Business over Tapas Nº 540

A digest of this week's Spanish financial, political and social news aimed primarily at Foreign Property Owners

News in English 30/05/2024 Redacción Redacción

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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Isn’t it a grand thing when one can change one’s opinion? It doesn’t happen often in one’s adult life – beyond maybe discovering that some of those rock groups really weren’t that good after all – and yet, lookit, here we are today: fans of Spanish women’s football!

They’ve done awfully well in the last twelve months, breaking the records that men’s football can currently only dream about – championships, FIFA World Cup championships and more – indeed, the Barcelona women’s blaugranas team just beat the French Olympique Lyonnais team in the Bilbao stadium in front of 51,000 spectators to win The UEFA Women’s Champions League.  

This strange new world we live in: a proper televised women’s sporting event where a couple of fellows brought a pro-Palestinian banner on to the pitch at the beginning of the match, receiving cheers from the fans (and evident approval from the organisers).

I learned today that Women’s Football has been played in the UK since 1890 (at least) but that ‘some saw it as a threat to men’s football. The FA banned women from playing the sport at FA affiliated grounds between 1921 and 1971, with the governing body stating: “…the game of football is quite unsuitable for females and should not be encouraged”’.

In Spain, the first club ‘the Spanish Girl’s Club’ dates from 1914 (‘twenty years before women could vote’, says an article I’m reading). Yet, from the Civil War until Franco’s death, the sport was dropped – call it chauvinism if you like.

I’ve never liked football – a long game interspaced once or twice in ninety agonizing minutes with a shrieked ¡gol gol gol! from the exited commentator on the TV on the shelf behind me. ‘Who won?’, I ask without turning round.

It’s probably to do with my early school life – the choices were either soccer or Latin (or, uh, smoking on the roof of the lavatories).

But look at the players! Somebody said unkindly a few years ago that you would never get eleven women to agree to wear the same outfit in public, but suddenly we saw that this whole deal wasn’t about sexy girls, like the ones playing volleyball matches – where nobody cares about the score anyway. This was about real ones: playing sport and playing to win: an inspiration for girls everywhere. Something to make society proud.  

Luis Rubiales was the one who discovered that the age of treating young sports-women like giddy chickies was now officially over. ‘He didn’t respect me, neither as a player nor as a person’, said Jenni Hermoso.

Now that’s a mistake he won’t make again. 



From Idealista (in English) here: ‘Home buying in Spain will increase 7%–10% this year, according to the real estate brokerage company donpiso, which claims that since the beginning of March, there has been a significant increase in demand for properties in holiday destinations in this market. With spring, the second home market picked up speed and the number of real estate transactions in Spain has soared in recent months. Holiday destinations on the Mediterranean coast, the Cantabrian coast plus the Balearic and Canary Islands have seen a 30% increase in demand for properties…’ 

Idealista again: ‘Spain's villages and rural areas have been suffering depopulation for decades, threatening to leave their streets and houses deserted and empty. This is why this problem has been aptly named: "Empty Spain". Around 40% of villages are at risk of depopulation. Several actions have been implemented over the years to try to solve this problem, and grants and benefits are being offered to repopulate villages. In this article, we show you the grants available for young people to live in rural areas…’ 



From The Independent here: ‘‘Under-priced’ Spain plans new restrictions as it battles the tourism boom. Tourism has helped Spain grow faster than its euro-zone peers, but what next?’ The article is mentioned in a story at CadenaSer here, noting that ‘In 2023 alone, 17.3 million tourists from the British Isles came to Spain, and this year it seems that this will be exceeded as the number of tourists visiting our country has considerably increased compared to last year…’

To continue the pressure from the British media, here’s The Express: ‘Málaga, the beautiful Spanish city under threat as it's overwhelmed by tourist holiday homes. New data has highlighted how tourist rentals are swallowing the historical centres of some of Europe's most popular cities’. The article notes that ‘Andalucía leads the country with 82,454 tourist apartments, representing a 17.5 percent increase between February of 2023 and 2024 and over 23 percent of the national total. This is closely followed by the Valencian Community with 59,413 apartments (up 19 percent) and Catalonia with 52,598 (up 15 percent)’.



