Business Over Tapas July 7 2016 Nº 168

07 Julio 2016 979 votos

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Editorial:

The issue of the Brexit has taken hold with the ex-pats – to a certain extent. Perhaps the precipitous drop in the pound against the euro has engaged their attention. Reports from the UK of the peculiar loss of the Brexit champions, Boris Johnson and Nigel Farage, or perhaps the pale assurances of the British ambassador Simon Manley, may have muddied or perhaps even calmed the waters. Then there were the peculiar remarks from Theresa May about what might happen to the EU citizens working and studying in the UK (a Commons vote on Wednesday may have put paid to this). We read of calls for another referendum, petitions and signatures. The further use of the word ‘scaremonger’ is bandied about willy-nilly by all sides. Meanwhile, some town halls in Spain have moved to calm their British subjects.

But what of the ex-pats themselves? As we push apart the endless dog stories that infest Facebook, is there a small sense of worry, of possible doom from this much-forgotten quarter? A few are (inexplicably) in favour of the chaos that Brexit is bringing, many others are horrified, but most are ignoring the issue entirely. A suggestion from Lenox’ site The Entertainer Online, calling for an internal European ten-year passport, plus representation for all the twenty million or so European EU expatriates – called ‘the Europats’, receives some traction from Reddithere. Can we organise? Should we be looking at London, or Madrid, or Brussels?

Will this all blow over? Not for a while, perhaps never. The European Union is a different place. We can protest, accept, or make our own movement.

...

Housing:

Idealista, the huge Spanish real estate group, says that house prices have still not touched bottom in Spain. Details here.

FromERN News: ‘There are fears that the UK’s vote to leave the EU is starting to have an impact on the Spanish property market, as estate agents are reporting a number of sales being cancelled by British citizens planning on moving to Spain...’.

FromBloomberg: ‘Brexit May Shatter British Dream of a Home in Spanish Sun’.

Some good news for those with ‘illegal properties’ in Andalucía. The Junta’s Planning and Environmental Commission has agreed to change those points in the building code, the LOUA, which were championed by the owners and their lawyers. Even the article here changes half-way the adjective from ‘illegal’ to ‘irregular homes’.  Homes on ‘lots’ may soon be able to obtain water and electric hook up, as the modifications in the law are voted on in the Andalusian Parliament sometime later this month. More here.

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Tourism:

Up to the end of May, foreign tourists spent 24,814 million euros, up 6.8% over the same period last year. 19.8% of this money came from UK tourists. Hosteltur reports here.

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Finance:

Hacienda has published a list of its main debtors. Between them, they owe 15,700 million euros in taxes. The 4,768 companies and individuals, some of whom are bankrupt or have disappeared, and who owe at least a million euros or more, are listed by name here.

June was a good month for the Spanish job market. There were 124,349 fewer jobless claims, the biggest drop for a month of June in a decade, bringing the total of people registered as unemployed to 3,767,054, according to Labour Ministry figures...’. Found at El País in Englishhere.

Unemployment has fallen in Spain for June and now stands at 3,767,054 persons. The best figures since September 2009. Story here.

The Social Security fund is in trouble, and could run dry by 2018. The Government needs a top-up, saysEl Confidencial, of 22,000 million euros to stave off the crisis. The subject is also discussed by El Mundohere with the alarming title: ‘The Government takes 8,700 million euros from ‘the pension’s piggy bank’ to cover the summer 'extra' payment’.

More Spaniards than ever are emigrating in search of better prospects, says El Huff Posthere. A number of graphs round out the report.

Big Pharma paid doctors and medical organisations some 230 million euros in 2015 in courses, travel and patronage and so on, saysEl Diario. All perfectly legal...

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General Elections June 26:

Acting Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy is beginning talks with party leaders, seeking to round up enough support to form a government following Spain's second inconclusive election. Rajoy meets Tuesday with leaders of the Canarian Coalition, which holds one seat but could prove key in any new government formation. Rajoy's conservative Popular Party won 137 seats in the June 26 repeat election but fell short of capturing the majority in the 350-seat Parliament that put it in power in 2011...’. Found at ABC News.

Taking a public hard-line on the investiture of the conservative Partido Popular (PP) leader Mariano Rajoy as Spain’s next prime minister, the federal leadership of the Socialist party (PSOE) continues to insist it will vote against Rajoy and will not abstain to enable him to easily take office with less than an absolute majority of 176 seats in a second round of voting. As Rajoy hosts a series of meetings with the leaders of conservative and centre-right parties to try to put together a ruling coalition following the 26th June general election, regional Socialist leaders meeting with PSOE general secretary Pedro Sánchez say the party will vote against Rajoy in first-round investiture balloting...’. FromProgressive Spain.

