Business over Tapas
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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July 29 2022 Nº 455
Perhaps that hot spell has officially drawn to a close (although it looks like there’s to be another one heading our way as from Saturday). Whatever – it’s still the Spanish summer, which means, as I learned at a tender age, ‘mucho calor’.
I was in Seville on Sunday and it was 42ºC. Monday there apparently hit a high of 44ºC, although by then I was home in Almería, where it was a bit cooler, if decidedly steamy (bochornoso in Spanish). The days are one thing, since one can always sit in a swimming pool or the sea (or a large tin bucket full of ice if nothing else is handy), but at night, the only place is bed, and if you are without air-con, as I am, then it’s without doubt a cruel and unusual punishment.
A bit like my month-long Facebook jail, which was finally withdrawn on Monday, making me once again a productive citizen and faithful poster of endless pictures of cats.
Those who accept that we are experiencing a period of global warming will point to this latest heat-wave, where records have been broken in fifteen Spanish provinces. Those who don’t recognise climate change will say that it was just a very hot week, and hope that their credibility will continue to be accepted.
The Mediterranean Sea is apparently getting warmer too, reaching a temperature of 30ºC which is about the same as the Caribbean. This is around 4ºC higher than the average for this time of year. Nice for swimming in, perhaps, but also a hot sea is the first ingredient of a summer storm. Indeed, this soupy water will, so they say, be the cause of torrential rains here on the Peninsular later on down the line, maybe by the end of August.
Right now, we have the fires across Spain. Some are deliberate, some are accidents (one reforestation agency somehow caused a spark and 14,000 hectares were burned in Zaragoza) and some just began as an ‘Act of God’ (as the claims adjuster explained the other day while tearing up the cheque). 200,000 hectares (775 square miles) had been burned by last Saturday: another doleful record.
Yes, one day we shall remember the summer of 2022 as being pleasantly fresh, as a headline in El País here sets the pace: ‘”These types of heat waves will become normal or will be even more acute,” says the World Meteorological Organization. The WMO stresses that the process will continue until at least 2060, regardless of any last-minute measures that might be taken against climate change’. (Lenox dixit)
From The Corner here: ‘Real estate investment in the first six months of the year in Spain amounted to 9,870 million euros, 80% more than in the same period last year, and the first half closed with the best data since historical records started, according to figures collected by Europa Press. The retail sector (shops) led investment in this period, with a total volume traded in excess of 2,900 million euros, 8 times higher than that recorded in the first half of the previous year. The housing sector ranked second in terms of investment, with 2,451 million euros, up 71%, with rental assets accounting for 60% of the total investment in residential real estate…’
Magnet reports that ‘Americans are flocking to Europe. The reason? Housing there has become unaffordable’. The most popular countries to settle are Italy, Spain, Portugal, France and Greece says the article. International Living has an article here about ‘How to move out of the US’. Bloomberg says that ‘In Spain, which has the largest American population in Europe, the number of US-born residents rose 13% between 2019 and 2021 and demand has continued to rise this year…’ There were 48,834 estadounidenses living in Spain in 2021 says Statista here. So ‘flocking’ might be overstating it. On the other hand, there’s this.
‘Spain’s recent requirement to ask holidaymakers to show they have enough money for their trips at the rate of €100 or £85 per day has not been welcomed by Britons’, says SVI here.
Spanish Property Insight brings an article from Mortgage Direct: ‘Should you take out a fixed or variable-rate mortgage right now?’
The Supreme Court declares the nullity with retroactive effect of the fines for not declaring assets abroad – the pernicious Modelo 720. One still has to declare, but the outrageous fines will now be returned. Probably. Europa Press has the story here.
‘The Spanish Government approved this Tuesday a reform that facilitates the regularization of immigrants in the country, which faces a lack of personnel in different sectors such as tourism or agriculture, despite the high unemployment rate it suffers…’ This reform is aimed at illegal immigrants, foreign students and families of foreign-born residents says France24 here.
The EU has agreed to reduce the consumption of gas by 15% this coming winter against the eventual Russian cuts, with exceptions for countries like Spain, which will slow its use by just 7%. “The EU will do whatever it takes to ensure its security of supply and protect its consumers, be they households or industries,” said European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.
It’s been ten years since the Spanish taxpayers clubbed together and ‘saved’ the banks, with 101,500 million euros (of which some 60,000 million has never been returned). As Primavera Valenciana says here, the banks are now doing famously.
From the Barcelona Culinary Hub, via Diario Abierto here (and with thanks to José Antonio): ‘60% of restaurants fail in their first year and 80% close within five years’.
elDiario.es has this week’s poll, which puts the PP well in front. PP is up 6.2% at 33%; PSOE at 25.3%; Vox down 5.5% at 14.1% and Unidas Podemos at 12%. It looks like many Vox supporters have switched to the PP.
‘Sánchez had this to say to the major corporations and the banks after their hostility towards the new windfall-tax on them: “We ask large companies that any indirect benefit derived from the current situation does not increase profits or appear in bonuses for senior management”. The President provided data to remind the banks that “in previous crises” they themselves were helped with public money. “Of course they can contribute. The new tax will raise 1,500 million euros a year. After all, the banks distributed dividends of more than 3,500 million euros in the first quarter of this year. And last year, in its entirety, more than 13,400 million euros” he said. The banks and major corporations will not be permitted to pass on this contribution to their customers. Video and article at El Huff Post here.
‘The Catalan parliament speaker Laura Borràs will go on trial for administrative fraud and falsification of a commercial document, as announced by the Catalan High Court.