From El Español here: Granada, ‘the Spanish city that has been chosen as the new paradise for retirees: it is one of the cheapest. International Living magazine has published a ranking of the best countries to retire, assessing aspects such as quality of life or culture’. Spain comes fifth (preceded by Costa Rica first, then Portugal, México and Panama). 



‘Spain attracts more than 51,000 million euros in foreign investment since 2022’. Amazon Web Services, Maersk and the Volkswagen Group are among the largest investors according to El Economista here.   



‘The PP was in the streets again on Sunday with thousands of people in Madrid demonstrating against the Government and the (Catalonian) amnesty. Around 20,000 people, according to official sources, attended an event in which Alberto Núñez Feijóo once again surrounded himself with almost all the barons of the party and asked Sánchez for an electoral advance’. El Huff Post has the story here. The event was accompanied by the Spanish anthem and bristling with Spanish flags. Remarkably, ECD says the protest was something of a flub for Feijóo. El Español says: ‘Alberto Núñez Feijóo seeks an overwhelming victory for the PP on 9-J (EU elections), which highlights the lack of social support of the Government of Pedro Sánchez and forces him to call early general elections’. 

The moment when the leader of the opposition gets into a muddle in the Cortes asking for the foreign minister to be sacked over the Argentina imbroglio for having ‘put the interests of Spain in front of the interests of his party’.  Of course, Galicia’s Radio Galega somehow managed to drop that bit from their broadcast of Feijóo’s speech. 

Pedro Sánchez switches the tables and calls in the Congreso for the resignation of Núñez Feijóo. ‘…You, with your background, can climb to the highest post in the Partido Popular, whereas, in my party, you wouldn’t have even risen to be a town councillor’. Twitter here.  

‘Israel accuses Sánchez of being “complicit in inciting the genocide of the Jewish people and war crimes”. The President of the Government, regarding the recognition of the Palestinian State: “It is not a decision that we adopted against anyone”. Ireland and Norway also simultaneously took the same step in their parliaments’. El País has the story here



As we slowly edge towards a broader conflict with Russia, El Huff Post reports that ‘Putin warns Europe of "serious consequences" if NATO countries allow Ukraine to use Western weapons against targets on Russian territory’. Furthermore, the Russian Foreign Ministry threatened this month to attack British military targets "in Ukraine and beyond" in response to comments made by UK Foreign Secretary David Cameron … Possible targets to include not only British bases in the war zone, but also military installations in Gibraltar, the Falkland Islands and some in Africa, such as Sierra Leone’. 


European elections June 9: 

The borders between the conservatives and the far-right are becoming a little blurry. From we read that ‘Feijóo opens the door to agree with the ultra, Georgia Meloni (Italy’s leader): “she does not seem comparable to other far-right parties in Europe”, he says. The leader of the PP says that before the June 9 elections he will demand that the next European Commission “does not impose more taxes”, while proposing that the EU assume the “responsibilities” that imply having “only 5% of the world's population” and which is on its way to being “an aging periphery”…’ ‘He can say what he wants’, says LaSexta here, ‘but Georgia Meloni most certainly is an ultra’ (with video).  

‘The far-right agitator ‘Alvise Pérez’ (Luis Pérez) is hoping for a seat in the European Parliament in his escape from the judicial processes opened against him in Spain. His platform is called ‘Se acabó la fiesta' ('The party is over'), which aspires to obtain representation in Brussels, after years of harassing politicians and journalists from its Telegram channel where it accumulates almost 450,000 followers’. The story at here. Wiki reports that it has removed the Se acabó la fiesta page. 

‘Teresa Ribera: "It is worrying that the extreme right is once again roaming freely in Europe" In an interview with El Huff Post (here), the PSOE candidate for the European elections believes that the future of Europe is at stake in these elections’. 

20Minutos shows which European groups would benefit from Spanish party-votes. 



