Business over Tapas July 26 2018 Nº 266

26 Julio 2018  Sección; Especiales 401 votos

Editorial:

Spain has been involved in the past couple of years with a serious examination on how it treats its women. The subject is very important, and rape, physical harm or threat, unequal pay, different rules and habits should not be considered acceptable in a civilised nation. The new government is closer to society’s demands on the treatment of women in Spain and much is being made, for example, of the ‘manada’ creatures who raped a young woman two years ago in the San Fermín fiestas in Pamplona. A few later cases have also talked of manadas, predatory ‘herds’, involved here and there in group rape (regardless of what word the judges might prefer). Sex should be understood within the bounds of ‘no means no’, but to extend this – as now proposed by the vice-president Carmen Calvo – to ‘yes means yes’ is a trifle silly. We must stay within the realms of common sense.

 

So too, ‘gender violence’ (the term means much more than the horrible murders within the family so often reported on the Spanish news). This must stop and campaigns are regularly floated in the media. The phone number to report any gender violence is, as we know, 016 (although the service is inexplicably in some danger of being halted apparently). Call if you need to (or call the emergency services on 112).

Women must receive equal treatment to men. There is no doubt.

But let us not go crazy here with our demands – re-writing the Constitution because it doesn’t say ‘citizen and citizeness’ or ‘Spaniard and Spaniardess’ (whatever) makes women’s rights look silly and can even end up by toppling the whole struggle through facetiousness.

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Housing:

The number of Spanish home sales inscribed in the Land Registry rose by five percent in May compared to the same month last year, according to the latest figures from the National Institute of Statistics (INE). However, sales plunged 27% in the Balearics, and continued to fall in Catalonia, where the political situation is undermining investor confidence...’. From an article at Spanish Property Insight here.

The ABC says ‘Far from slowing down, foreign interest in the Spanish real estate market continues to rise. It is already at record highs: according to the latest data from the College of Registrars, as home purchases by foreign investors accounted for 13% of the total between January and March, exceeding 16,500 transactions. Among them, 2,400 were executed by British citizens, who led this segment with 15% of foreign purchases and sales. They are followed by Germans (7.85%), French (7.64%), Belgians (6.83%), Swedes (6.57%), Italians (5.77%) and Romanians (5.41%)...’.

If it’s cheap, there’s a reason, says El País here: ‘What the bargain apartments hide. Eight out of ten homes sold in Spain are used and many are likely to hide deficiencies that require major and costly renovations’. Worth a look if you are in the market...

From The Local: ‘The amount of coastal land that has been built on in Spain has more than doubled since the introduction of a law in 1988 designed to limit development along its shores, Greenpeace said Tuesday. A property boom in the 1990s led to an explosion in holiday homes, hotels and resorts, especially along Spain's sunny eastern and southern coast, until the market crashed in 2008...’. More here.

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Tourism:

Tourism provides such an easy income. All you need is good weather which costs nothing to provide. A modest police presence and a few bars and we have lift-off. Thus Spain has done itself well with its proximity to Northern Europe and its laid-back approach. Now some people are becoming tired of the tourist hoards, especially those who don’t profit from them. For example, the good burghers of Magaluf, one of the jolliest places to stay (if you are young and like a drink), are now coming to the conclusion that drunken British tourism is not the way to go, even with major police reinforcements. Calvià (Magaluf is a resort within the municipality) has a population of 49,000 inhabitants and a budget for ‘citizen security’ of 12 million euros per annum. El Diario has the story here.

If you report that there are waiters earning just 700 euros a month for 12 hours of work a day, of which only four are declared, it is because you hate tourism; if you report that there are cleaners who come to prepare 20 rooms a day for 1.5 euros each, it is because you hate tourism. If you report that drunken guiris stay in illegal apartments and vomit all over your yard, you hate tourism; if you report that your rent has gone from 500 euros a month to 900, because it is more profitable for the landlord to rent the house illegally for a few days than for months legally, you hate tourism. If you report that the old shops and bars in your neighbourhood are now franchises where they pay 700 euros a month to waiters with partial contracts that must work for all the hours in a day, then you hate tourism...’. The rant continues here at Paralelo 36.

