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Weekly Report

Business over Tapas (Nº 318)

Business over Tapas (Nº 318)

  • 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 20 de septiembre de 2019, 20:46h

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Editorial:

A fresh general election has been called for November 10th, following an absence of deals, coalitions or tactical abstentions from Spain’s political leaders (Give Wikipedia its due, the election is already posted here). Campaigning will be shorter and cheaper than usual, with the official campaign starting on Friday, November 1st. In theory, votes for the smaller parties (who are never going to govern, anyway) might dry up as voters are tired of the squabbling and return towards a traditional two-party system, but equally, voters may be tired of voting at all.

We can expect all the parties to spend their energies in criticising all the other parties for their evasions over the coming weeks. The chances are that the PSOE will gain seats, but probably still need the support of either a weakened Podemos, or – less likely – a depleted Ciudadanos.

Before then, there are a few other political milestones to observe – first of all, in Gibraltar where snap elections will be held just two weeks before the Brexit (on October 17th). Following on from a non-event in Luxembourg (well, better not make a fuss about this), the Great British Brexit itself is scheduled for October 31st (just in time for Guy Fawkes Day on November 5th).

Will things be the same as they were following all this tumult?

Housing:

‘How can the Tax Office know if you are renting out a property for short stays? – One may ask. As Malaga and Costa del Sol become increasingly popular for tourists visiting Spain, many landlords have seized the opportunity to earn some extra income by letting out their properties. Before internet hospitality platforms emerged as a new trend, this sector wasn’t attracting that much attention in Spain and it remained relatively uncontrolled. But as local property owners started to make substantial profits and cities were flooded with tourists, Hacienda decided to impose stricter controls on holiday rentals. From that moment on, every landlord renting out a property in Spain is obliged to register it officially, to obtain an “occupation permit” and to comply with certain health, usability and bureaucratic requirements (i.e. ventilation, furniture, air conditioning, heating)...’. From The Olive Press here.

The okupas in Fraguas have made the Australian news. From SBS Dateline here (with video): ‘These Spanish millennials are squatting in a ghost town to cope with the economy’.

As the ecologists remain determined to keep the settlers out of the abandoned village of Fraguas (Guadalajara), there’s a list of other moribund municipalities – some with less than two inhabitants per square kilometre – appearing in El Diario de León here. Other provinces are experiencing the same as the services dry up and the young move to the city in search of employment and experience.

‘The Junta de Andalucía has announced the immediate implementation of a law, through which it will provide all ‘alegal homes’ throughout the territory with an AFO (Asimilado Fuera de Ordenación) licence with the exception of those that are in protected land...’. Item from La Comarca Noticias here. Great work from the AUAN (here) and the SOHA (here)!

Tourism:

‘Three people are arrested for defrauding some 1,500 people of three million euros in vacation rentals. The detainees are accused of the crimes of forgery, money laundering, belonging to a criminal group and fraud’. Item from La Cadena Ser Valencia here.

Finance:

‘The Spanish economy is losing momentum sooner and more intensely than expected, according to new figures released by the National Statistics Institute (INE). Although economic output continues to double the growth rates of the euro zone, the pace of that growth is slowing down. First- and second-quarter growth were both around 0.5%, making it difficult for the economy to expand at a rate of 2.2% in 2019, as the Spanish government had forecast...’. Item from El País in English here.

The banks pay the best salaries, says El Mundo, with anything up to 300,000€ per year for executives.

From El Economista here: ‘Alert from the Bankers: the sector will die if it does not recover its prestige’. The Asociación Española Bancaria recognises ‘that the main and most urgent challenge of the financial sector is its bad reputation, a consequence of the crisis and the continuous scandals over the malpractices of the past in the sale of products...’. Quite!

Politics:

According to El Mundo, the fault of the lack of a Government is at the hands of the PSOE leader Pedro Sánchez, as he describes Pablo Iglesias as dogmatic, while Pablo Casado has no sense of state and Albert Rivera is irresponsible. ‘Spain’, says Sánchez, ‘needs stability and moderation – not obstruction’.

Albert Rivera from Ciudadanos says that he offers his hand to the PP leader Pablo Casado, inviting him to form a Government with his party if after the elections both parties have "a single seat more" than the parties of the izquierda. "If Sanchez is the problem, there has to be an alternative solution that guarantees governance," he said. For this reason, he insisted that "if there is one more seat on the election night, I will call Sr. Casado to form a Government committing to close the agreement within a maximum period of one month for this country to get going again."...’. A piece from ElDiario.es here.

‘The head of the PP list for Huelva in the last general elections, Juan José Cortés, father of the girl Mari Luz who was famously murdered in 2008, has renounced his permanent disability pension he has been receiving in recent years as it is incompatible with his salary as a national deputy...’. His tax return last year featured one source only of income: 25,780.02€ from the State for his full and permanent disability. Oddly, no one finds this odd. More at VozPópuli here.

Courts:

From Genbeta comes ‘What to do if you receive a letter from some lawyers claiming money to avoid a trial for downloading a film?’. Ignore it, says Genbeta’s legal team.

Brexit:

The Olive Press took a poll of British residents in Spain regarding their view on Brexit. ‘The results of our exclusive online poll of more than 2,000 readers revealed that 73% of expats would vote to remain if given the chance again’. (We wonder if the Euro Weekly News would find similar results, their leading columnist Leapy Lee notwithstanding)

A remarkable story from The Independent here: ‘Tory government 'looking at' granting Australians freedom of movement denied to EU citizens after Brexit, cabinet minister Liz Truss says’.

Media:

The New York Times en Español is closing. Here are some of its best articles.

Ecology:

‘The worst gota fría in 140 years ruins 300,000 hectares of orchard and citrus. The provinces of Alicante and Murcia concentrate the worst damage that the recent storms have caused in agriculture, infrastructure and housing’. El País has the story here. In all, seven people drowned during the floods.

Various:

As expected, there are a lot more Brits in Spain than the official numbers suggest. Only last week, Pedro Sánchez thought there were double the official numbers, and now there is a report of a 10% rise in the official figures noted since this January. El País in English says ‘...The lack of clarity over Brexit is prompting many British citizens to register with the Spanish authorities ... something they perhaps would never have done were it not for the potential imminent divorce of the UK from Europe on October 31. There are now 365,967 Britons officially registered in Spain. Figures provided by the Interior Ministry in response to questions from El País reveal that the numbers are rising at an accelerating rate, and it is likely that they will go up even more quickly immediately before and after the Brexit deadline...’.

Spain leads in the number of young people (14 to 21) hooked on sports gambling and online poker says La Sexta here (with video).

How about a ‘black box’ installed in your vehicle which records your driving – including those times you stepped on the gas? Fun, huh? Tune in to the year 2022 says Diario Motor here.

‘The Twitter account of the Spanish Diabetes Federation has become, in practice, the advertising panel of Coca-Cola, PepsiCo and similar companies and brands. Sometimes, it even gives the feeling that this is its only function’. From Cuántas Calorías Tienen here.

How Spanish names work, from Lenox’ blog here.

See Spain:

Molly at Piccavey brings us ‘Packing Tips for a Carry On + 24 Uses for a Scarf by a Travel Blogger’.

‘A Guide to Tangier: The Gateway between Europe and Africa’, with Citylife Madrid here.

Finally:

‘Why does Rosalía attract so many haters in her home country? The international star continues to divide public opinion in Spain, whether over her way of singing flamenco or her stance on the Catalan independence movement’. From El País in English here. She performs her song Yo x Ti, Tu x Mi (which, frankly, may not help supply an entirely positive answer to the above) on YouTube here.

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