The Junts per Catalunya pro-independence politician is accused of supposedly favouring a friend, an IT professional, in a contract that should have been put to a public tender while she was at the head of the Catalan Institute of Letters, for which the public prosecutor has requested 6 years behind bars and a 21-year disqualification from public office…’. Item from Catalan News here.
It’s now generally accepted that there was some dirty dealing in the Corridors of Power over various political issues during the times of the previous PP government in Madrid. From Diari Més here: ‘The former head of the National Police in Catalonia, Narciso Ortega, presented this Tuesday before the Prosecutor’s Office a complaint against the former general secretary of the PP María Dolores de Cospedal, the former Minister of the Interior Jorge Fernández Díaz, the former Secretary of State for the Interior Francisco Martínez and former police commissioner José Manuel Villarejo for alleged crimes of criminal organization, prevarication, embezzlement and revelation of secrets…’
From SVI here: ‘EU tourists will soon have to apply for ‘Travel Permission’ in order to visit the UK’.
‘Covid infections in Spain reached their maximum peak in the first two weeks of July’, says Spanish News Today here.
‘Of the more than 100 million doses of Covid vaccine used in Spain to date, only 75,978 adverse effects have occurred’ says Infosalus here. Of these, 452 inoculations were found to be the direct cause of death in the patients concerned.
From Catalan News here: ‘People over the age of 80 are expected to be offered a second Covid-19 booster vaccine – the fourth dose overall – by the second half of September, Spain’s health minister Carolina Darias said last week’.
The Supreme Court confirms Griñán’s six-year prison sentence and Chaves’ disqualification from any public office for the ERE fraud says Público here. The two ex-presidents of the Junta de Andalucía José Antonio Griñán and Manuel Chaves (both PSOE-A) – together with a number of councillors and cronies – brought the party and the region into disrepute with the misuse of some 680 million euros during the first decade of this century. Along with Griñán, another eight of the accused will be sent to jail. Understandably, everyone is waiting to see which way Pedro Sánchez will jump. A pardon for Griñán? Probably not a good idea.
The National Writers Union ‘…condemns the journalistic corruption of Antonio García Ferreras, the director of the Spanish television station La Sexta, for influencing the 2016 presidential elections in Spain using “fake news”’ here.
A short video on YouTube with Miguel Charisteas explores the corrupt media reportage.
(Exceptionally), a web-page has been found guilty of peddling fake news. Libertad Digital must pay court costs and publish a rectification of a piece of theirs accusing the mayoress of Barcelona of manipulating an opinion poll in her favour.
In contrast with many other TV and radio news-personalities, Jesús Cintora has a reputation for being a professional. He’s understandably been side-lined, and has now written a book called No quieren que lo sepas (they don’t want you to know). Público interviews him here.
Maldita looks at the warming of the Med here. They quote the US Storm Watch agency who says ‘Europe is not just experiencing heat-waves on land. The Mediterranean Sea is experiencing a brutal marine heat-wave this July, which will have devastating impacts on marine ecosystems while also enhancing heat-waves on land. Water temperatures are as high as 6.2°C above normal’. Meteorologist Mario Picazo says that the current situation is turning the Mediterranean Sea into a “water vapour factory” and predicts “torrential rains in the final stretch of summer and the beginning of autumn”, among other phenomena.
Las Salinas de Cabo de Gata in Almería, one of the most important wetlands in Europe, is drying up: “the flamingos have disappeared” say the ecologists.
Many years ago, a young foreigner (me) was told off for leaving his shredded servilleta on the bar. You are meant to throw it on the floor, said the outraged bar-keep in mime. Now, all these years later, there’s a 120€ fine for throwing one’s servilleta (or indeed, one’s chooped shrimp head) on the floor in the outside-terraces of Almería.
From EuroNews (thanks to John) here: ‘Spanish farmers recount the ‘total destruction’ of vineyards amid wildfires’. With video.
‘A ‘coven’ of far-right bishop opposed to the Pope are to meet in Madrid in October, as the German Cardinal Müller, the Spanish Bishops Munilla and Reig and the biographer of Benedict XVI take advantage of a tribute to Ratzinger to promote their attacks on Pope Francis’ elDiario.es has the story here.
From SVI here: ‘Disabled British drivers warned that their Blue Parking badges won’t be recognised in some popular EU destinations, including Spain’.
From The Daily Mail here: ‘Costa Del Gangsters: How Marbella has been hijacked by gangs of sadistic criminals from 59 countries bringing torture and mayhem to British holidaymakers in the popular hotspot’. We haven’t read it yet.
We don’t usually report sucesos – incidents – at BoT: murders, rapes, police chases and lottery winners, but the following caught our attention. It’s so hot, it appears that three people jumped the wall into somebody’s garden in Toledo, emptied the family dismountable 9,000 litre swimming pool, and made off with it (do those things fold up neatly?). ABC reports that the pool-robbers are now helping the police with their enquiries. Another story, which might carry a useful lesson for the rest of us, is at El Plural here: Two couples from Granada have been fined 12,000€ for the loud and incessant barking of their dogs after a neighbour complained.
From France24 here: ‘The tip of the iceberg: Three Picasso artworks discovered in three months’. It says: ‘A sketch worth hundreds of thousands, a children’s book and a ‘missing’ masterpiece… In the past three months, three unique artworks by Spanish artist Pablo Picasso have been found, in strange and unexpected circumstances…’
English-language newspapers in Spain
…and, of course, since 1973, The Costa Blanca News here.
An article on Fahmi Alqhai and his research into 15th Century music is here.
An article on Accademia del Piacere, in English, is here.