Weekly Report

Business over Tapas (N.º 472)

Business over Tapas (N.º 472)

  • 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 28 de diciembre de 2022, 23:40h

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There’s the story to frighten the sick and the elderly – the one about the free social health system being wound up in favour of a capital-friendly insurance-run arrangement like they have in the USA.

The scary story from America goes something like ‘A new study from academic researchers found that 66.5 percent of all bankruptcies were tied to medical issues —either because of high costs for care or time out of work. An estimated 530,000 families turn to bankruptcy each year because of medical issues and bills’.

Here in Europe, at least, whatever treatment you get will be (could be) available for free. You might prefer a private doctor, and avoid a long wait, and have a comfy private room, but the national health is available for one and all.

Sort of.

In Europe, we love our national health service. Indeed, the cynical Brexiteers even won their rebellion on the back of a message painted on a red bus. No one wants to lose their free health cover, even as the lobbyists are agitating for profit-run health solutions – for those who can pay for it.

Most of us in Spain have a health card (a treasured thing as one gets older) and we hope that it will continue to work, and that there will be someone to attend to us at the local consulta, the health centre.

But the vultures are circling.

‘A storm is devastating the public health system in Europe and in Spain. Economic interests are eating away at it against the evidence about its importance for the population’ says a Spanish editorial adding, ‘Powerful business groups intend to manage with business criteria what is one of the pillars of world stability: universal health care for the entire population’. Well, money talks; and politicians listen.

Already some regions of Spain are budgeting less per inhabitant on public health issues than others, with Andalucía spending the least (1,546€ per person per year) against the Basque Country’s 2,012€.

Indeed, both Madrid and Andalucía have recently seen major protests over the drop in standards in the regional health services and a collapse in primary health. How long will we have to wait for an appointment… or for an operation?

Conservative lobbyists are always hard at work trying to persuade politicians to adopt some (inevitably capitalist) policy. However, facing their baleful influence is the most powerful lobby of all: the voter.


‘The twenty municipalities that have grown the most in terms of inhabitants in the last decade, according to the National Institute of Statistics, are towns located next to provincial capitals where housing estates have been built, many of them with swimming pools. The typical characteristic of these developments, which are usually structured in complexes equipped with swimming pools, has given the phenomenon its name: ‘La España de las piscinas’. An article at La Vanguardia looks at the phenomenon here.

From ABC Andalucía here: ‘The regulation of the law that allows for the first time to build houses in the countryside in Andalucía enters into force. There can only be one building per plot and the surface will not exceed 250 square meters’. The article explains that ‘The regulation of the new Law to Promote the Sustainability of the Territory of Andalucía (known as the Lista) is already in force, allowing for the first time to build a house on rustic land as a second residence. Until now it was only possible to erect a building linked to agriculture or livestock in accordance with the law…’


Air Nostrum has cancelled 211 flights between December 26th and January 3rd because of a pilots’ strike says Hosteltur here.


From InfoLibre here: ‘Spain is the fourth country in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development with the best evolution of its economy in 2022. The statement was made by The Economist, which highlighted that our country is among the members that have reported lower inflation data, at 3.4 points below the European average…’

The Government has decreed that the following 4% IVA basic necessity foods will be reduced to zero value added tax for the next six months: eggs, vegetables, fruit, legumes, bread, cheese, potatoes, cereals and milk, together with a drop of 10% to 5% for oil and pasta. Excluded from the discount are meat, fish and yoghurts that will continue with 10% IVA says ABC here. The 20c per litre discount on petrol will end on December 31st. A full graphic of the Government’s decree to lighten the load from inflation (including rent-freeze, help for poorer families, transport discounts and pension increases) is here.


From BBC News here: ‘Spain has passed a transgender rights bill allowing anyone aged 16 or over to change gender on their ID card. It was approved by 188 votes for and 150 against, and now moves to the Senate for final approval. The change has been pursued by the left-wing Podemos party, part of a coalition government with the Socialist party of Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez…’

(This one may come back to bite him) From El Plural here: ‘"If I don't win the elections, it won’t be my place to govern". In this forceful way, Alberto Núñez Feijóo has promised not to try to seek a majority to lead Parliament in the event of not being victorious in the next General Elections, scheduled for December 2023...’

Another Feijóo story: ‘The leader of the PP juices the Catalan conflict to criticize President Sánchez who is riding high on the good economic data. Alberto Núñez Feijóo drops any reference to the economy and clings instead to Catalonia and the ghost of the referendum. "They no longer talk about the economy because they have lost their way. Their balance sheet is empty," says the Moncloa (the official residence of the president of Spain)’. The story is at Público here. El Huff Post says that the Moncloa considers Feijóo to be going through a Trumpian epiphany. ‘…In addition, the President of the Government told reporters that he is surprised by the figure of Feijóo, who was expected to be moderate and given to agreements, but who has ended up joining the hard line represented, in Sánchez's opinion, by Ayuso and Casado…’

From El Confidencial, a reaction from Marbella against the campaign to discredit the mayoress. The Marbella town-hall spokesman, Félix Romero, says that he "is concerned" that the PSOE should raise what he calls a "personal hunt" against Ángeles Muñoz after hearing that the socialist senators have been ordered from head-office to update their declarations of assets’. Presumably it’s to make accusations of alleged impropriety that little bit easier.


