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Weekly Report

Business over Tapas (Nº 298)

Business over Tapas (Nº 298)

  • 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

viernes 12 de abril de 2019, 21:04h

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Editorial:

Politics is about the struggle for the Greater Good – bringing wealth to society and better standards and quality of life for all; through judicious taxes, policies and laws which will affect the entire population, either directly or vicariously. We may wish to intentionally become a criminal by breaking a law or a code, but there are a few cases where circumstance has caused the crime, to be found as we come to those two crucial areas of life – the beginning and the end. A life denied by a grief-struck mother; a passing aided by a tearful criminal.

Society, with the gentle aid of The Church, will decide on the subject of abortion. In some countries, it is seen as a sorrowful necessity which we hope must never occur, yet will be aided by Medicine and Care when the situation is needed. We may see abortion as bad, but accept that sometimes the alternative is worse.

(Not like this revolting politician from Texas, who is calling for the death penalty for those mothers who terminate their pregnancy!)

This week, Spain was faced once again with the terrible spectre of assisted suicide, as a woman was helped by her loving husband into Death. He broke the law, but he broke it through Love. As The Olive Press tells us, ‘...Ángel Hernández, 70, assisted the death of his wife María José Carrasco, 61, who had suffered multiple sclerosis for thirty years. The Spanish couple filmed a video of Carrasco swallowing a lethal dose of sodium pentobarbital through a straw...’. Hernández then turned himself into the police, but was released the next day. In the video he clearly asks “Do you still want to kill yourself?” to which she replies, “Yes, the sooner the better.”.

The most famous case of assisted suicide, made into the Academy-award winning film Mar Adentro (Wiki) occurred 21 years ago. The woman who helped Ramón Sampedro die now says, “all this time passed and Society hasn’t advanced at all”.

The PSOE has tried to bring a law to allow ‘euthanasia and a dignified death’ through parliament but has been stymied by the PP and Ciudadanos. As the usually hostile editorial of El Español was gracious enough to report ‘“I shed a tear with the euthanasia of María José”: Pedro Sánchez asks to recognize the right to a dignified death. Sánchez regrets the "tricks" of the PP and Cs to avoid the processing of the law. "If we want dignity at the time of life, then it must be also present at the time of death".

The set up for this occurrence has brought with it accusations of electioneering (really!) with an interviewer on Antena3 asking Hernández if his timing was to coincide with the elections (his answer: ‘I couldn’t care a fig about the elections’).

The senior PP leader and president of the Xunta de Galicia, Alberto Núñez Feijóo, says defensively ‘You can’t debate euthanasia during an election’ (here).

Change.org has a petition on the subject, asking that Hernández should not be punished (further) here. A judge who handles ‘gender-violence’ crimes is now investigating the events. Hernández could (in theory) face up to ten years in prison for aiding a suicide.

An amusing meme on Facebook says (our translation): ‘If the prosecution were as quick to order the arrest of a corrupt politician as they are that of an elderly person who helps his terminally ill soul-mate to die with dignity, we’d probably be lending money to Germany by next Christmas’.

Housing:

El Confidencial Digital looks at the obligatory nature of the energy certificate for homes.

From Gestión we read: ‘There are around 1,500 abandoned villages in Spain. More and more are being put on sale, as local councils require owners to maintain upkeep on their properties, which many cannot afford’. The title is ‘Buy a ghost village for $96,000’. Some nice photographs (with English titles) accompany this article from Peru.

From VozPópuli here: ‘The IMF warns in its Global Financial Stability Report of the rapid rise in the price of housing in many countries, including Spain, in recent years’.

A new urban 'pelotazo' (shocker) threatens El Cotillo, one of the last unspoiled environments of the Canary Islands. A Tenerife-based promoter plans to acquire 325,000 square meters in Fuerteventura while insisting that the future Insular Plan includes a major urbanization with 3,000 tourist beds’. ElDiario.es reports here.

Tourism:

From Think Spain: ‘‘Society needs tourism to broaden its horizons and so as not to build walls’, Spanish president Pedro Sánchez said last week at an international industry summit in Seville. He opened his speech at the World Travel & Tourism Council by thanking the global sector leaders present for their plans to invest up to €3,000 million in Spain in the next few years, and by highlighting the ‘enormous potential’ of the rural holiday industry in the country, ‘not just because it is so attractive’, but because this sector is ‘a great future opportunity’ for facing up to ‘one of the nation’s main challenges’, that of re-populating villages in danger of extinction...’.

