Weekly Report”

Business over Tapas (Nº 499)

Business over Tapas (Nº 499)

  • 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 05 de julio de 2023, 21:35h

05JUL23 -MADRID.- For subscriptions and other information about this site, go to businessovertapas.com mail: [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.


Several of our new mayors have hiked up their sueldos, their wages, as the first order of business. Whether this shows acuity in their ambition; or that they’ll be working harder than their predecessors and are worth a few extra bob to the tax-payers; or whether (I wonder) if they have to send part of it back to Party HQ:

There are, to balance this out, many mayors who take no wage at all – even if some of these might find other ways to make ends meet. I can only guess what these may be – planning permissions on certain bits of land perhaps, or a share in the caja from a new nightclub, or some modest commission on the new street-lighting.

Perhaps something far more simple: like an old friend of mine, mayor of a small pueblo where I used to live in my twenties, now deceased, who would be taken by the village taxi once a month down to the puticlub in the nearby town, where he was given a rum and coke followed by a jolly visit upstairs, the bill to be sent to the ayuntamiento and no questions asked (not even by his mum).

It’s a cruel thought to suggest that mayors, and their councillors, can expect other forms of income above and beyond the official stipend, paid as always fourteen times a year.

The councillors too, each with his own department, may find some opportunities, and we wish them well. However, the larder will be bare – beyond the chance of a small official stipend – for those in the opposition. Those being the breaks in politics.

Many of the new mayors earning an extra dollop from their town halls are from Vox, or maybe the PP, plus one that comes from the PNV (she upped her annual salary over the outgoing one by a cool 30,000€). And why not. A mayor has many responsibilities and functions, and is the first one to get into trouble when things go wrong. Few of them will climb any higher in politics (and in theory, should return to their old job once they leave office). In practice, this doesn’t always pan out, as the attractions of real-estate, secret bank accounts in Panama and eating a lot of gamba roja tend to become over the seasons ever more apparent.


There are more than just a few empty viviendas – homes – in Spain. Unwanted and unloved. Many more than a few. Indeed, at four million, there is an alarming amount of them. elDiario.es has a map showing all towns over 1,000 inhabitants, along with the percentage of empty viviendas in each. Marbella (Pop. 150,725), for example, has 20,011 empty homes, or 20% of its housing. Or Mojácar (Pop 7,527) with 2,293 empty homes, 23.7%. Madrid has 97,000 empty homes. A second graphic in the article shows the towns with the highest number of empty viviendas (Puerto de la Cruz in Tenerife with 31.3%, followed by Tomelloso in Ciudad Real and Orihuela in Alicante). The owners of these could, under the new housing laws, be charged much higher property taxes by the town hall until they found either a buyer or a tenant.

According to a piece in The Olive Press here, more than five million people in Spain live alone. The article, with data from the INE, breaks down the details of the 18,539,223 households in Spain in the latest survey.

From Infobae here: ‘Don't have enough money to buy a flat? Well then, just buy a room. A new business model has broken into the Spanish real estate market, consisting of selling single rooms at a price of around 40,000 euros. The waiting list amounts to more than 6,000 people’. The ‘common rooms’ within the dwelling are shared by contract explains the article, which seems aimed at the youth market.

The anti-ókupa offices in Castilla y Leon, opened under the aegis of the regional government there, reports just seven face-to-face consultations in the first thirty days of operation says CadenaSer here. Perhaps things will pick up.

‘Is Spain's squatting problem really that bad? asks The Local (here). Well, no, ‘Okupas in private flats, that is, owned by individuals or by families, are actually quite rare’. But, you know, it’s a political hot potato (and also an opportunity to sell alarm systems).


Barcelona has too many visitors, claims El País here with its headline: ‘"I could never live here", says Frank from Florida. The tourists complain about the huge number of visitors, the waits and the queues, while admitting their own contribution to the problem’. Just before the pandemic, Barcelona (population 1.6 million souls) received 28 million visitors. This year looks set to produce similar figures. Spain of course is doing well from tourism and yet…

Foreign tourists are spending 16% more than before the pandemic says Hosteltur brightly.


