Weekly Report”

Business over Tapas (Nº 496)

Business over Tapas (Nº 496)

  • 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 15 de junio de 2023, 22:57h

15JUN23 – 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.


While many Spaniards will be inconvenienced by the summer elections and the possibility of having to re-plan their holidays – either through being called to be poll-workers or because they’ll be suddenly running for election – we foreign residents (who can’t vote or of course act as invigilators) can relax knowing that the time is coming around for our trip to Portugal, or to discover somewhere unknown in Spain and stay in a Parador (the only place in Spain where people actually whisper), or perhaps back to our own country to see the family and try and avoid the heat.

The joy of living in Spain of course means that some of those family members, plus surviving school friends and other exotics, will be fully committed to coming over here to stay with us.

Clean up the spare-bedroom, put all the books and records away, buy some things for the fridge and plan an evening at the local fiesta (in our case a Moors and Christians extravaganza where the costumes, noise, gunpowder-smoke, rivers of beer and a few sensational looking-girls will make a lasting impression on our visitors, who will once again toy with the idea of buying an apartment down on the beach).

You said something? Yes, of course I’ve got records. Decent pop music stopped in about 1992.

We may not be Spaniards, but I think that we are now something a little different from what we were when we first arrived. We treat the Spanish coast – our new home – in the same way as the North Americans from New York or Chicago like to treat the south of Florida: a good place to retire to (with the added bonus of no alligators).

We shall leave all the work and scheming here down to las familias – the local mafias.

There are clouds on the horizon though. Assuming the Partido Popular and their strong-arm friends from Vox win the forthcoming summer elections on July 23rd, there’s every chance that there’ll be some unwholesome changes around here.

I think for a start that there’ll be a lot more beach-property available.


From Spanish Property Insight here: ‘Home sales in April were the lowest they have been since 2017 as the Spanish property market continues to cool down after the post-pandemic boom, reveal the latest figures from the Spanish notaries’ association. There were 49,639 home sales in April, down 18% on the same month last year, and the lowest level for April in six years…’

Some tripe from The Express here: ‘Inside Spain's idyllic mini-Britain that 92,000 'highly regarded' expats call home’. It begins: ‘EXCLUSIVE: British people who moved to the Spanish region of Andalusia have been hailed for contributing to the local community and wealth. However, their high purchasing power risks prompting local price hikes, and the language barrier can lead to friction…’ There’s a nice photograph of ‘Grenada’ to admire. We also learn that ‘…there are more than 92,000 Britons who have decided to make Andalusia, in southern Spain their home, turning the region into a mini-UK’ (for clarity, Andalucía is a bit larger in size than Scotland – pop. 5.45 million).


Is it legal to sleep overnight in your van? La Vanguardia answers: Vehicles can spend the night in any place designated for ordinary parking. The regulations allow users of caravans and campervans to open the skylights or raise the pop-up roofs, but it prohibits exceeding the road markings of the car park or the established time limit. In other words, nothing prevents you from sleeping in your van, as long as you do not do camping activities such as opening the awnings or taking chairs out into the street…’. (As an aside, my dad once slept in his car in Barcelona with his bare foot sticking out of a window. He awoke to a terrible pain in his big toe and found some small boy was trying to set it on fire with his lighter).


From Cinco Días here: ‘Antonio Garamendi (the president of the employers’ union the CEOE): "We will defend the labour reform that we have signed". The employers and the main unions ask that the next government does not change the agreement reached by the social dialogue’. Alberto Núñez Feijóo, if he wins, will be asked to leave the labour reforms of Yolanda Díaz alone.

‘Good economic data accompanies the coalition government to the elections. Forecasts suggest that inflation could fall below 3% in June, the minimum of this price crisis, and another employment record is expected before the start of summer and the 'boom' of tourism. Meanwhile, the leader of the PP, Alberto Núñez Feijóo, speaks of economic "stagnation" or "decline". It may be hard for the PP to attack the Spanish economy under the present government, but one can always try. From elDiario.es here: ‘Núñez Feijóo affirms that "the economy is stagnant" with growth of 3.8%, better than the EU average. The PP candidate in the July 23 elections anticipates cuts in spending and debt’.

