Business over Tapas February 22 2018 Nº 245

Mundo Celta por José Antonio Sierra 22 Febrero 2018 2442 Votos Correo electrónico Imprimir
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One was always inclined to believe everything that appeared in the newspapers - as why would they lie or fabricate items? Perhaps during wars, the reports are manipulated a bit to encourage the populace to fresh efforts, but we are in Peacetime now.

However, with falling revenue, corporate ownership, increased costs and the arrival of cyber-news, things are changing. In the UK, some newspapers have been guilty of such aggressive hyperbole in the search for reader approval that they are risking losing advertisers. Here, we have Leapy Lee (ancient review here). In the US, there’s a newspaper that apparently buys ‘exclusive’ stories... and then sits on them. For truly wacky news, there’s always Rapture Ready, which prepares us for the Second Coming of Christ with appropriate news-items.

In Spain, the Media is broadly owned (and controlled) by four major corporations: ‘...with regard to the independence of the media, ... there are "frequent reports on the pro-government manipulation" of public media, especially since 2012, when the Spanish government changed the way in which it appointed those responsible for public media, leaving it in practice in the hands of the executive. With regard to private media, there is also a lack of independence and autonomy...’. (La Tribuna de Cartagena). El País, created to be a centre-left newspaper, is now so beholden to its corporate owners that it prints fervently pro-conservative stories as a new standard. In contrast to this view, here’s the director of El País: ‘The operations of toxic information through social networks, known as fake news, are a threat not only to the free press, but to Democracy itself. In the face of this epidemic that has spread throughout the world, Antonio Caño claims “as more necessary than ever” quality journalism: “honest, rigorous and respectful of professional rules”...’. Amen to that.

We must face the power of the daily newspapers in Spain, which have persuaded the Government to legislate in their protection, in an attempt to get other news-sources to pay some kind of a canon to link or quote their ‘stories’(by which, we mean ‘factual news reports’): the ‘Canon-AEDE’. As if there is an ownership to occurrence. Meneame, bearded by this rule that says they must compensate the daily newspapers (even though they have boycotted them for the last few years), says it won’t pay. It could, of course, at an extreme, always move to Portugal... GoogleNews, as we know, operates in the entire world, except here in Spain.

Jeremy Corbyn, the hapless British labour leader, makes the point (following the smear attacks in The Express and elsewhere of him conversing with a Russian spy): ‘...A free press is essential to Democracy. We don’t want to close it down – we want to open it up...’.



Another article on the emptiness of rural Spain as people move from the moribund municipalities of the interior to the cities.

From Mark Stücklin’s Spanish Property Insight: ‘Spanish home sales inscribed in the Land Registry were up by 16% last year, the fourth and biggest consecutive year of growth, according to the latest figures from the National Institute of Statistics (INE), based on data from the Land Registry...’.

From ‘Buying Spanish property post Brexit’. The article begins: ‘The advent of Brexit has resulted in many British would-be expats deciding to put their dreams of a Spanish property on hold, at least for the time being. One of the most important Brexit-related questions for many Brits still hoping for an overseas retirement involves purchasing a Spanish property after March 2019. Whatever the final result of the Brexit negotiations, Europe’s Mediterranean states including Spain are undeniably warmer and cheaper than the UK and will continue to be a major draw for UK retirees who’ve had enough of British politics...’.

From Spanish Property Insight: ‘Which properties sell more successfully ‘direct from owner’ and why…’.

And here is ‘How to Buy a House in Spain’ from World First.

It is little more than 2 years since the introduction of the landmark Holiday Rental Licence in Andalucía (Decreto 28/2016). In that time, more than 26,000 properties have successfully been granted a holiday rental licence, according to the Department of Tourism. Earlier this month, on 7th February, a small change to the law came into effect. Tacked on the end of the government-issued decree regarding camping and campsites (Decreto 28/2018), under Article 40 - the very last section of the decree - the government issued a modification to the requirements relating to holiday rental properties, and specifically those inland. The amendment to the law applies to properties located in the municipal area of town or village with less than 20,000 inhabitants allowing them to register for a holiday rental licence. Previously, such properties would have had to comply with the regulations regarding rural holiday rental properties (Decreto 20/2002). Homeowners in rural locations who previously did not meet the legal requirements to obtain either a rural holiday rental licence or a holiday rental licence can now apply for the holiday rental licence and immediately begin to promote their properties to potential guests and accept booking reservations for rentals ahead of what is expected to be another bumper summer for tourism in Andalucía’. An item from Spain Holiday. Find them here.

