their credentials as purchasers in good faith. It certainly looks promising.

One point we would like to make is that simply being a foreigner does not equate to being a purchaser in good faith in the eyes of the court. The five home owners in this case employed lawyers to convince the court that they deserved this status. The new legislation exists but people need to invoke it.

As for the homeowners in this particular case, they are now free from proceedings, relieved of the stress, and can now set about obtaining an AFO certificate for their properties. i.e. to have them recognised as regularised.

Maura Hillen, President of the AUAN. Contact Esta dirección de correo electrónico está siendo protegida contra los robots de spam. Necesita tener JavaScript habilitado para poder verlo. or Maura Hillen 661329919

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Finally:

Perhaps one of the most famous Pasodobles, España Cañí is best known for its main refrain of eight bars of arpeggiated chords that go from E minor to F major to G major and back. Here with the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra. {jcomments on}

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