Following on from the recent terror attack, Barcelona was host on Saturday to 500,000 people who had come to show their feelings against terrorism; the King of Spain and Mariano Rajoy were among them. But, anything to do with Catalonia means politics, and there are items aplenty to suit every position.
To help readers make up their minds about the perfidy of the independentistas (the threatened referendum is only a few weeks away), Spain’s right-wing daily La Razón airbrushed out of their front-page photograph of the demonstration the bit they didn’t like and added a patch taken from another view. The photographer himself explains what happened (in Catalán) here. Another example, even easier to appreciate, shows the real and doctored photos put out by the Palace and the Moncloa (here). For pro-Independence news, one needs to go to the Catalonian press like La Vanguardia, or, perhaps a trifle surprisingly, to The Guardian here. Many of the demonstrators certainly used the occasion to push for Catalonian independence, and many placards veered from the ‘We are not afraid’ line to other more pointed issues against Spain or in favour of Catalonian statehood. The bit that most Spaniards didn’t like was the criticism – in many placards and Catalonian editorials – of the King and his apparent friendship – or alliance – with the Saudis – and their apparent sponsorship of terrorism. Certainly Spain sells them a lot of arms – in fact, when it comes to this profitable but unpleasant export to the region, Spain takes third place internationally. Mind you, the ABC, another right-wing newspaper, points out here that a quarter of Spain’s arms industry is produced and exported by the Catalonians themselves.
Who would suffer more if Catalonia were to secede from Spain? El Español says that Catalonian Business would lose 20,000 million euros and unemployment would rise up to over 40% within a year following the ‘disconnection’. El Confidencial also looks at the issue here and notes that Catalonia’s export and tourism industries are the strongest in Spain, so would presumably be fairy resistant. Indeed, as we have seen, Spain itself would lose 14% of its territory, plus a chunk of its economy, its tourist numbers, its influence and its population – although Catalonians are told that they will be able to hold double nationality (here). It would also be open to losing other regions along the way, including the Basque Country and perhaps the Balearics. Andalucía? Madrid should be so lucky.
El Español warns that ‘the passivity of the Spanish Government over Catalonia is very dangerous’. They may have a point, but what can they do now – send in the police and make mass arrests... Send in the army...?
To underline the Spanish confusion about Catalonia, there’s a page on Facebook run by the Ultras called Boicot a los Productos de Cataluña. With around 60,000 supporters. What’s this – they want Catalonia to stay part of Spain... by bankrupting them?
The referendum, short of some surprise move from Madrid, will take place on October 1st, with the campaigning due to start on September 15th and (if we can believe a pro-secessionist site here) the independentistas look set to win...
‘Spain’s property sector is on the up and up again, as can be seen from the trend in housing purchases over the last two years. These have been rising at double digit rates, fuelled by a recovery in the jobs market combined with favourable financial conditions. Overseas demand for homes has also been solid over the last few quarters. So is it all good news then? CaixaBank Research highlights the variety of different trends which the strong foreign demand for Spanish property conceals. The analysts explain: On the one hand, most of the purchases are located on the Mediterranean coast and the Islands (Canaries, Balearics). These account for over 30% of the total of property buys in some areas. On the other hand, the trend in the purchases is very different, according to nationalities. In this respect, the uncertainty surrounding all things Brexit and the pound’s sharp fall over the last few months is definitely weighing on UK citizens’ enthusiasm for acquiring a property in Spain. In Q1 2017, their purchases declined 13% year-on-year...’. From The Corner here.
The Olive Press brings us ‘The costs of selling on the Costa’ here.
A house was demolished in Almayate (Vélez-Málaga) by the Courts last week. As if often the case, the house was owned by a British couple, Gillian and Bob Ward. The Wards had a municipal licence to rebuild an old ruin, but the authorities were adamant. More on this at Typically Spanish here. As we know, the support and enthusiasm of the foreign residents towards Spain far outweighs that of the foreign tourists. Shouldn't Spain occasionally return some of that affection?
Sale of this year’s Imserso trips will begin on September 15th. 1.35 million holidays are offered this year to seniors. Agent Travel has more here.
ABC Andalucía says that foreigners preferred to visit Torremolinos, Benalmádena, Marbella and Seville this July. For Spaniards, the favourite Andaluz destinations in July were Roquetas de Mar, Torremolinos, Mojácar and Seville. Again, for Spaniards, Andalucía took first place over Catalonia (with a rather improbable 1,048,765 visitors in July), although Catalonia and the Balearics beat out Andalucía as favoured foreign destination.
Maybe sol y playa tourism is slowing down finally, says El Diario here, as cruise numbers are up instead. We had 3.6 million cruise visitors to Spain in the first six months of this year (assuming they all got off the boat). Ecologists are worried about the numbers and the pollution.
Headline from El País in English: ‘Ibiza residents worry their island has been sacrificed to tourism. As visitor numbers keep rising, pressure on housing and public services making life impossible for locals’. (Here in Mojácar, it’s been very crowded, but the visitors are beginning to thin out at last).
‘There have been no cancelations at all following the events in Barcelona’, says the city’s tourist department as reported in La Vanguardia here.
One city hall has removed more debt than all the other capital cities of Spain between them. Madrid has slimmed itself down by 2,000 million euros in 24 months. Figures and analysis at El Boletín here.
‘Back to school’ in Spain is another area where naked capitalism beats out any political measure of responsibility. The average family spend will be 859€ as their part of a 7,000 million euro business in books, pencils and school clothes. El Español looks at the figures here.
