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Weekly Report

Business over Tapas (Nº 278)

Business over Tapas (Nº 278)

  • A digest of this week's Spanish financial, political and social news aimed primarily at Foreign Property Owners: With Lenox Napier and Andrew Brociner. Consultant: José Antonio Sierra

jueves 15 de noviembre de 2018, 22:21h

15NOV18.- For subscriptions and other information about this site, go to businessovertapas.com - email: businessovertapas@gmail.com - ***Now with Facebook Page (Like!)*** Note: Underlined words or phrases are links to the Internet. Right click and press 'Control' on your keyboard to access. Business over Tapas and its writers are not responsible for unauthorised copying or other improper use of this material. Subscription and e-mail information in our archives is never released to third parties.

Editorial:

Poor Christopher Columbus, the man who Discovered America. They have just taken his statue down in Los Angeles because, well, you know, he committed genocide. A local councilman says: “It’s a natural next step of eliminating the false narrative that Columbus was a benign discoverer who helped make this country what it is. His statue and his image are really representative of someone who committed atrocities and helped initiate the greatest genocide ever recorded in human history, so the fact that his statue came down is the next step in the natural progression”.

The Spanish are very proud of him, understandably enough. In the same year that the Moors were finally ejected from this marvellous country, one of their sailors commanded three laughably small ships and crossed the Atlantic Ocean to discover the New World. Without any doubt, this was an astonishing feat. Columbus knew the world was round and thought he’d discovered a new route to India (which is why the Native Americans were called ‘Indians’). Now, unlike Eric the Red and anyone else who had been there beforehand (the list increases every now and then), Columbus and the Spanish that followed (Cortes in Mexico, Pizarro in Peru and Núñez de Balboa who reached the Pacific), discovered and populated an entire continent (or two), duly plundered the spoils and made Spain very rich (although with most of it ending up in the fifteenth century equivalent of Swiss banks).

He was an adventurer: a man to stir the blood of small boys reading of his exploits and derring-do. Now he’s considered as a monster. How does this play back in Spain?

An indignant Arturo Pérez-Reverte says – they’ve just knocked down the statue of Crístóbal Colón in a giant city which, by the way, bears a Spanish name. El País runs an editorial on the fall of the ‘Genoese sailor’; saying (and edited) ‘...The majority of historians consulted strongly deny that Columbus can be called a genocide. He is a figure that until now had not been challenged thanks to his achievements in navigation, for colonizing a new space and for contributing massively towards our knowledge of the Globe. However, there is also a dark side, because the main motivations of that process had more to do with the yearning to find gold and spices. The conquerors found populations and, at times, destroyed their lives and culture, and there were confrontations with those who had every right to defend themselves against intruders. However, one cannot speak of genocide, because "there was no desire to exterminate a race, among other reasons because they were needed as labour".

But heroes must fall. One day, the Moonlings will knock down the statue of Neil Armstrong.

Housing:

In another one of those ‘best places to live’ charts, El Español quotes the United Nations’ Human Development Index as giving Spain as the twenty-sixth best place in the World to live, but then notes that the UN’s Human Life Indicator puts Spain at fifth. So there!

From El País in English here: ‘Foreigners are buying up property in Spain like never before. British citizens made the largest number of purchases followed by the French and Germans’. The first six months of 2018 is the period examined.

Smart cities. The perfect city to live in exists and is in Spain. According to La Vanguardia, it’s Barcelona. We are told that the collaborative economy, mobility and energy efficiency are key to ‘smart cities’.

ElDiario.es says that ‘Half of the 11,150 tourist apartments on offer in Valencia are illegal’.

‘The fall of 'Villa PP': Justice decrees the demolition of 52 luxury villas in O Grove, Pontevedra’. The luxury homes in the urbanisation, properly called ‘A Balea’, many of which were bought by Party members (hence the nickname), are to be demolished as they occupy coastal land. El Confidencial has the story here.

La Voz de Almería says that the average price of a hectare of land in Almería with permits to be used for farming under plastic has gone up by 10% from last year and now runs to around 178,500€.

Finance:

Now (at last), there’s a political agreement to share the mortgage costs: the notary will be paid by the bank and the appraisal by the client, says 20 Minutos here. ‘In addition, notaries will conduct a free questionnaire to make sure the borrower understands all the clauses’.

La Liga – an industry of 4,000 million euros that must either grow or die’ says El País here. ‘...Once off the pitch, Spanish football operates as an industry which, according to the most recent estimates, generates revenues of over 4,000 million euros annually – an impact equivalent to 1.07% of Spain’s GDP...’. Contrast this with the national budget for education at 2,600 million euros for 2018 (here).

