Business over Tapas 8 June 2017 Nº 212

08 Junio 2017  Sección; Especiales 1301 votos

Editorial:

According to a new survey from Metroscopia, reported in El País, now even more Spaniards distrust the judiciary, with 67% opining that the independence of the courts against political corruption is a chimera. Indeed, 84% consider that the judges are pressured by politicians to weaken their causes. Not a good time, then, for a further final push against the party funding of the Partido Popular in recent years with Mariano Rajoy himself obliged to suffer an examination at the Audiencia Nacional in San Fernando de Henares, Madrid, probably in late July.

 

The PP has asked to limit these questions to the party finance for just the past twelve months says Público here. Ciudadanos on the other hand expects the inquiry to run from 2003 to the present day. The news-site also reveals here that the code for whether extra party funds were necessary for the Madrid regional PP group (no doubt in exchange for certain considerations) was ‘¿Tiene agua el cántaro?’: is the water-pot full?

The process, meanwhile, goes ahead, with the full and frontal opposition of the PP. With the agreement of the other main parliamentary groups the PSOE, Podemos and Ciudadanos, the investigatory parliamentary commission will now begin, starting on June 26th with Luis Bárcenas, and ending, 42 politicians, businessmen and journalists later, with Mariano Rajoy himself. The PP meanwhile, plans to bring out corruption issues from the other parties over at the Senate in the best tradition of ‘y tú más’.

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Housing:

From The Corner: ‘Non-subsidised housing prices grew 0.9% on as quarterly basis and 2.2% year-on-year in the first quarter of 2017, according to the statistics on the tax valuation of houses published by the Public Works Ministry. Minister Iñigo de la Serna flagged that it’s the eighth consecutive quarter with price rises, although he ruled that there is an overheating in the sector. De la Serna also mentioned that currently just over 60,000 houses are being built on an annual basis, compared with over 600,000 during the boom years...’.

Sometimes deforming the normal business of property sales, banks make occasional offers that are below market prices – a way of clearing their books. Now the Bankia is putting on the market some 4,000 homes at prices 40% below the market, says Expansión here. Indeed, around 3,000 of the homes are priced at under 60,000€.

El Mundo considers rental prices. They say ‘earthquake in rentals – prices up by around 10% over last year’.

Mark Stücklin suggests how to sell your property ‘for sale by owner’, cutting out the agents. From Spanish Property Insight here.

A useful article on paying a secure deposit on a property in Spain from The Olive Press here.

Fraguas: the revitalised Spanish village officials now plan to demolish. Young settlers are trying to rebuild houses and a community, but authorities want them to knock it all down – at their expense...’. The Guardian tells the story of red tape versus common sense here.

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Tourism:

Now we have hotels which can be rented by the hour (no, not those, we mean proper hotels). The story at Ideal is about those hotels used for a shower, a nap, to change the baby... We don’t have ‘Recharge’ yet (an American innovation), but there are byhours.com and dayuse.com which may be worth a look...

So someone had to be the Spanish capital of rural tourism 2017, right? So, it’s Sigüenza in Guadalajara. The story here.

According to Stick, the most popular destinations this year for Spaniards are Benidorm, Salou, Cambrils, Peñíscola, Roquetas de Mar, Mojácar and Puerto de la Cruz

Foreign tourists spent 15.3% more – at 20,394 million euros – in the first four months of 2017 as compared with last year, says Agent Travel here.

Where can I camp for free in Spain without getting a multa? Here’s the answer.

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Seniors:

Will expat pensioners really cost the NHS £1 billion?’ asks Channel 4 News here.

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Finance:

Unemployment levels have fallen to those of 2009 with almost 112,000 new jobs in May says Público here. There are now 3,461,128 people registered as ‘looking for work’.

The economy is doing well, says The Corner, so ‘Leave The Reforms Already Implemented In Spain Alone!’ Their points are discussed here.

Of the ten municipalities in Spain which house the most ‘poorest of the poor’ (those who live on less than 332€ a month), nine are in Andalucía, says the ABC here.