Around 3,000 apartments for rent in Barcelona are owned by just ten companies, according to El Diario here. ‘It’s not the little apartment owner valiantly renting out to make ends meet’, says the article.

An article on the timeliness of declaring inheritance taxes and completing the paperwork is at Spanish Property Insight here.



Not everybody likes the flood of tourists to Spain, especially those who live in the hot spots... From The Olive Press: ‘Tourism haters in Spain have promised to continue their ‘war’ against holidaymakers this summer. The anti-tourism group Arran Paisos vowed to continue ‘fighting’ the affects of tourism on Mallorca in a message posted on social media...’.

Hosteltur estimates that revenue from British visitors to Spain may fall this year with Spain at ‘saturation’ levels. .

78 million ‘nights’ were spent last year in tourist apartments says Nexotur here.



Luis de Guindos to become vice-president of the ECB after Irish candidate's retirement. The minister will resign in the next few days and will replace Portugal's Vitor Constáncio as of 31 May’. Headline from La Vanguardia here.

The six largest Spanish banks (Santander, BBVA, CaixaBank, Bankia, Sabadell and Bankinter) together have not paid a single euro for corporate income tax since the onset of the economic crisis, despite having earned 84,000 million euros in the meantime. This is clear from the data that the entities themselves provided to the National Securities Market Commission (CNMV), as required, between 2008 and 2017. The tax bill for that period, taken as a whole, has even been positive for them, generating a balance in their favour of 164 million euros in round figures...’. Found at Público here.

From Wolf Street: ‘A lot of people have lost a lot of money in the recent financial market convulsions, but there’s still plenty of money to be made by betting against the companies, as the world’s largest hedge fund, Bridgewater Associates, showed (last) week. It bet heavily against four of Spain’s biggest corporate hitters. The fund took up short positions worth €1.2 billion, or 0.5% of total shares at Banco Santander, BBVA, Telefónica and Iberdrola...’.

From Vozpópuli: ‘The Supreme Court orders Gas Natural to pay 93 million euros to the Treasury. The process of the Tax Office is related to inspection reports on a series of deductions for export activities between 2003 and 2005. Following successive appeals, the Supreme Court has issued a final judgement. The company had already set aside the amount...’.

E-commerce: ‘11% of purchases made in Spain are already online’. From Vozpópuli here.

From El Autónomo Digital: Spain’s self-employment social security: 'One of these famous barriers is the monthly autonomous quota, which compared to other countries of the European Union is not exactly a bargain. In Spain, around 29% of the chosen contribution base is paid each month. Bearing in mind that the majority of the self-employed -more than 80%- choose the minimum contribution base of 919.80 euros per month, the autonomous contribution in 2018 amounts to 275 euros per month...'. The article contrasts costs and benefits with other European countries.

From El Confidencial: ‘Apparently, most Spaniards have seven shortcomings in common. We lack information about what is happening around us (1), our ethics do not measure up to "Western ethics" (2), we do not have a financial culture (3), no one assumes responsibility (4), nor do we take risks when it comes to undertaking or adapting to change (5), we are short-sighted and decide on the fly (6) and the services offered by our companies and public administrations are a real disaster (7). Vincent R. Werner has dedicated 383 pages to explain everything that he believes is wrong in Spain. Which is quite a lot. The thesis of the book just released ("It is not what it is. The real (S)pain of Europe") is that our society is a time bomb that could end up blowing up the entire European Union. The text is a succession of ideas, topics, facts and personal anecdotes accumulated during 17 years: two in Madrid and 15 in Barcelona...’. Here’s the intro from Amazon: ‘The world needs to know what is really going on in Spain. Visiting tourists are served beautiful beaches, sports and gastronomy numbing their senses. There are a lot of things going on in Spain that never make the headlines in their home countries. “Things” that are important because they ultimately determine the state of Europe and its position in the world...’. Opinion: why does the Anglo-Saxon world call us lazy, asks El Confidencial here.

