Business over Tapas Nº 546

A digest of this week's Spanish financial, political and social news aimed primarily at Foreign Property Owners: Prepared by Lenox Napier.

News in English 11/07/2024 Redacción Redacción
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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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Editorial: 

Let’s talk about immigration. Not in the sense that some people might prefer to use this word over the out-of-fashion ‘expat’, but rather focus on those poor folk who make their way here in leaky cayucos from the coast of Africa, with an outboard motor and a larcenous captain wearing a life-saver.

Many drowning in the attempt.

People dream of moving to Spain. They come from Latin America (speaking Spanish and usually practicing Catholics). They come from the Orient to open a bazaar and make life cheaper, if more confusing, for the rest of us. They come from Africa, and work in the fields and the greenhouses, doing the jobs that no one else will do. Rate them for the Spanish as easy, middling and difficult (unless they’re good at football).

I don’t know where you stand on this subject – after all, there are one thousand five hundred million people living in Africa, and on a bad day, they might all decide to move to Spain, whether because there are no jobs there, or because of climate change, or civil war or rampant disease, or just a strong desire to see the Alhambra once in this lifetime (and anyway, granddaddy still has a key). And no, of course there’s not enough room for all of them – but there’s certainly room for some of them.

There aren’t many solutions to this – let’s call it a threat – and one of them, as proposed by the spokesperson for the Partido Popular last week, certainly isn’t the answer.

He says: send the Spanish navy to patrol the Mauritanian coast.

And then what – if they don’t stop (or politely wait until dark), then sink them with a judiciously placed artillery shell?

Admiral Teodoro López Calderón gave his answer to Pablo Casado back in 2020 on this very point: “If any Spanish warship encounters a boat in a situation where the lives of those on it are in danger, its obligation of all kinds, legal, moral... is to rescue them. And that's what would be done".  

I suppose we find those from Africa to be more of a threat to us, and this (with a little encouragement from the right-wing) will skewer us towards calling for protection from the nationalists. Whether Marine Le Pen, Donald Trump, Nigel Farage, Benjamin Netanyahu, Vladimir Putin, Viktor Orbán, the AfD or (here in Spain), Vox, Alvise, Hazte Oir, Abogados Cristianos, Manos Limpias and a disturbing number of judges. So far, we have more or less dodged the bullet from these false prophets, but we can be sure that they will keep on banging that particular drum.

As one Facebook correspondent tells me: ‘Let’s hope Le Pen wins. It’s about time Europe closes its borders and solves the migration crisis by moving millions of people out of Europe’.

Maybe send them all to Ruanda – one place in Africa being much like another?

An editorial at elDiario.es says: ‘With few issues you can be more irresponsible and more incendiary, in exchange for a handful of votes, than with immigration. And the PP has decided that it does not want to give Vox even half an inch of advantage. Feijóo has launched his closest spokesperson to demand that we send the military to prevent migrants from reaching our shores by boat. Party spokesperson Miguel Tellado wants Navy ships, prepared for war and useless for small boat rescue, to be deployed off the African coast. It is unfeasible at many levels, even the head of the Navy says it, but it doesn't matter: what the PP wants is to match the xenophobic populism of both Vox and Alvise, in the hope of plugging the flight of young votes that are moving to even more radical options’.

The lure of the far-right perceived threat of the ausländer is a popular call. The more they come, the more we become angry or fearful, and the more we support the right-wingers. Whether the immigrants are going to both take our jobs (while going on benefits), move into five-star hotels paid for by our taxes and either disrespect our women, infect us with terrible diseases or perhaps blow us all up, the far-right will make gains. If the dreadful Madame Le Pen lost this time around, there’s always another chance somewhere.

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Housing: 

From Mark Stücklin’s Spanish Property Insight here: ‘Why are foreign sales falling harder in Andalucía than other regions?’ His answer – as supplied by an estate agency from Marbella – is that the homes for sale in the South are becoming very expensive: ‘Today, you need at least €350,000 to €400,000 in Andalucía to buy a new property’. 

