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Weekly Report

Business over Tapas (Nbr, 407)

Business over Tapas (Nbr, 407)

  • 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 22 de julio de 2021, 14:32h

22JUL21.- 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:

Cash is no longer King. The banks and the taxman have got together on this one – now all one’s loot has to go through the savings account.

One can no longer pay for anything in cash over 1,000€, using instead a credit card or bank transfer. This leaves a paper-trail so that Hacienda can cast a watery eye over each and every transaction larger than the purchase of a bottle of whisky or a pink unbreakable piggy-bank from the nearby Chinese bazaar.

From Laboro here: ‘For sure you have seen that the law prohibiting cash-payments over 1000€ has been approved by the Government (BOE 11/7/21). No doubt everyone thought that that was the end of payments to the plumber, or an expensive new washing machine, or crossing one’s lawyer’s palm with silver, or paying Paco down at the garage for his work on the car…’.

However, says the article, you can no longer – as an employer (which is what you are when you pay someone to do something) – pay a worker, even in fractional payments. That sum is gross – including transport, meals and the notorious ‘pagos extras’ (usually Christmas and late June extra wages).

Just paying in cash the first 999€ won’t work either, as any debt in full over 1,000€ must be satisfied through the bank.

How would Hacienda know about cash payments solemnly paid (laundered) into the bank? Even mini payments, a bit each day? From As here: ‘The Tax Agency monitors certain amounts of money that are paid in cash, so the citizen must be prepared to prove its origin’. We read, ‘…Specifically, the agency monitors cash payments that exceed 500 euros and any income in our bank account that exceeds 3,000 euros. The banks themselves are responsible for reporting this to the Tax Agency. This may not be a problem, because if Hacienda considers that the movement is legal, it will not inspect or sanction it. On the other hand, if they suspect something, they will initiate an investigation and the citizen must prove the origin of the money…’.

Fines can be as high as 150% of the ‘black’ money paid into the bank.

Of course, there is always the banco del colchón with variations between keeping a safe behind the oil painting of grandfather stuffed with cash, or folding it up under the mattress – as poor people have done for centuries.

Still, if you can’t spend it…

Tourism:

From El País in English here: ‘UK tourists return to Spain: flight bookings triple since change to quarantine rules. As part of England’s so-called “Freedom Day,” which saw all remaining coronavirus restrictions lifted by the government on Monday, July 19, fully vaccinated tourists returning from Spain will no longer have to quarantine for 10 days. The relaxation of these travel restrictions, which have also been implemented by Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, has seen a 400% spike in flight bookings from the United Kingdom – a fivefold increase since the announcement was made that the rules were due to be changed. The Spanish flight authority AENA has calculated that flights from the UK have tripled in number since last week…’.

Going the other way… From The Guardian here. ‘Border officials told not to make Covid checks on green and amber list arrivals. Exclusive: officers in England no longer have to verify whether new arrivals have received a negative Covid test’.

From Catalan News here: ‘'Cautious optimism' for seaside tourism as Covid-19 cases skyrocket. Industry faces few last-minute cancellations and seeks to attract foreign visitors’.

Finance:

From The Olive Press here: ‘Adios to financial legend: Bill Blevins dies’. Bill used to write a weekly column on investment (as Blackstone Franks) for The Entertainer back in the 80s.

Politics:

Could the Madrid regional president Isabel Díaz Ayuso be the champion for the PP in the 2023 general elections? It’s possible. Ayuso herself is preparing the way, and she enters the future election from the far-right. Will there be room for Vox two years from now? Right now, Ayuso has taken control of the regional Telemadrid TV.

Público says that ‘The PSOE holds steady although the PP continues to add votes, according to three polls which would give the victory to the Partido Popular in hypothetical elections with an absolute majority if they went in together with Vox and Ciudadanos. However, a poll by the CIS, published on Wednesday, brought more cheer for the Government. elDiario.es says here that the CIS gives the PSOE a five-point lead over the PP (N.B, the CIS is often accused of a socialist bias – indeed Vox are now suing them for ‘left-wing manipulation’).

Under the tag ‘The Battle for the Right’. We read at InfoLibre here: ‘"Sánchez prepares a coup d’état" according to the conspiracy theory that the PP and Vox share and that nourishes their common discourse. The parties of Casado and Abascal share a common base that is wrapped around the denunciation of the illegitimacy of the Government and its submission to external powers, from the independence movement to governments of other countries. The two parties claim that the president's project is to "end the parliamentary monarchy" in accordance with a plan aimed at taking control of all the institutions and ruining Spanish society’. Sánchez is, of course, as the photo taken in the plaza de Colón shows, ‘un traidor’!

