The Emeritus - that's to say King Juan Carlos I - was in Spain this weekend, boating in the resort town of Sanxenxo, thirty kilometres from the provincial capital of Pontevedra.
The timing is just before the municipal and some regional elections which are due to commence their inexorable grind towards May 28th. There will be posters.
While there has never been a question asked in any survey of opinion, the case is that many Spaniards would describe themselves as 'Republicans' which - unlike the American variety - is something closer to the left than to the right. Here, the Republicans lost the civil war against the Nationalists back in 1939. Following the lengthy rule of the Generalísimo, Spain was finally presented in 1975 with a new head of state: a handsome, modern and personable king - the grandson of Alfonso XIII, who had been dethroned at the onset of La Segunda República back in 1931.
It must be hard being a Royal, expected to set an example to the rest of us; and few of them seem to fulfil the obligation as hoped (and expected). Juan Carlos himself eventually lost his overwhelming popular support following a series of scandals and he was obliged to abdicate to be shortly afterwards all-but-exiled to Abu Dhabi in what might be considered as being 'in disgrace'.
His son Felipe VI has been most careful to sail a different course and, among his virtues, he steadfastly avoids the company of his sire beyond the coincidence of an occasional royal funeral.
Now we read that the Emeritus is looking to buy a home in the port where he keeps his sailing boat and joining all the scheduled regattas, while maintaining his residence abroad as a tax exile.
This will not help the royalist cause.
'As a Guardia Civil with 30 years of service, I have never come across a case of home occupation. Despite the propaganda of the insurance companies, the housing problem in Spain is one of speculation and not occupation'. Twitter via Meneame here.
From Spanish Property Insight here: 'Foreign Demand: Analysis of 2022, and forecasts for 2023 - part I'. It explains that 'The notaries publish data breaking down foreign demand into residents and foreign non-residents (FNR). The resident market includes expats from rich countries like the UK, France and Germany, and economic migrants from poor and middle-income countries like Morocco, Ecuador and Romania, buying in very different segments. The FNR market is almost all from rich countries buying second-homes and investments.' (think investment/vulture funds).
Adding to the 50,000 plus the 43,000 public homes becoming available for low-income renters, Pedro Sánchez announced on Tuesday a further 20,000 to be built on land owned by the Ministry of the Defence. More here. The President said on Tuesday that the plan is to bring this figure up still higher to 183,000 in the coming years.
'The Centre of Málaga already has more tourist flats than registered residents' says EPE here. 'The city has almost 9,000 homes for tourist purposes, half of them in the historic city centre'.
Despite many inspectors and fines, the Balearic Islands continue with illegal tourist rentals says elDiario.es here.
Under discussion - a limit on holiday homes of 2% in 'tense' barrios to protect ordinary renters. From Xataca here: 'In Spain, housing has been leading a tragic story for years where tenants have always lost out. When there was already an excessive demand for apartments and the lack of supply was cause for despair, a black cloud arrived to darken everything even more: Airbnb. Short-term housing for tourists grew in the large cities, further aggravating the problem of both availability and worse still: a general rise in rental prices.'.
On the other hand, and while the Podemitos might find a surprising ally to their cause in the hoteliers, it's also true that we could all do with a little extra pin money from letting out the spare bedroom or the upstairs apartment.
From Idealista here: 'Vivla's home co-ownership model comes to Ibiza and Menorca. High-end second home co-ownership in tourist destinations is making waves in Denia, Menorca, Ibiza, Menorca and Sotogrande thanks to Vivla, a Spanish prop-tech start-up that launched in 2022.'. They mean time-share.
The specialist vocabulary used in real-estate transactions can be confusing (en castellano).
Previously, an article on 'co-living' (here) hadn't brought many details beyond the attractive idea. LaSexta here provides companies and locations for these homes. The companies named appear to be international investment funds, such as Greystar and Patron Living.
From El Huff Post here: 'Larry Fink, founder and CEO of BlackRock and considered the largest private investor in the world, says that "Spain is a great investment opportunity."'. From Cinco Días here: 'Wei Li (BlackRock): "Spain is being one of the few positive surprises in the world economy". This expert investor believes that it is very likely that the US and part of Europe will enter a recession'.
