“Weekly Report”

Business over Tapas (Nº 533)

Business over Tapas (Nº 533)

  • 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 11 de abril de 2024, 13:48h
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Is it a case of sore losers, or of opportunities lost? Could it (possibly) be simple belief in their superior powers of management?

Would, in short, Spain be a better place with a conservative/far-right government than the current weak mix-and-match of Pedro Sánchez?

Judge with the examples of the regions of Castilla y León, Valencia, Extremadura and Aragón, where in some cases – inevitably – the tail wags the dog. The PP needs Vox just as the PSOE needs the lefties and the (sometimes rather trying) independence parties, who, in both the Basque Country and in Catalonia, will be faced with the inconvenient complication of being joined at the hip in the national government while at daggers drawn in the two upcoming elections.

This could end in tears as the PSOE will likely become obliged to choose one over the other, which is perhaps why Feijóo is calling for fresh national elections once again.

Even though there’s no doubt but that the Partido Popular (and Vox) will do terribly in both the coming Euskera and Catalunya elections.

Since the Spanish economy is doing well, the opposition must find alternate reasons to harass the government. Corruption is a good place to start, but it is a two-edged sword. Right now, they are voting against the Government’s tactic of the amnesty for the Catalonian illegal referendum of 2017 from their majority presence in the Senate.

Generally speaking, the conservatives have the support – more or less – of the private media, the judiciary, the church and the military, but not so much of the voters (evidently) and most foreign observers.

Charles Dickens could have been writing about Spain in 2024: “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times; it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness; it was the season of light, it was the season of darkness; it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair”.


From Reuters here: ‘Spain will scrap its so-called Golden Visa programme granting residency rights to foreigners who make large investments in real estate in the country, Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez told reporters on Monday. Ending the scheme would help make access to affordable housing "a right instead of a speculative business", he said. 20Minutos also carries the story here. The Golden Visa was introduced by Mariano Rajoy in 2013. 96.2% of these visas (they include residence permits) went to acquiring property. A minute number went to other investment. El Mundo notes that ‘Cities such as Barcelona, Madrid, Málaga, Alicante, Palma and Valencia are the most in demand for this type of operations and, in addition, they coincide in being the most stressed areas for property’.

More on the Golden Visas in ‘Finance’ below.

‘The supply of housing is decreasing: for every apartment available for rent there is now an average of 27 families looking to move in, 55% more than a year ago. Access to housing is becoming tougher for Spanish families’. El Mundo says that higher rental prices, scarcity and short-term tourist rents all contribute to the problem.

El Confidencial in an opinion piece finds homes in Madrid converted from abandoned shops, or other commercial spaces, or even community sculleries.

A girl shows us her 15m2 attic in Madrid for which she pays 500€ rent. Video at LaSexta.

Rent a caravan in Ibiza during the High Season – 1,000€ per month!

‘The average price of a second-hand house in Spain continues to rise at a dangerous pace, closing at 2,231 euros per square metre in March, which is 10.66% more than the same month of the previous year and an increase of 1. 62% compared to February, as well as an increase of 3.30% compared to the previous quarter…’. Item from Euribor here. Note that articles of this type in the Spanish media refer rather to city prices than the small farm you recently saw in the hills behind that cute pueblo blanco in Andalucía…

‘House prices outside Spain's main cities rise below national average. The 29 cities with over 100,000 inhabitants that are not provincial capitals average an increase of 4.3%, below the national 7.2%’. Idealista (in English) brings us this one.

Of course, one can move to the sticks, where it’s easier to find a place to live. Here’s a video about a happy fellow who lives peacefully in an abandoned village… (Thanks Jake)

The incoming Coastal Law: El País asks, ‘Which homes are susceptible to expropriation and until when could one continue to live in them?’ Roughly, one can continue to use the house (if fully legal) within the ‘public-zone’ for the next 75 years, although it would now belong to the State. The new rules anticipate rising sea levels and climate change.

‘Expat expert warns Brits moving to Spain that the process has got ten times harder. Dreaming of a life in Spain? The post-Brexit landscape is significantly more complex than it once was’. A somewhat redundant item found at The London Economic here.


More on turismofobia: Diario de Avisos says that ‘British tourists respond to turismofobia in Tenerife: “F*** you, we pay your salaries”. In recent days, the English newspaper, The Daily Mail, has published a series of reports based around “the growing war against British holidaymakers”’ (Some examples of the Mail’s reports here and here). Here’s El Huff Post: ‘Good Morning Britain – a TV show – asks ‘should we boycott Tenerife?’ 47% of viewers said ‘yes’! Some Twitter answers are included. Residents on the Spanish holiday island tell The Olive Press that ‘…the ‘massification’ of tourism is the real target, as they call for a moratorium on the industry, along with a tourist tax and stricter controls…’ Finally, elDiario.es warns of a protest across several islands on Saturday April 20th with the headline: ‘The Canary Islands are fed up with tourism that grows without control: ''We are going to die of success''. On April 20, the Islanders will demonstrate to demand a moratorium on tourism and the application of the eco-tax. The lack of water and housing plus the issue of poverty are some of the reasons that are pushing people to protest’. The article examines the problems of the islands, one by one.