From 20Minutos here: ‘The Consumer Price Index (CPI) has registered a significant slowdown in price increases and has placed the inflation figure for June at 1.9% year-on-year. This is an unprecedented low since March 2021, when this indicator reached 1.3% and the first time that the CPI has fallen below the 2% barrier since prices began to rise at high speed in the second half of 2021…’

From CadenaSer here. ‘Job creation breaks a new record in June and unemployment falls to the lowest figure in the last 15 years’. Thanks to tourism, mostly. The figures are 20,860,000 employed and 2,740,000 on the dole.

From The Corner here: ‘Small businesses shed almost 20,000 self-employed in one year. Bakeries, greengrocers, butchers, hairdressers? The decline of small businesses is being exacerbated by the pressure of costs and lower sales, an explosive combination that is accelerating the trickle of shop closures that began years ago without this decline being accompanied by an urgent support plan. The proliferation of large shopping centres, the consolidation of online commerce and with it the arrival into the market of the technological giants, have taken their toll on neighbourhood shops…’

How much do public officials earn? There’s a full answer here at Sueldos Públicos.


General Elections July 23rd.

From Spiked here: ‘The Spanish left is in crisis. Women, workers and city-dwellers are turning their backs on the governing coalition’.

The Times says: ‘Spanish PM wins back voters as rivals get tangled in coalition deal. Pedro Sánchez claimed a right-wing alliance would turn back the clock to the days of Franco’.

The poll from CadenaSer here: ‘The PP loses more than two points in two weeks and moves away from the absolute majority with Vox. The PP would win the elections with 30.9% of the votes, according to the 40dB poll. The Partido Popular and Vox would jointly hold 168 seats compared to 146 for PSOE and Sumar’. El País has the CIS poll here with the PP slightly leading the PSOE with Sumar in 3rd place and Vox trailing. Of course, it’s probably hard to say you like Vox to someone you don’t know over the telephone…

From Electomanía here. The national RTVE is to hold a presidential debate on July 19th with the four main leaders, well, three anyway, since Alberto Núñez Feijóo says he won’t be attending. This gives Santiago Abascal a golden opportunity to speak for the conservatives. Another debate, with the spokespeople from the seven main parties (to include ERC, PNV and Eh Bildu), has been programmed by the RTVE for July 13th. *The two-way debate between Sánchez and Feijóo will be shown on LaSexta on Monday July 10th at 10.00pm.

The TV debates are useful generally when you are behind in the polls, and less so when you are ahead. However, an empty chair in probably not a good idea. Feijóo’s problem is that he is not a great speaker and sometimes makes silly mistakes. The PP admits that his reticence might give thought to the party being low on ideas, or afraid of debate (especially when the first question is ‘what on earth are you doing with Vox?’).

The PP-approved video of La historia del candidato Alberto Núñez Feijóo on YouTube. 20Minutos took some notes here.

Núñez Feijóo: "The objective of the PSOE is to govern by losing while I promise not to govern if I lose". From CadenaSer here (with video): ‘The leader of the PP considers the latest polls: "They say that there is only one party that presents itself to win an election while the others are looking to see with whom they will agree with if they lose them"’. For comments on this particular piece of hyperbole, see Reddit here.

Felipe González (no fan of Pedro Sánchez) is saying that the party with the most votes should be the one to govern. La Razón has the story here.

Pedro Sánchez on the current crop of PP/Vox pacts: ‘It’s like watching the trailer to a horror film’.

From 20Minutos here: ‘72.4% of PP voters approve that the national leadership of the PP led by Alberto Núñez Feijóo allows different criteria to be applied when establishing agreements with Vox in each city council or autonomous community after the June local and regional elections, according to a survey…’. The most famous sell-out so far is the PP leader of Extremadura who said she would never pact with Vox, and then changed her mind a week later. ‘María Guardiola justifies herself after the agreement with Vox: "My word is not as important as the future of the people of Extremadura"’. Following this, the PSOE candidate Guillermo Fernández Vara has withdrawn his candidature for regional president.

