Weekly Report

Business over Tapas (N.º 473)

Business over Tapas (N.º 473)

  • 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 05 de enero de 2023, 17:39h

05JAN23- 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.


The editor calls in a junior staffer, probably after a late lunch involving shrimp, and says, I want a story by tonight on three of Spain’s finest and least-known villages. Over the road, another editor, this time belching gently after a few too many glasses of beer, is telling his wife (the one who does most of the work) to get out there and find a few interesting destinations along the Costa Blanca, with some decent stock photos.

Maybe tie it in with an advertiser or two.

Another one, thinking of its expat readers, finds its latest copyist a job to do: tell us of the least-known Spanish cities and their manifest attractions. We find out that there are but three: Badajoz, Soria and Ceuta. They are, nevertheless, ‘some of Spain's most exquisite hidden gems’. The story merits a brief paragraph on each.

My own adopted town, Mojácar, has enjoyed thousands of pages of copy over Christmas as an Italian chocolate company decided to stump up for the Christmas lights (including its name charmingly blazed across the highest building in the town square). The mayoress is so pleased by the onslaught of visitors (all eyeing the fifty or more souvenir shops waiting anxiously for their trade) that she has extended the illumination until, at the very least, the end of January. Unfortunately, the destination’s tour hotels weren’t in on the plot, so they are all seasonally (and firmly) closed.

Meanwhile, the agency that runs ‘Spain’s most beautiful pueblos’ has chalked up another six for 2023, including Trevélez in Granada (a touristy Alpujarran village with good trout and jamón).

Looking for a beautiful village to visit? Trusty old Google throws in its hat with over six million results, including: ‘15 of the most beautiful villages in Spain’ with The Points Guy; ‘The Most Beautiful Towns in Spain’ over at Culture Trip; ‘18 Beautiful Towns In Spain To Visit’ by the obscure Hand Luggage Only and from someone we have at least heard of: ‘Spain’s 30 most beautiful villages, as voted for by readers of El País in English’.

Nice pictures. Mojácar comes in at Nº27 (in reality, it’s more dramatic than beautiful).

Of course, one always wonders about readers’ votes…

So, as we fill the car once again, only to discover that the twenty per cent gasoline-discount has disappeared, and open the map to our chosen destination for the day, we hope (forlornly?) that it won’t be too full of coaches, tourists and screaming children, and that there will be a parking space somewhere near the restaurant that Tripadvisor enthuses so strongly about.

Spain has just over eight thousand municipalities, and some of them can count on a handful of nice villages all within the same parish. Níjar in Almería - for example - can boast the attractions of the Cabo de Gata, San José, la Isleta del Moro, Agua Amarga, Las Negras, Fernán Pérez, Pozo de los Frailes, Rodalquilar and even Níjar itself (plus another sixteen rather more humdrum settlements besides).

So, between one thing and another, getting out those travel stories is a full job for an editor.


Over at Spanish Property Insight, a mortgage company takes you through the process here: ‘If you’ve made the wise decision to contract a mortgage advisor to help with your application in Spain, it’s helpful to know what the process involves. In this article, we walk you step by step through the journey, explaining each stage in detail…’

The ‘most dangerous street in Madrid’, says an article at EPE here, is now full of rental studios at 1000€ a pop, and acquiring a ‘loft’ will cost the buyer a million euros. The now-gentrified street, if you’ve heard of it, is the Calle Topete in Tetuán.

An article at El Blog Salmón looks at the (relative) deceleration of home-buying: ‘With the arrival of the New Year, real estate optimism does not seem to be in abundance. Since the end of last year, the bubble seems to be deflating in our country and the forecasts for 2023 are not encouraging, while the Banco de España admits that this situation will continue for several months. In data from the BBVA Research Centre for Economic Studies, it is stated that investment in housing will continue to show a progressive slowdown, with investment falling from the 3.2% year-on-year increase in the second quarter of 2022 to 1.3% with which the year has closed…’. The article then looks at the situation in far-off Canada, where foreigners can no longer buy property as investment (at least for the next couple of years) as there has become a scarcity in accommodation and a steep price-rise there. Could Spain be thinking of something along those lines? Certainly, there is talk of it on the Balearic Islands.