The economy minister Nadia Calviño asks Núñez Feijóo to find someone in the PP to debate the economy with her. She says witheringly of the economic proposal of the PP "the problem is that we don't know who, or what, or for what"’. El Huff Post reports here.

20Minutos puts the current beneficial financial situation down to the tourists. ‘Foreign tourism and the fall in imports save Spain from the technical recession suffered by the euro-zone’. It says that ‘…although the drop in consumption at the start of 2023 subtracted twice the growth from Spain than from the euro area, the contribution of the foreign sector to the Spanish economy doubled that registered in the euro countries as a whole. A sufficient movement to maintain positive growth in Spain despite having registered one of the sharpest collapses in national consumption in the entire EU’.

On the other hand, Sur in English says that ‘the Bank of Spain report shows the hotel sector is the most debt-crippled in the country. Two years of slow business caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, as well as soaring inflation, has crippled the industry financially, according to the latest report’.

Where does the inflation come from? Apparently, a large portion of it is down to profit-taking says El Salto Diario in an article titled ‘A large percentage of inflation has been caused by corporate greed, according to the OECD, although for the Spanish media it is not greed, but “ingenuity”. The article says that ‘the OECD has made it clear: much of the current inflation is being caused by corporate margins and not by wage increases. The purchasing power of the working class has fallen more than in other countries while business margins have increased. Specifically, the organization points out that of the 8% average inflation that Spain suffered last year, 6% was due to business margins and only 1.5% was down to wages…’. The media here (which lives from large advertising contracts) would rather blame the Government for its high taxes, says the article.

From The Corner here: ‘Inditex’s net profit rose 54% in its first fiscal quarter (1 February 2023 to 30 April 2023), to €1,168 million. Sales grew by 13% in the first fiscal quarter, to €7,611 million, with a performance that has been described as “very satisfactory” both in shops and online…’


General Elections July 23rd.

One thing has changed at least – now those who use a postal-vote must show their ID when handing the vote to the postal employee. No more posting one’s vote anonymously through the post-box.

The far-left, scattered and feuding, are once again under the same roof: Kudos to Yolanda Díaz and her Movimiento Sumar. Opinion from El País here, ‘Sumar starts. It had never happened before in the more than 40 years of Spanish democracy that the various territorial, alternative and environmental lefts found the harmony and the political motivation to concur jointly in general elections’. Sixteen parties, including Podemos, are in coalition. From 20Minutos here: The Podemos leader Ione Belarra will be fifth on the list for Madrid, whereas both Irene Montero (the ‘Only Yes Means Yes’ current Minister for Equality considered these days to be a liability) and wheelchair-bound Pablo Echenique are out. Podemos politicians will lead the Sumar lists in Ávila, Badajoz, Cáceres, Guadalajara, Palencia, Segovia and Teruel. elDiario.es notes that ‘The deal means that the various parties will have their candidates appear in province-lists more or less to the satisfaction of all, while being under the party-brand of Sumar. It is none the less true to say that coalition negotiation is rarely an admirable spectacle. If people knew how the sausage was made, they would not consume it with the same enthusiasm. There are things that it is better not to look closely at… (!)’. From El Español (news-letter): ‘The Sumar coalition is born mortally wounded when the hard core of Podemos was sacrificed without ceremonies. Yolanda Díaz will have a hard time smoothing things out in just over a month, but the humiliation of the bruises has no going back’. Their headline: ‘40% of Podemos voters will not vote for Sumar’. If wishes were horses, then beggars would ride: Scottish proverb.

Two groups seem angry about the defenestration of Irene Montero. Podemos of course is upset to lose its star (she’s also the wife of Pablo Iglesias, the founder of the party), and then the media and parties to the right: the golden opportunities lost in the coming weeks to attack Sumar through the unpopular ex-minister!

While the PSOE and Sumar are both independent and separate, they have agreed a coalition candidature for the Senado (that other, slightly less-commented election) for Ibiza and its neighbour Formentera (a single circumscription).

