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Business over Tapas (Nbr. 420)

Business over Tapas (Nbr. 420)

  • 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

sábado 06 de noviembre de 2021, 03:16h
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Editorial:

The new pet-law going through the Spanish parliament at the present time has a few odd bits. First, to own a dog, one will need to take a course. We don’t yet know what this entails (probably the Government doesn’t either), but it’s only for dogs since cats, as we know, tend to take no notice of us except when it pleases them to do so. The legislators have wisely taken note.

Both cats and dogs, however, will be issued with a proper DNI card. This is to help them sign for Amazon packages and to make it easier for the authorities to control abandoned animals (will they have to carry their card with them at all times?).

Our pets should be 'integrated into the family life'. Where they don't live in our home, they should have a proper purpose-built place to live in with shelter and protection - stables or whatnot. Take care they don't breed indiscriminately (there go the rabbits). At least one sex should be fully sterilised unless their human is registered with the breeders association the 'Registro Nacional de Criadores'.

You can't leave 'em tied up when you are absent, nor may they wander about in public spaces 'without the person responsible for their welfare' (the one that used to be called 'their owner'). Of course, you will already have your little plastic bag and a squirty full of vinegar for your twice-daily peregrinations around the park with Fido.

In the case of dogs, that they are trained properly, and that all one's animal companions ('mascotas') must visit the vet regularly. We await the introduction of a free national health service for pets with interest.

For those pets that live in an aquarium or a cage, one must make sure that the capacity is big enough for them to be comfortable. We leave our tame lobster to thrash about in the bath. No more goldfish bowls, for Goodness sake!

Naturally, you can't allow pets to suffer, neither may you 'dock' their ears or tails (their balls, yes, why on earth not?). You won't be able to leave an animal enclosed on a terrace or elsewhere permanently; or breed them without a licence (!); or exhibit them for sale in shops; or sell them to friends (a contract should be signed saying the animal was given free); or donate them without papers and microchip; or 'release' them into nature; or kill them; or bury them without telling the appropriate authorities; or use them in adverts; or use 'choke' collars; or animal fights or exhibitions or circuses; or kick them...

This remarkable and far-sighted law should be through before the end of next year.

Finally (and mention this to the Romanian fellow down at the Mercadona), one may not have a dog handy when one is begging.

It is said that the limit of domestic animals allowed in a household is five, or maybe six; although this varies between town and country, and between autonomies. No doubt the surplus will be expeditiously terminated by the competent authorities.

Lastly, and this is Spain, fighting bulls are exempted from the above rules.

Copied from articles here, here and, generically, here. The jokes are ours.

Housing:

One of the issues for many British property owners in Spain is the Schengen-inspired 90 in every 180 day limit for non-residents. The ‘Swallows’ who own a home but must now keep within the limits of the rule during their – mainly – winter stays. Troublesome, and probably causing more than a few home-owners to throw in the towel and sell up. The Olive Press has a small ray of sunlight for these Brits: ‘The Costa Blanca area lobbies Spanish ambassador to UK over changing 90-day stay rule for holidaying Brits’. The president of the Alicante diputación (county council) Carlos Mazón was able to discuss the topic with the Spanish ambassador while visiting London for the World Travel Market earlier this week.

ECD says that rural property prices have risen thanks to the rise in teleworking. A home in the boonies would be 6.2% more expensive now than prior to the pandemic (March 2020).

Seniors:

From The Reporters News here: ‘The Guardia Civil, as part of ‘Operation Housel’, carried out in the province of Murcia, has dismantled a fraudulent company allegedly dedicated to the home care of British elderly people. In the search carried out at the agency, 45,000 euros, 3,600 pounds and various personal documents, bank cards and bank books in the name of elderly British nationals living in Mazarrón were seized…’.

Finance:

The Government has now – more or less – annulled the 2012 Partido Popular Labour Reform, guaranteeing workers a return to better employment protection. It has not been an easy ride, with squabbles between the PSOE and Unidas Podemos, but now the Government speaks once again with, er, a single voice.

Good news for employment, with another 160,000 workers registered with Social Security in October. Unemployment levels were down (relatively speaking). More at elDiario.es.

From El País here: ‘The decision of the Algerian government to cut the Maghreb-Europe gas pipeline in retaliation against Morocco leaves Spain without a key supply source, for which 20% of the supplies have arrived so far this year’. Although a second Algerian pipeline (‘Medgaz’) connects directly with Spain (Almería) – it’s apparently not enough.

Inflation has hit Spain with a 5.5% increase year on year says El Economista here.

