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Weekly Report

Business over Tapas (Nbr. 430)

Business over Tapas (Nbr. 430)

  • 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 28 de enero de 2022, 01:30h

28ENE22 - MADRID.- 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:

The Junta de Andalucía has changed its tune about property in the region, allowing new licences for various projects which would not have been allowed under the previous regime. If only the Hotel Algarrobico had have been built today (ahem!).

One new hotel – a small one with just thirty rooms and a swimming pool – has been given the green light to be constructed in what was an old esparto-works in the Cabo de Gata (Almería): just a short walk from the Playa de Los Genoveses, described here (in a strange but understandable English) as ‘…the most beautiful bay of the Nature Reserve is this beach consists of dunes virgin fine golden sand’.

Diario de Almería has the sad story here. Oddly, the thirty rooms will need a licence for parking for seventy cars, which seems a lot – two to a room? Perhaps it’ll be a hotel for assignations. More likely though, even if they forgot to mention it in the article, there’ll be a swanky restaurant. Valeted parking, anyone?

(Say, if they let Fulano build a fancy hotel in a National Park, why not me as well, or how about just a teeny tiny urbanisation…?).

Mind you, the new hotel does sound nice – at least, according to the ABC which says here (paywall) that thrill-seeking guests will be able to take the goats for a walk, thresh the hay and other bucolic delights. You might want to take your dinner jacket off though…

The final word (apparently, Gosh don’t things change?) must come from the town hall, which in this case is Níjar.

Housing:

Leroy Merlin is selling various designs of prefab homes says 20Minutos and they are cheap. They are all around 20m2. Putting them up takes just a few hours says the article, and you can also fold these houses back up (so very handy if you set them up in the wrong place). More of these wooden homes (sheds, guest-houses, pool-cabins?) can be found here.

A story at Levante-EMV here: ‘The prosecution is asking for twelve years in prison for three workers of a 'desokupaciones' company that burst, hooded, into two houses in Valencia last September to forcefully eject some 'squatters'. The owner of the two homes also faces a fine of €7,200 for hiring their services’.

From The Corner here: ‘The number of cases of squatting in homes grew by 18% in Spain with 13,389 cases up to September 2021, according to the latest data recorded by the Ministry of the Interior. Catalonia continues to lead the autonomous communities with 5,689 ‘squats’, 42% of the total. The figure quadruples that of the Community of Madrid (1,282 cases) and almost triples that of Andalucía (1,994 cases)…’. There are three broad areas of okupas: 1, empty bank-owned properties; 2, abandoned properties; 3, privately-owned homes where the owners were absent. This last (I think) smallest group, usually hides ill-will, mafias and ransom. The security companies – an obvious solution to such a threat as squatters or break-ins – are active in promoting this apparent scourge. The reality is that those who have nowhere to live (often forced out by the banks from their homes in un desahucio: an eviction) are pretty much the only people who are interested in moving into someone else’s home. The Local (paywall) notes that there are some 3,400,000 empty properties across Spain.

Tourism:

From Travel and Leisure here: ‘Spain to Require a Booster Shot for Travellers Starting Next Month — What to Know. Travellers will have to wait at least fourteen days after their booster dose to enter’. From SchengenVisaInfo here: ‘Following the European Union Commission’s recommendation, the Spanish authorities have announced that starting from February 1, only vaccination certificates indicating that a person has been fully vaccinated against the virus within the last 270 days will be recognised. This means that all persons, regardless of their country of origin, who have received their last vaccine dose more than nine months ago will need to get a booster shot to be permitted entry to Spain.…’.

Pedro Sánchez, fresh from his visit to FITUR, had this to say on his Facebook page:

‘This morning (Friday) I visited Fitur2022 where I was able to verify the strength of the tourism sector. It is time to modernize and promote major changes in this area to adapt to the new times. For this reason, next March we will activate the Tourism Sustainability destination Plan with 720 million euros. In addition, we will launch a National Gastronomic Tourism Plan, endowed with 65 million euros.

The European funds available to Spain will be used to develop the modernization of this sector, which is key to our economy. In fact, the State Budgets for 2022 allocate 1,817 million euros to investments in tourism, which represents an increase of 35% compared to the previous year.

We have an unbeatable opportunity to define the tourism development model in Spain for the next decade, guiding its transformation in key areas such as digitization or the ecological transition. In this, we will work actively with our plan for Sustainable Tourism 2030, which we will implement in the coming months. We are facing a crucial moment for the Spanish tourism industry and we do so with optimism. We have extraordinary resources, and a solid and ambitious agenda that clearly outlines the paths along which we must move forward’.

