A digest of this week’s Spanish financial, political and social news aimed primarily at Foreign Property Owners:
Prepared by Lenox Napier. Consultant: José Antonio Sierra
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June 9 2022 Nº 449
Spanish newspapers often tend to push their stories towards the core beliefs of their readers (and, understandably, their advertisers and corporate owners).
Nothing new, it happens everywhere. One picks up (or tunes in) to the media with the appropriate bias.
Thus Público, left wing, says ‘Unemployment falls below three million for the first time since the end of 2008’, adding ‘Social Security affiliation marked a new all-time high in May, exceeding 20.2 million employed persons. In May, 730,427 permanent contracts were registered: another record’. Good news indeed.
But wait, here’s La Razón, right wing, saying: ‘Spain stands at double the average unemployment in Europe. The EU certifies that, with 13.3%, it surpasses Greece (12.7%) and is the champion of unemployment’. That sounds bad.
Reuters reports that there are so many people in Spain that don’t want jobs (probably as waiters) that they need more foreigners (Sorry Voxxers!): ‘Spain plans to relax work permit rules for foreigners, says its social security and migration minister, to address labour shortages in industries such as tourism and construction that threaten its economic recovery…’ You say, there aren’t enough people for all those jobs we have on offer?
So, either the Minister for Labour (and darling of the left) Yolanda Díaz isn’t working hard enough, or else she’s doing a great job. El Huff Post tells us that the right wing call her – in the best tradition of Donald Trump – Lady Paro (‘the lady of the loafers’) although, we read, she has brought the unemployment down to the lowest level in 14 years, reduced indeed by one million people in the past year.
But such debates are of course best left to Facebook forums.
El País brings us ‘Why are we buying houses like crazy? The purchase and rental of homes in Spain soars, despite the fact that real estate prices are at historical highs’. For one reason, rents are up, ‘with people in Madrid having to make a firm decision even before they’ve finished inspecting the apartment’. Secondly, Spain is a country of home-owners, with almost 60,000 bought just in March. People are even buying without seeing the place first says one analyst. Furthermore, there aren’t that many new apartments being built and sold on the open market, bringing more attention to second-hand homes (80%). Some buyers see buying property as a hedge against inflation says the article, while others, now with a proper work-contract (Spain has improved considerably in employment-rights), are able to look for a mortgage. From 20Minutos here: ‘The price of housing soars by 8.4%, the largest increase since the housing bubble that sparked the great recession of 2008’.
From Spanish Property Insight comes the alarming question: ‘What happens if a ‘vulture fund’ buys my mortgage loan?’ The article begins: ‘Yes, lenders can sell the loans they own to anyone they like, and they do not need your permission to do so. This right to sell your loan on is usually buried in the small print of your mortgage agreement…’
From The Olive Press here, how to buy a place in the campo. This useful article warns of a number of issues when buying a rural property, including its possible ‘paperwork irregularities, a lack of water, border disputes, access problems and hostile neighbours’. It warns of planning permissions and always using a lawyer (and not the one recommended to you by the seller).
The Supreme Court has ruled that those who only own a garage in a community do not have the right to use the community pool and other facilities.
‘Brussels approves the plan of Spain and Portugal to cap the price of gas. It will begin to be applied in the auction on June 14’. Bolsamanía reports that ‘“The temporary measure we approve today will allow Spain and Portugal to lower electricity prices for consumers who have been hit hard by rising electricity prices due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine”, said the European Commission in a statement on Wednesday’.
The economy might be in reasonably good shape, says an opinion piece in El Huff Post, but ‘it won’t be enough to save the Government of Pedro Sánchez’.
20Minutos says that we can expect harsh inflation in Spain over at least the next two years.
The lowest pension of all – the pension no contribuitiva – is to be increased by 15% after the Government found an ally in the Basque EH Bildu. The Vox and PP are annoyed that the government should stoop to asking for the support of a terrorist party (it isn’t, but, you know, politics) yet were not prepared to support the move themselves.
The Banco Santander has been told that it must desist from charging 10 euros for depositing cash at the ATM and must return to the customer the amount paid says a court in Vitoria.
From La Información here: ‘The President of the Madrid Region Isabel Díaz Ayuso studies the plan for a ‘megaproject’ with Cordish Casinos in the east of Madrid. The American multinational has once again presented a plan for a 120-hectare space to be filled with hotels, restaurants, shops and of course casinos which was originally designed for the town of Torres de Alameda in 2016’. It’s a similar plan to the one under the direction of the late Sheldon Adelson with his Eurovegas that eventually came to nothing. It would bring 56,000 jobs says the promoter. Here’s the web-page for Cordish Live! Resorts Madrid.