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Finance:

The Government has raised the expenditure ceiling for 2019 to 125,064 million, an increase of 5,230 million, or 4.4% more than in 2018. This was announced by the Minister of Finance, María Jesús Montero, last Friday at the press conference following the meeting of the Council of Ministers. The expenditure ceiling set for this year by the previous government was 119,834 million. "There will be more fiscal room for expansionary budgets and more social accounts," Montero said...’. ... The press conference also looked at unemployment. ‘...Minister Nadia Calviño was somewhat more optimistic about the future than her predecessor, Román Escolano. She expects the unemployment rate to fall to 13.4% by the end of 2019, compared to an estimated 13.8% average in the latest macroeconomic framework approved by the previous PP government. Calviño insists that by 2020 the unemployment rate will be 12%, reduced to 10.7% in 2021. El Mundo reports here.

El Confidencial looks at the surprisingly low Corporate Tax (impuesto sobre sociedades) in Spain: ‘Most of the generators of tax will achieve record revenues this year. It makes sense that this should be the case, as the country's GDP is at record highs. However, not all taxes are in the same health or, in other words, not all economic agents contribute to sustaining the Welfare State as they did before the crisis broke out. The State reached its all-time high of collection in 2007 and has not yet managed to exceed this figure. This is despite the fact that GDP has already surpassed pre-crisis levels and that many of the taxes are at their maximum level of collection. The fiscal effort required of families has not been sufficient to compensate for the collapse of corporate tax, which means that Spain has yet to return to 2007 levels for one or two years...’. A graph shows Corporate Tax to be about half of what it was in 2007. The story here.

The Banco Santander (which earned 3,752 million euros in the first half of this year) is aghast at the Government’s proposed new tax on banks says El Mundo here. ‘The first bank in Spain and the Eurozone is already publicly attacking the plan announced by the President of the Government, Pedro Sánchez, to establish a tax on banking and presents it as unjust and counterproductive. The CEO of the Santander Group, José Antonio Álvarez, issued a serious warning on Wednesday that if the tax burden were increased, the bank would be forced to change its legal structure in Spain and would lose weight worldwide. ... He said that 'probably' the bank would maintain its headquarters in Spain even if the government's announcements of a tax on banks to pay pensions materialised...’.

From Canal Sur: ‘Airbus announces the loss of 800 jobs in Spain’.

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Politics:

The new leader of the Partido Popular is Pablo Casado, who edged out Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría in the party vote last Friday, is said to be on the right-wing of the party. Perhaps that’s what the PP needs. The new leader must now overcome the issue of the dodgy master’s degree which (theoretically) caused the fall of the Madrid regional leader Cristina Cifuentes (here). El Diario looks at the situation here. The New York Times introduces its readers to ‘hard-liner’ Pablo Casado here. El País in English reports that Pablo Casado ‘...supports more restrictive abortion legislation, and reforms to election laws’. On the second point, he wants to reduce the political influence of regionalist and minority parties in Parliament. As one does.

The PP is attempting to get the judge to drop the master’s case, says El Diario here (Casado is aforado anyway, having ‘parliamentary immunity’). The PP financed the JC University while Cifuentes and Casado were diligently studying for the master’s degrees to the tune of 370,000€ says El Diario here.

The senior PP member (and Santamaría supporter) Javier Arenas thinks that Pablo Casado won’t last long, and says so on LaSexta here.

Another senior PP leader, María Dolores de Cospedal, announced last Thursday that she was retiring from politics (after finishing third in the PP leadership battle). El Independiente reports here.

Several parties (not including the PSOE) are asking for a commission to investigate the scandal surrounding Spain’s ex-regent Juan Carlos I. The left-wing republican newspaper Público has the story!

Could Susana Díaz be considering early elections for Andalucía this autumn? With the national government now in the hands of the PSOE, the PP-A in disarray and the other parties – Ciudadanos confused and Podemos in internal revolt – El Español thinks it could be in October. There is even talk (El Mundo here) of Pedro Sánchez calling for national elections this autumn.

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Catalonia:

From El País in English: ‘Judge drops international arrest warrant against former Catalan premier. Magistrate takes decision after Germany refuses to extradite Carles Puigdemont on charge of rebellion. The politician will still be arrested if he sets foot on Spanish soil’. Puigdemont is now returning to Belgium says The Local here.

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Gibraltar:

From The Guardian: ‘Spain has warned the British government that a “cliff-edge” Brexit must be avoided for Gibraltar, with negotiations over the future of the Rock said to be stalling. The outcome of talks between Spain and the UK over the future of the British overseas territory will determine whether its residents enjoy the benefits of the transition period after Brexit, in which the UK will stay in the customs union and single market for an additional 21 months...’.