Finance:

From El País in English here: ‘How the rising cost of living is deepening inequality in Spain. Inflation is compounding the income gap in the country, with millions of workers struggling with the loss of purchasing power’.

From the ABC here: ‘The IMF notes Spain's growth in 2021 at 4.9% and describes it as the great disappointment of the Eurozone. Spain ended 2021 as one of the few developed economies where the GDP grew less than had been expected at the beginning of the year’.

There’s a fuss about the increasing lack of service for bank customers. The elderly are particularly poorly served. From Las Provincias, we read of one 78 year old Valencian who is fighting back. He started a petition in Change.org called ATENCIÓN HUMANA EN SUCURSALES BANCARIAS (here) just a month ago and already has over 400,000 signatures ‘…asking for a more humane treatment of the elderly in banking entities, he has received "almost crying with emotion" the news that the Government has urged banks to guarantee the financial inclusion of the elderly…’. The article reminds the banks that the elderly don’t easily manage with the Internet, pin numbers, passwords and so on, and would much prefer a real person rather than a machine to speak to. Who can blame them?

Público here tells us ‘This is how the neo-banks operate, entities without offices that are worrying the traditional banks. These entities operate without physical headquarters -and only through the telephone- and they have captured more than 50,000 million euros in deposits in Spain in just six years. In Spain today, one in six users of financial services now only operates online. In addition, the voracity of the high-street banking system with commissions is driving away customers’. A fully-guaranteed German bank called N26 is one of them (here). There is also Revolut, Qonto, Rebellion Pay, BNext and others.

‘Andalucía’s new tax changes for 2022’ by A Lawyer at Spanish Property Insight here.

Politics:

The CIS – the leading polling agency (said to be partial towards the PSOE) – gives a narrow lead to the lefties says El Huff Post here. The PSOE would take 28.5%, with their ally the UP on 13.1%. On the opposition, the PP stands at 21.5% and Vox at 14.7%. Other pollsters may give different results, but it is clear that neither the PSOE nor the PP can ignore their fellow travellers and ‘go it alone’.

Pablo Casado likes to criticise Spain’s current government abroad (fruitlessly, it seems), which has given rise to this ECD story: ‘Vox recommends Casado not to exaggerate with his criticism of the Government abroad so as not to deteriorate the image of Spain’. elDiario.es complains of Casado’s policy of ‘Criticising Spain in Europe to weaken Sánchez’. Cadena Ser has a similar take here: The PP never tires of making a fool of itself in Europe’.

How much is each autonomous region receiving in the lottery of the European Funds? Why is the PP complaining when the highest sum goes to Andalucía? Indeed, of the top six, only one, the Valencian Region, is co-governed by the PSOE. The ex-minister for Hacienda Cristóbal Montoro criticises his party for ‘…not rejoicing over the European funds and turning them instead into a "political confrontation"’ here. Two stories from Público.

The Olive Press looks at Vox. ‘Could an anti-abortion, anti-immigration party whose following is three quarters male somehow get into power in Spain?’ An interesting read.

From Diario16 here: ‘The 1,637 times that Pablo Casado has lied’ (all in fun).

War Talk:

From El Español we read (paywall) that ‘The Ministry of Defence confirms that Spain will have no less than 650 soldiers in the region, distributed among the ships in the Black Sea, the fighters stationed in Bulgaria and the ground troops along with the armoured vehicles stationed in Latvia. The measure causes the umpteenth rupture between the PSOE and Podemos: as the latter, aware of the fact that the PP is positioned this time in favour of the Government’s official position, are back to their 'No a la guerra'…’.

The Government says that it will certainly not send troops to the Ukraine says LaSexta.

Sánchez wants to be seen by the Americans to be a keen player in the Ukraine crisis, so as to attract support for the Spanish position regarding the Western Sahara says La Vanguardia.

From El Español here: ‘Josep Borrell: "Europe is experiencing the most dangerous moment since the Cold War". For Borrell (High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy), the EU must have two clear priorities in the face of Russia's threat to Ukraine: "Diplomacy and deterrence"’.

Pablo Iglesias speaking at an election meeting in Castilla y León, where: ‘…Iglesias reminded his listeners that among those who took to the streets during the No to War movement were also many supporters of the PSOE. "What do we Europeans have to gain from NATO's enlargement towards Ukraine?" asked Iglesias, who denies that this implies being "pro-Russian". “No, neither pro-Russian nor pro-United States. I am pro-peace”…’.

Europe:

According to SchengenVisaInfo here, ‘126,266 People Became Spanish Citizens in 2020’. Mostly South Americans (understandably), there were just 394 Britons taking the plunge.

