It must be hard being Royalty in Spain. A dynasty returned to the front line by Francisco Franco himself. If Juan Carlos I was popular at the onset, and more so following his defence of democracy following the attempted coup of Antonio Tejero (who is still going strong by the way) and others back in 1981 (Wiki), then his later exploits have seriously dimmed that zeal among his erstwhile subjects. While much could be said for his good points, the business with the elephants in Botswana, the girlfriend on the side in the Mallorca palace and now, the apparent revelations of his commissions and business dealings have put his popularity at an all time low. No wonder, we might think, that he abdicated when he did. Indeed, the future of the Bourbons is now held by Felipe VI, who, to give him his due, has proved to be an able and blameless Monarch.
Why would Juan Carlos need all this extra cash – doesn’t he have enough?
The Media is divided on the news regarding a recently-discovered recording made by the Royal companion Corinna zu Sayn-Wittgenstein, made in 2015, with a copy in the hands of El Español here. They show a man looking to make a few deals and to disguise them behind straw figures (here). But what does all this mean for the Monarchy today?
‘His father is a liability, his mother is missing, his brother-in-law, in prison, his sisters cannot develop a public agenda. And with the queen, things are as they are’. This is the devastating portrait painted from the monarch's circle: the Royal Family has been liquidated as an instrument of representation and Philip VI carries the weight of the crown alone’, says El Español here. There is a strong republican tradition in Spain and the story has plenty more mileage, even though the government says it will not be debating the ‘Corinne case’ and limits itself to saying that ‘it in no way affects the current Head of State’. El Diario thinks otherwise and suggests ‘we are in the midst of a new operation to save the monarchy’.
Félix Sanz Roldán, the head of the secret service CNI, has stepped forward to offer explanations behind closed doors before a parliamentary committee on the alleged threats received by the ex-king's embittered companion (who denies the whole story here).
To sum up: Felipe VI is without doubt a popular figure in Spain, but he stands alone.
From Spanish Property Insight comes the useful ‘Region-by-region update on Spain’s holiday rental laws’ here.
‘Don’t call it a mini-apartment, call it a box’. The new apartments on offer in the cities are getting smaller and smaller says Público here...
‘Andalucia Realty has launched a new report focusing on how to get the golden visa in Spain to obtain the residency permit. It has been written as a guide to help anyone wanting to find real estate opportunities in Marbella, as the agency offers a variety of properties that are suitable to get the golden visa...’. From Newswire here.
A book about the property bubble: ‘It all began with a motorcycle trip along the Mediterranean coast, where the real estate crisis left its strongest mark. A trip in search of Playa Burbuja here. The road forked towards a route in time and space and we took the detour in search of the data, the images, the protagonists of what they have done to the coast, to its inhabitants, to the environment. After almost 15,000 kilometres, viewing piles of documentation, with long conversations and searches in the past; after seeing a Spain we had never imagined, this is the story of what happened and how it all came to pass. Don't let it be forgotten. Because the builders are coming back and they haven't learned their lesson’.
The Government is looking forward to receiving 84 million foreign tourists to Spain in 2018 says Hosteltur here.
From Wolf Street comes a contrasting report: ‘One of the main motors behind Spain’s recent economic recovery, foreign tourism, is beginning to splutter. After years of two-figure year-on-year growth, the number of foreign visitors to Spain in the first five months of 2018 grew by a paltry 2% (to 28.6 million tourists). During the same period last year, the year-on-year increase was 12%. More ominous still, the country’s two biggest tourist markets, Catalonia and the Canary Islands, actually saw visitor numbers fall from January to May for the first time since Spain’s tourist boom began...’.
They would all be much happier staying in hotels, of course (even at three times the price). From next January, says El Diario here, Airbnb (and similar agencies) will have to update Hacienda every three months will all its clients and available rooms, days stayed and rates charged etc.
But still it’s not enough. ‘Hoteliers are asking the Government to create an urgent campaign to attract more British holiday-makers for September and October’ says Preferente here.
‘Some 300 Ryanair flights will be cancelled across Europe next week due to a strike by cabin crew in Spain, Portugal and Belgium...’. From The Olive Press here.
‘The Provincial Council of Málaga is promoting a pioneering plan to serve the more than 70,000 elderly who live alone in the province. The Plan contra la Soledad de las Personas Mayores will initially include a volunteer network, a free telephone helpline, home automation, and recreational, sports and cultural activities...’. More at the Diputación’s site.