Aragón welcomes Amazon Web Services says El Confidencial here. The company will run three separate centres within the region. This will bring over 1,300 jobs and a massive capital investment.

Politics:

From elDiario.es here: ‘European funds, the Judiciary or labour reform: we look at all the different manoeuvres of Pablo Casado against the Government in Brussels. Since he assumed the reins of the PP in 2018, the opposition leader has tried to delegitimize the Spanish government in the institutions of the EU, although all his predictions about the risks that Spain ran in finally being left out of community aid have clearly come to nothing’.

There’s certainly a fuss going on between the PP (often known in the media as ‘Génova’, being the street in Madrid where they have their headquarters) and the president of the Madrid Region, PP heavyweight Isabel Díaz Ayuso. From La Razón here: ‘Génova doesn’t want Ayuso to preside over the PP of Madrid’. A more acceptable candidate to lead the regional party would be the mayor of Madrid, José Luis Martínez-Almeida. Also in the news, El Huff Post claims that Ayuso has blocked several PP leaders on her WhatsApp, including the party secretary general Teodoro García Egea. Ayuso’s problem with the party is that she is seen by some (including the conservative wing of the PP) to be in the long run a better bet than Pablo Casado for the eventual title of Presidente de España. Público says ‘The PP no longer hides its total war over the power dispute between Casado and Ayuso’.

The Government will fix electricity prices to be linked to those from the renewables from next week says El Economista.

A bureaucratic mistake by the Junta de Andalucía may be the reason why funds from Central Government have not been sent to aid the poor. Rather than admit the error, the Junta is now lambasting Madrid for its ‘intolerable’ oversight. From elDiario.es here: ‘The Junta de Andalucía did not request government aid for vulnerable groups from which it now complains for being excluded’.

A forgotten Spanish province once discovered a way to be remembered – they fielded a candidature for the general elections and won a seat in the Cortes. Teruel Existe became a (small) force to be reckoned with. Now another obscure province has thrown down the challenge with the introduction of their new party for the next Andalusian and general elections: Levante Jaén. El Confidencial has the story.

Kingdom of Aragón:

Aragón is the quintessential bit of Spain, at least historically. Leaders from the regions under the Crown of Aragon (wiki) – that’s Aragon, Valencia, the Balearic Islands and Catalonia – had a summit meeting last week in Zaragoza with the intention of joining forces to boost their economies says El Heraldo here. The four regions make up 35€ of Spain’s GDP and 32% of the population.

Health:

Have we hit the wall? Coronavirus infections have stopped falling. The rate has been stuck at 49 cases per 100,000 inhabitants and maybe we will settle with the symbolic figure of 50. Should we worry? Experts say no: because we are vaccinated. elDiario.es here. The Lancet, says Xataca here, goes further, saying that Spain is now reaching a state of herd immunity.

‘Spain is now the safest EU destination: here’s what you should know before you travel there’. An article from Schengen Visa Info here. It says ‘The latest update of maps by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) has shown that Spain is currently the safest European Union destination to travel to amid the Covid-19 pandemic’.

‘Smallpox ravaged the New World for centuries after the Spanish conquest. In 1797 Edward Jenner showed that exposure to the cowpox virus could protect one against the disease, but the problem remained how to transport cowpox across the sea. In 1802 Charles IV of Spain announced a bold plan — 22 orphaned children would be sent by ship; after the first child was inoculated, his skin would exude fluid that could be passed to the next child…’. It worked, too, says Futility Closet here.

Courts:

The National Audience (Wiki) has condemned Luis Bárcenas to (a further) two years of prison with a modest criticism for the Partido Popular for refurbishing its headquarters in Madrid with over a million euros of black money for its ‘lack of adequate control’ and a fine of 123,000€. During the trial, various historic PP leaders, including José María Aznar, Mariano Rajoy, María Dolores de Cospedal, Ángel Acebes, Javier Arenas and Francisco Álvarez Cascos had all claimed in court that there ‘were no Black Accounts’.

The private accusation from various left-wing parties was deemed antagonistic and the accusers must pay for the PP’s court costs (!). Here, here and here. Asked about the case, Pablo Casado once again said that regarding historic events within the party, there was nothing to be discussed as neither he nor the current party chiefs have any liability whatsoever for past misdeeds. The PSOE considers that the sentence "corroborates the systemic corruption" of the PP and calls on them to assume "responsibilities", while Ione Belarra from Unidas Podemos says that "the best thing for democracy is that the citizens keep the party of Casado as far away as possible from the Government".