From Ignacio Escolar (newsletter): ‘Maria Guardiola. You know, that heroine of the moderate right, with correct values and incorruptible behaviour, who, in little more than a week, has decided to renounce her principles to achieve power’. “I’ll never allow into my government those who deny sexist violence, those who dehumanize immigrants and those who throw the LGTBI flag into a trash can”, she said (video). The question is – did she change her mind, or did the Party Headquarters in Calle Génova in Madrid change it for her? From The Guardian here: ‘The deal in the south-western region further raises prospect of a national coalition between the conservatives and the far right’.

The Local here: ‘Vox: 10 things you need to know about Spain's far-right party’.

The erstwhile leader of Izquierda Unida, Alberto Garzón, retires this month after twelve years in Parliament. He talks about his experiences (and temptations) in a lengthy interview (with video) at elDiario.es here. Garzón today is just 37 years old.


From Catalan News here: ‘Puigdemont loses parliamentary immunity following European court ruling. Independence leaders can still appeal decision, with result likely in early 2024’.


From The Daily Mail here: ‘How Spain could destroy Gibraltar's economy if far-right Vox party carry out their threats to close border with British territory if they are voted into power in July 23 election as feared’. The item is picked up by 20Minutos here.

Spain – in the shape of the public company Secegsa – has spent millions (and 42 years) planning, considering, looking into and even designing a tunnel between Europe and Africa. The tunnel under Gibraltar: originally mooted by the French 140 years ago. So far, there’s almost nothing to show for it. Público looks at the story here.


‘The Spanish presidency will promote the changes and decisions needed to tackle the EU's major challenges’, here.

From The Corner here: ‘On July 1, Spain assumed the six-month presidency of the EU, and on Sunday July 2, the President of the European Council, Charles Michel, met at La Moncloa with the Spanish Prime Minister, Pedro Sánchez, who has begun the six-month period with a trip to Kiev. Sánchez reiterated Europe’s support for Ukraine and assured that Spain “will rise to the occasion”. In an institutional declaration, Sánchez reviewed the four priorities on the agenda during the Spanish presidency: reindustrialisation, diversification of trade relations with the outside world, ecological transition and a circular economy…’

Not that one can blame them perhaps, but the affluent often move away from a war-zone and go and live somewhere more peaceful. Or perhaps one can criticise them… who knows? At any rate, the Ukrainians refer to their wealthier and absent neighbours who have avoided being called up to defend the Motherland as The Spanish Battalion.


Face-masks are finally a thing of the past in las farmacias, residences and hospitals. However, feel free to continue with them says 20Minutos here.


20Minutos reports on ‘The fall of a former judge who manufactured false evidence (around 40,000 folios) to indict senior officials, while asking the public for donations for his anti-corruption foundation’. All apparently based on an act of revenge. The ex-judge Fernando Presencia and three of his collaborators have now been sent to prison. Victims include the ex-president of Spain José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, Interior Minister Fernando Grande-Marlaska and the spokesperson for foreign affairs within the EU Josep Borrell.


From Sur in English here: ‘LGTB hate messages have doubled on social media networks in Spain in just four years’. The article says ‘The proportion of hate messages directed against Spaniards who expressed non-heterosexual sentiments more than doubled in just four years, with a marked increase noted last year. Online attacks increased since 2019 by 132% while positive comments towards the LGTB community fell by 15%...’

The notorious Ana Rosa Quintana (Telecinco) interviewed the PP leader Feijóo on Monday and she ended their pleasant time together with ‘Many thanks, Presidente’. Will Feijoísmo follow Sanchísmo, wondered the diva? On Tuesday, it was Pedro Sánchez’ turn. How did he do? Apparently, very well. El Huff Post here: ‘…After more than an hour together, in which even Ana Rosa appeared sorry to finish the segment, Sánchez left as gracefully as he left the El Hormiguero interview last week’. The ABC title reads: ‘Sánchez, with Ana Rosa, regarding Catalonia: "I may have changed my mind, but I have never lied"’. El Periódico leads with Ana Rosa’s endless criticism of Pedro Sánchez on her program, who tells her ‘You don’t share the truth on your show, you share an opinion’.

