Business over Tapas August 16 2018 Nº 269

16 Agosto 2018  Sección; Especiales 219 votos

Editorial:

While we shudder quietly over the story in The Mirror of the elderly British tourist who found ‘too many Spaniards’ on her Benidorm holiday (here) – the Spanish version found in 20 Minutos is not so kind – and the report in The Sun which says that sneaky Spanish inspectors are ‘counting the towels’ draped on the terraces to find the illegal apartment rentals, and the ‘go ahead and jump’ advice to those tourists in Barcelona with a balcony (here in Público and here in The Daily Mail), we can begin – those of us who don’t own souvenir shops or flag-waving bars – to consider that it’s now the second-half of August: not long left before this splendid and beautiful country settles down to the quieter season, when we residents will once again be able to appreciate our surroundings – and wonder why we are never mentioned or considered in the tourist-hungry literature of the Spanish resorts despite our wealth, support and evident enthusiasm for this, our chosen country of residence.

 

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Housing:

A sponsored article from The Telegraph: ‘Thinking about purchasing a house in Spain? Find out whether 2018 is the year to take the plunge’. The story here.

Decades ago, Spain was just a summer holiday destination for Brits, but nowadays it’s a hub for would-be expat home owners. Permanent residency is the aim nowadays, with British retirees, entrepreneurs and property investors rushing to secure a home in the sun before March next year. The housing market is springing out of its slump and Spanish banks are offering expat mortgages...’. From Emigrate.co.uk comes ‘Key factors for ex-pats looking for a mortgage in Spain’.

Empty houses are one of those burdens on the Spanish real estate market that come to light on a recurring basis. This time it has come to the fore in recent days following the request of the UGT union to create a tax to tax this type of bank-owned property. The Ministry of Public Works estimates that at the end of 2017 there were 476,938 unoccupied dwellings in the national territory, corresponding to 1.36% of the total number of residences in our country. What is most surprising is that not all of them will ever accommodate a resident, since, according to several experts, some 70,000 are doomed to be demolished. Since 2012, at the height of the last economic crisis, the number of empty houses has barely fallen by 18%, from 583,453 to just over 475,000 by the end of 2017. The revitalization of the real estate market after the recession seems not to have taken place in this type of building that neither has a buyer nor will likely find one in the near future...’. From La Información.

A week after attacking three city councils – Madrid, Bilbao and San Sebastian – for limiting the activity of tourist flat rental websites, the competition services maintain the defence of the Airbnb model. In a report published on Monday, the National Commission on Markets and Competition (CNMC) admires the positive effects of the boom in these platforms; and minimizes or questions the negative ones. The agency also rejects the criticism that Airbnb has inflated the price of housing – both rental and purchase. "There is no evidence [of it]," says a text that gathers all the usual favourable arguments of Airbnb and the like; and nothing or very little of those of its detractors...’. From El País here.

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Tourism:

The great challenge for tourism is to strike a balance between economic development, social justice and environmental conservation...’. says El Diario sententiously in an article here. Ah, the old days when they used to look forward to the ‘suecas’ arriving in their bikinis...

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Finance:

The fall of the Turkish lira has caused a hole of 5,200 million euros for the BBVA on the stock market. The bank’s share-value has fallen by more than 20% since the beginning of the year’, says VozPópuli here. The Spanish bank is considered in Wolf Street too: ‘...Banks in Spain, France and Italy have estimated exposure to Turkey’s banking sector of around €135 billion. Spanish lenders alone reportedly are owed just over €80 billion by Turkish borrowers in a mix of local and foreign currencies. French and Italian banks are respectively due just under €40 billion and €18 billion. ... At the top of the risk list, as we’ve been warning since 2016, is Spain’s second largest lender, BBVA, whose stock on Friday plunged 5.4% on news that the ECB is concerned that the Spanish bank, along with France’s BNP Paribas and Italy’s Unicredit, could be particularly impacted by Turkey’s gathering currency crisis. According to the FT, the ECB has been following developments at the three lenders closely for the last two months...’.

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Politics:

Jacobin looks at ‘Spain’s right-wing populist Pablo Casado’ here. The under-title says: ‘His project: to use Reaganomics, flag-waving nationalism, and a war on feminism to reinvigorate the Right’.

