Andalucía has now joined certain other regions of Spain, including Mallorca, Navarra, Cantabria and Aragón, and has decreed that one must wear a face-mask when outside. It’s a bit of politics – now the health responsibilities have been passed (at their insistence) to the regional governments – mixed with a lot of common-sense.
However, we are now in the high tourist season, such as it is this year, and many potential visitors may be thinking that it won’t be like other years. Indeed it won’t, with rationing and booking bits of beach and half the pools closed and no disco dancing (or apparently singing!). Others won’t take kindly to being fined for not wearing their face-mask, which – needless to say – is only allowed to be removed when one is sat in front of a beer or a chicken sandwich.
It being the season, we have been inundated with stories of Brits leaping off roofs of hotels, or jumping onto the roofs of cars, or coughing on their fellow diners, or falling about drunk in one or another way: the subject for yet another indignant story on the Spanish news.
The Telegraph claims that ‘Spaniards are most opposed to the arrival of UK holidaymakers, with nearly two thirds (61 per cent), keen on Britons to stay away this year, 15 percentage points more than any other European nationality…’.
Do other nationalities feel as bad about their own fellow-citizens as we British resident in Spain seem to feel about ours?
Spain needs the tourism, both for the income and the jobs, but no doubt it could do with a bit better behaviour from its guests.
Here at Business over Tapas, the mobile phone quit last week – and we are still waiting patiently for a vital piece, while the house-Internet has also been patchy at best, finally going down for the third time on Saturday. This of course meant several excitable conversations on the house phone (first time it’s been used in months) with the Movistar people, and, following a new router on Tuesday afternoon, which works only intermittently, a resumption of BoT service… When will we get fibra óptica? Huh?
'Rent out empty flats or I'll repossess them', Barcelona mayor warns property groups. Barcelona mayor Ada Colau has given the owners of 194 empty flats in the Catalan capital a month to rent them out or she’ll order their repossession, as the city struggles with the worst housing crisis in Spain…’. Item from The Local here.
‘Tourism fails to return to Spain’s Costa del Sol as hoped as number of Brits and foreign travellers plummets’ says The Olive Press here.
From The Guardian (in Mallorca) here: ‘…“The airport was quiet and the flight was early,” she said. “It was great. And then [when] I got here there weren’t too many Brits getting drunk and I’ve been able to spend more time with the locals. There is hand-sanitizer everywhere and they’ve made it really easy. I’d prefer if it didn’t get busier actually. I really like it being nice and quiet.”…’. There are those who want the numbers to return (we read), ‘…But for Eduardo Gamero, the president of the Fomento del Turismo de Mallorca, a non-profit association that represents the tourism sector on the island, it is simple: the Balearic Islands have so far managed to stave off a high number of coronavirus cases and he would like to keep it that way…’.
From El País in English here: ‘the Mar Menor’s deserted summer scene: ‘Not even those who own a house here have come’. Water pollution and coronavirus fears are making visitors bypass this once-popular saltwater lagoon on the Spanish Mediterranean’.
El País in English also has this report: ‘Welcomed and feared: How tourists in Spain are being received amid the coronavirus crisis’.
‘Travelling by motor-home in Spain: everything you need to know. Few ways of travelling give as much freedom and independence as do motor-homes and caravans. Travelling with all of your stuff is full of advantages, but also of responsibilities and conditions that one needs to know’. ElDiario.es has the article here.
Spain has launched a campaign called ‘Back to Spain’ (here) to attract more tourists from abroad says Hosteltur here. The campaign hopes to provide confidence in Spain’s handling of the pandemic. In other news, the portal Spain.info has also been modernised and updated.
El Mundo reports a few changes have been reported in the Tourist Board, with Fernando Valdés as the new secretary taking over the post. His erstwhile boss Isabel Oliver has gone to the World Tourism Organisation. Miguel Sanz takes over at Turespaña.
