Weekly Report

Business over Tapas (Nº 291)

Business over Tapas (Nº 291)

  • 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

viernes 22 de febrero de 2019, 02:18h

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Stop Press:

New rules from Brussels: 'Europeans will no longer have to prove the authenticity of their birth or marriage certificates in another country. The new rules will guarantee authenticity in another member country without the need for the authentication stamp.

In addition, the obligation to present a certified copy of the documents will no longer be required.

Citizens of the European Union will not need to prove the authenticity of personal documents such as birth certificates, marriage or criminal records (antecedentes penales) in another Member State thanks to the new European rules that come into force as of last week...'. Even a certified copy or sworn translation of their public documents will no longer be necessary.

Briefly, before Brexit occurs, it will be easier for Brits to collect their paperwork to search for Spanish nationality. 20 Minutos has the story here. From Citizens Advice Bureau here ‘New EU Regulations Nullifies the Need to Legalise (‘Apostille’) Many Public Documents’.


La Voz de Almería notes that, ‘despite Brexit fears’, the Brits are the largest foreign buyer in the province. Brits bought 16% of all homes sold in Almería last year, followed by Germans at 7.7%, the French 7.4%, Belgians 5.8%, with Italians and Swedes at 5% each.

From Murcia Today comes ‘23 per cent of homes sold in Murcia in the last quarter were bought by non-Spaniards’.


From Spanish Property Insight we read that climate change is becoming more relevant for both house-buyers and for tourism. Winter visits make more sense for several reasons...


From The New York Times comes ‘Europe’s Middle Class is shrinking. Spain bears much of the pain’. An excerpt: ‘...Since the recession of the late 2000s, the middle class has shrunk in over two-thirds of the European Union, echoing a similar decline in the United States and reversing two decades of expansion. While middle-class households are more prevalent in Europe than in the United States — around 60 percent, compared with just over 50 percent in America — they face unprecedented levels of vulnerability...’.

An interesting (and entertaining) article about the ubiquitous white-vans of Spain appears in El Español here. ‘With or without IVA?’ Spain has a huge number of vans - almost 2.5 million of them - usually white, and often driven by the self-employed without windows or livery; perfect, says the Hacienda, for a touch of 'do you want that with IVA or without?'. Indeed, the black economy in Spain is huge, suspected to be in size equivalent to 25% of the total GDP - that's to say, worth around 250,000 million euros a year.

(From a Reader) If a person is making 1200€ per month.... Then pays 300€ in SS-Healthcare. He has 900€ left. Of that 900, reduce it by another 25% for his IRPF, he is left with 700€. His home has electricity and costs 100, another 15€ for water, and his rent, 500€. He is left with 85€. He has a mobile phone and Internet. He now has 45€ left. Should he eat? Should he have a social life? Or should he be told he is doing something wrong because he takes 100€ and doesn't give a receipt.

The real thief here is Hacienda.

The BBVA has blocked 37,000 of its 40,000 Chinese customers out of their accounts. The block was initiated on February 10tth. ‘"No specific causes are given because no one but a few in the risk department understands the rules. It's very confidential because of what it involves," says Garcia Wang, an expert in banking systems’. Cuarto Poder reports here.

(We have no idea about this) From Bitcoin.com comes the following: ‘A recent report published by the Bank of Spain states that Bitcoin is a solution for the creation of a system without censorship. This is in contrast to public comments made by most central bankers who are prone to attack crypto-currency with little insight into why it is needed’.


General elections: April 28th. European, local and (most) regional elections: May 26th.

President Pedro Sánchez has called for a General Election on April 28th. Who could win the vote? - The leading party is the PSOE, but a three-way alliance between the PP, C's and Vox (known disparagingly in certain circles as 'el trifachito'), would be stronger. What would happen in Catalonia following a right-wing government in Madrid? How will this affect the regional and local elections only one month later (May 26th)? Finally, how will this all affect the Brits living in Spain (to be recently orphaned by Brexit)?

Unherd has an interesting piece on the situation. '...The smart money would be on Sánchez’s party topping the polls. But unless the situation changes drastically in the next two months, the eventual outcome may well be a coalition government of the Right...'. The article goes on to explore the conundrum of the Catalonian issue. ‘...Sánchez’s relative popularity in Spain as a whole rests partly – as it does for the leaders of all the major parties barring Podemos – on his refusal to meaningfully compromise with Catalan separatists. Had Sánchez been willing to offer separatists a referendum prior to his budget the separatists would almost certainly have supported it. Yet in offering a referendum, Sánchez would invariably have lost support in the rest of Spain. Such is the dilemma for Spain’s Prime Minister...’.

El Independiente analyses the latest polls here: ‘The PSOE would win the 28-A general election while Vox would take up to 46 seats. Both PP and Unidos Podemos would lose almost half of their deputies’.

Pablo Casado from the Partido Popular says in the ‘pre-campaign’ that he would immediately impose Article 155 on Catalonia (which moves regional parliamentary functions to Madrid) if he becomes Spain’s new president. La Vanguardia reports here.

Ciudadanos have stated that they won't pact with the PSOE after the General Election in April. The high-minded 'liberal' group, which is happy to join a coalition with the PP and Vox, has yet to rule on whether it will be available for pacts with the PSOE in the local and regional elections that follow in May. The RTVE has the story and video here.