From Hosteltur comes the chilling article ‘Tourism will triple thanks to globalization, so how to avoid a collapse? The rapid rise of the middle class in emerging markets will trigger the demand for travel’.

Seniors:

From El País in English comes: ‘More than 850,000 people over the age of 80 live alone in Spain. Data also shows that 53.1% of people between the ages of 25 and 29 are still living with their parents’.

A worry comes from vulture finance as a residencia is converted to a for-profit business. ‘“Since the venture capital took control of the residence, everything has been a nightmare”. The Vitalia group acquired a home for the elderly located in Chimillas (Huesca) in 2013. The company has been owned in recent years by two venture capital firms, Portobello and CVC. Relatives and former employees denounce cuts that have affected the attention of its residents’. An article from VozPópuli explores the situation here.

Finance:

The Carlyle Group is buying 35% of Cepsa from majority share-holder Abu Dhabi's Mubadala for more than 3,700 million euros. The American investment company, owner in Spain of the Codorníu group and the food company Palacios, has agreed to acquire just over a third of Cepsa. Carlyle values the oil company based in Madrid at 12,000 million dollars. More here and here. From Wiki: ‘The Carlyle Group is an American multinational private equity, alternative asset management and financial services corporation. It specializes in corporate private equity, real assets, global credit, and investments’.

The Comisión Nacional del Mercado de Valores launches a warning against fourteen unregistered financial houses operating in Spain. Any of them ring a bell?

A video on YouTube is titled ‘Don’t pay your Seguridad Social, and see what will happen to you! It says ‘One of the obligations of self-employed workers, on which both their present and their future depend, is the payment of the self-employed monthly quota’.

Politics:

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

The campaign posters will go up on Friday after midnight, being the beginning of the two week period where the parties can ask for your vote (well, for Spaniards anyway). An interesting observation from El País in English here: ‘Spanish elections: a 1985 law for 21st-century communications. Despite bans on campaigning outside specific time periods, the popularity of social media apps make this rule very difficult to enforce’.

While the CIS public research institute is often under attack (from those who don’t agree with it), the poll is generally considered as the most accurate. From El País in English, ‘New poll predicts Socialist Party victory at Spanish elections. The latest CIS survey predicts that current Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez will win the highest number of seats in Congress, but fall short of an absolute majority’. The report (and graphic) is here. The CIS gives the PSOE around double the PP says El País. There are, of course, lots of polls for the different groups. Here they are, averaged out in a graphic. It also appears that around 40% of voters haven’t made up their minds (so there is all to play for).

So far, there’s been no movement on any public TV debates – as Sánchez no doubt currently reckons: who needs ’em?

The main point on Pablo Casado’s program, says El País here, appears to be ‘Get Sánchez out at any cost’.

While there are ‘the big five’ parties, plus some major regional groups, there are also a number of tiddlers (who normally don’t get any traction, although Pacma might manage a deputy this time). These include Pacma, Recortes Cero, BNG, el Partido Comunista de los Pueblos de España, Geroa Bai, Escaños en Blanco, Falange Española y de las JONS, Som Valencians, el Partido Humanista, el Partido Libertario, el Partido Comunista Obrero Español, la Izquierda Anticapitalista Revolucionaria, Ciudadanos Independientes de Linares Unidos, Unidad del Pueblo, el Partido Regionalista del País Leonés, Federación de los Independientes de Aragón, Muerte al Sistema, Partido Demócrata Social de Jubilados Europeos, Partido de Jubilados por el Futuro Dignidad y Democracia, Escaños en Blanco, Feminism8, Partido Republicano Independiente Solidario Andaluz and the Unión de Todos. Here and here.

An extraordinary video from LaSexta here of a live squabble between Pablo Iglesias and LaSexta’s Antonio García Ferreras. Iglesias asks how LaSexta TV can host Eduardo Inda (the director of the fake news site OKDiario) when Inda publishes false attacks against Podemos.

‘A senior government press officer has been forced to resign after he faced charges of helping to cook up false claims against Spain’s left wing political leader Pablo Iglesias.

The former editor of Interviu magazine, Alberto Pozas, has been accused of helping to trash the reputation of the Podemos leader, with claims that both Iran and Venezuela funded his party...’. From The Olive Press here. The pen-drive found its way to the OKDiario editor.

