Weekly Report”

Business over Tapas (Nº 516)

Business over Tapas (Nº 516)

  • 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.

viernes 15 de diciembre de 2023, 23:58h

15DIC23 – 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.


What a phenomenon Podemos has been! From nowhere to greatness and apparently back to nowhere in just ten years!

Founded by Pablo Iglesias – the university professor with the pony-tail and a Masters in both Arts and Humanities – together with some like-minded companions back in January 2014, the party won an astounding 71 seats in the 2015 general election. Later joining with Izquierda Unida and other far-left groups, Podemos soon became the particular target of far-right politicians, together with part of the Judiciary, the Church, the Establishment, and the majority of the Media. Whenever a reasonably plausible story could be fabricated against the party, it would receive major attention from all sides: both the concepts of fake-news (‘bulo’) and judicial manipulation (‘lawfare’) became mainstream instruments of attack thanks to the group.

Many of the early members of Podemos were to fall out with Iglesias – some starting their own parties and movements (it’s perhaps a common problem with the far-left) – and Iglesias’ popularity began to wane after he and his wife bought an expensive house in Galapagar – a smart area of Madrid. The perception being that long-haired lefties should live in a draughty garret somewhere in a working-class neighbourhood.

Following the April 2019 elections, Podemos (67 deputies) decided against joining the PSOE in forming a government, which meant fresh elections for November of that year, where a weakened Iglesias (now with 42 deputies) finally agreed to support Pedro Sánchez.

Iglesias himself left his post as vice-president in the Spanish government in March 2021 to run for the Madrid regional elections (May 2021) where Podemos fared badly. He left the party to work as a broadcaster, leaving things to his wife Irene Montero and the current party leader Ione Belarra. In the July 2023 elections, the party ran within the Sumar movement, polling just five deputies, and in early December they subsequently quit their affiliation with the left-wing alliance and moved – possibly as renegades (‘transfugas’) – to the non-aligned Grupo Mixto instead.

The third strike against the party came from the flawed ‘only yes means yes’ law of Irene Montero – Minister of Equality in the last government. Neither the PSOE nor Sumar wanted her to return as minister, and their offer to give a ministerial position to another Podemos member was rebuffed (the member in question, feeling humiliated by his own partners, promptly quit the group, as have several other leading Podemos members in the past week).

Podemos today, ten years after it bounded onto the political scene, appears to be close to the end of its time in the frontline of Spanish politics. An editorial in the left-wing elDiario.es says gloomily: ‘Live fast, die young, and leave a beautiful corpse’. As for Pedro Sánchez, he now has another minority group to appease during this political cycle.


From Spanish Property Insight here: ‘Mortgage foreclosures fall to all-time low in Q3 mortgage repossessions and foreclosures. The number of homes repossessed from borrowers in the third quarter hit an all-time low according to data from the National Institute of Statistics’. The article concludes that ‘if mortgage repossessions are anything to go by, there is little sign of distress in the Spanish housing market’.

From Idealista (in English), a full analysis of the housing market here: ‘The year 2023 will end with a seemingly contradictory balance in the real estate market: mortgages are falling and the volume of transactions is suffering after a year as significant as 2022. However, prices continue to rise, driven by a demand that is still higher than the dwindling supply. The Housing Law has not only failed to meet the objectives set by the government but has had a devastating opposite effect: it was intended to solve the rental problem and has led to unknown levels of suffering for tenants. The new regulation has collapsed supply, and prices have continued to rise sharply…’

From the Majorca Daily Bulletin here: ‘Tourism and second homes are "expelling" Mallorca's residents. "It is more profitable to rent to a foreigner than to a resident"’.

The Supreme Court has ruled that not only town halls but now also neighbourhood communities can rule against tourist apartments within their building.


‘What’s up with the British and German tourists? There are still not as many coming as there were in 2019. Although there is a record number of foreign tourists, the lack of a complete recovery from the two main markets accelerates the diversification of visitors’. An article from El Confidencial here says that while this year’s figures have been very good, they haven’t overtaken the pre-Covid 2019 record year.