Doña Beatriz no entiende nada. A cartoon on YouTube here provided by Inforesidencias here on Alzheimer’s disease described as ‘a homage to those older people living in residences with dementia, whom, since the pandemic, no one has asked about and no one has seen’.
From The Economist (paywall) here: ‘Harsh economic realities push Spain’s government towards the centre. The left-wing government may not be able to afford its promises’.
The results in the two regional elections brought no surprises. In Galicia, the PP were returned with an absolute majority. The BNG (regional party) were second and the PSdeG (PSOE) third (here). In the País Vasco, the EAJ-PNV took a simple majority followed by EHBildu and the PSE-EE (PSOE) in third place (here). Some smaller groups took seats: Podemos with 6, PP and C’s (in alliance) took 5 and Vox took 1. The two erstwhile leaders, Alberto Núñez Feijóo (PP) in Galicia and Iñigo Urkullu (EAJ-PNV with PSOE support) in the Basque Country both remain.
‘The barons of the PP press Pablo Casado for a turn to the centre, after the victory of Feijóo in Galicia, and with an eye on the upcoming Catalonian elections’ say elDiario.es here. A possible date for the elections might be October 4th says Diari de Taragona here.
Pablo Casado is concerned ‘that EHBildu took more votes in the Basque Country than all the national parties put together’. Euskal Herria Bildu (Wiki) is the current version of ‘the outlawed’ Batasuna, the official party of the bad old days of the ETA.
The CIS is back with the latest poll, says La Vanguardia here. It says that the PSOE is eleven points ahead of the PP.
A new political party sets sights on a Spain – Portugal union, says The Olive Press here. The party, Izquierda en Positivo, is operating only in Granada at present, so has a way to go.
‘One of Catalonia’s most senior politicians has been warned his mobile phone was targeted using spyware its makers say is only sold to governments to track criminals and terrorists. A joint investigation by The Guardian and El País has revealed that the speaker of the Catalan regional parliament, Roger Torrent and at least two other pro-independence supporters were told they were targeted last year in what experts said was a “possible case of domestic political espionage” in Europe…’. The story adds, ‘…Until now, it has not been suggested that any European country used NSO Group’s software in the 2019 attacks. But in an interview, Torrent expressed dismay that he may have been surveilled by the Spanish state…’ Here.
A press release comes from the British Embassy. ‘On Tuesday HMA Hugh Elliott and la Secretaria de Estado de Migraciones Hana Jalloul recorded a joint video message for UK Nationals living in Spain to provide clarity and reassurance on the new residency document. The Ministerio de Inclusion, Seguridad Social y Migraciones has also published a comprehensive Q&A document to provide answers to many of the questions you have been asking us’. All in English. You can find the guide here and the video here.
‘Will the EHIC health card still be valid after Brexit?’. BBC News answers here.
‘Brussels is planning to pursue low-tax member states over their advantageous corporate tax regimes as pressure mounts on EU policymakers to crack down on sweetheart tax deals in the wake of the Covid-19 crisis. In what would amount to an unprecedented legal assault, the European Commission is exploring ways to trigger an unused treaty instrument to reduce multinationals’ ability to exploit highly advantageous corporate tax schemes. Crucially, unlike ordinary tax legislation in the EU, the initiative would only require the backing of a qualified majority of the EU’s 27 member states rather than unanimous support of all countries, restricting a government’s ability to wield a veto. The measure would also need approval from the European parliament…’. From The Financial Times here. The story adds ‘…The measure is likely to target schemes in countries such as the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Belgium and Ireland, said one official…’. The proposal reaches more approval in El Salto Diario here: ‘Brussels wants to attack European tax-havens, ending decisions unanimously. An article of the Treaty on European Union allows skipping the unanimity rule in decisions of a fiscal nature. The European Commission intends to use it to address the taxation of some Member States to end their unfair competition against the rest’.