The Majorca Daily Bulletin has (once again): ‘Spain wants Britons to show they have 113.40 euros, £97, per day for their holidays’ here and it also runs with ‘Over two hours for Britons to get through Palma airport queues’ (last Friday) here.

Sur in English (evidently a bit more on the ball) says ‘Andalucía: a favourite destination for foreign tourists with the UK remaining the leading international market. Of the country's four major tourist regions the south of Spain has witnessed the highest growth in visitors from other countries’.

See, there’s sometimes too many visitors, and as mentioned above, we are killed by our own success. From Preferente here: ‘The town halls of Adeje, Arona, Benidorm, Calviá, Lloret de Mar, Salou, San Bartolomé de Tirajana and Torremolinos sound the alarm’. The Alliance of Sun and Beach Tourist Municipalities (AMT) are asking the Government for extra funding to help with basic services, such as cleaning, public transportation, lighting, security, health services, water and electricity.


The loss of the Golden Visa will oblige wealthy investors to seek elsewhere, and Spain has issued thus far around 10,000 of them, says the conservative El Economista here. It was worth, says the article, some 580 million euros per year in foreign investment. ABC says that Chinese citizens have received the most Visados de Oro, at 2,712, followed by Russians (1,159), Iranians (203), Americans (179) and Brits (177 since Brexit)… Note: Xataka says that no one seems sure of the number of these visas issued for home-buyers (the vast majority) over the years, as figures vary between 5,963 (Ministry of Foreign Affairs) and 10,800 (El País). The midday RTVE Telediario on Tuesday gave the figure of beneficiaries as 14,576. The PP says that the removal of the visa will affect 0.002% of property sales. From the UK, Mail Online called it ‘A blow for hundreds of thousands of British expats’.

From Xataca here: ‘The OCU (consumers’ organisation) has identified the three supermarkets that have increased prices the most in Spain. After examining food and drugstores, the OCU calculates that they became more expensive on average by 38% in stores’. AlCampo, Carrefour and Mercadona being the worst offenders. The most expensive is still El Corte Inglés. (Thanks Charles)


‘The former president of the Government, José María Aznar, has questioned the proposal of the recognition of a Palestinian State that "does not exist and that only serves to advance the interests of others, specifically Iran. To those who defend the creation of a Palestinian State, what State are they referring to? There is no State; and if were to recognise such a State, then we are working for the interests of others". Pedro Sánchez answered shortly: it exists and it will exist. La Cadena Ser has the story here.

A current target of the conservatives is Begoña Gómez, wife of Pedro Sánchez. There’s nothing much to show for it, but the accusations of malfeasance continue to appear.

From El Mundo here: ‘The PSOE has ended up yielding to the pressure of the 700,000 people who have supported with their signature a Popular Legislative Initiative (ILP) to legalize foreigners residing irregularly in Spain and voted in favour of the parliamentary processing of this proposal. … "We want to confront this phenomenon of immigration in an intelligent and reasonable way: it is not about an open bar or closing borders, it is about knowing that a country like ours needs and will need thousands of immigrants even to be able to sustain our industrial output," says the socialist spokesperson in Congress, Patxi López…’ All parties except Vox voted in favour of the initiative. elDiario.es notes that the proposal to regularise foreigners without papers means only that the subject will be debated in Congress in due course. Manu Chau with the anthem Clandestino is on YouTube here.

These are the words one uses to insult one’s fellow politicians, says elDiario.es here. They include asesino, botifler, bruja, canalla, catastrofista, ególatra, facha (of course), felón, feminazi, gánster, gentuza, gilipollas, golpista, incompetente, mariposón, mediocre, miserable, okupa, rata chepuda, sociópata, terrorista, tirano, traidor… and a few others.

Euskadi elections April 21:

Maldita has the seven main candidates and their backgrounds here.


Catalonia elections May 12:

From Catalan News here: Carles Puigdemont to return to Catalonia for swearing-in even if not elected president. The former Catalan president, who has been living in exile since 2017, is Junts per Catalunya's candidate for May 12 vote’. Puigdemont says he will ‘abandon politics’ if he is not re-elected president of the Generalitat, says El Huff Post here.


The Guardian here: ‘How Spain and Ireland became the EU’s sharpest critics of Israel. Each time Madrid and Dublin speak out on the war in Gaza others are emboldened to join them, sources say’.


A subject close to the heart of The Olive Press is finally receiving attention from the National High Court which ‘has agreed to investigate a possible health liability for the possible adverse health effects derived from the consumption of the drug Nolotil’. The pill contains a drug, metamizol, which is banned in a number of countries including the USA, the UK, Ireland, Sweden and elsewhere. 20Minutos has more. Maldita insists that the pill – used for pain-relief – is not considered dangerous by the Spanish health authorities.

