The agonisingly hot month of July is coming to an end with a hiss of steam – August will be cooler, say the meteorologists. Málaga’s average temperature for this past month was 28.2ºC, a new record. Driving about in the car with the temperature reading 42ºC (and no working ventilator in the BoT limousine) has done wonders for your Ace Reporter, who is now considering a new edition, to be called Business over Lutefisk, from his future base in the Arctic Circle.
‘Spain continues to be top choice for Britons buying property abroad, according to Conti, the overseas mortgage specialist. The country accounted for just under half (45 per cent) of enquiries received by the company in the second quarter of 2015, consolidating its performance in the first quarter of the year and signalling a strong comeback from its recent economic problems. The overall number of mortgage enquiries was up by eight per cent compared with the same period in 2014...’. From The Economic Voice.
As part of the adjustment to the building rules in Andalucía, Mijas in Málaga can expect to see around a thousand ‘irregular’ homes sanitised in the coming months. See Diario Sur.
‘The promoter of the Camposol development and the MazarrónTown Hall face a fine of more than 8 million €. The Segura Water Board considers the development has broken the Law for Water, as it has ‘invaded’ the Los Aznares dry riverbed, an opinion agreed by the Camposol Neighbours Association...’. From Typically Spanish.
‘Ecologists think the Junta de Andalucía’s decision to legalise illegal property will favour real estate speculation. Gena – Ecologists in Action are based in the Málaga district of Axarquía and they accused the Junta for modifying the Andalucía Building Ordination Law (LOUA in Spanish) ‘which is going to favour and support corruption’...’. Found at Typically Spanish.
‘Spain’s unemployment dropped to 4-year low after adding 411 thousand new jobs in Q2 2015. This happens against the background of accelerating economic growth and before the start of the summer tourist season, which highly reflects the labour market in the country. The number of unemployed Spanish citizens in Q2 2015 decreased by 295 thousands to 5.15 million people. This represents 22.4% from the workforce, the level which is the lowest since 2011. In comparison for the Q1 2015 the unemployment rate was 23.8%...’. Positive news from Finance Feeds.
‘Unemployment in Malaga falls below 30 per cent for first time in four years. Although the figures are for the second quarter, which is traditionally good because of tourism, there has been a great improvement since 2014’. Headline in Sur in English.
There are now 26,000 more people registered on the Social Security than there were when the Partido Popular took office in 2011, but the payments collected are some 300 million euros less than they were four years ago, thanks to a generalised reduction in salaries and an increase in ‘precarious employment’. Currently, there are 17,256,395 in the system. The story is at El Mundo. A quote: ‘...In December of 2011, there were 8,966,277 pensions being paid at a monthly cost of 7,182 million euros. By June this year there were 9,307,631 pensions costing 8,260 million, that’s 1,100 million a month more’.
‘Spain's anti-austerity party Podemos slipped further behind the two mainstream parties in a poll published by the El País daily on Saturday, less than six months before a parliamentary election expected in November. Support for Podemos slipped to third place in the poll it had led as recently as April, with the ruling People's Party (PP) and opposition socialist PSOE running neck-to-neck in first and second place...’. From Reuters.
Should Podemos unite with Ahora en Común? The Guardian looks at the opportunities. ‘...For Spanish leftists, launching a united front for the general elections seems like the next logical step, said David García, a 28-year-old teacher from Madrid. “Ever since the indignado movement, there has been a growing culture of citizen empowerment, of citizen participation in politics. Ordinary people feel that they are writing history and that they can change things through collective action.”...’.
The PP currently has 25 different laws working their way through Parliament, plus the 2016 budgets. Público reports.
The electoral reform for local elections, proposed by the Partido Popular and challenged by all other political parties in Spain, if implemented right now, would bring an extra 200 town halls to the PP, according to a report in Monday’s El Mundo (another news-site, El Diario, puts the number at 400). The PSOE would lose 99 and, in all, says El Mundo, a total of 1,693 town halls would be in some way affected. ‘Election law change is what a Hitler or a Mussolini might do to stay in power’, said Maria Dolores de Cospedal back in 2007...
The President of the European CommissionJean-Claude Junkers admitted in a recent interview that the Governments of Spain, Portugal and Ireland were against any future talks on the possible relief of the Greek debt ‘because they all have elections coming up’.
El País reports that three independence parties from Galicia, Euskadi and Cataluña – the BNG, Bildu and the CUP – have signed a joint intention to ‘break the chains’ with Madrid. The document is a declaration to follow a democratic process to sovereignty and freedom for the three regions. The story here.
Foreign residents. ‘...This old chestnut about being a guest in the country is a load of nonsense and simply annoys the locals because we don’t appear to engage in the community...’. From an interview with AUAN president Maura Hillen in The Local.
‘The ‘Púnica’ case is revealing widespread corruption in the use of political power ... In the case summary the names which appear include José María Aznar, Ana Botella, Eduardo Zaplana, Luis de Guindos, Agustín Rajoy the cousin of the prime minister, and even Maria Dolores de Cospedal. The tentacles have reached far and wide as shown in the judicial summary which not only explains how the fraud was carried out, led by the former Senator and ex Madrid Councillor Francisco Granados, and how his friend the businessman David Marjaliza helped, but also reveals the close relationships between the main implicated and their places in political power at all levels, including central Government, the Madrid Regional Government, the Valencia City Hall, deputies and an endless list of Town Halls...’. Story at Typically Spanish.
