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Weekly Report

Business over Tapas (Nbr 387)

Business over Tapas (Nbr 387)

  • 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

jueves 25 de febrero de 2021, 17:10h

25FEB21.- For subscriptions and other information about this site, go to businessovertapas.com email: [email protected] - 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:

How does that joke go – something like ‘Good music is like good candy – first you have to throw away the wrapper’. The wrapper – or rapper in this case – being someone called Pablo Hasél.

Pablo (real name Pau Rivadulla Duró) is a ‘political activist’ (Wiki) and is currently in the news for having been finally hauled off to clink from his place of refuge in Lérida university (we imagine him hiding in the airing cupboard). Pablo was convicted of a number of injurious songs and the question of freedom of speech has once again arisen.

His songs (raps) were along the lines of death threats to various important people including the Royals, the military, the bull-fighting community and the Mayor of Lérida, while expressing support for ETA and other revolutionary groups.

Onda Cero has a partial list of his peccadilloes, including several cases of street violence and a total of some seven years worth of prison (currently standing at nine months confirmed).

The words to some of his raps: "Someone stick an ice-pick in José Bono's head."

"Patxi López's car deserves to explode!"

"Death penalty for pathetic Royal princesses, for spending our money on cosmetic operations". …and so on.

You can enjoy one of his videos here.

One way or another, this angry young man is now in jail and following this, Spain is in riots (video) with plenty of destruction and a number of arrests. The far-left apparently (maybe with a few provocateurs and common or garden criminals and looters) have been kicking up a major fuss – particularly in Barcelona. The only political party to not condemn these protests is Unidas Podemos, who won’t have attracted any new supporters with this move.

A Facebook button reads (in translation): Podemos reckons that saying 'Hey Babe, how pretty you look' is a crime, but rapping 'Die you bitch' is freedom of expression.

Pablo though, if he wanted to help (which doesn’t appear to be the case) could send out a message from his jail-cell: ‘Friends, thank you for your support. Now go home’.

After all, it worked for Donald Trump.

Housing:

Brexit clouds life in Spanish sun for British second home owners says Yahoo! Finance here. ‘…Between 800,000 and one million Brits own property across Spain, mainly along its sun-baked, southern coast. The roughly *370,000 Britons registered as residents can still come and go as they please but British tourists and those who have not taken residency -- even those with a home there -- can now only spend a maximum of 90 days in the country during any 180-day period…’. *(The INE reckons on 262,000 Brits as from January 2020). The Olive Press says here that more than two thousand Brits had signed up on the padrón (town hall register) just on the Costa del Sol last year. But, so far, there are no exact figures from the INE to show how 2020, the year of Brexit-panic, has swollen the number of Resident Brits. It should end up by being quite a jump.

Tourism:

‘UK travellers to Spain offered alternatives to prove residency. After passengers were denied boarding in early January due to confusion at airlines, a new list of acceptable documents has just been released’. These include a volante from one’s town hall proving they are on the padrón. The article comes from El País in English here. Regular British holidays to Spain won’t return before May 17, says Hosteltur here. ‘…Boris Johnson said that foreign travel could resume from May 17 at the earliest after a review by the Department for Transport, due to report on April 12, that will analyse the prevalence and location of mutant variants of the coronavirus as well as the progress of vaccine programmes abroad…’ .From The Times here.

From the Gobierno de España here: ‘The Council of Ministers, in its meeting on Tuesday, has renewed the entry restrictions to Spain from the United Kingdom, Brazil and South Africa until 6.00pm on March 16’. Only Spanish nationals and foreign residents are to be allowed entrance during this period.

Seniors:

In 2050, Spain will have the oldest population of any country in the world says Aiudo here. By then, it says, quoting projections from the INE, 30% of the population will be over 65.

From Diario Sur here: ‘Imserso 2021: The Government sets a date for the return of the travel program for the elderly. The Minister of Tourism, Reyes Maroto, says that they are working to reactivate these trips by September’.

Finance:

From La Vanguardia: ‘Following a lengthy debate in Parliament, Pedro Sánchez said this Wednesday that the Council of Ministers will approve in the coming weeks a new aid package worth 11,000 million euros to help the sectors most affected by the economic stoppage caused by the coronavirus pandemic, including tourism, hotels and restaurants…’.

Free current accounts are a thing of the past. Banks now charge anything up to 240€ a year in commissions for the pleasure of holding their clients’ money says NIUS here. The rules from each of the main banks are explained in the article.