From 20Minutos here: ‘Due to staff-shortages, the Government has decreed that ‘Family doctors and paediatricians of retirement age will be able to continue working for three more years while collecting 75% of their pension’.


The impasse with the Constitutional Court was abruptly resolved on Tuesday as four new members will join of which three will be progressive and one conservative. In total the court will stand at seven versus four: the first time in ten years that the majority of the Constitutional Court has been in the hands of the liberals. The conservative ‘block’ on changes in the make-up of the CGPJ nevertheless continues.

The soon to be imprisoned ex-president of the Junta de Andalucía José Antonio Griñán has revealed at the eleventh hour that he is suffering from cancer and claims he won’t get the treatment he needs if he goes to jail. He and six accomplices involved in the ERE scandal must report for prison time by New Year’s Day. The utterly dissimilar case of Eduardo Zaplana who was released from prison after eight months due to ‘his delicate state of health from leukaemia’ in 2019 (Wiki) has been recalled by some commentators as the disgraced ex-PP politician now calls for clemency for Griñán.

A British resident and former hotel and restaurant manager who worked in Spain and paid his autónomo contributions for over thirty years has been denied his Spanish pension for the past five years through some technicality says The Olive Press here.


Al Descubierto brings us its monthly compendium of Fake News from the Far Right for November. The bulos for November include the story that Mrs Pedro Sánchez is in reality a transgender (as indeed are Michele Obama and Brigitte Macron). Similarly, the Barcelona City Hall is accused of offering classes in illegal squatting; that the recent demonstration in Madrid for a better health service had busses of strikers brought in from other parts of Spain; that the Government funds the transgender movement… and so on and so forth. It’s funny how many people fall for this stuff. Maldita is the best place to identify the fake news messages that sometimes appear on our WhatsApp or similar.

BoT reported recently that the far-right OkDiario has received generous funds as institutional advertising from the Region of Madrid. Now, we read that the monarchist right-wing ABC has also been partly financed by the same system. From El Salto Diario here: ‘Ayuso injected 328,000 euros in institutional advertising into the ABC in 2021. That year, between the Region of Madrid, the Madrid public water company and the Almeida City Council, the ABC newspaper was rewarded with a total of 538,000 euros’.

How does the PP get away with it, asks a Tweet that’s doing the rounds here. Well, the media is the message.


‘A very warm autumn has give way to what will "probably be the hottest winter" in Spain ever’ says RTVE here. We wonder if next summer is going to be even more of a scorcher than the last one.

The energy providers are obliged to bring electricity to your door. There are essentially just four of them in Spain (controlling 90% of supply) and they will receive in return in 2023 some 5,000 million euros from their customers says Energías Renovables here. The companies are: Endesa (the main shareholder is the Italian Ministry of Finance); Iberdrola (the largest shareholder is the Qatar Investment Authority); EDP (the China Three Gorges company) and Naturgy (Algerian Government). Another major investor is our friends at Blackrock (Iberdrola and EDP) and another large player at Iberdrola is Norges Bank. Government plans are underway to install some obligatory state participation.


The PP have a plan to bring Juan Carlos back to Spain ‘the day after Feijóo becomes president’ says ECD here.

Young Froilán, Princess Elena’s son and fourth in line for the throne, is causing a few headaches in the Royal Palace. An article at El Economista looks at the damage the 24 year old prince (and to a lesser extent his sister Victoria Federica) can cause the monarchy. Froilán’s latest escapade – involvement in a knife-fight outside a disco in Madrid.

From Sur in English here: ‘Twenty years of Torremolinos' controversial statue dedicated to the tourist. Unveiled in 2002, it is believed that one of the Costa del Sol's most controversial monuments was once even compared with Nelson's Column in London's Trafalgar Square’.

From Antena3 here: ‘The countdown for the launch of the first Spanish rocket into orbit around the Earth has already begun. It will be between March and April of next year when Miura 1 officially begins its mission from the base of El Arenosillo, in Huelva. With it, Spain will be in a "position of strength" in the European space race…’. The satellite will be used to observe and control fires says the manufacturer of the propulsion rocket PLD Space.

The police and Guardia Civil are unhappy with the quality of their hand-gun the Ramon, apparently a cheap Glock 19 knock-off made by an Israeli company. The Ministry of the Interior bought 9,200 of these pistols in 2020, but now complaints about the gun jamming during use are becoming common. El Heraldo has more here.

Some street-name mayhem here at Eye on Spain.

The PTV250 and PTV400 micro-cars were peculiar Spanish vehicles from the late fifties (Wiki). In all, some 1,100 of them were sold. The faster one, with the 400cc engine, could manage 110kph. Here’s a video about the cars. The manufacturer, Ausa, currently makes dumpers and other industrial vehicles.

See Spain:

Reddit has a page with (mostly) interesting photos of Spanish scenes. ‘Spain - comunidad Española’ can be found here.


On Tipping (BoT 471): The minimum wage is 7.82 euros per hour in 2022, not 10€.


The pretty Ana Mena with Música Ligera. A cute song on YouTube here.

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