Pablo Iglesias has been rebuffed in an approach to Pedro Sánchez to form a left-wing ‘progressive’ government, says El Diariohere.

The results from the votes from abroad – Spaniards who, despite enormous bureaucratic obstacles managed to vote, were – Unidos Podemos winning with 30%, the Partido Popular just behind at 29%. Of the two million potential voters from abroad, just 120,000 took the plunge – or 6%. El Mundo gives the data here.

If a government cannot be formed from the current situation, the next general elections will likely be held on November 20th, saysEl Español.

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Politics:

Brexit: Valencia promises health care to Brits: come what may. President Puig of Valencia announced today that he would guarantee health care to British residents in the region after Brexit. He said: “I want to send a message of absolute affection to the whole British community who lives amongst us, and guarantee them that there will be no interruption in fundamental public services, that health care is guaranteed to anyone who lives in our region”...’. FromDavid Jackson.

The King will be giving lunch to President Obama in the Royal Palace next Monday 11th of July. Also invited to the meal are the leaders of the four main political parties. More here.

Campaigners, business bodies and media groups are uniting against Theresa May’s refusal to guarantee expat rights to remain in Europe. It comes after the Home Secretary warned that over a million British expats could lose the right to live and work in the EU following the Brexit referendum...’. FromThe Olive Press.

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Corruption:

Spanish police on Tuesday said they have launched an operation targeting some 50 town halls notably in the north-eastern region of Catalonia and made a dozen arrests as part of an investigation into fraudulent public contracts. "Searches and demands for information are expected in around 50 town halls," a police spokesman told AFP as the latest in a wave of corruption scandals descended on Spain, further wrecking confidence in the political elite...’. FromThe Local.

The Town Hall of Jerez de la Frontera has disciplined two union chiefs who had oddly failed to show up to their ordinary jobs for, uh, fifteen years! Story and video at LaSexta.

As reported last week, up to 82 million euros was misappropriated by some Adif staffers while working on the AVE station and approaches in Barcelona. The main scam, it appears, was in using sub-standard material. 20 Minutos has more.

Brussels insists on the return of 68.8 million euros in improper funding for seven Spanish football clubs: FC Barcelona, Real Madrid, Valencia, Athletic Bilbao, Club Atlético Osasuna, Elche and Hércules. The story is explained at Europa Press.

Barcelona football star Lionel Messi and his father will appeal against a Spanish court decision to sentence them each to 21 months in jail for tax fraud, the player's lawyers say.

Argentine Messi, aged 29, was also fined €2m euros by the court in Barcelona...’. From BBC Newshere.

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Gibraltar:

For Spanish foreign minister José Manuel García Margallo, the upside to the United Kingdom’s decision to leave the European Union is that “the Spanish flag is much closer to flying over Gibraltar.” Speaking on Spanish radio, Margallo could barely contain his euphoria at the prospect of exacting revenge on Fabian Picardo, Gibraltar’s first minister, who so recently suggested he stick the Spanish flag where the sun doesn’t shine…’. Story from El País in Englishhere.

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Brexit:

‘…all that remains now of Brexit, rather than a serious debate about direct democracy, popular sovereignty and the virtues or defects of the European integration process, is instead dishonesty, a botched job, and the cynicism of both the organizers and the winners of the referendum...’. From an editorial at El País in English.

The circumstances surrounding the EU referendum are so bizarre, so chaotic and so impassioned that it is easy to overlook the fact that the UK’s withdrawal from the union would simply consist of two administrative acts performed by the government, acts that are subject to well-settled forms of legal analysis and legal evaluation. The government decides that the UK will withdraw from the EU; and the government notifies the European council of that intention...’. The Guardianweighs in.

MPs have criticised the government for not guaranteeing the rights of EU citizens to remain in the UK after the country leaves the European Union. Ministers say it would be "unwise" to fully "guarantee" EU citizens' rights without a deal for Britons abroad. Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond told the BBC a deal that "works both ways" had to be negotiated in Brexit talks...’. From the BBC News, with video. FromThe Independent: ‘Theresa May has warned that the future of European Union citizens living inside the UK is uncertain and their status will be part of any Brexit negotiations...’. Of course, Britons living in Europe would be adversely affected if anything happened to the EU citizens in the UK. On Wednesday, TheGuardian had better news: ‘...A Labour motion in support of EU migrants in the UK, which won the backing of Boris Johnson, has passed comfortably in the Commons. The shadow home secretary, Andy Burnham, called on Conservatives to vote with Labour on the motion, which asked the government to “commit today that EU nationals currently living in the UK shall have the right to remain”. The motion passed by 245 votes to two after the government abstained...’.