From The Olive Press here: ‘Cruise ships set to pump over €30 million into Alicante economy on the Costa Blanca (not the only thing they’ll be pumping). The article says that around 110 cruise ships are expected to drop anchor in Alicante this year.


The Consumer Price Index (IPC) fell to 5.8% year-on-year in December, according to the INE "due to the drop in energy prices", says elDiario.es here.

Employment figures for December were up, says El País here: ‘Continuing with the general trend of 2022, the last month of the year —a traditionally good period for employment due to the Christmas season— again registered another notable drop in the number of unemployed, despite the inflationary crisis and economic uncertainty. The volume of unemployed fell by 43,727 people, compressing the number of unemployed to 2.83 million, the lowest level in the last 12 months, which leaves the best picture of the labour market in the month of December since 2007…’. Meanwhile, from the right-wing media, (we can take La Razón for example): ‘The worst December since 2012: only 12,640 jobs created and 43,727 fewer unemployed. A year ago unemployment fell by 76,782 people and membership grew by 72,553 workers’.

Bizum seems to be an increasingly popular way to pay – but 20Minutos warns that Hacienda will be keeping an eye on transfers. The limits of this service include ‘…the maximum amount per operation is 1,000 euros. The number of operations sent by a client is unlimited. The number of operations received by a client in a month cannot exceed 60, while the amount of operations sent by a client in a day must not exceed 2,000 euros. In addition, the amount of operations sent in a month cannot exceed 5,000 euros. Finally, the maximum number of recipients to include in a mass-payment is 30, and the number of requests made by a customer in the same month is 60’.

ECD notes that ‘Christmas always comes with gifts. And when toys are no longer the first option, many relatives -especially grandmothers- choose to give out "a little something" as a gift, wrapped in an envelope, perfectly sealed and accompanied by the phrase: "so you can spend it on yourself". These ‘aguinaldos’ (and there’s a new word) might just be a few euros, but what happens if they are a serious chunk of money? Hacienda considers this a possible case of ‘money laundering’ and says anything over 3,000€ should be declared in one’s IRPF (although – says a tax-inspector consulted for this article – even a lowly fifty euro bung should be declared by the recipient even if nobody ever would).


This year is the year of elections (they come around quite often, but anyway). Local and some regional elections on May 28th and the general election to be held (probably) in December. The choices would appear to be Pedro Sánchez with the support of the far-left, the independents and the nationalists… or Alberto Núñez Feijóo with the Vox and (if it’s still here) Ciudadanos. Nothing too… middle of the road. The second half of 2023 is also the time that Spain takes over the presidency of the Council of the European Union (here).

Electrocracia has all the election polls here.

As Vox waits for the right moment for its (doomed) motion of censure against the Government, the right-wing group proposes in Congress a bill to call for a national referendum to illegalise (or otherwise) all of the nationalist parties in Spain such as EH Bildu, Esquerra Republicana, Junts per Catalunya and the CUP, ‘considering them to be contrary to the existence of Spain and its sovereignty’. The Government won’t consider the motion until normal plenary business resumes in February. (It goes without saying that a different referendum, calling on the illegalisation of Vox, would do remarkably well).

Does Feijóo speak any English (the, er, ‘language of Shakespeare’), asks El Huff Post here, apparently not.


Barcelona City Hall expects to raise over fifty million euros from its ‘tourist tax’ in 2023 (it’s a modest surcharge on the rooms). The funds will go to help improve the barrios. We don’t want more tourism, but rather, wealthier tourism explains the vice mayor in an interview as reported at Hosteltur here.


From The European Commission here (posted on December 2, before Croatia joined the Euro): ‘Some 340 million people in 19 countries have been using the euro for 20 years now, but here are 9 things you may not know about the EU’s official currency. It is now the second most important currency in the world. Since 2002, the euro has become the second most important currency in the world. Across all international currency indicators (global payments, foreign exchange reserves, international loans, international debt, and foreign exchange turnovers), it has grown to become the second most used currency after the US dollar…’. From RTE here (January 1): ‘Croatia joins the Euro and enters Schengen area’. From The Express (thanks John) here: ‘Euro on cusp of failure as experts say it is hard to identify how the EU will reverse the damage. Analysts have dubbed 2022 the "worst year in the euro's history"’. The ‘experts’ referred to by The Express seems to be a ‘paid content’ article from Capitol.com – a Russian-owned hedge fund – called ‘Could the Euro Collapse?’.