‘Yolanda Díaz’s statistical ‘trap’ will prevent 600,000 new unemployed people from joining the labour market’ says The Corner, casting doubt on the current unemployment figures. From Jotapov here, ‘Alberto Núñez Feijóo says that the new unemployment data, which for the first time since 2008 has dropped below 3 million unemployed, “is an invention”. “When statistics are made up, it is difficult to make comparisons. What used to be a temporary contract is now a discontinuous permanent contract and does not count towards unemployment” he said. Yolanda Díaz gave him short shift: “It worries me that someone who has governed an autonomous community for 13 years and who is a lawyer is unaware of a type of employment contract that has been in our legislation for 25 years”. Público contrasts the ‘neo-con’ criticism of Lady Paro (Yolanda Díaz) and her ‘disastrous’ employment reform with the evidence of the results here.
Youth unemployment remains high in Spain says Maldita here, listing the cities with the highest rates of paro.
The difficult path for Spaniards abroad to take, just to vote in elections ‘back home’ – known as el voto rogado (AKA voto robado) – has finally been eased, but not in time for the Andalusian elections where only 4% of potential voters abroad have had the patience to fill out the paperwork.
Unidas Podemos is uncomfortable with their socialist ally in the Government over a couple of points – one being the promised but yet to materialise repeal of the Ley Mordaza (a law which gives the police excessive powers). From Público, we find that there are police organisations which are firmly in favour of the law, and they have found a welcome home under the umbrella of Vox.
Alberto Rodríguez, the dreadlocked Podemos deputy who was kicked out of Parliament after an alleged and improbable attack against a policeman, leaving the coalition with one less supporter (the local Canaries chapter refuse to replace him with the ‘next on the list’), has plans! He says he will start a local Canaries party for the 2023 general elections and will possibly look to offer support to the Sumar political project of Yolanda Díaz. Abstention in the islands runs around 50% says El Huff Post here.
Andalucía Elections June 19:
EPData brings the latest poll results here. The PP will win but need the help of Vox to form a government. PP leader Juanma Moreno was naturally squirming on this particular point during a Monday TV debate (here).
ECD has an opinion piece on how appalled Moreno is by the prospect of having Vox’s Macarena Olona as the future vice-president of Andalucía (or, as she says whimsically, as him being her vice-president). The PSOE-A says plaintively – if everyone voted, we’d win.
‘The Earl and Countess of Wessex are in Gibraltar having arrived on Tuesday evening to a warm welcome before making their way to the Convent for a state dinner. Prince Edward and Sophie are on a three day visit to the Rock as part of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Celebrations…’ From GBC Online here. La Razón is less enthusiastic here.
‘A large number of British nationals can still use their European Health Insurance Cards (EHIC) when travelling to the majority of European Union and Schengen Area countries, in spite of the United Kingdom’s complete departure from the EU in December 31, 2020. In a Twitter statement published last week, the UK’s Foreign, Commonwealth, and Development Office reminded British citizens that their EHIC cards may still be valid despite Brexit…’ Item from Schengen Visa Info here.
From The Guardian here: ‘Q. How do you convince a leaver that Brexit was a bad idea? A. Make them stand in a queue’ (Heh!)
Brussels has agreed to a minimum wage. All EU countries already have an SMI (see them here), but now, based on the local cost of living index, each country will be different, but the same. How much and when…? It’s still a couple of years away says La Vanguardia here: ‘…”With this European law, we are reducing wage inequalities and promoting an improvement in wages for workers with fewer resources. They will be able to buy new clothes, be able to join a sports team, or have the right to a well-deserved vacation. In short, they will to be able to have a decent standard of living”, said the Dutch socialist MEP, Agnes Jongerius, one of those in charge of negotiating on behalf of the European Parliament…’
JotaPov has some fun at the expense of the president and candidate for Andalucía: ‘The same man who let go 8,000 medical staff is now proposing free Wifi and television in Andalucía’s hospitals’.
From Cadena Ser here: ‘Andalucía and Madrid are the autonomous communities with the lowest public health spending per population’. The private health sector on the other hand is growing says the ‘Federación de Asociaciones en Defensa de la Sanidad Pública’.
Indeed, there’s a useful plan by the regional government in Madrid these days regarding shortages in medical staff. It’s called ‘Action procedure in the absence of a family doctor in a health centre’. See, there just aren’t enough doctors there, thanks to the cuts. Opinion from Público here: ‘In management as in life, when a serious problem arises there are two options, to take the bull by the horns and try to solve it or try to fool yourself and others pretending that nothing is going wrong. Opting for the second solution is usually not the best. Well, unless you don’t want to solve the problem, of course, that’s another possibility…’
One of the most noted ex-politicians when it comes to corruption is the ex-president of the Valencian Community Eduardo Zaplana who, says elDiario.es here, has some 15 million euros from ‘commissions’ stashed in various offshore paradises.
One way to get a job in the professions is to sit an exam called los oposiciones, another way is to have a bit of help from a friend. elDiario reports that ‘After four years of investigation of the Basque medical competitions: Those who legally obtain a place are in the minority’.
Canal Sur (the regional radio/TV for Andalucía) is full of slanted TV news programs, flamenco galas, cooking shows and bullfights. The Saturday film is always a cowboy movie. It is, in short, a channel that panders to the supposed conservative viewer. Now we hear that Vox, if elected in the Andalusian elections later this month, would like to do away with the station which costs the public purse some 164 million euros per annum (Spain’s second most expensive radio/TV after Catalonia).