Order and security!’ says Ciudadanos. From El Diario: ‘Why the Ciudadanos discourse is alarmist: Spain is in fact among the safest countries in Europe. Since 2010, the crime rate has fallen by 11%, homicides by 23% and robberies with violence by 27%. Spain is among the European countries with the lowest homicides and violent crimes per 100,000 inhabitants’. The article can be found here.

Pedro Sánchez is doing well, says La Vanguardia here, and the PSOE could now take 40 of Spain’s 52 provinces. ‘It's not magic; it's just electoral arithmetic. However, the arrival of Pedro Sánchez to power seems to have had thaumaturgical (heh!) effects on the political map, to the point of making it practically unrecognizable. From the intense blue that it wore since 2011, the electoral geography of Spain exhibits an overwhelming red from the last CIS barometer, whose forecast would make the PSOE the first force in 40 of the 52 provinces, according to our extrapolation from the territorial distribution of the vote...’.

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Catalonia:

Are there are indications that the Spanish state is weakening on the question of Catalonia? The venally corrupt Rajoy regime was kicked into the dustbin of history last month by a no confidence vote. It is tempting to think that the end of Rajoy’s conservative Partido Popular (PP) government means something for Catalonia. After all, it was Rajoy who sent in the paramilitary police, who suspended the government and who locked up his opponents. Surely now that Pedro Sánchez’s PSOE government is in power – especially as it is held together by a ‘confidence and supply’ agreement with the left-wing Podemos – a resolution to the Catalonian conflict is now more likely...’. Maybe not, says Red Pepper here.

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Crime:

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Courts:

The Spanish courts have long felt that ETA thugs should spend their term in jails as far away from the Basque Country as possible. Indeed, only 5% of them are in jails close to Euskadi. This is evidently unfair on their families and the government is now revising the policy.

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Brexit:

A statement from British in Europe: ‘After nearly two years fighting for the rights of UK citizens in the EU after Brexit and working closely with EU citizens in the UK (the3million), the coalition British in Europe has to accept that the rights of UK citizens in the EU will only be protected fully if the UK remains in the EU. British in Europe was set up to protect all UK citizens who had exercised their rights as EU citizens to live and work in another EU country. Nearly 80% of us are working age or younger and Brexit threatens our livelihoods and the lives we have built up with our families through hard work in other countries. The majority of us had no vote in the referendum...’.

From Politics.co.uk here: ‘Bottleneck on Brits residency applications in Europe as Brexit looms’.

British expatriates have launched a fresh legal challenge against the 2016 referendum, arguing that the result has been invalidated by the Electoral Commission’s ruling on leave campaign spending. The judicial review against the prime minister, Theresa May, has been submitted to the high court in London by the UK in EU Challenge group, which represents Britons living in France, Italy and Spain. It argues that the recent Electoral Commission findings on BeLeave and Vote Leave – which resulted in two officials being reported to the police and punitive fines being imposed – means that the referendum to leave the EU was not a lawful, fair or free vote...’. More at The Guardian here.

The European Commission has been criticised for funding legal advice about Brexit for EU27 citizens living in Britain – but not offering the service to British expats on the continent. The commission’s representation in the UK is paying for solicitors to tour the country speaking to the three million EU27 citizens in a bid to ease their fears about Brexit. They will inform EU citizens about what rights they will keep, how to apply for ‘settled status’ with the UK government and how they can exercise their right to vote in next year’s European Parliament elections. ... The group representing the 1.3m British citizens living in the EU27 countries are furious the same offer has not been extended to them. Fiona Godfrey, deputy chair of British in Europe, said: “We are still EU citizens and I’m still buying stuff in the EU and paying VAT which is used to fund the EU budget.”...’. The story at Yahoo! Finance here. It’s certainly the case that many of us British ex-pats like the EU a lot more than the EU appears to like us.

From El Confidencial: ‘The voice of the British in Benidorm: "We cannot be a burden to Spain", says the head of the local British Commerce Association recommending British ex-pats to get signed onto the padrón’. An interview with Karen Cowles here.

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Media:

Cabroworld is a joke site which appears here and there (as Cabronazi on Facebook, for example). It is fun and, apparently, it makes a lot of money. It also pinches other people’s stuff, says El Confidencial here.

The national TV is changing... Last week, the Informe Semanal news program offered a rather cringing interview by its director Jenaro Castro with Pablo Casado. A week later, the program returned to discuss the same politician, the no-doubt transient leader of the PP, to expose his fishy Master’s degree... The story at VerTele here.