Another coalition is España Vaciada (Empty Spain) – a political group that will run candidacies in twelve provinces: Salamanca, Palencia, Burgos, León, Valladolid, Asturias, Toledo, La Rioja, Soria, Teruel, Zaragoza and Huesca.

Local and Regional Election Results: The town halls and regional governments have until Saturday 17th to choose their governments…

From 20Minutos here (Monday): ‘The PP considers the Vox candidate for the Valencia Generalitat as a "red line": "A person convicted of mistreatment should not dedicate himself to politics" they say. The Vox candidate is Carlos Flores, who was found guilty of mistreating his ex-wife back in 2002. The route to find a new Valencia government continued for one more day only with the PP’s 40 seats, the lefties (PSPV and Compromís) 46 between them and Vox with 13. By Tuesday, we read (El Mundo here) that the PP and Vox had reached a deal in Valencia and the PP’s Carlos Mazón will be the new regional president with the support of Vox. The bland agreement is published at the CadenaSer here. As for Carlos Flores, he’s been kicked upstairs to be the leading Vox provincial candidate in the forthcoming national elections (the PP will deal with that particular issue as and when).

Across Spain, the PP needs the support of Vox in five regions and 135 ayuntamientos. One of which, Calvià in Mallorca, is now decided. One of its satellite towns is Magaluf, the municipality sadly famous for being totally saturated with abrasive and low-cost tourism. In Calvià, under a PP mayor's office, Vox will manage the Municipal Police, Civil Protection and the cleaning company, in addition to the areas of Fiestas and Foreign Citizens (sic!).

Opinion from elDiario.es here: ‘It's official: Feijóo is now wedded to Vox’. Comment from Juanlu Sánchez here: ‘The Spanish right has lost its complexes, its political project is simply to fight the left and nothing else matters to them’.

From The Guardian here: ‘From ‘cranks’ to contenders: how Spain’s far-right Vox party is rising toward power. Once dismissed as anachronistic, the radical party hopes to ride a wave of patriotism in next month’s elections’ (Grazie a Norman). From El Confidencial here (or here): ‘Will Abascal then be vice president of a Feijóo government?’ Judging by the Valencia deal, says the article, the answer is clear.

From The Majorca Daily Bulletin here: ‘This weekend, Richard Thompson (Més per Mallorca) will be sworn in as the new mayor of Sant Joan in Mallorca becoming the first British mayor in the Balearics and one of the very few to have ever held the post in Spain’.


From El Boletín here: ‘The euro-zone enters a technical recession due to the fall in consumption and public spending. In Spain, GDP grew by 0.5% in the first quarter of 2023, compared to growth of 0.4% in the three previous months’.

From El Huff Post here: ‘Germany underlines Spain's leadership in reforming fiscal rules: "If anyone is capable of uniting everyone, it is Nadia Calviño". The German Finance Minister, the liberal Christian Lindner, says that they trust the Spanish vice-president to lead the negotiations of the Twenty-seven on this important economic change at community level’. Pedro Sánchez says: ‘We’ve got Nadia and they’ve got Nadie (nobody)’.

InfoLibre looks at the upcoming Spanish presidency of the EU (with video). The title: ‘"Populisms destroy all social advances", the Spanish presidency of the EU under debate’.


From The New York Times here: ‘The wave of scandals that would engulf Spain began with a police raid on a wooded property outside Madrid. It was Nov. 3, 2017, and the target was José Manuel Villarejo Pérez, a former government spy. Villarejo’s name had been circulating in the Spanish press for years. He was rumoured to have had powerful friends and to have kept dirt on them all. The impressive variety of allegations against him — forgery, bribery, extortion, influence peddling — had earned him the nickname “king of the sewers”…’. It’s an astonishing read by the way.


Manipulation, says La Vanguardia here (Sometimes these coded links have to be copied and pasted to open). The article looks at the fall of the socialista Monica Oltra, the previous president of the Valencian diputación who was (unfairly) accused of improprieties last year and resigned. The court finally found her to be blameless a month ago, but didn’t release their decision until after the regional and municipal elections. The article also notes that the Mojácar character who was buying votes for the PP was arrested before the election, but the announcement was only published after the election.