El Satlto Diario is indignant: ‘Say the creditor vultures of Spain’s broken toll roads: "We'll chase the Spanish government for three hundred years". We will persecute the Spanish government for however long is necessary until we receive what we are owed. This is the threat made by the vulture funds creditors of the nine bankrupted toll-routes, which claim the whopping 4.500 million euros (and not 2,000M as the Planning Ministry claims) that will eat up the public deficit over the useless and ill-planned roads (imposed by the misguided scheme of the Aznar, Cascos, Aguirre and Gallardón people to enable huge profits for their builder friends...’.

Pensions In Spain: A Bleak Outlook’ from The Corner here.



Headline from El País in English: ‘The “Centre Moment”: Ciudadanos now Spain’s strongest political force. Riding high on its victory in Catalonia, the reform party has surged in the latest voter intention survey’. It says. ‘The party led by Albert Rivera would be the most voted option were an election to be held today, with 28.3% support from Spanish voters. This represents a lead of more than six points over the governing Popular Party (PP) and over eight points more than the Socialist Party (PSOE), which would remain in third place...’.

Opinion from El Huff Post: ‘Why doesn’t the PSOE matter anymore?’.

From YouTube comes Julio Anguita, the wise old man of the Left: ‘Excuse me, if you want to talk about La Izquierda, don’t talk to me about the PSOE’.

Headline from El País in English: ‘Why Spain’s political left is in decline. Around 1.7 million left-wing voters say they would consider voting for a different party or abstaining’.

El Diario asks if Mariano Rajoy will attempt to continue with his plan to be candidate for the PP in the next General Elections (in May 2019, still some way off). Who else might there be?

Spain’s silliest party is PACMA, the animal rights party. Here they say they want to ban bullfighting. ...and that’s apparently all they want. Bizcocho for President! Here, Podemos wants to change the voting rules, thus giving – in theory – a seat to PACMA in the last elections...



The ex-president of the Junta de Andalucía Manuel Chaves can breathe a sigh of relief. From El Mundo: The former president already knows that he will not go to jail in any way for the case of the ERE. Not even if he was found guilty. The court that is trying him and 21 other former high officials of the Andalusian government has agreed to eliminate one of the crimes for which he was being tried since last December, ‘illegal association’, which had only been requested by the PP as a popular accusation and that the investigating judge, Álvaro Martín, had ended up including in the order to open an oral trial to the surprise of most of the parties involved...’. The case will continue until, at least, October.

When Spain’s first free election took place in 1977 after 41 years of dictatorship, many thought a new dawn had broken. Spanish politics underwent a dramatic rebirth to bring the country back up to speed with European values of democracy. But for some, old habits die hard. Political corruption continues to steal the headlines in a country that, unnervingly, remains one of the most tainted in Europe. In 2017, Spain claimed 41st position in the global rankings of the Corruption Perception Index (CPI), sharing the slot with Brunei and Costa Rica with a total corruption cost of €203,000 million...’. From The Olive Press here.

The Gürtel Inquiry bubbles away... ‘Bárcenas confirms to the judge the plane trips to Valencia with businessmen to finance the PP in black funds’. El Mundo reports here.



Who is M. Rajoy? All the accusations against this mythical character.

From Help Catalonia: ‘Rapper will go to jail for singing “the Bourbons are thieves”’ (thanks to Jake for this one).



The Spanish approach to the Brexit negotiations is considered at El Diario here.

Brits in Spain Must Have Residencia and Padrón Before Brexit Says British Consul’. Item from The Courier here.

What would happen if the Brits lost their vote in local elections in Spain? Vozpópuli answers here.