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Corruption:

From El País in English: ‘The High Court judge opens probe into recordings of the friend of King Juan Carlos. Investigation will examine claims made by businesswoman Corinna zu Sayn-Wittgenstein that the former monarch used her as a front to conceal assets’.

Following the story of possible wrong-doings on the part of Juan Carlos I, the Government is now checking the legalities of the ex-king’s position prior to a possible full enquiry.

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Brexit:

From The Conversation: ‘British Remainers across continental Europe left with feelings of shame and loss after Brexit’.

From The Independent. ‘No-deal Brexit will make it ‘illegal’ to pay pensions to retired British expats living in EU, MPs told’.

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Media:

The battle for control of the RTVE (thoughts and control over its viewers and listeners) remains fluid, with the latest candidate for President – Rosa María Mateo – failing to secure enough votes in Congress in the first round of votes. El País reports here.

Maldito Bulo (the Spanish ‘Snopes’) explains here that sometimes a title is purposefully misleading in the knowledge that the accompanying article won’t be read by most people.

Netflix will install its first production plant in Europe in a major audiovisual complex in Madrid’. 20 Minutos reports here.

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Ecology:

The problem with politicians who have no understanding of science’. Thus, the headline from La Ciencia y sus Demonios which looks at Teresa Jordá, the Secretary for Agriculture in Catalonia who thinks that raw milk is good for the body. She also supports the use of homeopathy says El Español here.

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Various:

Here’s a hard-to-believe item. Spain has one of the lowest percentages of public employees of any EU country says El Boletín here. Only 15% of workers in Spain are funcionarios! Sweden has 29%, Germany manages with just 10%.

The Customer is always... Wrong’, says El Confidencial in an opinion piece.

The ‘okupas’ - squatters - are becoming a large problem in Spain. Harder to remove than those caught in the tentacles of the banks through unpaid mortgages, the okupas are legion. One such, in Puerto Banus, started by renting a holiday apartment then changed the locks. He now runs four prostitutes from the address. El Mundo catches up with him here.

A new tectonic fault has been discovered by Spanish scientists and it could be behind deadly earthquakes. Geologists unearthed the fault under the westernmost part of the Alborán Sea following an expedition led by the Higher Council for Scientific Research (CSIC) and the University of Granada...’. A report from The Olive Press here.

Talk Radio Europe has started a program for Irish listeners in Spain called Live on Eire presented by Ger Sweeney on Mondays from 6pm to 7pm. More here.

Lenox Napier advises of false Camino de Santiago signs aimed at diverting 'pilgrims' past bars and restaurants, for example outside Ponferrada. This has been going on for years near Porriño, between Tui and Pontevedra, after the original route was changed so you didn't have to walk through a large industrial park. There have even been reports of fisticuffs between bar-owners on the old and new routes’. From Colin Davies blog.

A collection of 100 años of humour with El País here.

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See Spain:

Northern Spain road trip: pull over for pintxos. There’s great food and striking design on the route from the Basque country to Galicia, taking in boutique hotels and beautiful beaches’. Found at The Guardian here.

As a team of archaeologists invited by his local tourist councillor enthusiastically dig up the old mountain behind Lenox’ house in Mojácar in search of treasure, here is The Olive Press with ‘Fifteen lesser known ancient ruins that are a must-see in Andalucía and the Costa del Sol in Spain’. Oddly, the ‘Old Mojácar’ dig is not one of them.

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Finally:

Nothing to do with Spain, but non-British readers of Business over Tapas may have missed this one:

From Business Insider: ‘Conservative MEP David Campbell Bannerman wants people with "extreme EU loyalties" to be prosecuted for treason. He says, "I think it [the Treason Act] should extend to those undermining UK interests through extreme undemocratic loyalty to other states including the EU super-state’. Enjoy yourself here. In a second article found here at The Independent on the same subject, ‘Guy Verhofstadt brands Tory Brexiteer ‘insane’ for suggesting some Remainers should be tried for treason’. Madre mía!

 

A digest of this week's Spanish financial, political and social news aimed primarily at Foreign Property Owners:

With Lenox Napier and Andrew Brociner. Consultant: José Antonio Sierra

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