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Banco Popular:

On Wednesday, the announcement was made. The Banco Popular had been sold to the Banco Santander for one euro. El País in English says – ‘Spain’s Banco Santander has bought the struggling Banco Popular for one euro in order to prevent its collapse, according to a statement released on Wednesday morning by the EU’s Single Resolution Board (SRB). The decision was adopted after a week in which Popular shares had plummeted. According to the European Central Bank, Popular was “failing or likely to fail.” The takeover has been endorsed by the European Commission. The Banco Popular, despite passing a recent ‘stress test’, had an accounting hole of around 8,000 million euros. The 300,000 shareholders in the stricken bank have lost everything, says Intereconomía here. Around 5,000 jobs are expected to be lost according to El Independiente here. The Banco Pastor, part of the Banco Popular group, has now disappeared says La Voz de Galicia here. Minority shareholders consider the takeover as an ‘expropriation’ and have joined together to consider legal action, says Bolsamanía here. A rather larger shareholder, Antonio del Valle, says he has lost 550 million euros through the fall of the Popular. The story at La Voz de Asturias here.

The build-up to the crisis: an article from last weekend at Wolf Street. Another from the same source, sums up the situation here: ‘Banco Popular, until today Spain’s sixth biggest bank, is no more. Its assets, including a massive portfolio of small-business clients, now belong to Banco Santander, Spain’s biggest bank. The global giant now has 17 million customers in Spain, a country of just 45 million people. The price was €1. Spain’s Ministry of the Economy revealed that by 3 pm Tuesday, Popular was no longer able to contain the deposit outflow. “It had exhausted all its lines of liquidity, both ordinary and extraordinary.” It had run out of collateral to cover any further lines of emergency liquidity...’.

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Politics:

Spain’s PM buys time with very narrow budget victory in Congress. Mariano Rajoy’s minority government manages to secure approval for its 2017 spending blueprint’. Headline from last Thursday’s El País in English.

With the anti-corruption prosecutor Manuel Moix now out of the picture (following the news of an undisclosed share in a Panamanian company) – he was in office just 87 days – the Government has given its full support to the Minister of Justice Rafael Catalá.

The motto for the PSOE 39th Congress (16th to 18th June) will be "Somos la izquierda".

From El Diario comes an opinion piece which asks ‘Are Pedro and Pablo going to screw it up again?’. This refers to the possible antagonism between the PSOE and Unidos Podemos.

Another vote of confidence called by Podemos, this time against the Madrid regional government of Cristina Cifuentes, begins today, Thursday 8th June. Story here.

The spectre of corruption is driving an ever-greater wedge between young Spaniards and their political representatives, with 51% of the country’s so-called millennials – people born between 1980 and 2000 – saying they have no interest or little interest in politics, a new study by the Foundation for European Progressive Studies (FEPS) shows...’. The story comes from El País in English.

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Corruption:

A senior member of Esperanza Aguirre’s past cabinet, one Eduardo Larraz, held 146 ingots of gold in a Swiss bank as late as last year, says VozPópuli here. Larraz is under investigation in the Caso Púnica inquiry.

The Superior Court in Murcia has sent the ex-president of the region Pedro Antonio Sánchez to court to face charges within the Caso Púnica inquiry says El Mundo here.

The European Commission included in its latest recommendations to Member States a message for Spain: There is not enough being done to stop the proliferation of investigations for alleged cases of corruption. Within the report is a veiled reference regarding inquiries like the Casos Gürtel, Lezo or Púnica. Inquiries that from the Government’s point of view have been treated as isolated cases...’. Found at El Independiente here.

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Catalonia:

Carles Puigdemont will announce on Friday morning the date of the referendum in Catalonia, as well as the exact wording, says El Mundo here.

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Brexit:

British nationals living in EU countries remain in a state of flux after the UK voted for Brexit. They currently benefit from the so-called free movement of people within 32 European states as do EU citizens in Britain. As the UK prepares to negotiate its future relationship with the EU around half a million Brits living in Spain can only wait and wonder. Nik Martin reports from the Costa Del Sol...’. Story at DW here.

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Various:

Spain should have a warmer summer than usual, says El Mundo here. (By the way, here’s the comedian John Oliver on ‘Donald Trump, climate change and the Paris Agreement). And since we are on the subject, here is ‘The Paris Agreement after Trump and the future of climate action’ from the El Cano Royal Institute.