Opinion from The Irish Examiner here: ‘The harm done by Brexit keeps stacking up but nobody is talking about it. The data suggests Britain has been severely financially hurt by Brexit but nobody in authority there seems to want to discuss it’.

‘Spain has granted temporary protection to over 160,000 Ukrainian refugees in 2022’ says SVI here.


The fancy upmarket (and illegal) urbanisation, the Marina Isla Valdecañas in Cáceres, may have a solution in sight, as the regional Extremadura PSOE government suggest a law to tighten up bird sanctuaries and other commendable protections, in exchange for allowing the urbanisation to survive. elDiario.es reports here.

Death by natural causes seems to be the leading excuse for those (few) who failed to survive police detention over the past seven years says Naiz here.


An amusing story on Twitter says ‘When Pablo Iglesias and Irene Montero bought a home (on a thirty-year mortgage), they called it a casoplón (a mansion), but when Feijoo and his girlfriend set up together they called it a love nest and not even Hacienda knows where the money came from’. Público reminds us once again of the double standards of the media.

How to turn a news-story around to fit your readership. El Español brings us the high ranking opinion of PSOE supporters regarding Pedro Sánchez political and economic vision (73 and 81%), but wait, Podemos supporters have an even better opinion of the Spanish president. This is because he’s moved far to the left says the news-site (unsurprisingly). It says: ‘During 2022, the President has led a clear turn to the left, with continuous messages against "the political, judicial and mediatic conservatives"; together with an offensive against the business community and the great fortunes, whom he has accused of wanting to bring their influence to politics’.

The Ana Rosa show (Telecinco) sets out on Monday to see how, despite the Government’s drop in IVA on fresh produce, prices have nevertheless risen. The reporter goes to the local market and asks a green-grocer ‘how much has your produce gone up in price?’ ‘It’s fallen’, he replies. ‘But, but, that’s not possible…’, says the confused reporter… The story here.

A reader is visiting the Costa del Sol, and watching the local TV channel Canal Sur on his hotel TV. He writes ‘Down for a few days on the Costa. Watching the andalu news. Juanma this, Juanma that… what a remarkable man!’ (Juanma Moreno is our formidable president)


It looks like next summer could be even hotter says Hipertextual in troubling reading here.

Those cute (and decidedly raucous) green parrots that have taken over Spain’s city parks are originally escaped pets: the South American Cotorra or Monk Parakeet (Wiki) is now considered by environmentalists to be ‘an invasive pest’. Muy Interesante traces their arrival in Spain with some photos here.

Fag-ends, cigarette butts or even discarded filters – they are ubiquitous and without doubt harmful to the environment; and now the Government is insisting that the cigarette companies must educate their customers through advertisements not to throw their used smokes on the ground (or the beach!) and furthermore that the companies must now be responsible for picking them up (!). The European directive against single-use plastics is the law behind this move, which is culpable for poisoning the environment. Filter tips have a number of dangerous pollutants including nicotine, arsenic, lead and cellulose acetate and the cost for the manufacturers will be – at least – around 145 million euros per annum (a cost which will no doubt be passed on to their customers). La Vanguardia has the story.

From The Times here (thanks John): ‘Bars and restaurants in Spain will be obliged to clearly inform customers that they have the right to take any leftovers with them as part of efforts to reduce food and plastic waste. Each establishment will have to offer “doggy bags” at no cost, using containers that can be reused, recycled or easily composted. … A tax will also be levied from January 1 on non-reusable packaging. Some supermarket are already incentivising customers to bring plastic containers when they do their shopping…’.


Gerardo Tecé writing in the far-left ctxt makes the case that the upper classes in Spain tend to retain their kiddies nick-names because they, in effect, never had to grow up. Thus the plethora of Paquitos, Feders and Jonis. How far this is true is room for an article one day, but Gerardo is talking about the Royal Family here, where the nephew of King Felipe, the mischievous Froilán (real name: Felipe Juan Froilán de Todos los Santos de Marichalar y Borbón) is known by his circle as Pipe. All of them. It appears that ‘Froilán’ is more of a media nick-name. His sister, Victoria Federica, is known simply as Vic.

