**Vía José Antonio Sierra( asesor de Hispanismo ).-
A digest of this week’s Spanish financial, political and social news aimed primarily at Foreign Property Owners:
Prepared by Lenox Napier.
President Sánchez addressed the nation on Monday to warn that the war in Ukraine (a war which, he said, was only sought by one man) could bring problems which might be beyond the scope of any European government to solve – whether price-rises, scarcity or indeed other more serious issues.
In consequence, the President introduced a shock plan against the economic effect of the war, with a budget of 16,000 million euros: 6,000 million in direct aid and tax reductions and 10,000 million more in ICO loans for families and businesses. The measures to last until June 30.
“We are going to make every effort to distribute the budget in a balanced way,” Sánchez underlined.
The plan has five legs that will bring relief to families, consumers and business, to transport (the truck drivers and so on), in cyber-security and energy.
Petrol prices will drop by 20c a litre (or more) from Friday April 1st.
Labour law changes also are planned, allowing Spanish companies to be more flexible in their response to energy price difficulties while avoiding layoffs.
Rental increases are limited to 2%.
Also, people on benefits will get a 15% increase over the coming three months. More households will be allowed access to subsidized electricity prices, adding another 600,000 homes to the two million already receiving the benefit.
Furthermore, he has reached an agreement in Europe, together with the Portuguese president, to significantly reduce the price of energy from next week.
Sánchez had this to say of the Russian aggression: ‘In Putin there are imperialist motivations with delusions of grandeur. And he has already gone down in history for his war crimes. Let’s hope he ends up before the International Criminal Court in The Hague. Putin does not want democracy to advance. Putin wants to annihilate the democratic model’.
The anti-government media were – perhaps inevitably – unimpressed by Sanchez’ triumph.
From Spanish Property Insight here. ‘Foreigners bought more than 100,000 homes in Spain in 2021 in the best year since the runaway boom year of 2006, according to the latest data from the Spanish government (MITMA)’.
The Olive Press takes a swing at the gigantic homes owned by any of the blacklist of 893 of the wealthiest Russians. ‘When it comes to Russian Oligarchs, Spain must do its homework’ it says, noting that no one seems to either know or to worry about one particular mansion that may even belong to Vladimir Putin in Benhavís (Málaga).
From Sur in English here: ‘The Costa del Sol wants more tourists from EU countries to reduce its reliance on UK. While not turning its back on British holidaymakers, the Tourist Board is carrying out an intensive campaign in countries whose tourists spend more and stay longer’. From The Express here. ‘Spain’s Costa del Sol region is putting the focus on German tourists instead of Britons. Officials said tourists from other countries spend more than Britons’. The newspaper says ‘German tourists spent an average of 1,410 euros on holiday in Spain in January while Britons spent 1,238 euros on average in the same period, according to the Instituto Nacional de Estadistica’. We read: ‘All the resorts offer British themed restaurants and pubs for Britons who want a little taste of home in the sun’.
Inflation in Spain is going through the roof. March figures show a year-on-year rise of 9.8% reveals a press release from the Instituto Nacional de Estadísticas, on pdf, here.
From Público here: ‘How to become independent from the electricity companies: “With my solar roof, I have gone from paying 130 euros a month to just 50”. Residential communities, urbanizations, chalets… Self-consumption of energy is emerging as the great alternative at a time of rising prices. Some neighbours who live in different types of housing talk to Público about the benefits of this system’.
La Voz de Galicia has an expert who says: ‘A shortage in diesel fuel is around the corner. We could even notice it as early as in April’.
‘Iberdrola, Enel and EDF form a lobby against the EU to reject interventionism in windfall profits’. Item from The Corner here.
A political sketch of Wednesday’s parliamentary session looks at the novelty of the benches of the opposition being without a leader (Casado has gone, and Feijóo hasn’t arrived yet). Santiago Abascal did his best, calling Sánchez an ‘autocrat’ (Google’s first definition via Oxford Languages is of course merely coincidental: ‘Autocrat – a ruler who has absolute power. “like many autocrats, Franco found the exercise of absolute power addictive”). ‘Vox is Putin’ said Joan Boldoví, the speaker from Compromis, in his brief speech to general approval. The week started well for President Sánchez, with the European Union agreeing that Spain and Portugal should – exceptionally – be allowed to find ways to lower the cost of energy through limiting the price equation used by the energy sector: disallowing them, in short, to use the excuse of high gas prices to artificially fix the electric bills. This was followed by the Tuesday five-part resolution to fight the current high prices, brought about by recent events. (Thanks to El Huff Post, LaSexta, El País and Público)
A deputy from the Canaries has left Podemos and joined the Grupo Mixto (the ‘unaligned’ as it were). Meri Pita’s departure leaves the Unidas Podemos with 33 deputies in Congress.
From elDiario.es, we read that in Andalucía, the various far-left groups have agreed to work together towards the next regional elections there under a single candidature. This involves IU, Podemos and Más País, with the Verdes Equo, Iniciativa del Pueblo Andaluz, Alianza Verde and Andalucía por Sí.
We didn’t want to explore the extreme politics behind the organiser of the transport strike last week, but more facts about his colourful past are coming out. Noticias de Gipuzkoa brings us: ‘Manuel Hernández, the leader of the transport protests who inherited a company that went bankrupt…’. El Plural looks at the background of Hernández and finds a man who allegedly didn’t pay his workers. El Periódico has him as ‘a Vox sympathiser’ here. LaSexta also notes his support for the ultras here. Perhaps the plan to slow down industry and put the Government in check is a good political ploy, and we’ll all vote Vox next time?
