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Weekly Report

Business over Tapas (n.º 456)

Business over Tapas (n.º 456)

  • 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.

miércoles 03 de agosto de 2022, 23:07h

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Essay:

The cheek of the Government, which, faced with the several ills of the war in the Ukraine, the threat of Russian gas shortfalls, global warming, price hikes, shortages and the possibility of losing the next election (late in 2023), has put a tax on the earnings of the wealthiest companies and banks.

Not that they are happy, Bless ’em. We need to be lowering taxes say the PP, not raising them (and especially not on the wealthy). However, ‘If Ana Botín (Banco Santander) and Ignacio Sánchez Galán (Iberdrola) don’t like it, we must be doing the right thing’, says Pedro Sánchez with an eye on the less well-off voter.

After all, the five largest Spanish banks made a profit in the first half of 2022 of 10,295 million euros. So there’s some wriggle-room here.

It’s understandable that the CEOs concerned are indignant, including the fellow from the power company who is reported to earn each day what Pedro Sánchez is paid in a year.

It will never do.

When not portraying a modest impersonation of Robin Hood, the economies imposed by the Government to keep us from all going bust this coming winter include adjusting the air-con in public buildings, shops and bars to 27ºC and the heating to 19ºC (with visible thermometers displayed), switching off the shop-window displays and the lighting of public monuments at 10.00pm and all doors to have an automatic closing system to stop waste: all this to run until November next year.

There will be fines of up to 100 million euros for those businesses who leave the window open with the air-con running (first-time offenders will probably get a discount).

Better still, says Pedro Sánchez, if and where possible, we should ditch our jackets and ties.

On this last point, I’m way ahead of him – having not worn a tie since my school-days – except for that one occasion in the Gibraltar registry office in the summer of 1986.

I imagine the next ‘economy’ will be the lowering of the top speed on the motorway, perhaps to 100kph (which will, mathematically speaking, ease the amount of fuel we use by 0.0000001%).

They may also want to control the temperatures of the fridges in the shops, and each iced-lolly will need to be sold with a cup and a small wooden spoon while the frozen peas will have a ‘best eaten today’ sticker.

I almost feel guilty about the small fan I bought in Brico Dépôt yesterday for 18€. But, you see, it’s very hot in our place, what with all the teletype machines running.

Still, it’ll be better here than in Germany come the winter, where, thanks to the reduction of the Russian gas, they will all be having to take cold showers, poor dears…

Perhaps an energy shortage is a good thing, as it will give this suffering Earth a small respite –enough perhaps to bring us safely through to the summer of 2023. (Lenox dixit)

Housing:

Readers may remember the small group of hippies who were fixing up the abandoned village of Fraguas in the high hills of Guadalajara. Now we read that ‘Los Seis de Fraguas’ will likely serve jail-time if they don’t raise the 110,000€ demanded by the authorities to demolished their reconstruction-work in the isolated village. PeriódicoCLM has the story.

From The Olive Press here: ‘Sotogrande: High demand, high prices, low stock in exclusive Cadiz residential community’. The article traces the history of the famous community located in San Roque near to Gibraltar.

Tourism:

An article in our local newspaper has fulminated against the private rooms, guest rooms, apartments, airbnbs and so on which, it claimed, were in direct competition with our glorious hotels. The Mojácar business association said that the hotels were subjected to a much higher standard of control than were the private lodgings. ‘They might even offer an unfair competition to the hotels, with lower quality service, while bringing a negative reputation to the area’.

After all, why should Sra Gómez or Mr Smith be allowed their modest slice of the tourist largesse?

Imagine staying a month in a hotel, because there wasn’t any allowable alternative.

Some of our hotels are ‘all-inclusive’, with food and drinks all laid out for free in the refectory or the hotel bar. Something one won’t be finding in an apartment-let.

One might indeed ask: why go out at all?

The hotels, mainly run (in our case) by large corporations based in Barcelona, provide employment for a limited time – usually South American staff – while the canteen is often run on the ‘catering’ system, where the food is prepared in Málaga and trucked in and reheated for the pleasure of the guests.

Perhaps a coach will take them one day to some resort up the road for a bit of an adventure.