El Confidencial Digital says that, according to the PSOE and the PP, most ‘fake news’ comes from Podemos and Vox. Expect lots of ‘fake or manipulated’ news during the elections...

Vox wants to discourage ‘el cine progré’ in favour of more wholesome patriotic films says ElDiario.es here. More seriously perhaps, here is Vox’ economic program (‘...major cuts in the number of funcionarios and the selling off of public-owned companies such as AENA, Indra, Red Eléctrica, Enagás...’...) and here their full program.

Superman would be a conservative and Batman more of a leftie says Pablo Iglesias in answer to a child who wondered about politics and superheroes. The Peruvian Expreso felt this was news.

The PP has an arsenal of fake Twitter accounts to help them with opinion and election results, says ADSLZone here.

Disabled people now have the vote says Público here (‘Making Spain more democratic than ever’). Fine and dandy for those with physical disabilities, but those with mental disabilities...? Do we sometimes take our desire for equality too far? Have we ridiculed the whole democratic process? Will they one day let even foreign residents vote in national elections...? So many questions.

El País has an interactive map of Spain, divided into barrios. It shows the number and percentage of voters. Generally, the rule is the wealthier the barrio, the higher the vote.

Catalonia:

From El Mundo here: ‘Sanchez avoids revealing his position on a possible pardon for the Catalonian plotters: "Once there is a sentence, the political power will have to position itself". The leader of the PSOE insists that he won’t comment on the case so as to "neither judicialize politics or to politicize justice"’.

Gibraltar:

‘The Gibraltar Government has announced the creation of a new multi-million reclamation project and subsequent development within the harbour, to be known as Victoria Keys. The reclamation, situated inside the harbour basin adjacent to Coaling Island, aims to create up to 60,000 square meters of new land area...’. From The Gibraltar Chronicle here. The same item as reported from Europa Sur: ‘Gibraltar challenges Spain with another urban plan on land reclaimed from the sea’.

Corruption:

‘Sanchez assures that those responsible for the ‘cloacas del estado’ – the sewers of fake propaganda and corrupt political practice – “will pay until the last consequences"’. An item found at Público here. The 2016 campaign against Podemos orchestrated allegedly from the Partido Popular using a team of corrupt police officers has become front page news (except in the conservative press where it hasn’t).

‘The police request information from OKDiario regarding the phone stolen from a colleague of Pablo Iglesias’. ElDiario is on the trail here.

The Guardia Civil security camera which kept vigil on Pablo Iglesias’ home in Madrid was hacked last October and on view to the public for a brief period says El País here.

From the university which was involved in the ‘Masters Scandal’. ‘The 'curse' of the King Juan Carlos University: five deaths and a plague of casualties after the scandal. The environment in the institution is "tense" for teachers and staff of the centre in fear of fresh revelations’, says El Español here.

Courts:

A councillor from Cataroja in Valencia thought it was funny when a bullfighter was gored to death in the ring in July 2016 and make a cruel joke on her Facebook page. She has now been condemned to pay 7,000€ to the bullfighter's grieving family by the Supreme Court, which noted in its ruling that "Among the social uses of a civilized society is, as a minimum requirement of humanity, respect for the pain of family members in the face of the death of a loved one, which is aggravated when the deceased meets his death publicly."

Brexit:

El Mundo: ‘The EU and May agree on an extension of Brexit until October 31’. Here.

La Sexta TV showed an interesting program on Friday called ‘Brexit: Should I stay or Should I go?’ Jump through a few hoops and you can see it here. It includes some interviews with Brits living in Spain and Spaniards living in the UK. Easier to see, here’s a short from the same show titled ‘Benidorm’ which asks some Brits how they voted over Brexit (amusing and mortifying all in one package).

ElDiario.es was in Alicante to check with the Brits there about the dreaded subject. ‘"Do not ask me more about Brexit, all English politicians are trash", says one...’.

‘Ashamed to be British’ writes William Chislett in the ElCano Royal Institute website here.

Spanish Property Insight reports that ‘Spain assures the British of a continued warm post-Brexit welcome – with or without a deal…’.