‘Morocco has dismantled one of the camps from which migrants try to jump the Melilla fence: that of Mount Gurugú. The Moroccan Royal Guard no longer allows anyone from sub-Saharan Africa to settle at the highest point of the Cape Tres Forcas peninsula, where the Spanish autonomous city is also located, because it has begun the construction of a military base there’. El Huff Post notes that Morocco is a close ally of Israel, and that Israeli weapons – including drones and missiles – will be housed at the new base. 

From The Huff Post (USA) here: ‘Portugal Is At War With Itself Over ‘White Gold’. European leaders want to transform this forgotten farming region into the continent's largest lithium mining operation — and locals are fighting back’. 

Vlodimir Zelenski was in Madrid on Monday to meet Pedro Sánchez and later that same morning, Felipe VI. Spain has given a packet of arms to the Ukrainian leader worth 1,129 million euros says El País here

A nasty video against Spain comes from the Israeli foreign minister – and El Mundo brings the details: ‘The Spanish foreign minister José Manuel Albares considers Israel's video with flamenco dancers to be "scandalous and execrable" and warns: "No one is going to intimidate us". The Foreign Minister avoids describing what is happening in Gaza as ‘an authentic genocide’, words that the Minister of Defence, Margarita Robles, forthrightly used on Sunday. Pablo Iglesias (the man who started Podemos, now working in broadcasting) says here ‘The actions of this criminal with the rank of foreign minister is even worse than Milei's provocations. I hope we see at least a measure proportional to the one taken with Argentina’. Later, an Israeli takedown of Ireland appeared in another video

Later still – on Tuesday, ‘Santiago Abascal met with Netanyahu in Israel on Tuesday, just two days after the Rafah massacre. The leader of Vox has defended Israel's "firmness" against Hamas and its "right to defend itself", in the midst of the country's offensive against the Spanish Government for its recognition of the Palestinian State’ says here. The version from El Mundo reads: ‘Abascal meets by surprise with Netanyahu in Jerusalem and promises to "revoke" the recognition of Palestine’ (first thing, when he becomes president of Spain). A ‘shameful image’, say several observers, which will follow Santiago Abascal around for the rest of his life. 



The judge who accepted the complaint by the far-right Manos Limpias group against Pedro Sánchez's wife, despite being based on press clippings and some fake-news, has decided that the investigators of the Central Operational Unit of the Guardia Civil will not be going to ruin the plans. He has refused to accept the 160-page report that concluded there was no evidence of foul play anywhere. The subject is nevertheless used by the opposition to show that the Government is corrupt. How this will end is anybody’s guess.

‘The Lama Losel is the first to be convicted in Spain for creating a destructive sect. The leader of the Senderos del Viento presented himself as the brother of Jesus Christ’. We read that he would beat his followers as therapy, forcing them to have sex with him and oblige them to such things as to pay for his house renovation or even his teeth says EPE here

A court in León hands down a reduced sentence for the continuous rape of a minor (getting her pregnant three times between the ages of 12 and 15 – making her a mother at 12) because of ‘the Gypsy culture that both parties embrace’.  

A fellow who spent a full seven months outside the door of Pablo Iglesias’ house in 2020 – screaming insults, frightening the children and so on, is in court facing three years of jail. But it didn’t stop there. When Pablo Iglesias and his wife were in court as plaintiffs, they were heckled by another energúmeno (‘nutter’) in front of the TV cameras… A video on YouTube here makes the point that the media can manage to switch the victim into the victimiser without much difficulty…

The Olive Press warns residents and visitors to Spain from wearing expensive watches outside. Many have fallen for the same trick – a woman who can remove a watch in a moment, while her man is nearby in case he’s needed.

I say: Why one needs to wear a watch in Spain at all is a complete mystery. Personally, I carry a calendar.



From El Español’s daily update: ‘Support independent journalism. We contribute to the progress of a freer society, publishing truthful, rigorous and relevant information’. 

Aljazeera asks: ‘Are you chatting with a pro-Israeli AI-powered super-bot? Smart bots have emerged as an unexpected weapon in Israel’s war on Gaza’. 