Endesa has good news for its shareholders, earning in 2020 a net benefit of 1,394 million euros, eight times more than in 2019. Iberdrola also turned a profit with a record 3,611 million euros for 2020, although this was only a small increase on their 2019 earnings.

‘The engineering and renewables company Abengoa has declared bankruptcy after failing to reach an agreement with creditors. The Seville based firm has requested voluntary insolvency after a proposed restructuring plan to tackle Abengoa’s 6,000 million euro debt mountain, unravelled after the Andalusian regional government withdrew an offer of 20 million euros in funding as part of the overall deal…’. From English Radio News here.

Valencia will have a gigantic battery factory for electric cars thanks to a macro-alliance between 23 automotive companies, including Ford says Motorpasión here. The new ‘gigafactory’ – called La Alianza Valenciana de Baterías – will create 30,000 jobs.

From Spanish Property Insight here: ‘How to get around money transfer fees to and from the UK’.

The government is keen to encourage us to buy, sell, pay and receive via the bank (leaving an electronic trace: and the odd commission). The Court of Justice of the European Union has just stepped in on this subject by ruling that cash may still be accepted for payment.

El Periodico has the story. More (in English) here, here and (the court ruling in pdf) here.

Politics:

The latest poll from the CIS gives PSOE 30.7% (imagine if we had the British ‘first past the post system in Spain!), the PP 18.8%, Vox at 13.6%, Unidas Podemos at 11.2% and Ciudadanos at 9.3%. Vox is just five points behind the PP, and some regional leaders of the PP are worried says La Vanguardia here.

Since there won’t be any elections for a while, the PP is leaning towards the idea of dropping their blockage on reforms for the judiciary, public ombudsman and the board of the RTVE – that, and their poor showing in the recent Catalonian elections. They’ll talk with the PSOE, they say (but not while Podemos is in the room). In fact, the PSOE has quietly agreed to two Podemos members on the CGPJ. The background to this is at elDiario.es here. The Government has further proposed Judge Clara Martínez de Careaga to be the new president of the CGPJ says El Plural here.

The PP desperately needs to absorb the Ciudadanos, says VozPópuli. Maybe Pablo Casado’s friendship with the ex-Ciudadanos leader Albert Rivera could bridge the gap.

Following the proposed sale of the PP headquarters in Madrid (to make a clean start… or to pay off part of the party debt), the Diario Vasco reports that the party has also put their offices in San Sebastian and Bilbao on the market.

Isabel Díaz Ayuso, the president of the Madrid Region, claims that we are in ‘a pre-civil-war situation’ thanks to ‘some of our politicians’. El Huff Post reports here.

Opinion from elDiario.es here: ‘Is Vox going to take over the Spanish right? The swerve to the right by Pablo Casado only makes Vox's task much easier, because a significant part of the PP electorate has been radicalized’. From infoLibre here: ‘How far can Vox grow?’.

Vox is considering a fresh confidence motion against the Government says El Huff Post.

A new media character is Isabel Medina Peralta the Nazi. She’s eighteen, she’s beautiful, she’s poisonous. VoxPópuli here: ‘This is Isabel Medina Peralta: the young fascist daughter of a former PP leader. The young Falangist has caused great controversy after her anti-Semitic speech in an act of tribute to the fallen of the Blue Division’. From El Español, we find ‘Isabel Medina, the socialist Falangist: her father threw her out of home and her politics cost her her job. The new face of Spanish Nazism was fired as a result of her fascist and anti-Semitic positions coming to light’.

In Seville, Luz Belinda Rodríguez, the Almerian MP for the Junta de Andalucía who left the Vox party last year (apparently considering them to be a bit wishy-washy), has been reprimanded for displaying a Falange flag in her offices.

‘The PP now suggests applying the Ley de Partidos (party law) to outlaw Unidas Podemos for "encouraging violence" in the Hasél protests (elDiario.es here) which is answered by Podemos saying, ‘with the Ley de Partidos "in hand", the party who has worked the hardest for its own "dissolution" is the PP’ (ECD here).

The ‘Hasél’ riots, particularly the damage in Barcelona, is the subject of a criticism by Isabel Díaz Ayuso, the potential candidate (second behind the hard-to-spell Alberto Núñez Feijóo) to take over from Pablo Casado. She says ‘when there’s a terrorist movement, you can always find the presence of Podemos’. That should play well in the provinces…

It’s not all plain sailing for the Government either. From El País in English we read: ‘Spain’s governing coalition partners: ‘It can’t go on like this’. The executive is caught up in a spiral of internal strife just as the opposition is at its weakest. A minority view supports pushing out Unidas Podemos, but PM Pedro Sánchez is ruling it out’.