Truthout doesn’t pull its punches: ‘Theoretically, there was a progressive case to be made for Britain exiting the European Union via the referendum held on June 23, 2016. But the campaign for Brexit -- the infelicitous name given the political process -- was, from the very first, fought on the grounds of xenophobia and racism. Moreover, what has transpired in Britain since the Leave campaign won has only shown how easily the veneer of civility and conviviality can be peeled back to reveal the virulence of racism and xenophobia seething under the skin of British social life...’.

The British now won’t be able to vote in municipal elections, says Benissa Digitalhere. The article also explores others ways where the British ex-pats will be inconvenienced following the Brexit.

Go back to your own country, you bloody immigrant’. The 12 year-old son of the London correspondent for El Mundo becomes the target of racist insults...

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Media:

Seven news items that were published just after we had voted’. The list comes from the left-wing El Diario site. These are 1: the Public Prosecutor announces that the illegal finance of Podemos by Iran and Venezuela, as revealed by the Ministry of the Interior, was a chimera. 2: The Government has approved a retroactive rise in electricity prices – back to 2014. 3: The dangerous puppeteers sent to jail for supporting terrorism are now merely simple entertainers. 4: The PP now says it will talk with the Independence parties to support Rajoy for president, having previously criticised the PSOE for talking to the Independence parties to support Sánchez for president. 5: The Government announced on Friday night that it would once again take from the State Pension Fund to pay the ‘summer extra’; the Social Security piggy bank is ruined and will likely end the year with a deficit of 18,000 million euros. When Rajoy came to power, the reserve fund was 66,815 million euros. It is now 25,176 million and, at this rate, in two years will run out entirely. 6: Albert Rivera (Ciudadanos) says he never said that he wouldn’t support Mariano Rajoy for president. 7: Venezuela disappears from the front pages...

FromBuzzfeed: ‘New National Newspaper Launched For British People “Dismayed By Brexit”. The New European, published 8 July, is described as a “pop-up paper” that took Archant just nine days to conceive and get into newsagents.

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Various:

Nearly 100,000 Spaniards migrated in 2015, highest figure since crisis began. New statistics also show that Spain’s population shrank for the fourth year in a row...’. Story from El País in Englishhere.

Life expectancy falls by two years in Málaga province after rising for four decades. Experts are cautious, but they say the crisis and health cutbacks could have an effect, and that life expectancy in Spain may be reaching its limit. The birth rate fell again after a slight rise in 2014, but in Málaga province there are still more births than deaths...’. Sur in Englishhere.

There’s an exciting thriller series on TV called ‘Mar de Plástico’. Set in the plastic farms of Almería. While the local farmers aren’t keen on the series, which suggests slave labour, corruption, murder and so on, everyone else seems to enjoy it... La Voz de Almeríareports.

A good way to get rid of mosquitoes is to invite bats to come along and eat them. Following from this idea, the town hall of Gandía (Valencia) is installing ‘bat-houses’ in their parks. The story comes from Safor Guía.

The Chilcot enquiry into the actions of Tony Blair during the run-up to the invasion of Iraq in 2003 has also spilled over into those of his colleagues George W Bush and José María Aznar. The fallout is discussed in Diario 16here and El Paíshere.

Meet some of the Good Old Boys from the USA who never miss the San Fermines in Pamplona. Over a hundred American veterans run the bulls every year. Story at Idealhere.

(Apparently...) ‘Starting July 1st, you can now legally grow cannabis in Spain. This is massive news for medical growers, patients and those looking for a healthy alternative to alcohol. Spain has always been a leader in this newly forming industry. The country has produced talented scientists and ground breaking cannabis research. While the new law has many more questions to answer, it is clear what the intentions are...’. FromPrague Pot.

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Letters

Hi Lenox.

Re letter from Jan today (BoT 167):-

Health cover.

Maybe you could inform readers of this:-

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/healthcare-in-spain

Extract: ‘If you registered as a resident in Spain before 24 April 2012, have an annual income of less than €100,000 and are not covered for healthcare though any other means, speak to your local INSS office to register for healthcare in Spain as a resident’.