The transport strike is pretty much over, although followers of Manuel Hernández’ Plataforma para la Defensa del Sector del Transporte de Mercancías por Carretera seem to be keen to continue. Onda Cero says that the Minister of Transport Raquel Sánchez says she won’t speak to them, ‘because there’s nothing left to discuss’. From MotorPasión here. ‘Exactly who is and what do they want? The conflict over the price of diesel is an excuse’. LaSexta looks at the supporters of the strike: ‘The trucker demonstrations, are they a Vox thing? “There may be many people linked to the extreme right, however…”’. With video. The article concludes: ‘…but it would be wrong to label as a supporter of la extrema derecha anyone who protests simply because their gasoline bill has gone up’.
From Schengen Visa Info here: ‘Brits to Face More Hurdles When Travelling to EU as Banks Impose Extra Charges on Them’. Hitherto, says the article, ‘British citizens have not been charged with additional fees when withdrawing and transferring money within the EU, as the bloc’s Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA) prohibits the Member States from imposing extra fees on nationals of other EU countries. Instead, all EU citizens, regardless of their nationality, should be subject to the same domestic charges as the nationals of the country where they withdraw money. Yet, since the UK left the EU on December 31, 2020, British citizens no longer benefit from such rules…’.
The Council of Europe feels that there is room for improvement regarding the sorry levels of public corruption in Spain. The story here. The original CoE document ‘Spain – Publication of 5th Evaluation Round Compliance Report’ in English is here.
From The Guardian here: ‘Spain’s former king can face trial in UK over harassment claims, court rules. English court finds Juan Carlos does not have immunity in the case brought by his ex-lover Corinna zu Sayn-Wittgenstein’. The Spanish are very concerned to see how this one will play out.
‘The salary of Iván Espinosa de los Monteros, the spokesperson (and Nº3) for Vox in Congress, has been seized for the non-payment over the building works on his chalet’ says Al Descubierto here (with video). It’s a little over 63,000€ plus costs. It seems like he’s not short for money says InfoLibre here. The mainstream media appear to have overlooked the item, says Spanish Revolution here. Wiki describes him as ‘a real-estate developer and Vox politician’. Somebody makes the valid point that if this had have been Pablo Iglesias, the news would be front page for several months…
We often read about the Almería greenhouses – los invernaderos – although los ecologistas are noticeable for keeping well away from the subject. Said (since 2002) to be around 35,000 hectares, those on the ground can clearly see that there are more plastic farms than ever. Plus all the rotting and discarded plastic. Here is a photo gallery of ‘The Greenhouse’ from Behance. The accompanying article ends with ‘…But while these greenhouses provide fruits and vegetables for Europe year-round efficiently, they come with their own set of issues: the area is known for its sunny but very dry climate, crops are grown almost exclusively in greenhouses and irrigated artificially. Its productivity still is 30 times higher than average European farmland. Groundwater is being polluted with fertilisers and pesticides. Some 30.000 tons of plastic waste are created each year. Some of the plastic waste is reported to run off into the Mediterranean Sea.’
San José in the Cabo de Gata, Almería: ‘Apocalyptic scenes re-emerged in Spain as another round of dust left the landscape covered in a rusty hue at the end of last week. In the picturesque seaside town of San José, buildings and cars once vibrant white or colourfully painted were all stained the same shade of brown as the dust tainted everything in sight…’. From AccuWeather here. With video.
No to the Golden Key to Putin. The Madrid City Council is to withdraw the Golden Key to the City from Vladimir Putin. Más Madrid, PSOE, PP, Ciudadanos, the Grupo Mixto and even the PP voted on Tuesday in favour of this petition in the plenary session. Vox, however, has voted against. The badge, given to the Russian president during a state visit to Madrid in March 2006 when invited by Alberto Ruiz Gallardón, will now be withdrawn. Vox’ Nº2 Javier Ortega Smith said in his rebuttal that Putin is “a communist tyrant” but, er, the honour was for the Russian people, he explained, not for Putin. The story is with El País here. Another paper also tells the story, but El Mundo inexplicably muddles up their photo presentation by choosing a picture of Putin in the company of José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero (Twitter here and Reddit comments here).
The court-case brought by Corinna Larsen against Juan Carlos I over in London (Spain has shied away from anything to do with the subject), brings an article at elDiario.es titled ‘Everything you wanted to know about the immunity of the Emeritus but were afraid to ask’. ‘The real tsunami’, says the piece, ‘…is that the former king of Spain and the then head of the Spanish secret services must appear in a public hearing – with worldwide echo – before a foreign court of justice. And they must do it, in principle, in person’. Ctxt goes further, indignant that the subject of the Monarchy, thanks to the Constitutional Court, may not be broached in Parliament. Note the first sentence of the article… (!)
The agreement is that, from Friday, the Government will cover fifteen cents and the gas stations will spring for another five off each litre of petrol. On Wednesday, we hear that a number of gasolineras are increasing their prices by five cents to – ah – lower them again on Friday. Nothing like la solidaridad. The Olive Press suggests here that some petrol stations could even close on Friday in protest.
‘Where does cannabis legalization stand in the country of Spain, officially?’ It’s all at Cannabis.net here.
The city-hall of Cádiz has ruled that nudist sun-bathing will be allowed at all their beaches. Thus, visitors to the playas de La Caleta, La Victoria, Santa María del Mar and Cortadura will be able to bathe au naturel from now on.
We have some peculiar festivals in Eastern Almería, like the Day of the Old Lady here.
‘Nine reasons to fall in love with Spain’s Costa del Sol’ from Nothing Familiar here.
‘The town in Spain with the most museums per inhabitant is also one of the most beautiful’ says 20Minutos here. There are eight museums for the 250 inhabitants of Guadalest in Alicante.
‘Spain’s most unexplored city is a tourist-free, hidden gem to visit in 2022’. EuroNews takes us to Santander here.