Media:

‘The ex-director of El Mundo David Jiménez: "In 2015 the elites watched with terror the arrival of Podemos into the Government and they made a decision to destroy it"’. An article from ElDiario.es explains the politics behind the manipulation. In InfoLibre, we learn from Jiménez that ‘Villarejo was one of the main sources of El Mundo and the facilitator of most of our exclusives’. Now David Jiménez is in the sights of his erstwhile colleagues following the publication of his book El Director, as we read in ElDiario.es an article titled ‘Dog doesn’t eat dog – how the law of silence works in journalism’.

Telecinco feeds the ghost of "the three derechas" mixing Casado, Rivera and Abascal (PP, C’s and Vox). "Pablo Iglesias was gonna come, I don’t know what must have happened," said Bertín Osborne the host on his program ‘Mi Casa es tu Casa’. El Español provides the popcorn here.

Ecology:

From El Mundo here: ‘The electric companies have gone from seeing with suspicion the development of self-consumption of energy in Spain to actively promoting it so as to try to control it now that it has opened up in the country. The government decree approved last Friday encourages the domestic creation of energy by allowing the user to pour into the network the electricity managed in their home and not consumed at that time, thereby obtaining a discount on their bill at the end of the month...’.

From NCYT here: ‘'Cordyceps militaris', the wild mushroom that can kill the pine processionary moth’.

From Money Saver Spain: ‘A new programme with grants for the purchase of electric and plug-in hybrid cars and more has been launched for 2019. Anyone who is legally resident in Spain is eligible to apply. The Spanish Government has set aside 45 million euros for grants for the purchase of electric and plug-in hybrid cars, electric motorbikes and other vehicles. The scheme is called Plan Moves 2019...’. More here. And if you are thinking of buying, here are the choices...

Six million olive trees have been planted between Sorbas and Tabernas (Almería) in recent years, and the water to irrigate them comes from ancient underground aquifers, which are suffering from 400% over-exploitation. This is destroying the ecosystems and threatening the villages along the Río Aguas. On Saturday 13th April, the third Defend the Water Festival takes place at Los Molinos del Río Aguas, between Sorbas and junction 504 of the A7 motorway. Music, food, tours, information and fun. It’s well worth supporting. Find out more at www.sunseed.org.uk

Various:

From Merca2 comes ‘The five hundred most influential people in Spain’.

‘Spain will reopen its Consulate in Manchester in response to popular request from expats who are starting to panic about getting appointments in time to resolve their affairs before Brexit and to register to vote in the general elections on April 28. The government spokeswoman Isabel Celaá says the office, which was closed in 2011, will once again serve the north and north-west of England, North and West Yorkshire, East Wales, the West Midlands, East and South Yorkshire and the Isle of Man, although not Cumbria, which is covered by the Consulate in Edinburgh - one of only two currently open along with London...’. Item from Think Spain here.

A list of the cities that burn brightest at night (light contamination). Here at El Pais.

From the consumer organisation Facua here: ‘Vodafone is chosen by consumers as The Worst Company of the Year. In the 10th edition of the awards organized by Facua since 2010, Endesa came in second place in the voting’.

Bad dietary habits kill more people than smoking, says El Mundo over a sandwich here.

How times change. La Ser reports that 80% of all wedding are now civil affairs and almost half of all children are born outside wedlock in Spain.

Where does the word guiri come from and is it rude? El País looks at the history of los guiris. As someone notes in the article: ‘We say guiri with cariño. We don't go to bares muy guiris because son caros y de mala calidad but céntricos as fuck. Tampoco vamos a bares de guiris when we visit other countries because son trampas pa turistas’.

See Spain:

The famous southern pilgrimage of El Rocío is looked at here at Eye on Spain.

Madrid’s wonderful El Botín, the World’s oldest restaurant. ‘Goya did the washing up at this restaurant...still open today’. From Eye on Spain here.

ABC brings us ‘Fourteen spectacular cathedrals in small Spanish towns (under 13,000 inhabitants)’.

Letters:

Good Morning Lenox,

Not until this morning did I have a chance to read your BOT. That was a lot in it this time.

I happened to see Borrell on the TV getting hopping mad I had to smile when I read about it this morning.

Your Guest Editorial was excellent. AUAN are very fortunate to have this lady at the helm.

Un abrazo, Inga.

Wow Lenox,

You do such a great job every week!

Jan Otto

I kinda enjoy it. Lenox

…...

Finally:

Twelve wonderful works of art at the Museo Reina Sofía in Madrid. A video on YouTube with music from Joe Sample and Melodies of Love.

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