The day after Ciudadanos announced its partial boycott of the PSOE (above), Pedro Sánchez’ book Manual de Resistencia hit the stores. As El Mundo reports, ‘Pedro Sánchez describes Rivera in his book as an "unreliable person" who bets on the "the worse it is for Spain, the better for his party interests". An extract: ‘...His analysis of this attitude is as follows: "Ciudadanos was interested in Rajoy continuing as the president because at the cost to the PP their party was growing, but at the price of both Spain and democracy itself in deterioration. But they miscalculated. A situation that might be good for you can be at the same time harmful for your country and, if you don’t put the interests of the country before those of your party, you can’t then cry out against those who want to break up Spain. What they wanted was the worst for Spain, the best for them, and paradoxes of life – exactly the same thing as Puigdemont!...’. The squabble continued on into the Cortes on Wednesday, as El País headlines where: ‘Pedro Sanchez wraps Rivera in the "uniform of the far-right." The leader of Ciudadanos says Sánchez "wants to be president supported by plotters of a coup in Catalonia."’

ElDiario.es looks at the apparent strength of the right-wing in Spain, noting that ‘...It is hard to believe that if Santiago Abascal (the Vox leader) and his people obtain an electoral success such as approaching 10% of the votes, they will be satisfied with being a mere crutch for the other two parties in their field, as has happened in Andalucía...’. An article in El Mundo wonders: ‘Why the centre-right might not reach an absolute majority with about 50% of the votes’. (Hmm. We would not consider Vox as an ordinary ‘Centre-right’ party...). The paper criticises the vote-counting system called La Regla D'Hondt.

It is clear from interviews that the Vox leader Santiago Abascal doesn’t have all the answers. ElDiario.es says ‘Abascal admits that "he doesn't have the State in his head" but considers it sufficient "to have Spain in his heart". He notes that there are "highly qualified high officials" to assume the daily tasks of the running of the State’.

Giles Tremlett at The Guardian says ‘Podemos was the dazzling new force in Spanish politics. What went wrong? Internal strife and a narrowness of vision has halted the party’s rise – and left room for the far right to creep in’.

Spaniards who are resident abroad are finding, once again, enormous barriers to a free and easy vote in both elections. As VozPópuli reports, ‘Two million Spanish voters living abroad will have to ask twice for their voting documents. The upcoming elections complicates the possibility that the obstacles to vote from outside Spain will be eliminated before the local and regional elections in May, while the April general elections are even more tricky’.


El País in English is following the trial of the Catalan separatist leaders. ‘Catalan independence was “a political declaration,” says ex-official at Supreme Court trial. Jordi Turull argues that the regional government did not encourage violence, nor did it use public money to hold the unauthorized independence referendum of October 1’.

Metrópoli Abierta says that Barcelona leads the Nation in petty crime. ‘Barcelona is the Spanish city in which crime has increased the most, as shown by data from the Ministry of the Interior. Barcelona ended 2018 without being able to solve one of its most tiresome problems, and that most worry its citizens...’.


EuroCitizens have a useful item in their regular bulletin on the potential status of Britons and their rights in Spain following Brexit. They say ‘...We include an update from the Spanish government about their measures for Britons in Spain in the event of a no-deal Brexit, which was the result of our meeting with them on Wednesday 6 February. There are still outstanding issues but, on the key points of a 'period of grace' and registration, the situation looks a lot clearer...’.

‘British tourists travelling to continental Europe may need to pay £52 (60€) for a visa in a few weeks after Spanish demands over the status of Gibraltar again derailed Brussels’ preparations for Brexit...’. Item from The Guardian here.


Spain is green. From Expansión we read ‘We have 7,500 million trees on 18 million hectares that puts us in second place in the Continent's green ranking, led by Sweden. This forest cover has increased by 31% in recent years thanks to protection...’.

El Algarrobico: Why have a hotel or a virgin beach... when you can have a rotting hulk instead? It's been thirteen years. A report from Datadista here.


The Ecce Homos of Spanish architecture: ten horrible restorations of beautiful buildings.

Eye on Spain on why we have seventeen autonomous regions, and how we got them.

How football came to Spain. An entertaining read from The Olive Press here.

The Vatican is to order the resisting prior at the Valle de los Caídos to submit to the Government’s intention to exhume the remains of General Franco says El País here.

What did Ernest Hemingway say about Expats in ‘The Sun Also Rises’? : ‘Long before glitz and glamour came to accompany corporate packages and overseas retirements, Ernest Hemingway likened expats to addicts: “You’ve lost touch with the soil. You get precious. Fake foreign standards have ruined you. You drink yourself to death. You become obsessed with sex. You spend all your time talking, not working. You are an expatriate, see? You hang out in cafes.”...’. From Cuenca Highlife (the one in Ecuador) here. (Thanks to Jake).

See Spain:

The ‘prettiest pueblos’ on the Costa Brava with Red Costa Brava here.

‘Ribera Market, located beside the river estuary in Bilbao, is a reference in terms of shopping for the whole of Biscay. One of its many merits is to have been recognized in 1990 as the most complete municipal food market by the Guinness Book of Records, at that time being the largest in terms of traders and stalls and the biggest covered market as regards space in the whole of Europe, with a surface area of 10,000M2...’. From Eye on Spain.

‘After Lavapies was crowned Spain’s coolest neighbourhood here are the top 10 other hip hoods worth a visit’. The Olive Press finds some cool barrios here.

‘The Castle of Loarre is a marvel of medieval Romanesque architecture. Its imposing silhouette rises on a hill from which it watches over the village at its feet. With the plain of Hoya de Huesca as the protagonist of the horizon. It is not surprising that the Aragonese king Sancho Ramírez ordered it to be built in this location in the 11th century to protect the Pyrenean crossings from Saracen attacks. A military bastion from where the enemy's arrival could be seen dozens of kilometres away...’. From Hoy Aragón here.


Here we are with some popular reggaeton on YouTube with Luis Fonsi and Demi Lovato performing Échame La Culpa.

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