Not that all the socialists like or admire Pedro Sánchez. This group tends to get wheeled out by the right-wing press now and again. It’s led by Felipe González and includes José Luis Corcuera, Joaquín Leguina, Alfonso Guerra, Susana Díaz and Nicolás Redondo… The dinosaurs of the party.

Vox proposes March 8th as the ‘National Day of Victims of Coronavirus’ (here). But wait, isn’t that also the Día Internacional de la Mujer?

Catalonia:

El Huff Post says: ‘Ciudadanos – from crisis to crisis to the final fiasco’. The party started fifteen years ago in Catalonia with the target of fighting the independence movement. In the last three years, it has gone from first to seventh party in the region. Can they do better in Madrid or are they doomed to oblivion?

'We are tired of not being listened to' - What young protesters in the recent riots have to say’. Catalan News on the ongoing protests (video).

Europe:

While the impression from the British media is that things are going well in the UK (see any Express item here), the word from Yahoo! Noticias is otherwise. ‘Brexit: the British Government admits that it will be decades before the benefits are in evidence’. Gloomy stuff. It ends the article cautiously with ‘…The country, between the Brexit and the pandemic, faces a series of challenges that will test its capacity in the coming years. It remains to be seen how it all plays out’.

From Wolf Street here: ‘The Growing Pains of Brexit, 50 Days In’.

What are the consequences of overstaying in the Schengen Area? The answer to this is here.

‘The European Commission will remind member countries that border officials should not be stamping the UK passports of British citizens living in the bloc, a practice that goes against the terms of the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement…’. From Politico here.

The European identity card is an electronic identity document intended to replace and standardise the various identity card styles currently in use in the member states of the European Union, and the European Economic Area. The new card is scheduled to enter into force on 2 August 2021 says Wiki here. This card will, of course, not be issued to British subjects, resident in Europe or otherwise.

The Coronavirus:

AstraZeneca is to miss second-quarter EU vaccine supply target by half - EU official’. The story from Yahoo! News says that ‘…The expected shortfall, which has not previously been reported, comes after a big reduction in supplies in the first quarter and could hit the EU's ability to meet its target of vaccinating 70% of adults by the summer…’.

Spain is now out of the level of extreme risk following the latest spike – brought on by Christmas celebrations – and we must now prepare ourselves for Easter, where mixed messages are already being sent out. The latest national incidence rate is 235.8 per 100,000.

Courts:

‘The PP faces two years of corruption trials’, says El País (partial paywall) here. It begins, ‘The president of the PP, Pablo Casado, announced two days after the biggest electoral disaster of his party in Catalonia that the national leadership was not going to give explanations again “about any past question that corresponds to a personal action that has been for the benefit or otherwise of the party”. … His commitment to silence over PP corruption will face a dozen trials in the next two years that will put under suspicion a political party that has ruled a total of fifteen years in Spain, winning five general elections since democracy was restored in Spain…’. The article lists ten of these major trials: ‘La caja b’; ‘Caso Gürtel’; ‘Caso Taula’; illegal commissions in Arganda del Rey; ‘Caso Púnica’; ‘Caso Lezo’; ‘Caso Ciudad de la Justicia’; ‘Caso contratos Valencia’; ‘Caso Kitchen’ and ‘Caso Villarejo’.

Media:

Media manipulation in Spain: an article at Cuarto Poder here.

A blog called Opinión Pública spills the beans here (there’s an embedded Google option to read it in English): ‘Exposure of the millionaire media circus on the TV, plundered by the right’. If you ever watch the chat shows on Spanish TV, the same faces tend to show up a lot – it mentions Eduardo Inda and Paco Marhuenda (OKDiario and La Razón) – as popular right-wing commentators financed by commercial and political interests.

The Cadena Ser edits a Tweet from Podemos, changing its meaning.

How do sportscasters learn to pronounce the players’ names correctly? Do they? Gosh! They listen to the sportspeople pronounce their names, and they practice, says El País here (an article on the eternal misspelling of foreign names by Lenox here).

We noticed last week that a news-item about Mercadona appears every day in El Español. Now we find (with help from Google) that they are not the only one. On Wednesday we found, within the 24 hour period, various stories (all positive) about the supermarket at La Voz de Almería, OKDiario, AS, El Economista, Noticias Trabajo, Sport, 20Minutos, Economía Digital, La Vanguardia, El Correo de Andalucía, El Huff Post, El Periódico Mediterráneo, Trendencias, Todo Disca, Moncloa.com, Mujer Hoy, El Periódico, Cadena Dial, Wikiversus, El Nacional, Merca2, Catalunya Diari, El Mira and (of course) at El Español...