Pipe and Vic are much in the news these days… Not that it matters much.

‘Forbidden entry: the list of assets of cultural interest at risk of ruin’ with elDiario.es here. ‘The old monastery of La Monjía (Soria) with its hermitage from the 12th century in danger of collapse is just one of the hundreds of cases of protected Spanish buildings in private hands, whose owners fail to comply with the legal obligation of conservation’. Elsewhere, part of the walls of an old castle in Valença, Portugal, fell down last week after heavy rains.

As we wrangle over just who is allowed with their vehicles in the centre of our 149 largest cities, the ZBE zone of low emissions, Motorbike Magazine throbs with rage over the rule that any moto over twenty years old is automatically banned. As noted before, one can get a ZBE sticker from the post office. Bring along your vehicle’s papers. More here.

I was wondering, as I took in the car to the mechanic’s on Tuesday, what will happen when the down-town talleres won’t be accessible to old broken-down coches (like mine).

From Público here: ‘Feminists fight the harassment from ultra-Catholic groups campaigning in front of the Dator abortion clinic in Madrid: "We are here to protect women", they say. Despite the fact that since April of this year there has been a law that prohibits harassment of women who are going to abort and the professionals who perform them, the ultra-groups continue to carry out their actions in front of the clinics’.

Religion in Spain. How many are practicing Catholics, other religions or unbelievers, by age. A graphic at El Observatorio del Laicismo here.

Who prefers to speak the regional tongue in preference to Spanish? El Confidencial (with a slightly confusing graphic) has the answer here. It seems that the inhabitants of Galicia and Catalonia most speak their regional language, while those from Valencia and the País Vasco, not so much. In all, how many Spaniards don’t speak Spanish? Hardly any.

Ah, the best-loved and worst thought-of autonomous regions is revealed by La Cope. Apparently, Spaniards have a high opinion of Asturias, Galicia and the Basque Country. At the other end, they look down on Ceuta, Melilla and Murcia.

RTVE brings us a video-series called ‘XX-Century Spain in Colour’ (up to 1970) here.

From The Guardian here: ‘Osel Hita Torres joined a monastery after the Dalai Lama declared him a reincarnated spiritual leader, but at 18 he broke free and moved to Ibiza’. It’s an interesting story about Osel and how he (finally) matured. Now a TV series.

See Spain:

Somebody had to have the largest roundabout in Europe in their municipality. As it happens, says El Periódico de Extremadura here, ‘This is the largest and most beautiful roundabout in Europe, and it is located in the province of Badajoz. It is located in the region of La Siberia and is bathed by water from the Zújar dam and the La Serena reservoir’. The photograph is worth the click.

The Guardian finds the Spanish hamlet (pop. 16) that created a hit nude calendar.

ECD has ten things you can visit for free in Melilla. A friend from there says they call Melilla ‘el Norte’ as in ‘I’m going north’. It’s in Africa, see?

Fascinating Spain brings us the story of ‘Bofill’s Pyramid, a monument to break the monotony of the Spanish-French border’. It’s a kind of folly built by the French. We read: ‘Bofill’s Pyramid is an original stroke that raises the heads of drivers and their companions for at least a second and makes them wonder what they are seeing. The monument was designed by one of the great contemporary architects of Spain and is a break in the road, a place to get strength to continue with the rest of the trip’.


Public/private health. BoT 472: Galicia isn't much better, thanks to Feijóo. In our town clinic, we used to have three morning doctors, and two in the afternoon. Now we have two in the morning, and one on some afternoons. Needless to say, getting an appointment is like dancing a minuet. The other problem is that the doctors are continuously changing, and there is almost no continuity from one appointment to the next. One doc might see you and be worried about something. The next appt. there'll be a different doc who shrugs it off, and you're left with the doubt.

Un saludo, María


Año Nuevo with Las Voces de Ayer y Hoy from Venezuela/Colombia on YouTube here (in my defence, La Navidad ends with Los Reyes Magos on Friday). (Thanks Chuck)

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