Pablo Casado will present his shadow-cabinet before the October party convention. Likely names include Enrique López for Justice and Interior, Elvira Rodríguez for Economy and Hacienda, Ana Pastor in Salud and Dolors Montserrat in the Foreign Office. While Casado talks of his ‘shadow-cabinet’, the ECD prefers to write ‘Government-in-Waiting’.

BoT receives various daily news reports, including one from an editor at elDiario.es called Juanlu Sánchez (subscribe here).

On Tuesday he writes: ‘As the Government of Pedro Sánchez approves the new version of the Law of Historical Memory (here), Pablo Casado counterattacks with a meeting called "Concord, Constitution and Patriotism". The event gave us two very uncomfortable moments to watch, as Pablo Casado produced the very best of his smiles at the unpardonable gaffs of his two guests.

The most serious is the one made by Ignacio Camuñas, who was a minister with Adolfo Suárez and ended up in Vox: “In 1936 there was no coup d'état. The Republic was responsible for the Civil War”. So much for Concord. Did Casado say anything? No. Just a smile. Here you can see the video.

Another high point came from the other guest, former Minister Rafael Arias Salgado, who said that the Dutch Prime Minister Rutte is "a son of a bitch." (!) Another Casado smile’. Finally, Casado in full oratory as his sign ‘Creemos’ (‘we believe!’) falls down.

From Público here, ‘Casado promises to repeal the Law of Historical Memory if he reaches control of the Government. The leader of the PP says that he will replace this law approved in 2007 by the Executive of Rodríguez Zapatero "for one of consensus" (the details of which are still unknown). The same news-site has this: ‘Three years of Casado at the head of the PP, a period marked by the move to the extreme right’.

Clearly, as Adriana Lastra (PSOE Vice-Secretary General and Parliamentary Party Spokesperson Wiki) says on Casado: "No country can be built by dedicating every minute on sowing uneasiness".

Pablo Iglesias gave his first interview since he left politics three months ago says El Mundo here. Iglesias chose Italy’s La Stampa to end his silence. He mostly avoided talking about the current political situation in Spain. Iglesias now has a part-time post at the Universitat Oberta de Catalunya.

Gibraltar:

Gibraltar will join the EU’s borderless Schengen area now Britain has left Europe following Brexit, after the UK and Spain reached a temporary deal which is due to be turned into a treaty by the European Union in the coming months…’. Wishful thinking (?) from ETIAS here. From BBC News here ‘The UK clashes with EU over Gibraltar's post-Brexit status’.

Morocco:

From Le Petit Journal Marocain here: ‘Morocco is not ready to quickly resume relations with Spain: A week after the appointment of the new Spanish Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Kingdom of Morocco breaks its silence. Anonymous "diplomatic sources" in Rabat send messages to Madrid regarding the return of their ambassador…’. The origin of the troubles between the two countries come from the issue of the Spanish hospital treatment of the leader of the Polisario Front Brahim Ghali back in May.

Europe:

An investigation from the ABC here -

The British in Spain: the misfortune of surviving Brexit. Returnees who have to sleep on the streets on their return to the UK, retirees who will no longer be able to retire in the Mediterranean, second homes for sale. The break with the EU impacts on the Costa del Sol and Andalucía’. It certainly sounds like an interesting read, but it’s ‘subscripción’.

A Spanish woman who has lived in England for 44 years has been sacked from her job in a care home because she is unable to prove she has the right to work in the UK, in a case illustrating the difficulties experienced by EU nationals as employers grapple with post-Brexit right-to-work regulations. The 45-year-old woman, who arrived in Britain as an 11-month-old baby and who has never left the country, said she has tried more than 100 times to get through to the Home Office-run helpline in the past three weeks, but has never been able to speak to an adviser…’. From The Guardian here.

The Coronavirus:

Spain hits new milestone, fully vaccinating more than half of its inhabitants against Covid. Asturias is the region that has immunized the highest proportion of its population, with the Canary and Balearic Islands and Madrid at the bottom of the table’. El País in English here.

Goodbye to AstraZeneca: Spain will not receive or distribute more doses of this vaccine.

From Spanish News Today here: ‘In an effort to stem the current upsurge in infections throughout Spain, the Council of Ministers has approved a Royal Decree allowing the sale of Covid-19 self-tests (test de autodiagnóstico de Covid) in pharmacies without the need for a prescription…’.

Crime:

The Guardia have found over five and a half tons of marijuana in a warehouse in Almería. It was apparently bound for the UK market!

Courts:

Spain’s top court rules that the Coronavirus State of Alarm (with strict home confinement) was unconstitutional. The Constitutional Court has concluded that the government should have resorted to a State of Emergency – which requires prior parliamentary approval – to limit fundamental rights for the nationwide lockdown’. El País in English explains here. ECD says that one judge, who voted against the majority ruling, ‘did so for political rather than legal reasons’ (!). Vox says the Government should resign (Europa Press here). elDiario.es opinion here: ‘We are accepting, apparently, that the media and the judiciary exercise their licence to represent the extreme right. Something strange happens in Spain when no other country in the world has dared to declare illegal a measure that saved thousands of lives’. As usual, the satirical media gets the closest – From El Mundo Today here, ‘The Constitutional Court requires the Government to kill the thousands of people who should have died during the State of Alarm. Execution must take place in a maximum period of three months’.