What has happened since Judge Mercedes Alaya has been removed from the ERE investigations in Andalucía? Are things slowing (or being watered) down? The new judge is allegedly ‘friendly’ with the Regional Secretary for Justice and is said to be connected through work to the brother of a senior regional leader currently under investigation (and here).
As the judge on the Malaya case remarked recently, ‘crime pays’. An article in La Información gives seven reasons why convicted corrupt people have it easy here... A quote: ‘Other countries do it better: For example. On December 11, 2008 the banker Bernard Madoff was arrested by the FBI on charges of fraud worth some $50,000 million. On June 30, 2009 (i.e., seven months and 19 days), Madoff went to prison after having been tried and sentenced to 150 years in prison. Most likely, he will die behind bars. Can you imagine something like that in Spain? Don’t bother to answer; you just need to remember that not all countries are equally prepared to fight corruption. The Malaya case began in November 2005. The inquiry was completed in July 2012. Sentencing came two years later.’ A footnote on the Malaya case: Juan Roca, the City Architect for Marbella, has just had his prison sentence extended from 11 years to 17 by the Supreme Court (El Mundo, here).
The Partido Popular has a new leader and candidate for Catalonia. This is Xavier García Albiol, the ‘xenophobic’ ex-mayor of Badalona (some examples of his opinions here). The Partido Popular is weak in Catalonia, with only one ayuntamiento flying its colours, and a recent poll gave the party just 2.4% in intention of vote.
Wolf Streetdiscusses a possible result of the forthcoming regional elections: ‘...If the pro-independence coalition wins a majority of seats in September’s elections, it has pledged that it will unilaterally declare national independence within six months. Adding fuel to the fire is a new report just out from the Brussels-based Centre for European Policy Studies that concludes that not only would the Catalan economy benefit from un-tethering itself from Spain, but the region would make a perfectly viable nation state – at least at an economic level...’.
‘New anti-EU campaign receives £20m boost from millionaire supporters. Millionaire backers of Ukip are understood to have injected £20million into the TheKnow.EU campaign in preparation for the EU membership referendum to be held before the end of 2017. A new website for the campaign is also being set up to go live in September. Businessman and Ukip supporter Arron Banks is understood to be a leading figure for the new group. The move follows concerns of euro-sceptics that the referendum campaign could be dominated by politicians...’. From The Express.
A report in Información Sensible claims that the ‘tentacles of the Opus Dei (Wiki) reach into all the institutions of the State’. The four ministers closest to the religious organisation are said to be Interior Minister Jorge Fernández Díaz; Economy Minister Luis De Guindos; Fátima Báñez (Employment) and Pedro Morenés (Defence). The high level ambassador to the UK Federico Trillo is another sympathiser.
The Púnica Investigation has been all over the Spanish media these past few days, with the remarkable exception of the National Television RTVE, claims Post Digital. The story is fun, with endless recordings of bribery, including the immortal ‘I’m going on my holidays next week, bring some pasta’. Now that could make great TV...
‘Crime in Spain has decreased in the last six months, following an ongoing downward trend, says interior minister Jorge Fernández Díaz. Overall, criminal activity has dropped by 1.9% in the first six months of this year in comparison with the same period in 2014. Violent crime has reduced the most – murders decreased by 26.5%, aggravated robbery by 12.1%, burglary involving forcible and violent entry or exit by 12%, assaults by 10.6% and theft from non-residential premises involving force by 9.9%. Statistically, violent crime rates are very low in Spain – in fact, among the lowest in Europe, if not the world...’. Found at Think Spain.
From Typically Spanish: ‘A fund with Chinese, Swiss and Spanish participation wants to buy Puerto Banús. The offer, which is backed by Credit Suisse and the Spanish construction company FCC, would be over 200 million € and is linked to a possible expansion of the port. Puerto Banús is in the hands of a private company since its construction and according to Diario Sur the offer was presented recently and could be sealed by the end of the year. Both the Andalucía Public Ports Agency and the MarbellaTown Hall are aware of the negotiations, although they are not participating in them...’.
Some hot weather records this July, include Murcia at 43.7ºC, Córdoba at a beastly 45.2ºC, Madrid managed 40.5ºC and Zaragoza hit a record 44.5ºC. Information from the ABC here.
‘One of the oldest and most iconic cafes in the Spanish capital, Café Comercial, has announced it is shutting down for good, shocking regulars who say it is truly the end of an era...’. Story at The Local. The large and famous café has been going without pause since it opened its doors on March 21st 1887. It was also known for its chess competitions.
Very well made video point about how children see something in the fashion industry that we may have missed. English subtitles.
Fifty years ago, David Lean shot Dr Zhivago here in Spain. Text, photos, video and the complete film (in Spanish) here.
The Osborne Bull. That black silhouette alongside the motorway. ‘Up and down Spain, everyone has seen at least one example of the Black Bull usually found in the middle of nowhere...’. From The View.
Raimundo Amador (Seville, flamenco guitar and composer) and BB King play ‘Bollere’.
Business Over Tapas
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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