Imserso: There are currently three lots: Costas, Islands and circuits, but the Government intends to expand the offer with two more: spas and Europe. The story is at Preferente here.
From El País comes ‘The Government softens 2018 deficit target and postpones 6,000 million euros adjustment. Economy Minister Nadia Calviño raises the deficit target in 2018 to 2.7% of GDP and to 1.8% in 2019, five tenths more than expected’. The item also appears in The Corner as ‘Spain revises upwards fiscal deficit targets and prepares a package of fiscal measures’. Returning to El País here: ‘The Government will make the 5,000 million adjustments with tax increases. Finance Minister María Jesús Montero explains that tax increases will be concentrated in 2019 and announces that the end of the public deficit in Spain will be delayed until 2022’.
Disturbing news for those on the edge: ‘Inspectors will be making nightly, weekend and holiday visits to stop the ‘false self-employed’. Inspección de Trabajo officials will be actively assisted by the State security forces’. From VozPópuli here.
From Spanish Property Showrooms comes an article called ‘Spanish Holiday Rental Taxation for non-resident Landlords’. It says: ‘...Not paying your taxes is no longer an option - you could be facing huge fines, when the Spanish Tax Office (AEAT) finds out you are letting your property, whether you are resident or a non-resident landlord, and fail to report your rental income...’.
Donald Trump took a swipe at Spain last week regarding its low spending on defence while at the NATO summit, says El Mundo here. Trump thinks that Spain should dedicate 4% of its GNP to defence, while the real proportion is around 0.93%.
‘Pedro Sánchez outlines the policies that the Government wants to implement in the coming months.... These are the 13 measures the president has promised... The spokesman for the PP Rafael Hernando says: "It's not a program; it's a subsistence plan with the communists". From El Huff Post story and video here. The main points are the creation of more jobs; gender equality; to design ‘fairer’ taxes; more public-owned housing and fairer rental laws; to ease tensions in Catalonia and Spain to play a more active role in the European Union. The full list of thirteen promises is here.
From The Spectator: ‘Why Spain could be the populists’ next battleground’. The magazine looks at uncontrolled immigration and concludes – ‘Europeans may think of themselves as humanists and progressives, but nativism and nationalism is never far from the surface. In time, the Spanish will become as impatient on migration as everybody else. And when that time arises, the Spanish government will have two choices: adopt stronger border controls or risk drowning in Europe’s populist wave’.
‘Podemos has renewed calls for the legalisation of cannabis now that the PSOE is in government. The party’s leader, Pablo Iglesias, said legalising the drug would lead to a much bigger budget for healthcare. He said: “We wouldn’t have to spend money on security arrangements against illegal trafficking, which generates crime and exploitation.”. According to the blueprint for regulation, Spain could raise €177 million per year through cannabis taxes, plus a further €1,200 million on indirect taxes. ... Last month, Podemos, the PSOE and Ciudadanos jointly put forward another motion calling for personal amounts of the drug to be legal...’. From The Olive Press here.
‘Murcia society wins the battle to bury the AVE underground. The Murcia Government Delegation announces that the AVE will arrive underground to the city in 2020, as requested by the local inhabitants. The Plataforma Pro Soterramiento has been the protagonist of daily mobilizations since September 2017’. Item from El Salto Diario here.
‘Noam Chomsky and other international voices call for the release of imprisoned politicians in a video. The campaign, which has the slogan 'We demand justice and freedom', is promoted by Òmnium Cultural’. Article and video at El País here.
From El Español: ‘Corinne: Juan Carlos asked for a commission on the AVE to Mecca and received Saudi money’. The intrigues are also discussed in The Telegraph here: ‘Former king of Spain Juan Carlos I accused of using 'lover' to secure low-tax property deals’. The paper says ‘...In a 2015 conversation with a former Spanish police officer in London, Princess Corinna alleged that the king’s lawyers put her name on overseas properties without her permission, complaining that she was being drawn into “money laundering”...’.
Corinna Sayn-Wittgenstein says that the whole story is a political campaign to discredit her, according to El Mundo here. She says: ‘"I have always acted correctly and I intend to continue living my life calmly, regardless of the years of constant harassment and attempts at public discredit that I have suffered with countless false information," In the short communiqué, she conveys her "enormous respect for the institutions of Spain" but ends by warning: "I cannot allow myself to be used in a conflict that does not concern me"...’.