A Government plan to tackle tobacco-use – an initial step in subsequent legislation – has been accepted by just five regions: Cataluña, Canarias, País Vasco, Asturias and Navarra.

Some fresh products on the shelves at the supermarket may be cheap because they have been imported from outside the EU – where the quality standards are sometimes not as high. We read of tomatoes, onions, strawberries and now melons with pesticides.


As we wait to see how the inquiry into Luis Rubiales turns out, La Cadena Ser leads with the bombshell that ‘The headquarters of the company with which Rubiales sought to do real estate business is located in a "dilapidated building"’. It’s an empty ruin in Granada.

The ex-president of Valencia Eduardo Zaplana finally declares in court on bribery charges. Allegedly involved in the Caso Naseiro, el Marujazo, el Caso Sanz, Terra Mítica and the Causa Ivex-Julio Iglesias, and despite a ‘preventative’ spell in prison, he has until now managed to stay away from the courts. Another big name conservative ex-politician, Rodrigo Rato, is also currently defending himself in court accused of corruption and bribery. The accusation in his case is asking for seventy years of prison.

‘Seven arrested in a massive scam scheme related to timeshare ownership in Málaga. The network is accused of defrauding 155 foreign victims, mostly retirees recruited at sham conferences’. Diario Sur has the story.

A breathless story at Canal Red tells of corrupt Venezuelans arrested in Madrid and their links to some big-name local personalities.


It’s hard getting your reputation and your position back once you’ve had to resign – or been given the push – following an invented scandal. Politically speaking, several cases of lawfare have recently led to innocent victims being purged thanks to attacks (generally) from the far-right hand-in-hand with the judiciary. Cases where the accused has later been fully exonerated. Most recently, Mónica Oltra (Compromís), the ex-vice president of the Valencian Community. Other recent cases include Jordi Cañas (Ciudadanos) and Xosé Ramón Gómez Besteiro (PSdeG), both now back in politics, and Antonio Rodrigo Torrijos (Izquierda Unida) and Salvador Victoria (Partido Popular). More at elDiario.es here.


Following the marriage of José Luis Martínez-Almeida the Mayor of Madrid to an heiress this past Saturday (see Hola here for pictures), which included all of the great and the good (even Juan Carlos I was there), an event shown in detail on Telemadrid; viewers of that channel were then treated to the evening film - Francis Ford Coppola’s El Padrino. (Heh!)

Poor Begoña Gómez gets a pasting from The Objective. The headline reads: ‘The Government hides the amount of a subsidy in the name of Begoña Gómez’. The photo shows Pedro Sánchez and his wife, Begoña Gómez. Good stuff. The article, however, later admits that the issue is with another woman who simply shares the same name. The same fake-news headline also made it to Telemadrid (which later, briefly, apologised).

Público wonders why we don’t admire the Spanish wealthy (like we should?) here.


Pollsters are always ready to ask us anything – well, almost. So why doesn’t the CIS want to ask the people in the street about keeping (or discarding) the Spanish monarchy? Electomanía reckons that 67.9% of the population think that they should pop the question.

‘The Democratic Memory Law: Spanish nationality for International Brigade volunteers and their descendants. Del Canto Chambers explain how International Brigade volunteers who participated in the Spanish Civil War, and their descendants, can obtain Spanish citizenship if they apply before October 2025’. Found at Spanish Property Insight here.

An article at El Mundo remembers the good times of the old crooners long before the harsh pop-rubbish we are subjected to these days. Nino Bravo, Julio Iglesias, Rocío Jurado, Camilo Sesto, Serrat, Raphael and a long etcetera.

A tennis court in the Plaza Mayor! What would the residents of that famous Madrid square have to say? Apparently, it’s something to do with ‘marketing’. LaSexta here (with video).

‘This the 'secret' bar in Granada that is hidden behind a vending machine frontage. The club has gone viral on social media for its rather unusual entrance’. From Sur in English here.

‘Benalmádena's traders demand that people who buy from 'looky looky' men should be fined. The town's retailers claim that purchasing from the illegal street vendors 'constitutes a crime' and are calling on the local council to impose sanctions’. From Sur in English here.

Talking of solar eclipses, Spain will enjoy three of them in the next few years: in August 2026 and again in August 2027. Finally in January 2028.

One can always rely on The Express for something silly about Spain: ‘A Spanish resident warns British visitors to avoid one of the country's most popular drinks’. We learn that ‘“Sangría is a tourist trap, originally created by some British folk. The authentic and original version is called ‘tinto de verano’. What’s the difference? The original uses actual wine and lemon. Sangría is a soda like Coca Cola and Fanta, so imagine going to Spain and paying 10 euros (£8.58) for a jar of Fanta. This happens everywhere in Spain”’.

I expand on this rubbish at Eye on Spain, here.


Las Migas with Ojos Verdes for rumba-fans on YouTube here. Wiki writes up the band here.

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