A night-ride on a slow train to the capital, or away to the frontier, is a great way to travel. It’s common in the rest of Europe, says Xataka here, but alas, in Spain, there aren’t any left. ‘Spain is an island. An exception. The night train is almost invisible in our country and there are no Spanish cities connected by this type of transport. In a Europe that seeks to reduce polluting emissions as much as possible, the night train is back. Everywhere, that is, except the Iberian Peninsula’.

So far – January through November this year – Spanish airports have received 263 million passengers.


What did Regional President Isabel Díaz Ayuso say from the public gallery during the swearing in of Pedro Sánchez? One can only read her lips, but it looked a lot like¡hijo de puta!’. The revised version – and now a meme – has her saying ‘me gusta la fruta’. Later the Madrid leader refused to apologise for the presumed insult.

Meanwhile, Vox leader Santiago Abascal is on record for saying earlier this week during his attendance at the inauguration of the ‘anarcho-capitalist’ Javier Milei (wiki) in Argentina that, sooner or later, Pedro Sánchez is going to be strung up by his feet (!) – in an odd comparison with Mussolini. From El Huff Post here: ‘Sánchez responds to Abascal’s smear: "He is trying to inculcate hatred in Spanish society". The President of the Government believes that the words of the Vox leader against him, saying that the people want to see him "hanging by his feet", are an attempt "to bring confrontation to the country"’. Elsewhere, the PSOE asks the PP leader Núñez Feijóo: is this the fellow talking who would have been your vice-president? Following this, the PP leader said on Telecinco that “This is also in line with what Sánchez does: to build a wall that divides the two Spains. It seems that Vox is interested in continuing to build that same wall. This is the strategy designed by Sánchez and one that suits Abascal just as well". On Tuesday, The PSOE says it will report Abascal to the Prosecutor's Office for his words against Sánchez and the party will also ask that the recent sieges of the various socialist headquarters be investigated.

The break-up between Sumar (26 deputies) and Podemos (5 deputies). After all that effort to finally bring together the far-left – the marriage only lasted for a few weeks… Opinion at eldiario.es here.

From El Huff Post here: ‘On Tuesday evening, Congress approved the consideration of the amnesty law by 178 votes in favour and 172 against’. The Conversation explains the background in English here.


From El Huff Post here: ‘The Navarrese PSOE (the PSN) agrees with EH Bildu on a motion of censure against the conservative mayor of Pamplona from UPN. The pact includes Geroa Bai and Contigo Navarra. The new mayor will be Joseba Ausirón (EH Bildu) in the weeks to come.


From Reuters here: ‘A deal over the post-Brexit status of the British territory of Gibraltar depends on agreement over use of the airport, Spain's foreign minister, Jose Manuel Albares, said in an interview published on Sunday’.


From Yahoo Finance here: ‘Spain's economy minister Nadia Calviño on Friday won the race to lead the European Investment Bank, the bloc's lending arm whose significance has grown since war broke out in Ukraine. The top post at the Luxembourg-based EIB attracted some of the biggest names in European politics, including the European Union's competition commissioner, Margrethe Vestager, who had stepped down temporarily to run…’ Nadia Calviño (wiki), currently Spain’s First Deputy Prime Minister of Spain and Minister of Economy, will move to her new post in January.

Pedro Sánchez (AKA ‘Perro Sanxe’) gave a speech in the European Parliament on Wednesday, following which, various conservative MEPs started to bark (‘¡Guau guau!’). Even Pedro Sánchez was amused, says El Huff Post here. Video here.

From The Huff Post (USA) here: ‘With Europe’s far-right at his shores, an ancient city’s mayor pleads for moderation. Lisbon's mayor called for preserving Portugal's liberal traditions and uniting against the far-right Chega party (wiki) riling its base with racist invective targeting a minority’.


Maldita (the fact-checker page) asks, ‘Is it dangerous to take Nolotil? It’s answer is:- ‘No, it is not. The active ingredient metamizole, commonly sold in Spain under the brand name Nolotil and used as an analgesic for moderate or severe acute pain, has been studied and considered safe. We must remember that we are talking about a medication and, as with any other drug, we must take into account its possible side effects, which are listed in the package insert…’

The Ministry of Health intends to implement a smoking ban on restaurant terraces as well as introducing a crackdown on disposable vaping says The Olive Press here. The ABC adds that the Ministry is in favour of any and all regional restrictions on smoking (and vaping).


