An article in a German newspaper here has a woman lawyer warning her children not to speak German while they are together in public in London. It begins: ‘Since the Brexit referendum, xenophobia has grown in England. Even the foreigners remember this in their everyday life there. A "we and you" has been born. Now come the consequences’. It’s one of those silly articles that fill newspapers, perhaps, but no doubt it is generated by the stories of racist attacks against foreigners while out in public in the UK. These attacks are, of course, rare, but the advice, along the same lines as ‘don’t take sweets from a stranger’, is sensible enough (if slightly horrifying).
Will stuff like this ever arrive in Spain? Outside of an encounter near the wrong football stadium, probably not, thank Goodness!
‘After six years at the tail end of the Eurozone ranking of house price changes, Spain has now been above average for two years. Average Spanish house prices rose 3.8% year-on-year in Q2, compared to a Eurozone average of 2.9%, and EU average of 4%, show the latest figures from Eurostat, the EU statistics agency (based on official figures from each country)...’. From Mark Stücklin’s Spanish Property Insight.
‘Barcelona’s property market is the hottest in Spain, claim industry insiders speaking at a conference at Barcelona Meeting Point this week. “The real estate sector in Barcelona is going at a different speed to the rest of Spain,” said César Oteiza, co-founder of Spanish property portal Idealista.com, who argues that the Spanish property market in general is starting to recover, with Barcelona in the vanguard...’. Found at Spanish Property Insight.
‘Spain’s risk premium has fallen almost 5% with respect to Friday’s close after the socialist party’s decision to abstain and facilitate, finally, the formation of a government. So Mariano Rajoy will become President again after nearly 11 months in a caretaker role...’. Item from The Corner (Monday).
The die has been cast and the majority of the federal committee of the PSOE decided to tell their 84 socialist deputies to ‘abstain’ in the second round, thus allowing Mariano Rajoy to be, once again, president of Spain from next Monday with a minority government ‘...With just eight days to go before the country would have been obliged to hold a third election in a year, a feat no other modern democracy has managed, the PSOE has acted with a commendable understanding of state...’, says El País in English here. Several PSOE deputies have nevertheless said they will vote ‘no’, including Susana Sumelzo, a deputy from Zaragoza, who says, ‘to abstain is to give the Opposition to Podemos’. Indeed, by the beginning of this week, at least 22 socialist deputies (including a re-emerged Pedro Sánchez) had announced that they would break rank and vote ‘no’ on the second ballot, including the seven deputies from the Catalonian PSC. The full list of rebels here. Indeed, talking of Pedro Sánchez – what are the chances of him re-emerging as the new leader of the PSOE? Slim, but not impossible, says Público here. Meanwhile, we can expect a ‘wave of protests’ from the left (and, probably, from many unhappy PSOE supporters too).
The first round of the investiture debate started on Wednesday afternoon, with Mariano Rajoy promising to work together in the future with the ‘constitutionalist’ parties.
Mariano Rajoy has promised ‘dialogue’ and to study the concerns of the other parliamentary groups (‘particularly Ciudadanos and the PSOE’). Rajoy has given no hints regarding the line-up of his future ministers. It has been 300 days of ‘no government’, but now, says El Mundo with some relief, things will be returning to normal. Mariano Rajoy will be voted in to power on Saturday, following the PSOE abstention, and will begin his presidency on Monday. As Rajoy enters a difficult period with a minority government, we are again told that ‘Brussels reminds Spain to make €5,500 million cuts “as soon as possible” ’ (Headline from El País in English here).
Summing up events over at Guerra Eterna, we read: ‘...What is certain is that the PSOE has shown itself incapable of giving new answers to the scene, following the end in Spain of bipartisanship. It is not solely responsible, but had been placed in a situation in which all its options were bad. The PP simply waited until the body of its old enemy was carried outside. Ciudadanos meanwhile was willing to agree with the left and the right. Podemos courted the PSOE until the end, although in such a slipshod way that it cost them a million votes in the June elections’.