For those who want news in Spanish from the UK, there’s El Ibérico here.
Mediterráneo Digital (here) is a kind of troublesome far-right fake-news-provider. ‘The actor in the forthcoming Netflix film about Franco will be Black to not offend the Lefties’ and ‘The Government is to give papers to all illegal immigrants’ and so on. A mixture of what plainly isn’t with a soupçon of what might be. As long as it fits the far-right agenda. Some people probably consider it their bible. The Thread Reader goes behind the title to find the editor, a fellow called Edgar Sánchez Agulló, and his team.
A record heat-wave is looming. 20Minutos says ‘The earliest in history, with maximums of up to 42 degrees and tropical nights’. From Friday, apparently.
‘NATO is planning with Sánchez to bring President Zelenskyy to the Madrid Summit to be held in late June. The Atlantic Organization is looking for an impact with the first voyage of the president outside of Ukraine since the invasion began. Spain says it would collaborate in the plan but Brussels is responsible for both the proposal and the organisation’. It would certainly cause a stir in certain quarters! Item from La Información here.
Bloody noise, says an opinion piece at Menéame here. ‘In this country, clamour is as inevitable as the air one breathes. It follows you, wherever you go, whatever you do.
Motorcycles, construction sites, shouting, music, mobile phones, bells, firecrackers, barking, horns, alarms, barrel organs, shouting, radios, hammers, garbage trucks, heels, drills, TVs and slot machines… We live in the acceptance that silence is no longer possible; we have given up, we endorse with total naturalness that we do not have access to the balm of tranquillity…’ Only Japan (with its paper walls) is noisier than Spain.
This weekend in Mojácar we have the Moors and Christians festival. Three days and nights of a solid wall of noise: with seven bands playing simultaneously in the village, with endless thunder-flashes and explosions from trabucos (blunderbusses), with screams from the kids and yowls from the dogs. No wonder we are all stone-deaf (he said, deftly removing his hearing-aid after ordering a whisky sour).
From elDiario.es here: ‘Boys and girls exposed to traffic noise at school develop 23% less memory. A study carried out by ISGlobal determines that childhood is very vulnerable to noise pollution and that the type of noise can be more decisive even than the decibels’.
‘Algeria has torn-up its 20 year old Treaty of Friendship and Cooperation with Spain after the “unjustifiable” shift in its position in the Sahara conflict’ says CadenaSer here.
A peculiar story comes from El Ilustrador de Barcos here. Back in 1962, a major tug company wanted to names its boats with a number – Uno, Dos and so on, but the authorities said no, they had to put a name instead. One usually baptises vrssels with a lucky saint’s name – indeed, sailors say that there are more saints in the alta mar than are in the churches. So the company, Remolques Unidos S.A, converted their petition into names by adding an ‘h’. Thus was born Huno, Dhos, Thres and Cuahtro. Their latest tug is called Threintaytres.
A regular news item these days is some or another version of how the traffic police have just found a fresh way of fining the driver for some ludicrous reason. Shopping bags lying on the back seat? That’ll be anything up to 200€!
‘Spain to make it compulsory for restaurants to offer doggy bags. The Spanish government is taking action against food waste by making it compulsory for bars and restaurants in the country to offer customers the option of taking food leftovers away with them…’. Found at The Local here. This legislation, to probably be signed into law next January, will make Spain the third EU state to do so after France and Italy.
An interesting item at Eye on Spain brings us the story of ‘Jerónimo de Ayanz y Beaumont who was a Navarrese military man, humanist and polymath who soon turned to music, cosmology and, of course, engineering. Depending on where we read about his life, we will find from modest biographies to true odes to this “Spanish Leonardo”…’
For conspiracy theorists, The Coldwellian Times awaits you. ‘The Spanish Meteorological Agency has confessed that Spain is being sprayed with lead dioxide, silver iodide and diatomite’ says the website in an article dated March 23rd here. ‘The objective, according to a Spanish MEP back in 2015, would be to keep the rains away and allow temperatures to rise, which creates a summer climate for tourism and, at the same time, helps corporations in the agricultural sector’. Here in Almería, we sometimes hear of chemtrails – said to be sprayed from small planes to stop clouds forming. There’s even a video to prove it. Mind you, Newtral here says it’s all a bulo.
Self-promotion is a wonderful thing.
From Eye on Spain here: ‘When I thought I had seen it all, here in Aragon is a rock formation made up of two rows of high limestone walls placed parallel to each other by nature itself. This curious arrangement, known as the walls of Finestres, is located in Huesca and is part of the Sierra del Montsec…’
BBQBoy and Spanky have made a video of a walking tour of Nerja here on YouTube.
Lola Flores was a famous dancer, singer and actress (Wiki) who died in 1995. Her son Antonio Flores (who died of a drug-overdose a scant two weeks later) performs a song called No Dudaría (live TV version) on YouTube here.