Ecology:

What did we learn from the tragedy of the Mar Menor? Nothing it seems: ‘Fertilizers and poor purification threaten the water that reaches the Doñana National Park. The CSIC study confirms the high concentration of nitrogen and phosphorus in the waters, the excess of which can alter the balance of the ecosystem’. elDiario.es has the story here.

‘Geothermal: the huge untapped potential of thermal energy under the ground. Researchers from the Geological and Mining Institute of Spain claim a more important role for this technology in the energy transition, as explained by El País (limited paywall) here. This technology is being used to heat invernaderos in Níjar, Almería.

Various:

Juan Carlos I has been traced to a luxurious villa on an island called Nurai off Abu Dhabi.

‘Spain’s King Felipe VI pays tribute to Juan Carlos I for his role in foiling 1981 coup attempt. On the 40th anniversary of the day that Congress was stormed by the Civil Guard, the reigning monarch said his father’s actions were ‘decisive for the defence and triumph of democracy’’. The item is from El País in English here.

‘Spain and Portugal have agreed to re-launch the project of the high-performance train between Vigo and Porto. The two governments will propose that the line be incorporated into the priority network of the Atlantic Corridor and thus be able to access community funds to finance the works’. Headline from La Opinión A Coruña here.

Once, there were a lot of railway track in Spain. The article from eldiario.es begins, 'in 1993, there were 7,600 kilometres of unused railway in Spain...'. About half of these have since been converted into 'via verdes' – walking or cycling paths. A high-quality map here.

Following from a fire which destroyed a number of shacks in an immigrant shanty-village in Palos de la Frontera (Huelva) last week (possibly intentional?), the media has discovered that there are some forty of these settlements located in the province, centred around where the strawberries are picked. The spokesperson for the Sindicato Andaluz de Trabajadores y Trabajadoras is clear enough – it was intentional, he says here. There are also a number of these bidon-villes in Almería, where accidental fires are not uncommon.

Tráfico has been busy handing out traffic violations. According to La Vanguardia here, in 2019, they hauled in 374,301,167 euros in multas – better than a million a day (in the hope that our math is better than the newspaper, which says 374,301,167,000,000€).

Can you read and understand ladino – the language spoken by Sephardic minorities in more than 30 countries (Wiki)? Sure you can. Para mozotros es una grande satisfaksion inkluir aktividades de la kultura sefaradi en muestro program kultural kada mez’, says the Spanish embassy in Turkey.

Which country has the most Spanish speakers? Spain itself comes fourth on this scale.

‘A human rights defender from Andorra who faces four years in jail after speaking about women’s rights, including their right to safe abortion, at a United Nations expert forum, should have all charges against her dropped, Amnesty International said before her court hearing, which began last week. … Andorra is one of the few remaining countries in the world to have a total ban on abortion. More at Amnesty International here.

From the Middle East Eye here, we read: ‘Senators urge Biden to undo the US recognition of Morocco's claim to Western Sahara. US lawmakers say the new administration should reverse 'misguided decision' which came as part of Morocco's normalisation deal with Israel’. See BoT’s ‘The Western Sahara, Israel and Donald Trump’ (Dec 2020): here.

The Día de Andalucía is celebrated (quietly, we hope) this Sunday, February 28th. The next day, Monday, is a bank-holiday throughout the region.

LaSexta TV has an exclusive video and report just published which goes back to a secretly recorded conversation in the Ecuadorian embassy in London in 2017 between Julian Assange and the Republican congressman Dana Rohrabacher, who evidently offered Assange a pardon from Donald Trump if he were to assert that the Russians were not aiding Trump in his presidential bid of 2016.

See Spain:

To find the sites of a large number of medieval buildings scattered primarily across the north of Spain, go to Petrifying Wealth and its site-map here.

What’s the most charming town in Andalucía? As we wait for the answer, know that the only Almerian town on the final list of ten is Tabernas. Not only that, it’s currently running second, just behind Setenil de Las Bodegas (Cádiz).

Letters:

A few Hotmail accounts bounced last week’s Business over Tapas. I re-sent them via Gmail.

Finally:

Sílvia Pérez Cruz and Raül Fernández perform Cucurrucucú Paloma on YouTube here.

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