I became aware of that cover from an American friend, resident in Spain, who signed up when he found the private cover had become too expensive. He was accepted without any payment or difficult condition.

Driving Licences.

Many people coming to live as residents in Spain from outside the EU are not allowed to use or exchange their national driving licence so have always had to apply for a Spanish one, taking the test etc. Thus a Spanish DL has no tie to the nationality of the holder. I see no reason why Brits with a Spanish DL should be any different.

When I exchanged my UK D/L for a Spanish one, I got all the categories that were on my UK licence, including the 7.5 ton and motorcycle licence.  After a while I dropped the 7.5 ton one as that required a medical test more frequently than the other categories. I have since renewed my Spanish DL several times and still have the motorcycle category.  At 76 I still ride my 600cc bike almost daily.

I suspect that when Jan did not get all the categories on his D/L it was because of an error. If so, that might be correctable with a suitable application.

On the point that Brits may need to reapply for a UK licence, note that this is not a renewal.  Only those living in UK, (a postal address is not sufficient), can do that.

John

Hi Lenox.  Just read all the comments on the Brexit page from various newspapers etc. it never changes does it!

All running around like headless chickens.

It reminds me of the Scottish Sergeant in Dad’s Army who says ‘we are all doomed’.  There was a priceless one in the Daily Mail this week: the story of an English family that have taken out French citizenship in case the French were to kick them out!!!  Who wants to live in a country like that run by the commie unions?

You have to laugh!

Ted

Hi Ted - it's amazing all this stuff - and we thought life would continue to be peaceful here in Spain! I had lunch today with an ex-pat who is a local councillor with the PSOE. His mayor called him in and said, well, we will have to give you the push soon when you Brits are no longer allowed to vote...

Un abrazo, Lenox

Dear Lenox, I am sorry to say that I was very disappointed at your editorial re Brexit which I found both alarmist and unbalanced.  You were obviously wearing your heart on your sleeve, not a good trait for a journalist.  Like many supporters to remain, your reaction to the democratic vote is “to throw your dolly out of the pram!”

This view of Armageddon could possibly be self fulfilling if the Remain Group continue to talk down the prospects of a future Britain without the EU.

What concerns me greatly is the total disregard for the 52% majority who made the choice and the view that they should have never been allowed to do so.

Has the Granny State attitude grown so strong in the Remain Group that they are prepared to sacrifice democracy, and ignore the will of the democratic majority?  Do they really want not to be involved with the decisions of the ruling elite and have no real recourse if they do not like that decision?  Have the masses become an inconvenience as they did in Italy, Germany and Spain?

Finally the worst predictions with regard to Britain's economic prospects shrinks into insignificance when compared to the damage the EU’s economic policies have inflicted upon the many economies within the group. Portugal, Ireland, Greece, Spain, etc, etc.

The result: high unemployment impoverishing 50% of the youth in Spain and Greece and leading to a disastrous shrinking of the Greek economy by 25%. 

The 48% who voted to remain remind me of the biblical character Esau “Who sold his inheritance for a mess of porridge!”  A short sighted view.

...This revolting referendum...’ (in your letter to the Ambassador) was a bit too far Lenox. Do you really want to shut the mouths of the proletariat?  Lenin, Stalin, Hitler, Mussolini, Pinochet, Salazar, Hussein, etc etc?

Regards J C.

Hi - Now the fate of current EU residents in the UK has become an issue in the Conservative leadership contest and has been explicitly linked to that of the UK residents abroad. What's (more than) a bit confusing is that the battle lines have been drawn in a rather counter-intuitive manner:

On one hand we have hardline Brexiters, like Leadsom, Gisela Stuart and even Nigel Farage (presumably concerned about his German wife) joining SNP, the LibDems and the Greens in openly calling for guarantees for current EU residents in the UK that their rights will be preserved.

On the other hand, we have the government and Theresa May insisting that Britain would be foolish to give up that bargaining chip without first having extracted reciprocity from other EU governments with respect to British residents there.

I'm afraid that the only thing this debate will achieve will be to awaken everybody else to the fact that they have a powerful bargaining chip of their own vs. Britain.

Rc72

...

Finally:

This may come as a shock. Do Gibraltarian kids speak Spanish? Video from YouTubehere.

 

Business Over TapasJuly 7 2016    Nº 168

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

with Lenox Napier and Andrew Brociner

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