Is the PP judicial nightmare over? Not yet. The tentacles of the Gürtel plot still have eight pending sentences says elDiario.es here.

The Corner disapproves of the current plan to fill the vacant posts in the Constitutional Court (a rare case of the Government and the PP working together on something). ‘…The objective is to appoint professional and independent people to the High Court: the interpreter of the Constitution; the brake on abuses of the rule of law. And that objective has been set aside in this case. Consensus produces a mediocre result when the important thing is the result rather than the procedure. The Minister of Justice has demonstrated the disorderly thinking which is clouding politics. If MPs voted according to their conscience, the partisan proposal to renew the Constitutional Court would fail and open the way for something more constitutional’.

Media:

Público has an article considering the media’s new favourite enemy: the Minister for Labour Yolanda Díaz (Wiki). Yolanda, who is the Second Deputy President and a militant in the IU, is now the favourite Bête Noir of the conservative media. ‘She’s more dangerous than Pablo Iglesias’, explains El Mundo (here).

The conservative TV pundit Ana Rosa Quintana announced live on Tuesday that she is taking time off from her daily show on Tele5 for health reasons.

Google News will return to Spain after a seven year absence. A new and revised Intellectual Property Law makes a case for aggregators to use ‘snippets’ freely. Hopefully. Here’s Google itself on the subject: ‘…Today, we’re announcing that Google News will soon be available once again in Spain…’ From ‘early next year’, they say…

Ecology:

From Cadena Ser here: the Pyrenean glaciers are almost all gone now, ‘with just a few years left’ thanks, says the article, to Climate Change.

La Vanguardia runs an article about an investigation from the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona and el Institut Ramon Muntaner into migration, and finds over 300 abandoned villages within Catalonia. Another 350 settlements within the region have less than ten inhabitants apiece. The interesting study considers the causes, possible solutions and the occasional repopulations. Some suggestions might be – promote the moribund villages as possible homes for foreign buyers, for teaching colonies or even residential senior centres.

The nocturnal collection of olives with machinery and bright lights is killing a lot of small birds across Andalucía says Córdoba here. The poor creatures get dazzled by the lights and are smashed to a pulp. They include warblers, thrushes, robins, greenfinches and goldfinches says the article. The numbers involved could be as high as 2,600,000 birds.

Various:

From Sur in English here, ‘Over a third of Britons in Spain now have their post-Brexit TIE residents' identity card. This biometric card explicitly recognises their rights as resident before 31 December 2020’. The remainder – apparently – still have the old green certificate from EU membership days.

El País describes how antiabortionist groups are organised to deter women from going to the abortion clinics in Spain, based outside the doors to the clinics and using noisy prayer sessions, insults, free advice and so on. One of the organisers of this harassment is 40 Días por la vida, the Spanish branch of 40 Days for Life (wiki).

The frontiers between Morocco and both ‘the occupied lands of Ceuta and Melilla’ will remain closed during November says Le 360, which blames the Spanish Government here.

The fascinating story of Columbus is told at Eye on Spain here. The title is ‘The Big Mistake’. There are many questions, doubts and indeed mistakes within the traditions of the apparent discoverer of the New World.

Apart from the dramatic and photogenic lava which the volcano on the island of La Palma obligingly spews, there’s the ash. From El País in English we read ‘The never-ending job of sweeping up the volcanic ash on La Palma’. elDiario.es has an article titled ‘Ash completely buries houses at the foot of the La Palma volcano’ with some dramatic pictures.

I looked up ‘Pandora Papers (España)’ on Google to see if there were any more revelations (regarding the ‘Los más de 600 españoles y 751 sociedades offshore’) but found nothing newer than from a month ago! How very odd. The only recent article of interest that faces the subject is one from the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, the original source for the papers, titled ‘Pandora Papers journalists face government backlash for investigating financial secrecy’ here. Don’t mess with the very wealthy?

That said, La Sexta now reveals that the Emeritus – who seems to be fair game these days – had two offshore companies ‘…to divert money to his family’ (they say they are quoting from OKDiario!).

See Spain:

‘It is said that 'a picture is worth a thousand words', but this time, more than a thousand pictures are worth a town. We are located in Mogarraz (Salamanca), one of the most curious towns that can be found in Spain. It is known as 'the town of a thousand faces' because on many of its facades we can see portraits of its inhabitants. Thanks to these we can learn a little more about its history…’. An item from 20Minutos here.

Finally:

Nightmare on Génova Street. A short comic video from Polònia here.

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