There are, we read at El Salto, 410 far-right groups operating in Europe. Spain has 32, France has 105 and the UK has 110. They are monitored by Antifascist Europe (here) which looks at Spain here.

From El Español (paywall) here: ‘While Europe looks to the East, to the crisis between Ukraine and Russia, Morocco makes its move to the south. Its General Directorate of National Security (DGSN) orders the police stations at the border crossings of Ceuta and Melilla to remove the signs with the designation of "border" and leave only those that indicate "bab" (port in Arabic). Added to this is the action of activists placing 'Occupied Sebta [Ceuta]' stickers on walls’.

From The Guardian here: ‘Brexit leaves furious British citizens stranded in EU countries. Thousands of people say their rights have been compromised despite government promises’.

Media:

Well, said the newsman from Antena3, if you are against the war, like Podemos, then you are on Putin’s side. Vicente Vallés was so pleased by this, he mentioned it several times during his news broadcast last Thursday. Canal Sur also thought the same thing in their Friday news-cast. ‘Disloyalty in the Government’ says the La Razón headline. Behind all this, we see in El Mundo here as the PP leader Pablo Casado blames the UP for its lack of support for its own government – Casado: who for the first time supports the Government of Spain ‘to fulfil their obligations to NATO’. Pablo Iglesias meanwhile writes his piece here at ctxt, criticising the Minister of Defence for her bellicosity.

Raw hatred on TV – (ex-minister) Celia Villalobos on TV Cuatro attacks Pablo Iglesias through his wife and his children. We see the clip on a post on Twitter from Gabrial Rufián who notes ‘She is probably the worst person I’ve known in six years in Las Cortes. The worst. Here you can see why’.

Ecology:

What to do with our rubbish? It can’t be hauled off to China or somewhere else, it can’t (sometimes) be cheaply recycled and the dumps are full. Tossing it in the sea is a no-no. Say, how about an accidental fire? A reader sends me a link whenever this occurs, which is more often than one might expect. Here’s one from Tenerife that occurred this weekend…

Various:

From Sur in English here: ‘Particle accelerator to be built in rural Andalucía. The construction of the first buildings, laboratories, and prototypes related to the IFMIF-DONES project in Escúzar (Wiki), Granada province will begin in 2022’.

How many buildings, apartments, fields, parking lots and so on belong (improperly) to the Spanish Church? An article at elDiario.es lists here all 35,000 of them by municipality. From El País in English here: ‘Spain’s Catholic Church agrees to return around 1,000 properties irregularly listed to its name. Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez and Cardinal Juan José Omella reach deal affecting at least 965 assets that the clergy appropriated between 1998 and 2015’. Nueva Tribuna looks into how the Church took possession of those properties here.

Well, there’s an odd one – a 38 ton sculpture by Richard Serra from the Reina Sofia Museum has gone missing…!

The mark-up on fruit and veg between the campo and the supermarket can be as high as 1,500%. For example – those lemons at 2.39€ earned the farmer between 15 and 22 cents, no more. Some fruit – particularly oranges – are facing competition from South Africa and Egypt: it’s cheaper to leave them on the tree says one orange-grower from Valencia gloomily. Elsewhere, The Government has approved the new Ley de Cadena Alimentaria, which prohibits the sale of food below cost. The PP and Vox opposed the measure.

Around half of the oregano sold in Europe is adulterated says LaSexta here.

From The Olive Press here: ‘Chris Stewart’s Driving Over Lemons to be made into TV comic drama about misadventures in southern Spain’.

The oldest bullring in Spain is La Ancianita – which is located in Béjar (Salamanca) and was completed in 1711 says 65yMás here, among other stories of significant bullrings (somebody asked).

The National Interest looks at the 1898 war between the USA and Spain under the title: ‘The Spanish-American War Made the U.S. a Superpower. Spain was viewed as a powerful global military at the time of the conflict, and America's victory made the world take notice.

See Spain:

We return to the Cabo de Gata-Níjar site (with its delightful English) here.

‘152 kilometres separate Burgos from Santander on the N-623 road. However, this road is not just asphalt and gasoline, but hides one of the most beautiful car routes in Spain: the Carretera de los Sueños, the Dream Road…’. Fascinating Spain reports here.

Letters:

Dear Lenox,

Thanks for remaining a freelance voice in a vast world of powerful commercialized media.

Felipe

Finally:

José Carlos Molina, the lead-singer of Ñu, and his Calor Nublado on YouTube here (an article about Molina and his music is here).

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