Hacienda to tax non-resident athletes and 'youtubers' who hold events in Spain with up to 24% says El Economista here.
Spaniards' take-home pay is 31% lower than the European average says elDiario.es here. 'Workers in Spain earned an average of 17.5 euros gross per hour worked in 2022. To earn the same as in Belgium (33.4 euros) one would have to work twice as much. Compared to Germany (30.3 euros per hour), salaries here are 42% lower. And with respect to the euro area as a whole, it's 31%, according to data published this week by Eurostat.'
'One in four people is at risk of poverty or social exclusion in Spain. The data for 2022 improves compared to 2021, going from 27.8% to 26%'. El Plural has more.
Pedro Sánchez has been invited to Washington DC to meet with President Joe Biden on May 12th.
The CIS, the main survey company in Spain (said to have a left-wing bias), says that the arrival of Sumar has pushed Podemos downwards. They give: PSOE 30.4%; PP 26.1%; Vox 11.1%, Sumar 10.6% and Unidas Podemos at 6.7%. 20Minutos has the poll results here. Another poll, from DYM (also at 20Minutos) gives the PSOE 24.7%, the PP 30.5%, Vox 14.6% and Sumar at 9.2%. UP trails behind at 6.8%.
With both the above polls above giving Ciudadanos just 2.8%, the senior party deputy Edmundo Val says he will quit politics at the end of the current legislature.
From ECD here: 'The PP leadership washes its hands of the water war in Doñana: "It has nothing to do with us". Genova (the Madrid national headquarters) passes the ball to the government of Juanma Moreno after the warning from Brussels against the irrigation plan in the Huelva-located national park. From El Español's daily newsletter: 'The PP is already beginning to quietly admit that the initiative of the president of the Junta de Andalucía, Juanma Moreno, on Doñana is a great political error that has given free and unnecessary ammunition to Pedro Sánchez and the Government on the eve of the elections'.
From Catalan News here: 'The Spanish Senate green-lighted the contentious revamped 'only yes is yes' sexual assault law on Wednesday with the support from the Socialists, the conservative People's Party and the Basque Country's PNB'. Expect tougher sentencing.
From 2023 Spanish local elections (Wiki) 'The 2023 Spanish local elections will be held on Sunday, 28 May 2023, to elect all councillors in the municipalities of Spain and all 1,038 seats in 38 provincial deputations. The elections will be held simultaneously with regional elections in twelve autonomous communities, as well as local elections in the three foral deputations of the Basque Country, the four island councils in the Balearic Islands and the seven island cabildos in the Canary Islands.' The various candidatures should be available to find in the Boletín Oficial del Estado or in the leading provincial newspaper.
From The Corner here: 'Judges and Prosecutors to go on indefinite strike from 16 May'. We read that '.Judges and prosecutors are concerned about the lack of sufficient funding for the administration of justice and about the workloads of courts and prosecutors' offices'.
ABC here: 'The Minister of Social Rights and Secretary General of Podemos, Ione Belarra, has emailed the party supporters asking them to support financially and tune in to 'Canal Red', the audio-visual project of the former vice president and former leader of the party Pablo Iglesias, which has begun to be broadcast on digital terrestrial television in the Community of Madrid'. The channel given to the Canal Red used to belong to 7NN, a far-right channel which collapsed recently (or, as most of the news-sites we googled have it 'Canal Red okupa la frequencia de 7NN'). One can also find Canal Red on YouTube, with plenty to watch here.
From elDiario.es here: 'The Government plans to close all the Doñana wells in 2025 and refuses to "negotiate illegalities" with the Junta de Andalucía. The Minister of the Environment Teresa Ribera criticizes that despite the warnings from the European Union, the Andalusian government "continues fooling around" with a proposal that "does not make any sense" and that she describes as provocative'. From Nius Diario here the headline: 'We don't negotiate over illegalities says Ribera'. 'Andalucía recognizes the wake-up call from Brussels regarding Doñana, but blames the Government and maintains its plan for the wetlands' says Cadena Ser here. 'The European Commission slams Junta's controversial irrigation plan for Doñana. Officials said the regional government's proposal, in its current form, could damage the delicate wetlands in Andalucía': From Sur in English here.