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Tourism: 

‘Foreigners lead tourist figures: three million more visitors so far this year keep the hotel and apartment business on the rise. Meanwhile, domestic demand is stagnating with barely 41,000 more Spanish holidaymakers than last year through May. Spain received 9.3 million international tourists in May who spent 20% more than last year’. From 20Minutos here

Video from Deutsche Welle here: ‘Barcelona's plans to manage tourism angers residents. Barcelona residents were already angry about over-tourism in the Spanish city. Now they're questioning the city's decision to host the America's Cup in peak summer tourist season’. 

From Majorca Daily Bulletin, an exaggeration (we hope): ‘Anti-tourism protests sweep Spain. From the Canary Islands to Mallorca and now Barcelona’. 

The Junta de Andalucía has created a map which shows the destinations within the region which are ‘saturated by tourism’. The story is at Málaga Hoy here

From La Marina here: Valencia, ‘The Generalitat will allow the construction of hotels in five locations on the coast of La Marina Alta which have until now been protected. The opposition Compromís alleges that the draft law "gives the coastline to speculators" and this will allow hotels just 200 metres from the sea in zones that have not yet been developed in Dénia, Xàbia, Benissa, Teulada and Calpe’. El Levante carries an even more alarming item: ‘The Plan Simplifica reduces beachfront hotels from 500 to 100 metres from the coast’. The new ordinance was published on Wednesday in the Official Gazette of the Generalitat Valenciana (DOGV) and which comes into force today, Thursday. 

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Finance: 

The President of GESTHA (the Technical Syndicate at the Ministry of Hacienda) admits that ‘The wealthy do not pay, or at least not in fair terms, their share of personal income tax. They handle it through large companies that fail to contribute according to their economic capacity, but instead, they pay much less than the pymes (small and medium companies)’. The detail comes from an interview at LaSexta here

With the subheading ‘100 euros per week in tips’, LaSexta has the story of ‘A waitress from Benidorm, regarding tips left by the tourists: "The Spanish gives you 10 cents, the British gives you 10 euros". 

How about a two-course meal, with postre and a drink for 6,45€? Well, you would need to be dining at the cafeteria in the Congreso with all the other politicians says El Confidencial here

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Politics: 

The main story this week is – what to do with the large (and growing) number of unaccompanied immigrant minors being held in Tenerife, currently running at around 6,000. The Government wants to share them around all the regions of Spain. The Partido Popular is unconvinced (except – understandably – for the PP in Tenerife) and Vox has said it will break with the PP in any autonomies that they run in alliance. From Público here: ‘The Government trusts in an agreement with the PP for the reception of migrant minors despite pressure from Vox. The city of Tenerife is hosting a conference to determine whether a consensus is possible between all the autonomous communities. The Government of the Canary Islands urges to reach an agreement as soon as possible’. Worryingly, only representatives from eight communities attend the meeting says Cadena Ser. LaSexta says that, ‘Vox threatens the PP with a breakup if it supports the distribution of migrant minors or if they reach any more agreements with the PSOE’. From the elDiario.es newsletter here: ‘…The reception of migrant minors is generating a crisis on the right and a ridiculous administrative situation that cannot be understood without recognizing that the only real problem here is about xenophobia, or maybe just the appearance of being heavy-handed against an issue that everyone knows does not exist…’ 

The Times talks with Isabel Ayuso, the president of the Madrid region. ‘…To her critics — including, of course, Pedro Sánchez — Ayuso is a populist whose popularity epitomises the threat to Europe posed by the “far right”, a danger he insists only his Socialists can foil.

To her supporters, however, Ayuso is a future PP leader, a feisty libertarian and a talismanic figure whose absolute majority, won in elections last year, has proven her ability to regain votes from the hard-right Vox party. They believe she will lead the conservatives back to national power as the first female prime minister of Spain…’.  See- https://archive.is/ZcbPX 

The Alvise Pérez party ‘Se Acabó la Fiesta’ (the Party’s Over Party), took the regular political pundits by surprise during the European elections taking three seats and 800,000 votes to Brussels. No one in the mainstream had thought to take a YouTube influencer seriously and now, here he is. Alvise (his real name is Luís Pérez) has now called on the PP and Vox to join into a kind of national front to discuss mass deportation and ‘public aid for Spaniards only’ (etc.). elDiario.es has the story here

Feijoo has taken note, says Público, and in his new strategy of communication, is now allowing interviews and short videos on TikTok, Instagram, YouTube and so on. Feijóo has even appeared in a video here with the conspiracy-theorist and influencer Pedro Buerbaum. 