According to the workers’ union within Endesa, the UGT, the main share-holder in the power company, the Italian ENEL (with 70%) ‘...has plunged the company into a constant process of de-capitalization, divestment and outsourcing of activities that puts the future of Endesa at serious risk while destroying stable employment’. El País reports here. At BoT Towers, we can say that we have suffered ‘micro-cuts’ in our regular service for the past three weeks, constantly throwing our computers, televisions and Super Mario GameBoy. Five letters to Endesa Complaints finally got a laughable reply that said: ‘We are doing everything in our power to improve services’.

From La Información, the wages of the people who run the 'mutuas' that handle your social security finance. Five of the largest mutuas are paying over 200,000€ a year to their CEOs.

Politics:

Another poll – this time from ElDiario.es – gives the PSOE 26.9% against the PP at 25.8%. At the same time, El Huff Post looks at the Andalucía poll from the CIS. Susana still ahead!

Renovating the Supreme Court – an item at Confidencial Digital here. ‘The pact agreed between the PP and PSOE for the conservative judge Manuel Marchena to preside over the Supreme Court includes a concession to Podemos who have asked for the judge who caused Mariano Rajoy's fall to be included. Pablo Iglesias will include José Ricardo de Prada in the quota of jurists of recognized prestige in exchange for Manuel Marchena presiding over the Supreme Court...’. ElDiario.es explains here: ‘The reform of the General Council of the Judiciary (CGPJ) as agreed by the PSOE and PP, reduces the protagonism of the next president of the judges' governing body. The candidate agreed to by the two parties, Manuel Marchena, will find a CGPJ with all the members independent and without a permanent commission that until now acted as a hard core, and with 11 progressive members out of 20, a new phase that succeeds the conservative majority imposed by Mariano Rajoy in 2011...’. In short, while different agencies, the one feeds the other.

From The Olive Press here. ‘Susana Díaz and Luis Aznar, spokesman of the Partido Popular in the Senate in Madrid have had a fierce exchange during the Commission of Inquiry about the ERE corruption scandal and the illegal funding of the Andalusian PSOE. During the five hour debate Junta boss Díaz firmly defended her term of office, saying that ‘the EREs have nothing to do with my term and aren’t linked in any way to the funding of the Socialist Party’...’.

‘The return of the Russian ships to Ceuta upsets the United States in the midst of an official visit. Three warships have made stopovers, following the lifting of two years of veto, coinciding with the visit to Rota by an American delegation. Washington has duly made known its discomfort’, says Confidencial Digital here.

A hostile piece on Podemos (‘the extreme left, Leninist-Bolivarian party naïvely labelled as populist by the media’) comes from the blog of Fernando del Pino Calvo-Sotelo at FPCS (in English) here.

From El País in English here: ‘Spain’s position on Kosovo could hurt its chances to host major sports events. International Olympic Committee says it will encourage international federations not to host competitions in Spain unless Kosovar athletes are allowed there under their own flag’.

Courts:

The manufacturers of Nolotil face lawsuit after an investigation from The Olive Press. ‘A class-action lawsuit of €500 million has been filed against the manufacturers and distributors of the deadly drug Nolotil. The Palma de Mallorca-based international law firm De Micco and Friends are collectively representing over 200 individual Nolotil victims who are claiming damages...’. More here.

‘Considered as the second man in the Gürtel scandal, Pablo Crespo (currently serving a 55 year sentence) admitted in court on Tuesday that all of the general secretaries of the PP would have known of the "dynamics of donations and payments in B" that was "institutionally installed" in the party, although he avoided specifying naming Mariano Rajoy and Dolores de Cospedal...’. An item from Valencia Plaza here.

Brexit:

Live Blog from The Local (Wednesday evening): ‘Theresa May will make a statement in parliament tomorrow, but announces that the cabinet has endorsed the draft withdrawal text. She adds that this draft agreement is the "best deal in the interest of the entire United Kingdom." May say that it was "the best that could be negotiated." She calls it "a deal that delivers." The choice was this deal, no deal or no Brexit at all, she says’.

The opinion of Eurocitizens on the recent EU/UK deal: ‘...We cannot fully evaluate the agreement until we have seen the final text. And on many issues that affect us, and the UK as whole, this will be a blind Brexit with almost everything to be negotiated after the UK has left the EU and thus in an even weaker position than now. In addition, huge uncertainty still remains over whether the deal will actually go through a) the cabinet b) the UK parliament c) the European Parliament...’.