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Ecology:

From El País: ‘The period 2018-2022 will be "twice" as hot due to natural causes. A climate anomaly will double the effect of global warming, according to studies provided in a new statistical method’. Like it’s not hot enough already. The story here begins with ‘Just two weeks after an international report confirmed that 2016, 2017 and 2015 have been, in that order, the three warmest years since records began in 1880, a team of scientists warned that the 2018-2022 period could be even warmer than expected by global warming thanks to the variability of the natural climate...’. Perhaps The Guardian headline makes more sense: ‘Extreme temperatures 'especially likely for next four years'. Cyclical natural phenomena that affect planet’s climate will amplify effect of manmade global warming, scientists warn’.

The BOE State Bulletin has published a list of 32 species, flora and fauna, which have recently become extinct in Spanish territory. Público lists them here.

Why have jellyfish invaded the Costa del Sol? Study hopes to reveal why the Costa del Sol has been bombarded with jellyfish this year’. Story at The Olive Press here.

Diesel cars are slowly being withdrawn, between price hikes in the fuel from next January and larger environmental concerns. From Autocar comes: ‘Seat cuts diesel engines from Toledo range. The compact saloon is based on the previous-generation Ibiza, so its days are numbered’.

According to El Confidencial, petrol is more contaminating than diesel: ‘While waiting for more infrastructure for the use of electric, plug-in hybrid, natural gas or LPG vehicles, and in the more distant future hydrogen, the best option at the moment is the diesel car. Contrary to what the ‘authorities’ want to sell us, the modern diesel car is a good option, less polluting than the gasoline alternative. Why do they tell us the opposite? The only ones who gain from this controversy are the governments, which collect more taxes (with gasoline), while the ones who lose are the citizens who pay more for mobility. And we all lose because CO2 emissions are rising...’.

How contaminating are the cruise ships, asks Ecobnb here. Very, apparently. ‘...In total, ocean cruise ships produce at least 17 per cent of total nitrogen oxide emissions, contributing to more than a quarter of total nitrogen oxide emissions in port cities and coastal areas. All the more reason to remember how much cruise ships pollute. In addition, waste from cruise ships adversely affects the resilience of marine ecosystems, destroying coral reefs. If you ever decide to embark on one of these marine giants, remember that their CO2 emissions can be up to 1000 times higher than a train ride...’. Then, there’s all the waste which is pumped into the sea as the ship passes...

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Various:

Morocco has unilaterally and definitively closed the customs office in Melilla. The closure of this customs office, opened in the 1950s at Rabat's request, has brought the autonomous city to the brink of suffocation. The Spanish government has not publicly protested the measure’. A major story from El Confidencial. Melilla lives from its trade with Morocco.

Headline from The Guardian here: ‘'It's about racism' - Spain's street vendors (the ‘manteros’) caught up in immigration row. Migrants say unfair laws mean many resort to selling pirated goods to tourists to survive’.

The real reason why Spaniards eat late (according to the BBC here). ‘Many travellers believe Spain’s late mealtimes are a reflection of the country’s laidback attitude, but that couldn’t be further from the truth’.

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See Spain:

A foodie homage to Catalonia: a tour of its unsung Ebro delta’, from The Guardian here.

Mike Arkus is back – now in Portugal and ‘Up the Douro River to the Port Wine Heartland’.

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Letters:

Lenox,

Your editorial (here) is a beauty!

Per Svensson

Hi Lenox, Nice article on bloody furriners.

The 1,800 euros comes from the family and community in which they lived in Africa. The family and community see the 1,800 euros as an investment; if one man can work in Spain, he can send 1,800 euros (36 euro per week) back that year, and then continue to send 36 euro per week for the next three or four years. That way the money won't disappear into Swiss bank account or prestigious useless dams. Every week at the local post office I have to stand in the queue as these "unwanted" (says who?) unwashed send all their spare cash home - and live in utter poverty meanwhile. And the cost – 1,800 euros - is mainly caused by all those righteous people who don't want foreigners picking their salad at a bare-bones wage.

Jan

A well-written article but you missed the point. The "gimme gimme" arrivals will get the vote right away to keep the Left in power.

Ric

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Finally:

In Spain, the wrestling scene is one of the most obscure ones in Europe, but White Wolf Wrestling (Triple W) is changing that. A wrestling school in Madrid, Triple W is getting a lot of coverage in the media and in Europe in general...’. From Last Word on Sports here.

 

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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