"We haven't seen the worst of Brexit yet." These words, by Francisco González, BBVA's chairman two weeks ago, contrast with what most Spanish and European businessmen think. A report by FTI Consulting - carried out through surveys of 2,500 British, French, German and Spanish companies - shows that, far from being worried by the risks of a tough Brexit, optimism and complacency dominate: two thirds of companies expect to increase turnover, the number of customers and the workforce in the UK despite Brexit...’. More at Vozpópuli here.



Spain’s sixteenth national park will be in the Sierra de las Nieves, Málaga. Story here.

Two articles side by side in The Olive Press: ‘The Iberian Peninsula will experience a dry and warmer than average spring’, and ‘Málaga and southern Spain could see droughts 14 times more severe than in recent years from as soon as 2050 onwards’. Here and here.



From your plane ticket to your Facebook: Spanish passenger registration "violates your privacy.". The Government will store our name, ID, email, credit card, social networks and all our information on the Internet. Many people think we're looking at the new Big Brother’. Report at El Confidencial here. It’s called ‘the Passenger Name Report’: of course, ‘it’s for the Fight against Terror...’.

From El País in English: ‘The Spanish train station that became a hub for Nazis, gold and spies. Mired in myth, this vast international railway terminal in Huesca was a hotbed of espionage, and a trade route for Spanish tungsten and German loot during the Second World War. Now almost half a century since it closed, there are positive signals of its revival’.

Where is the next earner? Bankinter, La Caixa and BBVA are looking into the Marijuana business says Merca2 here. Meanwhile, with daily reports of cultivations of Marijuana discovered by the police, we read in El Diario that ‘the consumption of the drug has remained constant in Spain during the last fifteen years’.

350 years ago, on the 13th of February 1668, Portugal gained its independence from Spain. El Independiente recalls the events of the time here.

Arco is the main art fair held in Madrid each year. News is that they have just removed an exhibit showing ‘Spain’s political prisoners’ as, of course, there aren’t any. Item at El País.

Indeed, it’s been a bad week for censorship, says Público, with the Arco withdrawal (above), the 42 month sentence for the rap singer Valtonyc (see ‘Courts’ above) and the confiscation of Fariña, the book about the narcotics business in Galicia. Fariña video here.


See Spain:

The Museum of Iberian Art – El Museo de Arte Íbero, in Jaén, is one of Andalucía’s great museums, says the local site La Contra de Jaén here.

From The Local: ‘Six great reasons to visit Granada (besides the Alhambra)’.

And we return to where we began, with ‘another small abandoned village in the north east of Spain’, here with many photos at Eye on Spain.



Thanks to those readers who kindly wrote to ask about my ’flu. I am now much recovered. Lenox

On the subject of my mistaken Walter Drake (many British readers were kind enough to comment. No German readers did, however – perhaps proving my point). Here’s one:

Re: “In Spain, Sir Walter Drake is a pirate; in the UK, he is a hero; in Germany, they’ve never heard of him.”

 I must thank you for bringing to light Francis Drake’s evil brother Sir Walter Drake whose dastardly deeds have been hidden in history for centuries.  Few know that because of his family name and the similarity of his name to Sir Walter Raleigh his reign of pillaging of Spanish treasure ships and profiteering were attributed to his ‘honest as the day is long’ brother Francis., who often would go out of his way to help the Spaniards deliver their tons of Inca gold to Cádiz.

Also Sir Walter Raleigh suffered from this deception, few know it was Walter Drake who introduced that deadly weed tobacco to England the gains of which allowed him to buy his title and led to Raleigh’s execution for this deed.

So there you have it Lenox thank you for the exposé of Walter D. and for putting history straight. The Spaniards were right about “Walter” after all. 

Regards, John C.

And, from another, commenting on my blog remarks re-Walter:

I can see why you would like to go to New Zealand. Walter Agustus Drake. Wiki.



Fito y los Fitipaldis: Entre la Espada y la Pared. On YouTube here.

Business over Tapas February 22 2018 Nº 245

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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