‘The European-wide project Under the Surface (‘The hidden crisis in Europe’s groundwater’ here) provides the most up-to-date interactive map of the damage to Europe's aquifers. The magnitude of the problem, the investigation shows, is much greater than official data says. In Spain, this problem already comes out of the taps in the homes of hundreds of thousands of people. More than a million people in Spain live in danger due to nitrate contamination in their tap water’. brings us the investigation with maps, photos, videos and detail. 

One of the problems of large reservoirs is evaporation, says Sur in English here with the unnerving title: ‘Evaporation means reservoirs in the province can lose as much water as the entire population of Málaga city consumes in six months’. 

‘“One thing that is a massive, undeniable factor that cannot be ignored is that we are constantly breaking heat records,” says one forecaster. Europe is bracing for its first spell of hot weather this summer as Germany and the Nordics are set for unusually high temperatures next week. The risk of heat-waves at the Paris Olympic Games has left organisers sweating about the safety of athletes. Spain is bracing itself for another blistering summer, releasing a new map to help with more accurate heat-wave predictions. Cities across the continent are preparing with adaptations for extreme heat. We’ve now had 11 record-breaking months of heat in a row and sea surface temperatures in the North Atlantic have soared to their highest in at least 40 years…’ An article from EuroNews here



Some 10,000 protestors took to the streets of Palma de Mallorca last Saturday against the tourist industry and the lack of accommodation. The call was “Mallorca no se vende-Digamos basta”: Mallorca is not for sale. One sign read (in English) "Too many tourist, too many cars, too many yachts...SOS residents". RTVE has the story here. The Guardian says: ‘‘It’s totally broken down’: tourism surge forcing Ibiza’s workers to live in car parks. A deluge of visitors has locked locals out of the housing market - and protests are growing across the Balearics’. A story at TeleCinco reads: ‘Sonia cries for having to leave Ibiza: she earns 1,800 euros a month as a nurse yet cannot afford to rent an apartment’. With video.   

A restaurant/beach bar that collapsed in Palma on Thursday causing four deaths and fourteen injuries didn’t have either an opening or an occupation licence says Deia here

There’s no more tickets for today… you’ll need to make a reservation… you must wait until November… An article at La Vanguardia titled ‘The end of improvisation’ says that, with so many people with money to spend on travel or leisure or a good dinner, it is becoming impossible to do certain things on the spur of the moment. ‘Today it is impossible to get a table in a restaurant in my area if I don’t reserve in advance, but the desire to go out to dinner is not planned ahead in days or weeks, it just comes up. Thus my partner and I have decided that when we feel like going out, we go to bars that will still serve you without a reservation’. Thank goodness for tapas and raciones

‘Orcas ramming onto boats and sinking them in the Strait of Gibraltar may just be teenage killer whales playing around and following a behavioural trend, a marine biologist says. Since May 2020 researchers have documented nearly 700 incidents of killer whales ramming into boats near the Iberian Peninsula…’ Found at The Independent here

‘Spain... in all its gory glory: Inside bullfighting mecca Andalucía, including a stay in a ranch that breeds top-class bulls for the ring. Jeremy Phillips explores Spain's controversial bullfighting tradition’. A piece at The Daily Mail here

‘She has danced pregnant, in bondage gear, and drenched in what looks like menstrual blood – all to unleash the monsters lurking within her and all of us. We meet the unstoppable performer rocking the flamenco world’. An article from The Guardian about Flamenco star Rocío Molina. A video on YouTube here (well, she’s different all right…).

 Taylor Swift gives two concerts in Madrid this week, Wednesday and Thursday. LaSexta says she’s a goldmine for the city. 

Living in a house full of geckos, it was good to find this article at Nightingale Trails

‘There is nothing more typical of Spain than a very good expression. We love idioms, slang and refranes! They are part of our daily life and come up in every conversation. Idioms are funny, spontaneous and clever, and sometimes you just can’t find the right words to express whatever is on your mind… but the perfect idiom can do it for you. Let’s take a look at some English expressions and their Spanish equivalents!’ Fascinating Spain has the story.  

From Fascinating Spain here: ‘The first ever book to be printed in Spain’. 



Something muy vasco. Anne Etchegoyen with Egoak on YouTube here. Catchy?

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Business over Tapas Nº 542

News in English 13/06/2024

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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