From elDiario.es here, one thing that has been put on the back-burner as a consequence of the elections is the (so far futile) attempt to refresh the judicial power of the CGPJ: ‘The most important institution of the third power of the State, which should have been renewed in 2018, has been operating for almost a decade with a composition of a conservative majority inherited from the last legislature of Mariano Rajoy’.


There are trick messages going around on WhatsApp for those who may miss Irene Montero on the papeleta for Sumar. Just write her in, says the message (invalidating the vote).

The Espacio Fundación Telefónica in C/ Fuencarral 3, Madrid, has an exhibition called ‘Fake News. La fábrica de mentiras’ (the factory of lies) until November 19th. There’s a lot of information out there: ‘In the midst of the digital age, we have more information than ever before, information that is generated at an unprecedented speed. Globally, every second 6,000 tweets, 740,000 WhatsApp messages and 694 Instagram posts are published. However, our exposure to manipulation increases in parallel. Every day we are faced with news and disinformation strategies that test our ability to distinguish between what is true and what is false’.

20Minutos publishes the list of most-visited news-sites according to Digital News Report. The most popular are 20Minutos and El País says the agency.


From The Conversation here: ‘Satellite images show that the overexploitation of the aquifer is drying up Doñana’. It says. ‘Doñana represents what is probably the most important wetland in Western Europe. The park owes its importance both to its marshes, which are home to thousands of aquatic birds, and also to its lagoons, which are home to a large number of unique, endemic and threatened species’.

From elDiario.es here: ‘Stealing everyone's water is considered a 'cheap' crime in drought-stricken Spain’: "There is a sensation of brutal impunity". "The penalty is low and the probability of getting caught is even lower" says the article. (Where we live – with a legal well – we are surrounded by those who have tapped into the underground aquifer without going through the formality of getting a permit).

The weather this summer will be wet and hotter than usual, apparently.

Ecologistas en Acción post a list of their 48 Black Flag awards for Spain’s worst beaches.

The Olive Press writes of an interesting plan for artificial reefs to be laid outside marinas in an effort to protect the fauna of Murcia’s Mar Menor lagoon.


There are lots of Moors and Christians festivals at this time of year. Chosen to recall the events of the late fifteenth century where the, ah, good guys won. It’s an excuse to decorate history a bit, decorate the pueblo quite a lot, and to bring in loads of tourists and their wallets. From Al Jazeera here, some disapproval: ‘Some see the annual festival marking the re-conquest of Iberia from Arab rulers as racist and disrespectful’.

‘From Gibraltar to Guadalajara, how the Arabic language left its mark on the world’, with The National News here.

From The Olive Press here: ‘Mallorcan real estate agent voted as the most handsome man in Spain’.

From artnet here: ‘Researchers flying drones have discovered 7,000-year-old cave paintings in the mountains of Spain. It's one of the first instances of drones being used to find cave paintings’.

elDiario.es explains the municipal Mojácar vote here, where 25% of the votes arrive with the postman on his scooter. They always did and, who knows, perhaps they always will…

From Newsweek here: ‘Orcas filmed destroying ship's rudder in video. Captain Dan Kriz was ambushed by a pod of orcas on April 15 while sailing through the Strait of Gibraltar’.

A partial list of Asian shops and supermarkets in Spain here.

La Sexta brings us some Basque words that are used in everyday Spanish.

There’s a lot of marijuana about, says Infobae here. It appears that an average of 9,100 plants are ‘decommissioned’ daily.

In what must have been a slow-news day, ECD posted on Sunday of ‘Seven home remedies to remove the evil eye: Effectively eliminate bad energy’. Wash yourself in warm salt water being their first recommendation. Maybe burn some romero (rosemary). Amulets and prayer, of course. Above all – and we have to agree with this one – avoid negative people.

See Spain:

From National Geographic here: ‘The inside guide to Cádiz, Andalucía's most underrated coastal city break. A sliver of land surrounded by the Atlantic, this sun-splashed city is one of Andalucía’s most underrated getaways’.


Lawrence takes Aqaba with a magnificent charge down the Carboneras river-bed (1962).

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