Mariano Rajoy spent an uncomfortable Wednesday in Parliament explaining his innocence over the improper funding of the PP. He said he had been asked about this on many different occasions and he could not understand why the subject still remained. In his presentation, he managed, says El Huff Post, not to mention ‘Gürtel’ once and gave no explanation or justification. The PSOE called for his immediate resignation. Pablo Iglesias from Podemos on asking whether Rajoy knew about the ‘black account’ in his party and was thus either ‘a liar or an incompetent’ was told that ‘if some party received funds from Venezuela, it certainly wasn’t his’. 92% of readers thought that Rajoy’s explanations were hopeless. For opposing views, El Diario has ‘Rajoy’s Lies’ here. ABC has the defence from the PP spokesman ‘Rafael Hernando: they are trying to stigmatise an honourable party’.
Interviu talks to three British local councillors from Alicante about the Brexit and their plans for the future. Jacqueline Cotterill (Parcent) and two others (firewall) discuss their future problems.
Facua is a useful consumer association. It seems quite fierce. Here it warns readers of a number of new ‘boiler room’ financial advisers which have sprung up across Europe. These include Clarion Global Group, Zurich Capital, AMC Capital, Sakai Yao and Partners, Multi Strategy Investments Limited, Donalds and Brinkley, GSI Markets, UK Tech Protect Limited Asashi Mergers and Acquisitions Group, LDN Exchange, B4markets Ltd, GTP Capital, Pacifik Chiba Trust, Kennedy Kilbride (UK), Toronto Sumitomo Trading International, Polen Capital Investment Funds, Quick Quid, Debts Advice Trust, Tilney Fund Managers, Admiral Markets Ltd, London Finance and Investment Corporation, Merit Loans, Oxford Capital Partners and E Money Limited.
Mac Hotels from Mallorca has been suffering from tourists with gastrointestinal problems, and so far this year has been sued over 800 times (despite only 32 of their visitors seeing a doctor during their stay). The group says it has lost around four million euros in court cases taken against it. Meanwhile The Local reports that ‘A British company that encouraged holidaymakers to submit bogus insurance claims has had its licence taken away and been forced out of operation in a clampdown against a practice that is blighting tourism in Spain. The UK government-run Claims Management Regulator (CMR) discovered that Allsure Ltd had encouraged people to fabricate or embellish symptoms of food poisoning on fake insurance claims in order to claim compensation...’.
The Catalonian government, post independence, will amnesty all regional politicians under investigation foe ‘sedition’, will confiscate ‘Spanish state property’, will choose their own judges and will absorb the public workforce. El Mundo is choleric here. The new state will also impose border controls with Spain, says The Local here.
The UK will not recognise Gibraltar as being a land frontier with the EU following Brexit says El Confidencial here.
From El Confidencial comes: ‘The National Court has annulled a fine of 22 million euros from the National Commission on Markets and Competition (CNMC) to Repsol for manipulating prices...’.
Juana Rivas, the woman who went into hiding to keep her two children away from the courts, finally surrendered the pair on Monday. They are now re-united with the father who has taken them back to Sardinia. She may go to jail for ‘contempt’. It may all be a good interpretation of the law, perhaps, but few people are celebrating. El País reports here.
The long time ill-feeling between Cartagena and Murcia has produced another article, this time a general attack on Murcia, the province that was almost called ‘Frutilandia’. Probably a mistake. See ‘Los Estados Unidos de Murcia’ from El Mundo here.
Prisoners Abroad considers Britons incarcerated in Spain here.
How dirty is the sea off the Canary Islands? Very. ‘...Just Tenerife alone discharges 57 million litres of water per day into the sea: 96% of urban or industrial wastewater is being dumped off the island without being treated as established by current regulations...’. More at Canarias en la Red here.
How the plastic farms of Almería help cool the surrounds and thus fight against – in a small way – Global Warming. They reflect the sun’s heat back off into space. Público enthuses here.
The Government may not want to talk about the drought, but it is happening and it is serious, says El Plural here.
The father of a small child who died in the Barcelona attack seeks out the local Imam to show the local Muslims that there was no fear, no hatred. The hug between the two men is recorded on video here. A European politician Guy Verhofstadt speaks for us all: ‘An amazing symbol of unity: father of three-year-old Barcelona attack victim hugs local imam in an emotional protest against terror and Islamophobia. Terrorists try to divide us; it's more vital than ever to be united. Protecting our freedom means doing it all together!’.
Some ghastly fellow from ISIS, born in Córdoba but now living in Syria, has made a video threatening Spain. We read in The Olive Press about him here. He says “Spanish Christians: don’t forget the Muslim blood spilled during the Spanish inquisition. We will take revenge for your massacre, the one you are carrying out now against the Islamic State.”. Idiot. Spaniards have been quick to laugh at him here. One joke has it ‘you can’t be a proper terrorist when your mum’s name is Tomasa Pérez Mollejas’.
Amusing Planet visits ‘Elche, the City of Palm Trees’ here. ‘...Elche has more palm trees than people. According to some estimates, there are between 200,000 and 300,000 trees here distributed across hundreds of orchards...’.
‘The Ribeira Sacra is an area in inland Galicia that is home to spectacular natural features...’. From Eye on Spain here.
Oh dear. ‘I Speak No Spaniardo!’ by Ricky Tomlinson. A comic song. Here.
Business over Tapas August 31 2017 Nº 222
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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