El Plural finds that the six magistrates on the Constitutional Court who ruled against the Government’s State of Alarm have interesting ties with opposition parties here.

Media:

The popular news-debate on TVE called Las Cosas Claras with Jesús Cintora has been axed. Oddly. Political pressure no doubt. The regional channels are allowed to promote the ideology of their parliamentary controllers, but the national TV must be seen to be impartial. Sort of. The background is at La Vanguardia here. (Canal Sur’s news is turning my hair white – while Ayuso has just sacked the director of Telemadrid and put in her own fellow).

The eccentric Global247News turns on one of its competitors here.

Ecology:

To combat climate change and pollution, Madrid is building a green wall around the city. A 75-kilometre urban forest with nearly half a million new trees. “What we want to do is to improve the air quality in the whole city,” says Mariano Fuentes, Madrid's councillor for the environment and urban development. “To fight the 'heat island' effect that is happening inside the city, to absorb the greenhouse emissions generated by the city, and to connect all the existing forest masses that already exist around the city.”…’. Item from EuroNews here.

20Minutos warns us that ‘sustainable plastics’ don’t exist. They quote from an article by the European Rethink Plastic Alliance which says ‘Nearly half of ‘green’ claims on plastic products could be misleading – A study of green claims on plastic products’.

Various:

President Sánchez is on a brief trip to the USA this week. El Periódico is with him here.

A messy eviction from an apartment owned by a vulture fund. Manuela and her four kids are on the street. The flat? The next day it’s on the market at Idealista.

From The New York Times (in Spanish) here: ‘Too Many Politicians and Not Enough Managers: Spain's Unsustainable Bureaucratic Machine’. It begins: ‘Perhaps there is an explanation why Spain needs twenty-two ministries when France has sixteen and Germany, with almost twice the population, manages with fourteen. But the Spanish government does not offer an answer to this conundrum and citizens have good reason to believe that this mammoth administration, with its army of advisers, is part of what we Spaniards know as the chiringuito nacional. This is: the bureaucratic and institutional paradise created by a political class determined that taxpayers pay the bill for their excesses…’.

The traffic police now have 39 drones flying around (briefly, between charges) to catch us while speeding says Ro-des here, which kindly shows a map of when they are, along with a second list of where the fifty radars with the highest revenues are located.

The Amazon magnate (and occasional space-man) Jeff Bezos has donated 100 million dollars to the eccentric Spanish chef José Andres (Wiki) who operates out of New York with his organisation World Central Kitchen bringing food to those engulfed in natural disasters.

Why is the electric so expensive? A parallel is given here: ‘Supposing you go to the butcher and buy some cheap chicken, some chops, a rabbit and some expensive solomillo. The butcher charges you everything at the price of the solomillo. Amen the power companies.

Facua (the consumer organisation) seems understandably upset as ‘The president of the body that sets the price of electricity attempts to raise her salary as electric prices soar’.

It’s no secret that the RENFE online booking system is beyond hopeless. The company now suggests that buyers from abroad should use a VPN to pass the first level of online negatory bureaucracy.

María at Spanish views from a small town, from July 18th, here: Eighty-five years since the beginning of the Civil War.

That's how long it's been since a rebellious faction of the army made a failed coup against a democratically elected government. It failed because it did not fulfil its intention of bloodlessly taking over the government. Instead, it created a civil war that ravaged the nation for three years, and ended in bloodshed and humiliation that stretched until after the dictator had died in his bed…’.

Listening to ‘If I was a Rich Man’ (here) as I read about the history of the Spanish National Lottery, a copy of the earlier Naples lottery system brought to Spain in 1763 by Carlos III.

Waiter – there’s a stethoscope in my soup’. Lenox’ silly contribution to Eye in Spain here.

*Why do we always seem to live in a ‘dream Spanish home’ and not just a regular one? There are no less than 289.000.000 listings for this clichéd phrase on Google Search.

See Spain:

Walking the hills of the Parque Natural Sierra de Grazalema (Cádiz/Málaga) with elDiario.es here.

Six alternative Spanish cities for a peaceful getaway’ from EuroNews here.

Letters:

On the number of EU citizens on record within the UK:

Job well done 6 million EU citizens processed with very few problems.

Is 6 million not more than the population of quite a few EU countries?

Seems Brexit did not put anyone off, as reported in expat publications.

(Figures from John Redwood’s Diary here)

Lorna

Finally:

Juanes does an Elvis Costello song: Pump it up on YouTube here.

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