‘...Welcome to the new Margallo. Same as the old Margallo. Gibraltar’s public enemy number one blew into Algeciras last Tuesday on a gust of hard-nosed plans and diplomatic bonhomie. Fired up by the Brexit Leave vote, this was the day Margallo planned to outline his scheme for joint sovereignty over Gibraltar to Andalucía’s movers and shakers...’. From an article at The Olive Press.
‘Thanks to the large number of Britons who holiday in and retire to Spain – and a lot of foreign direct investment in both directions – the two countries have enjoyed a close and mutually beneficial relationship, despite tensions stoked by the existence of Gibraltar. Brexit puts much of this at risk, writes Luis Garicano. With Spain unlikely to budge on freedom of movement and Gibraltar as a negotiating card, the UK is likely to find itself, at the end of the two-year exit negotiations, with a very bad deal...’. Preamble to an interesting point of view in an article called ‘The end of Eldorado: Brexit Britain is likely to get a very bad deal from Spain’, from a Spanish professor at the London School of Economics.
From La Vanguardia: ‘Concern about the impact of Brexit on the Costa del Sol. Some 60,000 British residents in the province of Málaga are fretting about the future of their pensions and property, as well as voting rights and health care’. An interesting and wide-ranging article.
The OJD is the official number of ‘useful’ copies printed by newspapers and sold/given away. They are, once again, universally down, as readers turn to their Internet editions (or other, often more reliable news sources). La Opinión de Almería has the latest numbers
showing first of all that all Andalusian daily newspapers are down over last year (September figures) and, together, now have a disposal rate of under100,000 copies between them. The ‘nationals’ are even worse, with El País, the largest (non-sports) newspaper in Spain dropping 20% in a year to a current 174,000 copies daily.
Across Andalucía, says El Observador, there are 124 illegal TV stations on the TDT dial, including just in Málaga, four religious ‘pirate’ stations. The illegal broadcasters in the province also include 16 ‘teletarot’ crystal ball enterprises. Most of these illegal stations in the autonomous region, it appears, belong to just three enterprises, named as ‘Data Test, TV Nacional and Covisual’.
Anticipating the silly ‘Ley Lasalle’ (better known as the ‘Canon Google’) rule signed into law in late 2014 – a law designed somehow to protect the main daily newspapers, members of the AEDE – yet never implemented or observed, Google News dropped its Spanish service. Google now says that it hopes the new government in Spain will ‘take a step backwards’ on this law, allowing the service (which, after all, brings extra visits to the news-sites) to be resumed. The story is at Media-Tics here.
More Comments on Brexit and Europe
by Andrew Brociner
The UK referendum vote is a reflection of the wider dissatisfaction of many countries with the EU. The immigration issue has fanned the flames of the far right movement which is gaining ground in Europe – ironically, going back to the starting point which the EU was set up to avoid – but there are other sources of dissatisfaction as well.
A great source of disappointment has been the austerity measures. This has seen the rise of anti-austerity parties in several countries accordingly affected by the issue, such as Greece, Italy and Spain. The troika-imposed austerity measures were both unnecessary and ineffective, bringing hardship to many and causing more of a division in Europe, as we have discussed at length in previous issues.
But there is also the general disappointment with the low growth and high unemployment situation in Europe, which has continued for much time. The structure of the European economies, as indeed of advanced economies in general, as has been largely discussed here, is one of an ageing society which poses a new set of issues that macroeconomics is ill-equipped to deal with – as we have seen in Japan for many years. One of the remedies for an ageing society with low fertility rates, as is the case in some European countries, is immigration. So, rather than making countries worse off, as some would have their electorate see things, it can actually improve the situation.