House of Commons Healthcare International Arrangements Bill (here). Comment from Eurocitizens (Facebook here): ‘Some of the conclusions of this document. As we understand it, resident Britons who have paid into the system in their host country would receive healthcare even though they become third-country nationals. Those most at risk of a no-deal scenario are UK pensioners who rely on EU-wide reciprocal arrangements.

The impact of a ‘no deal’ on healthcare:

It is not clear how member states will choose to support UK nationals who live in, work in, or visit their country to access healthcare after EU Exit in the absence of any reciprocal healthcare arrangement. The UK hope that member states will be willing to support UK nationals to access healthcare and the Bill will support us to implement bilateral agreements that would help do this. However, in the absence of any agreements a reasonable working assumption is that member states will apply the same rules to UK nationals that they apply to 3rd country nationals. If UK citizens in the EU are treated as 3rd country nationals (i.e. they cease to have rights of movement and access to services in EU Member States, and are treated like citizens coming from non-EU countries) some may face additional financial costs or difficulties accessing healthcare services, with potential implications for their health and wellbeing...’.

‘British citizens should not need visas to visit EU countries after no-deal Brexit, says European Commission. The deal will only be in place if Britain agrees to the same rules for EU nationals’. Item from iNews here.

Is Brexit over yet? Didn’t she just say ‘The choice was this deal, no deal or no Brexit at all’? An article from Lenox’ Blog here (‘Great to see you back, but we’re afraid you can’t have your old offices back, we’ve given them to the Bulgarians’).

Following Pedro Sánchez well-publicised remarks to Politico here, ‘London responds to Pedro Sanchez that they "will never accept a second referendum on the Brexit"’ (here).

‘The owner of Iberia and BA in talks with EU and government over Brexit. IAG, the group that also owns Vueling and Aer Lingus, plans to prove it qualifies as a Spanish company in order to preserve its European Union passport after the UK leaves the bloc’. We can laugh or we can cry. Article from El País in English here.

From Stuff NZ here: ‘In the lead-up to Brexit, New Zealanders and Australians are being given permission to use the electronic passport gates at UK airports previously reserved for European citizens. Americans, Canadians and Japanese citizens will also be granted the privilege, UK Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond announced recently as part of the new budget. The move should reduce the time it takes travellers from the five countries to move through UK airports. It is due to come into effect in the middle of 2019.

An opinion piece in El País in English is signed by Vince Cable, leader of the Liberal Democrats and Sue Wilson, Chair of Bremain in Spain. ‘Why Britons in Spain need to fight for another Brexit referendum. A fairer vote is needed to ensure British citizens can continue to enjoy the benefits of living in such a beautiful, culturally rich country’. The article says that all Britons, including expatriates and 16 and 17 year old nationals alike, should be able to vote in the UK, especially on another referendum.

As a long-term expatriate myself, I think our energy should be in making sure we can continue to vote in Spain (if only locally) rather than harping on about the tragedy that is befalling the UK. Yes, if the UK stayed in the EU, we would maintain our current privileges; but we need, I think, to impress the Spaniards rather than the Brits as to our loyalties and ambitions. (Lenox).

Keep up with News Now’s exhaustive Brexit listings here.

Media:

Bulos’ or ‘fake news’ are collected by Maldita.es here.

Ecology:

  1. How many cars would you need to produce the same CO2 emitted by Spain's largest coal-fired power plant equal? A. The Endesa-owned As Pontes plant generates 6.9 million tons of this climate-change-causing gas in one year, the same as what comes out of the exhaust pipes of 2.3 million new cars... More here.

‘Radio Frequency Olives’ are the innovative method to put an end to theft to Spanish crops.

From La Sexta (with video) here. ‘In Spain there are more than 1,000 civil guards dedicated to preventing crop theft. Despite this, there are 37 robberies every day in the countryside. In order to avoid them, a fake olive has been created with a radio frequency device that allows the trace of the stolen olives to be followed. The false olive is biodegradable and the miniature transmitter is to be implanted in other types of fruit...’. A brilliant idea!

‘The Government will not allow the sale or manufacture of gasoline, diesel or hybrid cars after 2040’ says La Vanguardia here.

Various:

‘Guaranteeing 30 Mbps minimum speed to the entire population is an objective defined by both the Digital Agenda for Europe and the Digital Agenda for Spain. In Spain, this will be achieved in several ways, one of which is to oblige Movistar, Vodafone and Orange to offer coverage, before 1 January 2020, that allows access at a speed of 30 Mbps or higher, to at least 90% of the inhabitants of villages or localities with less than 5,000 inhabitants...’. An item from ADSLZone here.