The business-people must of course argue their corner, and pull the ear of the tourist authorities, something that Sra Gómez and her peers unfortunately won’t be able to do.

Sad to relate, the day after the article appeared in La Voz de Almería, a number of clients at what is described as the best of our large Mojácar inns came down with food-poisoning. No less than ninety-six of them, says 20Minutos here. By the next Monday, it was 142 with acute Montezuma’s Revenge.

Not so easy for our business association to brush under the carpet.

Spain received three times as many international tourists in June as they did the previous year (unsurprisingly). This June, 7.5 million foreigners dropped by says 20Minutos here.

From Sur in English here: ‘Spain unveils details of free rail travel scheme for regular users on local and medium-distance services. The aim is to reduce the pressure on households caused by high inflation, and the measure will cost the government 201 million euros’.

‘The EU postpones the launch of ETIAS until November 2023’ says SVI here.

Finance:

The number of unemployed people grew slightly in July over June says Electomanía here, with an increase of 3,230 people, or 0.1% up on the previous month. Spain remains with a little under three million unemployed, but 532,683 less than a year ago.

From elDiario.es here. ‘Brussels delivers the second tranche of 12,000 million funds for Spain’. From Brussels, Ursula von der Leyen tweeted: ‘We have delivered the 12,000 million for the progress of reforms and investments in the digital economy, health, education, the labour market and the consolidation of public finances, among others’.

The taxes on the large corporations and the banks, explained at Economía Digital: ‘The Government levies 1.2% on energy billing and 4.8% on bank commissions and interest. The tax will thus not be based on the profits, but on the billing, interest and commissions’. The new tax to run from January 2023 to the end of 2024.

Seniors:

Age in Spain relies on volunteers to provide helpline and support services to help older people that need a helping hand in Spain. You can get involved with anything from helping us answer the phone to being a member of the committee…’

Politics:

Much to the concern of precisely no one, Macarena Olona, the Vox candidate for the Andalusian elections, has suddenly retired from politics. Doctor’s Orders, apparently. Meanwhile, Manuel Martín, the president of Vox Granada and Macarena’s host in Salobreña where she was briefly registered on the padrón for the Andalusian elections, has also abruptly abandoned politics, we read, following some legal issues taking up his time.

The Region of Madrid is against the pettifogging rules to lower the heat and ease the air-con. ‘If it’s not constitutional’, says regional Vice-president Enrique Ossorio, ‘then we aren’t going to comply’. (Embarrassingly, Núñez Feijóo suggested just last week cutting back on public illumination and the air-con).

The textile industry, particularly the tie-makers, are indignant about the Government’s recommendation to eschew these singular items of distinction when looking for business. Strong words issue from the drapers’ association: ‘In a statement released this Saturday, the president of ACOTEX, Eduardo Zamácola, sees it as "intolerable" that the Government "instead of supporting such a damaged sector, recommends that citizens not wear ties to save energy". – As reported at El Huff Post here.

Pedro Sánchez says that the Government will appoint two magistrates to the Constitutional Court in September, thus breaking the current conservative bias.

Spain’s animal rights laws approved, says Sur in English here. El Español says we will need obligatory dog-insurance and – when they have figured out exactly how it’s going to work – dog-owner classes. The law, says the article, has not been fully worked-out.

elDiario.es interviews Patxi López, the new spokesperson for the PSOE in Congress, and chooses this title: "The PP sometimes plays like Trump, preferring that the judiciary rules over the legitimate government". The politician says that when the Partido Popular is not in power, it is practically an anti-system party.

Catalonia:

From Catalan News here: ‘Laura Borràs was suspended from her post as both parliament speaker and MP last week as she faces corruption charges. The chamber bureau has voted to remove the Catalan politician who will be sent to trial for alleged irregular contracts…’

Gibraltar:

‘Gibraltar could join Schengen Zone by the end of this year’, says SVI here. It won’t be easy though…

Courts:

The co-founder of Podemos, Juan Carlos Monedero, ‘denies being the owner of 86 accounts in a bank, assures that he only has two and accuses the police of lying’. 20Minutos quotes Monedero as asking ‘Was it so very difficult for the judge to have verified this before indicting me?’ The judge in question is our old friend Manuel García Castellón, whose name always seems to turn up somewhere in any anti-Podemos pogrom. The judge, we read, ‘…plans his future investigations in the period leading up to the next elections, in a fresh onslaught against Podemos’ here.