The second-round of the elections in France, where the spectre of the far-right was suddenly squashed on Sunday by a union of the left-wing groups, came as a shock to some, a relief to others. From El Heraldo here: ‘The Minister of Social Services Pablo Bustinduy – "There is an alternative to the xenophobic and authoritarian drift, also to the senseless return to austerity. There is hope," he added’. 

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Catalonia: 

From Catalan News here: ‘Barcelona hotels say it is 'unacceptable' to squirt water at tourists during protest. Guild urges local groups to condemn actions while praising welcoming city for visitors’. 

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Europe: 

‘The recent entry of the far-right Vox party into Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s new Patriots for Europe group has made many in the European Partido Popular (EPP) and Alvise Pérez’s new ‘ultra’ force SALF nervous, warns the Vox leader Santiago Abascal. According to Abascal, the “exit” last Friday of Vox – which now has six MEPs – from the European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR) group led by Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni and its integration into Patriots for Europe is intended to contribute to “defending sovereignty and borders”…’ An item from Eurackiv here

From Público here: ‘Irene Montero, elected vice president of The Left group (here) in the European Parliament. Also within this group are the head of Sumar's list, Estrella Galán, and Podemos's number two, Isa Serra’. 

The new foreign secretary David Lammy wants to reset UK-EU ties says The BBC here

"If it was seen by the EU in a positive light, then the United Kingdom could re-enter in about five years. But without privileges". From El Confidencial here: ‘An interview with the British historian Timothy Garton Ash, professor of European studies at the University of Oxford, about the challenges that Europe faces at the beginning of a new, more dangerous and unstable era’. 

From Campo Galego here: ‘How Europe guarantees self-sufficiency in food at affordable prices. The aid to farmers provided by the Common Agricultural Policy helps ensure the continuity of farms and crops in the EU. Without CAP aid, the agricultural income of a producer in Europe is only 46.5% of what the average salary would be in the rest of the economy’. (Thanks to Jake) 

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Corruption: 

From elDiario.es here: ‘The investigation of the dirty war against Podemos, carried out by the Ministry of the Interior during the last Government of the Popular Party, is advancing in the National Court with the summons by Judge Santiago Pedraz of the person who was then the head of the Immigration and Documentation Police to explain on July 11 the granting of residency to a Venezuelan citizen who has acknowledged being behind the hoax that attributed ownership of a bank account to Pablo Iglesias in a Caribbean offshore bank...’ 

Another later story says that ‘The Police spied on at least fifty-five Podemos deputies during the PP Government of Mariano Rajoy. The National Court has in its possession the records of the intense investigations that police officers from different agencies carried out in the databases on the elected officials in the middle of the dirty war of the Ministry of the Interior against the far-left formation’. 

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Courts: 

The judiciary remains hostile. Reports from 20Minutos here, ‘Judge Peinado warns Begoña Gómez that she will be arrested if she does not appear in court next Monday: "She has a duty to appear", he insists’. This Tuesday story was updated a few hours later when the judge withdrew his earlier call and said that she should attend the court on Friday July 19. There seems to be no reason within the article as why she might not have attended the hearing, or an earlier one which the judge had abruptly suspended last week – but it’s true that she still has no understanding of why she should be called to declare. 

When the president of Spain’s wife Begoña Gómez went to see the judge last week (only to be turned away as more complaints for far-right groups apparently crossed his desk), waiting for her at the court-house was Miguel Frontera, the creep who was recently acquitted of spending seven months outside Pablo Iglesias’ home with a bullhorn back in 2020. Other flag-waving Neanderthals were there too, says elDiario.es here, with the police all firmly studying their navels. 

‘Begoña Gómez has appealed for the Madrid Court to close the "universal" investigation opened against her for her professional activities. The case began after the far-right Manos Limpias (usually described as a pseudo-union) presented a seven-page complaint containing eight press-clippings’. From Cadena Ser here

The activities of Pedro Sánchez’ brother is also being investigated in Badajoz by the court there, following another complaint from Manos l.impias says 20Minutos here

In another leading case, as the Constitutional Court brings down the structure against Carles Puigdemont for his part in ‘the Tsunami Democratic rebellion’ during the October Revolution in Barcelona – the judge had failed to post the proper paperwork within the timeframe allowed – another judge wants to arrest him for ‘treason and misuse of public funds’ through ‘The Russian Connection’. Puigdemont says ‘the accusations are delusional’. 