The Ministry of Defence has decided to not release ‘the most sensitive archives on the Civil War’. Although most of the archives were released in September, some ‘delicate’ files ‘pre 1986’ dealing with the Civil War or Francoism have been retained. Moncloa has the story.

An indignant article from the Catholic Crux here: ‘Spain’s socialist government recently announced its plan to create an inventory of the real estate owned by the country’s Catholic Church. The main goal: to assess if the Church actually is the legal owner of churches, lands and shrines on the Iberian Peninsula. ... “It will be made clear that cities like Córdoba, Zaragoza and Pamplona have been indulgent towards the Church and have made it easier for her to register its real estate”. Part of which should have never been registered by the Church in the first place, apparently, because they are part of the public domain...’.

From Contrainformación comes an article linking the Opus Dei with the Judiciary. ‘The Opus Dei's influence on the political and social history of Spain has been very important. It was so in Franco's dictatorship, it was so in the political transition, and it has been so in the current parliamentary monarchy. Moreover, this importance coexisted with an expansion of the sect throughout the world, particularly in Europe, Latin America and North America, but also in many African and Asian countries...’. After this alarming introduction, the article says ‘...According to some observers of the sect, the penetration of the Opus Dei into the judiciary and the prosecutor's office has been of fundamental importance, especially at high levels and in decisive positions (supreme courts, superior territorial hearings, the constitutional court) and it has been used to accuse its enemies and from the courts to act in favour of the business of the sect or its interests and eliminate its rivals and enemies and in any case as an element of power...’. Albert Garzón, leader of the Izquierda Unida, has said: ‘Guilt can be decided in some cases depending on whether the court is made up of members of the Opus Dei or of people of the 21st century’.

‘The first of Spain's toll motorways to become free of charge will be the AP-1, starting on December 1 this year, confirms minister of public works José Luis Ábalos. Once the toll franchise expires at the end of this month, the motorway between the cathedral city of Burgos in the centre-northern region of Castilla y León and the town of Armiñón in the Basque province of Álava – the capital of which is Vitoria-Gasteiz – will no longer carry a fee...’. More at Think Spain here.

From Eye on Spain here: ‘Speed limits to drop to 90 on secondary roads from January’.

The eighty best bakeries in Spain, according to El Español. Where to buy the best pan!

See Spain:

La Tabacalera, Madrid's most exciting art space. A former tobacco factory in a working class neighbourhood of Madrid has become one of the capital’s most exciting art spaces. A trailblazer of late 18th century industrial architecture, the Tobacco and Snuff factory finally ended production in 2000, was boarded up and abandoned. Three years later, Spain’s Ministry of Culture took it over and opened it up as a cultural space for community art projects in the heart of Lavapies, one of Madrid’s most multicultural and diverse neighbourhoods...’. From The Local here.

‘Have you ever got lost in a labyrinth? Be honest, when we find one we rather want to get lost and explore every corner than find the exit. Every step we take can make us to be closer or further, but it doesn’t matter, we have our methods to go back to the outside. Today we want to show you 5 labyrinth-gardens that you can find in Spain. Do we get lost together?...’. From España Fascinante (in English) here.

Letters:

Lenox,

The so-called report that 40% Brits have gone back is definitely wrong.

For starters it's said that 2012 to 2017 is the period and Brexit is the reason but Brexit wasn’t even a thought of until 2016....

And loads of expats (maybe half of them) are not even on the padrón.

Jon Clarke (Editor of The Olive Press)

Hi Jon, yes, the padrón rules were changed back in 2014 to 'prune' the foreigners who may have died or moved away. The Spanish use these numbers as an official tally of the Brits. I think the current ‘official’ figures are more accurate than the old ones ever were.

Cheers, Lenox

Hi Lenox, you say of Columbus, ‘The Spanish are very proud of him, understandably enough’. As I'm sure you know, unless he really was born in Pontevedra, CC wasn't Spanish, just financed by the Catholic Monarchs, eventually. Most likely Italian.

Cheers, Colin

Hi Colin, the Spanish are quite happy to adopt us ‘guiris’ as their own, when the moment calls for it!

Un abrazo, Lenox

Finally:


Rosalía - "De Aquí No Sales / Malamente" (Medley) Live, here on YouTube. Opinions vary on Rosalía, El País likes her, some of her gypsy sisters don’t

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