From The Connexion France: ‘The UK's white paper – key points for expatriates. The UK government has published its white paper on the relationship it foresees with the EU after Brexit – here we summarise some key points relating to Britons in the EU...’. Assuming things haven’t changed in the past few days... here.
From The Independent here: ‘After Brexit, budget holidays will be a thing of the past. Here's why. Any replacement for free movement, even if visa-free, will require a registration fee that’ll add to the expenses of family holidays. It is a fact that no politician has been upfront about and no journalist has pressed interviewees on’.
From Full Fact here: ‘Brits abroad: how many people from the UK live in the EU27? 1.3 million people born in the UK live in other EU countries, according to 2017 estimates from the United Nations. Around 900,000 UK citizens were long-term residents in other EU countries in 2010 and 2011, according to census data across the EU collated by the Office for National Statistics. There are two alternative estimates, and neither is perfect...’.
Much mirth from the Left as ABC tries to make Sánchez look silly on their front page. It backfires as most readers agree that the PSOE is doing a good job, says Público here.
The government plan to vote in a new Podemos-dominated administration for the RTVE failed to gather enough votes on Monday, leaving egg on the face of both Pedro Sánchez and Pablo Iglesias. Apparently, two deputies voted mistakenly.
An item from Público in March this year shows that the media is quiet about royal affairs: ‘The CIS (pollsters) and the media silence the opinion of citizens about Felipe VI and the Royal House. The figure of King Felipe VI and the role of the Royal House in the Spanish political system are not under public scrutiny due to a lack of interest on the part of the CIS and the scant initiative of the media to commission any research on the subject’. El Plural reported last Friday on ‘The long-standing secret pact agreed by the newspapers to not speak ill of the King’ here. ‘However this week El Diario says that ‘Podemos warns the PSOE about the end of the "law of silence" over the monarchy’.
‘Spain’s electricity grid operator, Red Eléctrica de España has announced that the country’s mainland covered almost half of its electricity demand in the first half of 2018 with renewable energies alone’. From PV Magazine here.
The impuesto al sol is dead thanks to the European Union says El Diario here. The PSOE, Ciudadanos and Podemos are all in agreement...
Equinac, the marine protection charity, says ‘all the sea-turtles we rescue spend at least a week pooping bits of plastic’. Story at Almería Hoy here.
They had to make the submarine – the one that wouldn’t float because of its weight – ten metres longer to fix the issue. Now they have to make its berth in Cartagena ten metres longer, because it doesn’t fit! Onda Cero has the story (audio) here. Also, in English here.
The exhumation of General Franco from the Valle de los Caídos has now been agreed with the dictator’s family and will go ahead, as Pedro Sánchez says, ‘shortly’. El Mundo reports here. However, the Benedictine prior at the site has to give his permission, which he won’t.
LaSexta tells us that suicides in Spain are currently at around ten per day.
20 Minutos has some motoring items here, including the rise in diesel prices (4.6% in just one week), the new labels at the gas station and where to find cheap petrol. Another item for motorists is the return to Tráfico of the ineffable Pere Navarro (here). His first ruling: ‘Using mobile phone behind the wheel will carry heavier fines in Spain. The new chief of the traffic authority says the time has come to revamp the point-based driving license’ here.
El País in English looks at ‘the forgotten diaspora’ of the Spaniards who moved to the USA at the end of the 19th century here.
Spain has done well, winning the World Magic Championship 2018 in Korea. The story at Pastomagic here.
‘Twenty years after the end of the Spanish Civil War, photographer Michael Peto travelled around Spain with writer Nora Beloff for a three part series in The Observer looking at different aspects of life under General Franco and the future for the country. Here.
One for Colin Davies: ‘Private businesses manipulate signs of the Camino de Santiago for pilgrims to pass by their businesses. Pilgrims on the Way of St. James are finding road-signs these days that divert them from the proper route. There are people who manipulate the signs so that pilgrims can pass by their businesses, a picaresque that has been detected in Ponferrada’. The story and video come from Antena3 here.
Fronterasblog visits the shortest frontier in the world: the 80m long line that separates Spain from Morocco at the Peñón de Vélez de la Gomera.
El País has Spain and Portugal’s 450 best beaches here.
Montoro in Córdoba – Spain’s hottest pueblo with a record 47.3C to beat, says El País.
An Orange March in Benidorm? ’Fraid so. On YouTube here.
Business over Tapas July 19 2018 Nº 265
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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