Over the past few months, there have been hundreds of articles, debates and discussions about how the Tsunami Democratic was a case of terrorism. Now, one of two things has happened – either the crusading and ambitious judge forgot to file a paper on time… or the whole thing was just another house of cards. 

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Media:  

From ctxt here: ‘In these times when the moderate right proposes stopping immigration with warships, and the alvises and the abascales insist that one cannot go out on the street without risking an immigrant biting one on the neck, there is nothing more embarrassing than observing the data…’ The current rate of criminality is at an all-time low of 48.6 per 100,000 inhabitants (including cyber-crimes). 

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Ecology:  

La Razón brings us ‘An interactive map to find out how a tsunami will affect your city. The height of the wave, the speed at which it travels and the region all play a role in discovering the effects of these giant waves in your region’. We read that ‘…When a tsunami hits the coast, areas less than eight metres above sea level and within a 1.5 km radius are those that will be most at risk. Tsunamis that could occur on the Mediterranean coasts of Spain, with waves of one metre, would not reach more than 1 km into the mainland’. 

From Science Alert here: ‘This New Map Reveals The Predicted Future Climate Where You Live’. I looked up my local city, Almería, ‘sixty years from now’ here. Gonna be a hot one

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Various: 

The plan to stop minors for accessing porn on the Internet in Spain comes with this clever headline from El Huff Post: ‘Separando la paja del trigo’. It wasn’t so long ago that they were showing hard-core porn films on late Saturday night TV on Televisión Española

From Menéame here: ‘How the PP and Vox are trashing the Valencian ITV in order to privatize it. This is how this works: The previous Generalitat Valenciana made the ITV a public company. Then the government changed, the ultras arrived and they don't like public things, they want the business to be for their friendly companies. Since they can’t reverse it by force, what they are doing instead is to ruin the service. Nowadays you can't make an appointment anymore and so the line is huge, and it can take all day just to get through. People are getting angry and are calling for it to be privatised again. Like this, everything’. 

The subject of ‘Spain’s Lapland’ returns with El Huff Post here. One of the emptiest regions of Europe is the area of Los Montes Universales (wiki) lying between Guadalajara, Cuenca and Teruel, with a population of 1.63 persons per square kilometre. The headline says: ‘La Laponia Española makes history by becoming one of the quietest places in the world’. 

Spaniards tend to have a higher or lower opinion of their neighbours depending on where they’re from. Asturias being the best considered and Murcia the worst. El Faro de Vigo lists the ratings here. (When asked by Spaniards where I come from, I usually reply ‘Murcia’).   

‘The Popular Party (PP), and Vox (far-right) control the region of Aragón, in north-eastern Spain, where the National Museum of the Battle of Teruel and the Civil War is being built. The Government is fighting to impose the Historical Memory Law in the region destined for the new museum. Disagreements and disputes over the representation of Spain's civil war years have slowed the development of the country's first national civil war museum’. Item from EuroNews here

From The Olive Press here: ‘Motorhome and camper van thieves change chassis details and produce fake documents to sell vehicles to unsuspecting customers in Spain’. 

‘The architect who failed – he tried to imitate Antoni Gaudí, but came up with this horror instead’: namely, the Regional Assembly of Murcia. Yes, it’s a shocker all right, as is the alarming court-house in Vera (Almería) here

The Guardian brings us ‘59 summer problems solved – from sunburn and sweating to wasps and wedgies. Limp salad, bad barbecues, jellyfish stings and chafing. Summer can be a tricky season – but our experts are on hand to help with your hot-weather headaches’. Another useful article to combat the heat comes from Molly at Piccavey here: ‘Summer under the Spanish sun’. Her first point – wear a hat! 

From Valencia Secreta here: ‘Ten words that only a Valencian would know’. Some fun here, illustrated with gifs. (Thinking of you, David)

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See Spain: 

International living with ‘Sixteen Spanish National Parks: A Guide to Spain’s Beauty’. 

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Finally:   Isabel Aaiún with Potra Salvaje is the summer hit on YouTube here. Nice!

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