‘The Government prepares for a second wave of coronavirus as outbreaks continue to expand’ says 20 Minutos here. There were 120 outbreaks reported on Monday here. Wednesday meanwhile saw a further 123 outbreaks (map) here.
(At least) Ten regions have so far ordered face-masks to be worn at all times while outside, but the details can vary slightly, says elDiario.es here.
‘Put your mask on, it’s not too much to ask – and for god’s sake it is not a ‘return to fascist Spain’ says The Olive Press in an opinion piece here.
Atmospheric contamination exacerbates coronavirus infections says elDiario.es here.
‘Herd immunity won't work without a vaccine, Spanish scientists find’. Eye on Spain reports here.
Where has all the money gone? ‘The capital flight abroad was of 27,100 million until April due to the tax increase’, says Kaos en la Red here, adding ‘The outflow of capital that Spain experienced in the same period of 2019 was 700 million euros, so heeding the warning by the Government of future fiscal reforms, the wealthy Spanish could not help but demonstrate their patriotism by doing as usual’. ‘To be a patriot is to pay one’s taxes in Spain’ says the ex-trainer for the Spanish national team Vicente del Bosque here (video).
‘The former FC Barcelona president Sandro Rosell is claiming from the State more than 29 million euros in damages for the two years he spent in preventive detention before finally being acquitted of a crime of money laundering. According to what RTVE has learned, Rosell's lawyer has filed a claim of financial liability against the Administration for the damages and damages caused after spending 645 days in preventive detention. Rosell's lawyer therefore demands the amount of 29,754,465.02 euros…’. A nice round sum.
An article at elDiario.es wonders why, following the regional elections in the Basque country and Galicia, all of the front pages are about Podemos (they came fourth in both places). It’s down to the continual pressure of the media against the party, says the news-site, giving copious examples. Let’s see if we can find one…
According to El Español here, ‘Podemos seeks to expand its voting bag by giving nationality to 2.8 million immigrants (Oh good. Does that include us?). Iglesias wants to increase his voter niche by considering regular, irregular and asylum seekers as "compatriots"’.
‘The magazine that makes profit spreading dangerous medical hoaxes’ According to Eulixe, there’s a health magazine out of Majadahonda, Madrid, that shares fake information, that ‘Coronavirus, Ebola and AIDS do not exist, that vaccines cause autism and chemotherapy cancer. These are some of the statements on the covers of this magazine that do business with stupidity and quackery. A turnover of more than 500,000€ a year, seriously endangering the health (physical and mental) of those people who are duped by José Antonio Campoy, director of Discovery Dsalud magazine…’. They attract some strange advertisers, apparently…
The story of whether the Euro Weekly News is, well, we are going to go with ‘peculiar’, follows from an attack from The Olive Press in regard to their popular columnist Leapy Lee. In a free paper, where editorial is at a premium, Leapy writes about the UK. His last ten columns have attacked the Black Lives Matter movement (founded, apparently, by 'three black lesbian women'), and in the nine previous columns of his, ‘mobs of young, predominately black lawbreakers’; ‘the left-wing media’, ‘the money men’; ‘a vicious, armed robbing thug, who was a career criminal high on drugs, as an example of black culture…’; ‘large gatherings of mainly black and ethnic people’; ‘the undemocratic and bitter loser camp (i.e, Brexit ‘Remainers’)’; ‘the drunks, hypochondriacs and the victims of street violence (NHS) that usually jam the waiting rooms’; ‘…Not a few (care homes) were run by immigrants, mainly from Pakistan, who, after taking advantage of government schemes to buy large houses, had brought all their relatives over to live in half of the house while the ‘residents’ lived in the other half…’; ‘The most despicable country of all of course is China’; ‘The BBC truly is a national disgrace’… and so on, ad nauseam.