The Junta de Andalucía's plan is 'to authorize illegal irrigation to cover an area of 2,000 football fields' says La Vanguardia (we love our fútbol), or rather, 'It seeks to legalize 1,432.5 hectares officially classified as secano and another 471.5 hectares of land listed as forested'.
From Sur in English here: 'Warning of exceptionally high temperatures in Spain for this time of year, with up to 40C forecast this week. Spain's state weather agency, Aemet, has said there is little chance of any rain "so it is increasingly likely that April 2023 will be the driest on record"'. El Periódico says: 'Agriculture in danger. The weather: what will happen in Spain this week will bring "irreversible losses"'. It's enough to make one annoyed with the weather forecasters - indeed, the State Meteorological Agency AEMET says it is receiving insults and threats from "trolls" and "manipulators" for their reporting on the climate crisis.
Juan Carlos I left Spain on Tuesday after a short visit and arrived that afternoon in Abu Dhabi where he maintains his residence. Meanwhile in Madrid, a Chilean sculptor has put up a statue of the Emeritus in the Puerta del Sol, holding a rifle which points at the emblematic statue of the bear eating the madroño berries. Briefly, no doubt. The picture and story at Público here.
Digital nomads are getting a bad press says EPE here, citing a graffiti in Portugal that has gone viral both there and in Spain. Apparently, because the price of rentals has gone up. From an interesting site called Inside Airbnb here, the question: 'How is Airbnb really being used in and affecting the neighbourhoods of your city?' It has specific info on several Spanish cities, such as Málaga, Barcelona, Madrid and Valencia.
A Brit couple, 'living under the radar' (as we say when we didn't bother to get a residencia), were caught by the police recently and will now be deported, despite being property owners. They 'are facing a massive fine, deportation and being barred from returning to Spain'. The story is at The Olive Press which tells us that few of the Brit residents here are sympathetic, including this pearl: 'Good job they don't have to be deported to Rwanda like the asylum seekers arriving in the UK who are fleeing persecution are being threatened with'.
The oldest building in the United States, and we twist the meaning of the foregoing only slightly, is a XII century monastery originally from Sacramenia, a tiny village in Segovia, which was bought by William Randolph Hurst in 1925. 'The structures were dismantled stone by stone, bound with protective hay, packed in more than 11,000 wooden crates, numbered for identification and shipped to the United States'. It was finally restored in Miami in 1954. It's used today for weddings and banquets. La Razón reports here. There's a YouTube video here and the American site, Spanish Monastery (history) is here.
On Monday, the remains of José Antonio Primo de Rivera (wiki) were removed from the Valle de Cuelgamuros (viz. the Valley of the Fallen) and quietly reburied by his family. The comic site El Mundo Today explains here how not to offend those who turned out for the event by avoiding describing them with 'the F word'.
The bloodless Portuguese revolucíon de los claveles was 49 years ago on April 25, 1974. Here's the Villa Morena anthem.
'Dogs, cats, iguanas and even flies: the oldest pet cemetery in Spain is in Barcelona. 'Los Seres Queridos' is a cemetery managed by the same family since 1972, where more than 5,000 animals are buried'. elDiario.es has the story. (The flies and other insects are collected in the freezer by some local cat owner, who buries them all together as and when one of her gatitos dies. It takes all sorts). There aren't many animal cemeteries in Spain, as the local town hall will usually incinerate the dead creatures (No, you're not meant to bury them in the garden, even if that's what we all do).
A silly essay of mine: 'I've been Dubbed, Subtitled and Translated into Sign-language' is over at Eye on Spain here.
La Razón brings us another of those 'the most beautiful village of Spain, as chosen by National Geographic'. This one looks breath-taking, according to the photos. It's Aínsa in Huesca. The population of this medieval pueblo is about 2,000.
Ongoing problems with the Internet-supplier Vodafone. They eventually sent some techs over on Tuesday to fix the issue with the router, which lasted until shortly after they left. Grrr. Meanwhile, I've been maxing out the 'hotspot' (which shares access to the Internet) from my mobile phone.
The incomparable Carlos Santana with Erik Shrody (vocals) brings us Put Your Lights On here on YouTube.