There’s no doubt but that a terror attack on Spain’s tourist attractions would do serious harm. From El País in English, we read of the preparations by the authorities: ‘...and Spain continues to be in the cross-hairs of the jihadist threat, a form of global and multifaceted terrorism that, in Europe, has found a territory in which it can strike. But in Spain, a silent “army” of more than 3,000 officers from the security forces, spies, prosecutors, judges and analysts are working in the shadows in order to avoid another attack...’.

Drinks in discos and ‘salas de fiestas’ will have the IVA reduced from 21% to 10% from July, the same rate that bars and cafes currently enjoy. More here.

Spain has ‘lost’ some 12,000 scientists to other countries since 2010, says El Diario here.

Useful advice on working in Spain: ‘Fuelled by the influx of tourists and the resultant boom in Spanish property prices, more and more foreigners are moving to and working in Spain. Unlike in the past when Spain was just a temporary holiday destination for tourists, the number of immigrants working in Spain has risen in leaps and bounds in the last five years...’. From the Good Herald here.

Cantabria has decided to do away with Easter Holidays for schools – which vary in dates from one year to the next – in favour of a system of five standard terms per year with a week’s holiday between them rather than the current three. A longer summer holiday will remain in place. El Diario explains here.

Finally! Terry Gilliam finishes 'Don Quixote' film project that took 17 years’. The story is at The Local here.

Experts have discovered that the Neanderthals died out about 43,000 years ago, not 30,000 as they had believed until recently’. A report from Sur in English here considers the caves of La Araña in Málaga.

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See Spain:

The secret tunnels of the Alhambra. From El País in English: ‘On the scrub-covered hillside of the Alhambra in Granada, which slopes down to the Darro river, a cave that is partially concealed by ivy opens up into an underground gallery, which in turn leads up to this palatial complex built by the Nasrids, the last Muslim dynasty on the Iberian peninsula...’. An interesting report here.

Murals are the new metropolitan art brightening up cityscapes and Estepona is leading the way. Walk through the backstreets of Estepona and count the massive murals adorning its high rise buildings – you could be forgiven for thinking Banksy had paid the town a clandestine visit...’. From The Olive Press here.

Some colour photographs from Spain in the fifties from Vintage Everyday here.

In the Castile–La Mancha region of central Spain, the Júcar river has carved a deep gorge as it flows through the Iberian Peninsula. Along its length, there are many small towns and cities. Of particular note is the medieval city of Cuenca that’s located where another river, the Huécar, merges with the Júcar...’. From ‘The Hanging Houses of Cuenca’, a photo-essay at Amusing Planet here.

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Letters

Hi Lenox, I do wonder where you got that statistic of 90% (of the British residents in Spain being against the departure of the UK from the EU) I have only met two people in the past year living in Spain who are against Brexit.

The fact is regardless of your personal opinion the referendum is over and will not be repeated .That is how our democracy works or have expats forgotten that living in a place like Spain? A more balanced view in an expat paper is not too much to ask

What really annoys me is the scaremongering . Articles that clearly could not even pretend to be fact suggesting all sorts of gloom and doom for expats!! Based on nothing but lies!! When negotiations have not even begun and the UK Govt has been very clear that they want to protect their citizens in EU. This is cruel to the older residents.

In my opinion The Economist (The Economist has come out in support of the LibDems) has always been natural Tory. Supporting the Lib Dims is not clever. Maybe it is your lack of support for the Tory Party now in power that informs much of your opinions. I was a member of the Liberal Democrats but no more. I would never dream of supporting that silly Tim Farron. He is quickly losing ground and The Economist will not help. They are an irrelevance.

I am very interested in Spain and will be as long as I pay tax here – possibly more than 80% of all expats. The profligate spending and corruption of the Spanish involving EU funds is a source of great interest and dismay

un abrazo,

Lorna

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Finally:

The Spanish Blue Division had an anthem. ‘Primavera’ here.

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Ignacio Echeverria DEP (here).

 

Business over Tapas 8 June 2017 Nº 212

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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