The EWN has reacted with a reader-poll (link broken) on Mr Lee’s oeuvre including the line that ‘One of our long-term columnists has been criticised for allegedly writing “hateful content” over the past 20 years by a wannabe rival publication that appears to struggle to understand free speech…’. . Reddit then took an egregious swipe at the EWN here for another spot of racism and asylum seekers. Finally, the South China Morning Post had this to say about Leapy Lee back in February: ‘Naked racism aimed at the Chinese spreads further than the coronavirus, into print in Spain’.
That EWN reader-poll? Apparently 74% of their readers say ‘We Love Leapy’ (The BoT is unfortunately banned from their Facebook page, not that our vote would have made much difference).
‘Olive trees that drain the ancient waters: the advance of desertification in Spain. The increase in super-intensive irrigation that sucks up an aquifer in the driest area of Europe, next to the Tabernas desert, illustrates the acceleration of degradation that is advancing from the southeast of the Iberian Peninsula’ says elDiario.es here.
To have earned that 65 million (which he gave to Corinna), Juan Carlos would have had to have reigned since 1792 says Spanish Revolution here.
Juan Carlos was withdrawing 100,000€ a month between 2008 and 2012 from a Swiss account he held says elDiario.es here. El Nacional puts the monthly figure at 125,000€ ‘to spend on caprichos’ says the paper.
The Swiss Government is considering blocking Juan Carlos’ accounts in that country following a complaint from Òmnium Cultural. VozPópuli reports here.
‘The lost decade of Spanish Health: austerity policies have jeopardized the right to health. A devastating report by Amnesty International: despite the fact that GDP has increased by 8.6%, public health spending in Spain has decreased by 11.21% since 2009’. The report is at El Huff Post here.
Hermann Tertsch (a Vox MEP) has now received his 12,000€ fine for slander (against the Pablo Iglesias family) and the party is asking supporters for donations. So, if you are a Voxer, dig deep! Podemos supporters now have a joke that the famous home in Galapagar (Pablo Iglesias’ home) is being paid for in fines from enemy critics.
Why Spain needs an expensive submarine is not clear, but they have one. The problem with the S-80 (the first of four pencilled in by the Spanish Navy) is that the sub doesn’t work, is ten years late and has cost so far 4,000 million euros. El Español has the story and a video. A report on Spain’s navy shows that their number of active vessels has fallen to ‘a dangerous low’ says VoxPópuli here.
An ‘incalculable’ number of buildings were registered in the past, often by complicit property registrars, as belonging to La Iglesia, according to Público here.
The State agrees that it will compensate Audasa, the concessionary for the AP-9 toll-motorway (Vigo, Pontevedra, Santiago de Compostela and La Coruña) for the fall in traffic, maybe with an extension in the lease, thanks to the pandemic says Nòs (Galician) here.
A suggestion arrives that corruption should be counted not in euros, but in galapagares here.
‘British Pathé’s fascinating collection of archive newsreels illustrates how far Spain has come in the last 50 years but also exposes how British reporting on “sun-soaked España” could be comically patronizing…’. Item, with videos, from The Local here.
Well! A recipe for BoT’s favourite dish, Huevos a la Flamenca. This used to be an ubiquitous item on a menu in Spain, but is how hard to find. Fascinating Spain has the secret to a good serving here.
‘The walls of Lugo are an outstanding construction which illustrates various significant periods of human history. Starting with their Roman origins and passing through the problematical Middle Ages to the innovatory and disturbed 19th century, they unite in a single monumental construction over 2 km long different proofs and facets of the evolution of the town from the original Lucus Augusti…’. From Eye on Spain here.
What happens when you can’t run the bulls in Pamplona? The Guardian answers here.
‘Villages that kiss mountaintop clouds, hamlets of wedding-white houses that overlook the sea, settlements where the streets are lined with millions of mosaic tiles…’. Some purple prose, together with nice pictures, from The Mail regarding the current 94 Pueblos más Bonitos de España (here).
A Canadian classic from Moxy Früvous – Once I was the King of Spain, on YouTube here. .