The UK's exit will have to be negotiated, which will take much time and will be difficult to carry out with Europe amid so many divisions. Not only are European voters divided, but European leaders do not agree either. Negotiating all topics with a divided EU will not be straightforward and will involve much more time than is generally thought. This is not something that will take the two years from the date of triggering Article 50, but something probably closer to ten. The recent EU veto on a trade deal with Canada due to disagreement by a region of Belgium is an example of the difficulty in negotiating with a disunited Europe. These deals take several years and it only takes one country or, in some cases, one region, to reject it. The UK will see itself in a similar position as it will be outside the EU. As one UK foreign affairs spokesperson put it: “far from having taken back control, we have left ourselves at the whim of the internal politics of 27 other countries”. Therefore, future negotiations on any number of trade deals will be more complicated, time-consuming and uncertain than it hitherto.
In response to some of these issues, the Greek ex-finance minister, Yanis Varoufakis, has launched a pan-European movement called Democracy in Europe Movement 2025 or DiEM25, which seeks to establish a left-wing, unified voice within the EU. Some of the issues it seeks to address are the migrant crisis, the emergence of the far right in Europe, the economic situation and, of course, the divisions within Europe. He has signed up some high-profile academics and artists to the cause with the hope that it will gain popularity.
‘A Spanish energy boss has vowed that Spain will become 100 per cent reliant on renewable energy. Acciona director Miguel Ezpeleta said there is currently enough wind energy being generated to power 29 million Spanish homes every day. ... “I think people are going to tell me we’re crazy but I’m pretty sure we’ll arrive at 100 per cent for one moment for sure.”...’. From The Olive Press.
Maura Hillen, the President of the AUAN property owners group, was awarded the MBE by the British Government (in the shape of the British Ambassador Simon Manley) at the Santuario del Saliente, a large and impressive building some eighteen kilometres up a windy and narrow road past Albox, Almeria, last Friday. Among the guests were Mario Blancke, the Belgian born mayor of Alcaucín, Malaga, and the president of SOHA, a sister association to AUAN, Phil Smalley. La Voz de Almería was there, as was Lenox (here).
The Catholic Church has stated that those who are cremated within the instructions of the faith may only have their ashes interred in hallowed ground (that’s to say, a cemetery). This has unexpectedly angered some, who may now no longer dispose of the ashes of their loved ones, following a church-sanctioned funeral, in other ways. 20 Minutos explains.
The Express has a dire warning for us all: ISIS driven from North Africa into Spanish seaside resorts popular with British tourists. Spain’s southern coast risks being overrun with ISIS jihadis driven from their terror bases in the Middle East and North Africa, the country's foreign minister has warned...’. (Yikes!) As always with this news-site, the ‘comments’ are challenging.
From The Guardian: ‘Spain is facing criticism for reportedly preparing to allow the refuelling of Russian warships en route to bolstering the bombing campaign against the besieged Syrian city of Aleppo. Warships led by the aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov are expected to take on fuel and supplies at the Spanish port of Ceuta after passing through the Straits of Gibraltar on Wednesday morning...’. Later: ‘Spain has cancelled the permits for the Russians following the disapproval from NATO’, says El País on Wednesday afternoon.
A popular Spanish chain of 41 restaurants called ‘La Mafia’ has irked the Italian authorities who are pressing to have the company change this ‘offensive and inappropriate’ name. The story at the ABC here.
‘The Balearic Islands are raging against the dying of the light and endeavouring to boost the health, wealth and happiness of the archipelago by keeping on summer time as the rest of Spain prepares to turn back its clocks an hour this weekend. On Tuesday, the islands’ parliament (approved) a measure asking the central government to let it hang on to the extra hour of daylight, arguing that as Spain’s most easterly region, it suffers most from the annual change...’. From The Guardian. The item also appears in Agent Travel here making the point that the islands, being to the east, get darker earlier than the rest of Spain. They would also be aware that the Canaries, with their different time, get a free advert each time someone says on the radio or the TV ‘Son las seís, una hora menos en Canarias’. Will it become law? We shall know in a few days...