From La Cadena Ser here: ‘Spain has forced the departure of two US spies for infiltrating the Spanish secret service (the CNI) and bribing a veteran agent to access classified information. The Defence Minister Margarita Robles later stated that the incident will not affect the "fundamental core of good relations" between the two countries’.


How odd that on Wednesday five separate newspapers should run the same article about a Mercadona product, and fail to note that the item was an advertorial.


The judge in the Caso Neurona, who has been trying to find traces of illegal financing in Podemos for three years, has finally been obliged to file the case without any of the avenues going anywhere: including that of the party’s supposed “secret account”. Textbook lawfare? Not that there was any mention of this resolution on Wednesday’s main-stream front-pages.


‘Fines for discharges into the Mar Menor (Murcia) work out at half a euro for every thousand litres of high-concentration salt water (brine). The sanctions against seven companies for the use of illegal clearance plants in Campo de Cartagena exceed three million euros’. La Verdad has the story.


The remaining demonstrators outside the PSOE headquarters in the Calle Ferraz (Madrid) are becoming increasingly odd. elDiario.es reports that the current crop is calling on the Virgen María to come along and rid Spain of the pestilential Pedro Sánchez and his unholy amnesty. The riot police have now blocked off access to the political offices.

From PR Noticias here – ‘The rise of the “Telephobes”: three million Spaniards never watch television at all’. That’s around 6% of the population says the article.

20Minutos brings us a perennial story about the Almería plastic farms: ‘Neither the Great Wall of China nor the pyramids of Egypt: the most visible human construction from space is in Spain’. With video.

The most names ever held by a historical royal belonged to Don Alfonso de Borbón y Borbón (1866-1934), a great-great-grandson of Charles III of Spain, reflecting a trend favoured by Spanish royalty in the 19th century.

His full name was Alfonso María Isabel Francisco Eugenio Gabriel Pedro Sebastián Pelayo Fernando Francisco de Paula Pío Miguel Rafael Juan José Joaquín Ana Zacarias Elisabeth Simeón Tereso Pedro Pablo Tadeo Santiago Simón Lucas Juan Mateo Andrés Bartolomé Ambrosio Geronimo Agustín Bernardo Candido Gerardo Luis-Gonzaga Filomeno Camilo Cayetano Andrés-Avelino Bruno Joaquín-Picolimini Felipe Luis-Rey-de-Francia Ricardo Esteban-Protomártir Genaro Nicolás Estanislao-de-Koska Lorenzo Vicente Crisostomo Cristano Darío Ignacio Francisco-Javier Francisco-de-Borja Higona Clemente Esteban-de-Hungría Ladislado Enrique Ildefonso Hermenegildo Carlos-Borromeo Eduardo Francisco-Régis Vicente-Ferrer Pascual Miguel-de-los-Santos Adriano Venancio Valentín Benito José-Oriol Domingo Florencio Alfacio Benére Domingo-de-Silos Ramón Isidro Manuel Antonio Todos-los-Santos de Borbón y Borbón.

Taken from Futility Closet here.

An animal-shelter outside Vélez-Málaga has been ordered by a judge to be closed down as the noise of the animals barking had become a cause for complaint from local residents. El Refugio de Leo has been active since 2016 says The Olive Press here, but must now find new homes for its forty-odd dogs.

I missed the link to the Madrid Barajas airport story last week – it’s here in an expanded blog-posting.

A recipe for pisto manchego at Eye on Spain here. It sounds delicious!

See Spain:

‘In the United Kingdom’, enthuses El Huff Post here, ‘they are amazed by this autonomous community: they say that it seems designed by an algorithm whose purpose was to please everybody. And they wonder why the so few ingleses go there to visit’. The region in question is Asturias and it comes with a high recommendation from The Daily Telegraph.


Hi Lenox,

I think BoT should have said "worst airport experience". The problem is that Barajas is absolutely enormous. So you really have to know your way around. But once you do you can have a great time wandering around, jumping off and on the free buses and generally enjoying the sights.

Cheers, Jake

Surely not as far as walking to the La Coruña gate.



Here’s Estopa (wiki) with El Día Que Tú Te Marches on YouTube.

Thanks to Brett for the tip.

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