Comprobado is an alliance of 24 media groups to watch for bulos during the elections.


How Spain’s other great wetlands park, Las Tablas de Daimiel in Ciudad Real (wiki), is drying up (94% now dried out). The reason, as usual, is illegal wells and irrigation. More on the ‘Collapse of the Tablas de Damiel’ here.

Extinción o Rebelión climate activists spent late last Saturday night filling up holes on a dozen golf courses with cement in a protest against the large consumption of water for the 437 golf courses in Spain, which between them consume more water than Barcelona and Madrid combined (say the activists). The story is at La Vanguardia here.


A minute’s silence in the town hall of Albacete for the victims of male violence. Only the Vox councillors refused to stand says Periódico CLM here.

In Cádiz, the previous mayor (known as ‘Kichi’) has retired after eight years (he always said he would) and has returned to his job as a school-teacher. As mayor, he earned the same wage as when he was a teacher, which amounted to 38,826€ per annum, but he donated much of it to various causes. The new mayor, from the PP, has increased his wage to 68,900€ per annum. However, the total town hall political costs will be 113,000€ lower than under the previous corporation.

A film called Buzz-Lightyear has been banned in the summer cinema of Santa Cruz de Bezana, Asturias, by the new PP-Vox town hall because there’s a momentary kiss (video) between two female toys. ‘Orlando’, the Virginia Woolf play, has been abruptly removed by the town hall (Vox) from a planned showing in Valdemorillo in Madrid and another play has also been cancelled in Palma de Mallorca as ‘it doesn’t follow the line of shows that will be programmed following the new government changes’.

SEO Birdlife have erected a massive poster in Madrid which says ‘Be careful which birdie you vote for’. Not all the political parties value a healthy planet, they explain. These jumbo posters, really lonas or giant canvas advertisements (the size of an apartment block), are becoming talking points in this election season. The first was the Vox one brushing all of the Woke flags into the dustbin. Now another (particularly revolting one) has been erected: ‘Sánchez, go to Morocco, because Desokupa is going to the Moncloa (prime minister’s residence)’. Desokupa is a group of thugs who will remove squatters for a fee. On Tuesday, we read at El Plural that the appalling leader of Desokupa says ‘…that he plans to be "one of the leaders of the street army" if the polls do not give the result that this far-right organization, which numbers ex-convicts among its ranks, expects. "I hope that the polls throw these guys out for life (Pedro Sánchez and the coalition government), we give full responsibility to our army and our police and that the borders are closed for once, which is what has to happen here". Daniel Esteve, leader of Desokupa, says, warning that “if not, we will see each other on the street, but I will not be putting out a scented candle. If you come for me, then I'll come for you."…’.

‘Gimme three days to clean up Spain, and I’ll do it in one’, says the head of Desokupa (with video). There’s more on this fellow and his ‘army of black-shirts’ at El Español here.

And meanwhile, be careful which birdie you vote for.

Some changes in the Balearics, following the new government there: From El Plural here, ‘Among the various measures contemplated in the Balearic Islands agreement, children will once again be permitted to return to enjoy the bullfights’.

And key… The San Fermines. Pamplona’s fiestas start on July 6th through the 15th. Here’s a piece on ‘The Running of the Bulls’ at Eye on Spain.

The Olive Press interviews Richard Thompson, the British mayor of San Joan (Mallorca).

Have you noticed how there are more and more massive music festivals about during the summer months? Some of them lasting three days or more. There are a lot of tricks used by the organisers to maximise their profits, according to a new book called Macrofestivales. El agujero negro de la música by Nando Cruz (Amazon). There’s a review at Epe here.

From Cultura Inquieta here, we find some medieval insults: including cagalindes (a coward), verriondo (a phallocrat), mangurrián (a bumpkin) and casquivano (immature).

The London Spanish Film Festival returns to the Ciné Lumière for its 18th edition to celebrate Spanish cinema and its talent! 22 – 29 September 2022 at Ciné Lumière, South Kensington and the Riverside Studios, Hammersmith.


Rufus T. Firefly with Nebulosa Jade on YouTube aquí. Good stuff!

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