‘Spanish experts in real estate administration and managing vacation rentals gathered Tuesday at a forum in Cuba where they presented their expertise in this field on an island in the midst of a tourism boom, and where both the public and private sectors have their work cut out for them to make a profitable business out of renting accommodations to tourists...’. Item found at The Latin American Herald Tribune.
‘Guard dogs were not proving enough of a deterrent to thieves at a car breakers yard in eastern Spain so the owner has brought in a pair of fighting bulls. ... So he has now released a pair of toro bravos – the Spanish breed of bull used in bullfighting – to roam the property in the hope of deterring any intruders...’. Found at The Local.
‘Visitors to Madrid’s Caixa Forum centre can take a step back in time to a world where knights ruled, royalty reigned and a continental legacy was born at Medieval Power: Power and Legacy. This exhibition brings many of the British Museum’s medieval treasures to Spain for the first time, giving visitors a chance to get up-close with these antiquities from the Middle Ages...’. From El País in English. The exhibition runs until February 5, 2017 at the Caixa Forum in Madrid, and then transfers to Barcelona.
From Trivago, thirty places you have to see in Spain at least once (with useful hotel links).
A nice article and great photos from Reuters: ‘Dazzling clusters of cube-shaped houses perched on top of Andalucía's olive-tree-studded mountains, the "Pueblos Blancos", or white villages, of southern Spain are named for the lime wash the buildings are painted with to keep the interiors cool...’.
(Is it worth buying a home from a bank?)
The answer from my experience is - no - don’t even consider it, but for those who do, the point about 'look and consider carefully before you buy' couldn’t be more relevant. But do people realise what is happening?
Re-possessions of new properties never sold are being disposed of by banks, sold at rock bottom prices at auction, being bought by other banks using inmobilarias everywhere to push these 'bargains', with a mark-up along the way.
To be fully legally re-possessed, firstly a note has to be put on the nota simple regarding the re-possessed property. That becomes a statistic - then, maybe sold at auction - to another bank, another statistic & note on the nota simple. Only then can the locks legally be changed, and often for the first time, where applicable, community fees begin to be paid. These inclusions in the statistics could be skewing whatever recovery there may be.
Prospective buyers do need to check the nota simple and also the legality of the agent they approach, who, if fully legal, should have all the paperwork.
Some agents just have a list of properties and a bunch of keys!
Ian (whose home was illegally re-possessed by 'mistake' – the story below)
Don’t want to make a big noise about this issue, but wonder how you would feel if you or anyone, came home one day to find your place forcibly entered, door damaged, locks changed, no paperwork, no admission by anyone as to who did it or why- Guardia Civil, emergency locksmith, turn up in order to gain access and prove ownership as all the documents relating to the property were inside.
?Then looking on the internet, find your apartment now with an EEC grade F, along with other re-possessed properties advertised, so - boldly phoning the agent of Sabadell, (not the bank your mortgage is with) arrange a viewing of your own apartment. You are told you can reserve any of them for 500 euros, but surprise surprise, the agent cannot get in with the key - cos I have changed the lock of course! ?
I let the 2 agents in and make sure they knew this apartment advertised is an error. They couldn’t care less; have only a list and a set of master keys for each planta. Still not sorted it out, and need to as I don’t want the locks changed again in error.
?What was the error? - Well it seems my apartment has the same number as a re-possessed apartment of the same number in another block of the complex.
Watch out - locksmiths about!
‘Forget Miles Davis' Sketches of Spain and Chick Corea's Spain. There's a whole other world of so-called "flamenco jazz" out there that lives unrecorded, often inside quaint, tiny rooms (in caves, quite literally) on the mountainside near Granada. There and in other cool Andalusian clubs, nightly musical experiments are taking place, where flamenco palos mix with other jazz influences. Flamenco is one of Spain's richest musical exports: It parallels jazz in the sense that it's a hodgepodge art form, made up of influences from many cultures that span more than one continent. It's only natural that these styles eventually came together to make something special...’. Five songs where Andalucía and America meet from NPR Jazz.
Business Over Tapas 27 October 2016 Nº 183
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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