Juan Carlos Monedero, one of the founders of Podemos (if never in active politics), is currently under investigation for his 86 bank accounts in Tríodos Bank (he only has two accounts at the bank, which is as easy to demonstrate as one could wish). He writes: ‘In Podemos we were naive when we founded the party. Even if we were professors of political science and even if we knew the Latin American reality, we did not appreciate fully that there is a Deep State in Spain that comes from the Franco regime and that includes judges, police officers, politicians, businessmen and journalists who believe they have the right to put an end to their political adversaries. That is, to maintain their privileges. They are the same ones that justified the crimes of Francoism and later those of the Transition. … Democracy in Spain itself provokes them. They are not acting against Podemos; but against democracy.

Everything they do to Podemos today will end up being done tomorrow to anyone else who comes along and dissents…’ Monedero writing here.

Media:

Was the Minister of Equality, the wife of Pablo Iglesias and mother of baby twins Irene Montero using party-members for baby-sitters? Well, no, despite a huge judicial investigation. Another bulo. The front page of El Mundo, the ABC and La Razón (Spain’s three leading right-wing newspapers) of course made the accusation a major deal. However, the absolution by the court somehow must have missed their deadlines… The story here.

ECD says ‘Disinformation campaigns are cited in the 2021 National Security Strategy as one of the risks and threats to the security of Spain. It is understood that they try to generate confusion and undermine social cohesion, through the coordinated use of different media for the creation and dissemination of content aimed at broad audiences, and with malicious intent to discredit or influence the target of the attack’.

Ecology:

An article at El Huff Post says that this Saturday 6 August will be the hottest day.

Ecologistas en Accion brings us the joys of ‘greenwashing’, where companies attempt to delude the public regarding their fake, exaggerated or distorted green credentials.

From The Guardian here: ‘Fierce heat-waves and a lack of rain in Spain threaten to reduce olive oil production from the world’s top exporter, the country’s agriculture minister has warned’.

‘The climate of Andalucía is turning into a desert according to experts’ says EuroNews.

Various:

The ITV is Spain’s vehicle inspection which is bothersome, but necessary. The vehicle which passes its MoT get a sticker and their insurance is therefore operative. ECD says that not everyone gets around to having their vehicle inspected, while continuing to drive it – often because they know it would fail. Indeed, around nine million vehicles (over 4 million cars, 3.3 million trucks and vans and 1.5 million motos) are driving around illegally – and that’s 40% of the entire group.

The animal welfare law will, exceptionally, consider feral cats as ‘gatos comunitarios’, and these animals will receive protection under the law says Heraldo here.

An interesting video from the BBC on some of the XIX century Spaniards (often from Asturias) who went abroad to seek their fortunes. They are remembered as ‘Los Indianos’.

Word reaches us that Mike Arkus, who regularly supplied terrific travel articles which we were glad to run here at BoT, has passed.

His last article is here:

‘The Looniest trip yet on the Looney Front - A Farewell to Arms’

Hi there, you landlubbers,

By the time you get this, I will have already departed on the greatest, longest, looniest mystery tour yet, destination unknown.

I can't say it hasn't been fun surfing the waves of work and play right through to the ninth decade - a great spring, a giddy summer, a gratifying autumn. But what's wrong with a glorious winter sunset?

Perhaps, though, it might be better if life's cycle went in reverse as George Carlin proposed: you die first and get that out of the way, then you go backwards, getting progressively younger until you end up with that explosive primal orgasm.

So, folks, sayonara.

See, I always did have to have the last word.

- Lord Gaga of Outer Moronia, Duke of Raving Moravia

Mike Argus’ obituary is at The Baron, here.

See Spain:

The longest-walled Muslim castle in Europe - at risk of abandonment. El Castillo de Gormaz, Soria (with video) at Eye on Spain here.

Finally:

You might as well enjoy the summer’s hit – Despechá from Rosalía on YouTube here.

(Enviado por José Antonio Sierra)

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