Weekly Report”

Business over TapaS (Nº 539)

Business over TapaS (Nº 539)

  • 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 23 de mayo de 2024, 18:04h
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It seems to be an endless series of elections recently, with the Galicians, the Basques, the Catalonians, and now along comes the Europeans. The three regional ballots threw up a few interesting results – the Partido Popular did well in Galicia, the two regional parties PNV and EH Bildu scored neck-and-neck in Euzkadi (the PSOE will be the decider) and the PSC (the regional name for the PSOE) took the largest vote in Catalonia, the two independent parties coming second and third, and the PP in fourth place. And, of course, the final disappearance of Ciudadanos – the oh-so-centrist conservative clone.

The news and opinion has been full of the results and the intrigues: how did our party do? Are we growing or sinking? Should we run another survey already?

Can we extrapolate the regional results for Europe?

Perhaps not. Spain only has 61 out of 720 MEPs.

But, on the other hand, the populists are doing well across Europe, so the chances are that both the PP’s Alberto Núñez Feijóo (whose platform seems to be more about destroying Spain’s government and the socialist party than providing any policies of his own), and the insufferable Santiago Abascal, may be rewarded come June 9th.

Abascal was entertaining his friend the Argentine president Javier Milei this week-end during the Vox Europa Viva 24’ summit (‘the anti-human-rights summit’ says one lefty commentator), along with a number of other far-right leaders (a pity Trump couldn’t come, although of course he’s busy at the moment).

The conference, enthused La Gaceta, ‘brought together dozens of patriotic leaders from Europe and Latin America’. The future is ours, say the populists, or to put it another way, ‘Tomorrow belongs to me’.

‘Madrid became, this weekend, the epicentre of fascism’ said elDiario.es here.

Last month, Milei had received the ex-president of Spain José María Aznar in Buenos Aires. The Argentinian bruiser also met several business-leaders this past Saturday, including the chairman of the CEOE (the Spanish Confederation of Employers' Organizations) – Spain having major business interests in Argentina – but was not able to fit in time to visit the Spanish president (both leaders no-doubt releasing a satisfied breath over this breach of procedure). Not that Sánchez was forgotten entirely, Milei mortally insulted both him and his wife Begoña during his inflammatory speech to the faithful on Sunday and Spain has now recalled its ambassador to Argentina in consequence.

The Vox party hopes to do well in next month’s European elections. What with all the excitement. The rest of us sincerely hope otherwise.

As an aside – why do so many of the far-right have peculiar haircuts?

The drift across Europe, say the editorials, is towards the right. We see that the conservatives are bedding down with the populists (a tactic that has so far seen mixed results here in Spain, as the tail so often ends up wagging the dog).

For the flag-wavers, illegal immigration is their cause juste, although the immigrants are needed to help pay the social security and thus the pensions of an ever-aging population. They’ll also do the jobs that none of us want to do, from picking strawberries to cleaning bathrooms. The other pin in the populist cause is Islam, since the suspicion is that they will one day rise up and murder us all in our beds.

Probably just to shut us up.

The threat of the European far right – and its possible acceptance – gets a timely reminder of what happened less than a century ago with this week’s cover of Der Spiegel: a German flag draped over a disturbing symbol from the past.

So, what does the European Union do and why should we vote (those who can)?

We read that ‘All 27-member states hold inclusion, tolerance, justice, solidarity and non-discrimination as crucial pillars of the European Union’.

Unless – you see – the far-right gets in.


What to do if your tenant sublets the apartment or house? Idealista knows, here.

The Olive Press says ‘Murcia region property sellers are not putting up sales boards to prevent their houses becoming a target for squatters. The bulk of adverts have shifted to online real estate sites with an increasing number of property listings being exclusive to the internet as house displays are cut. The Murcia region real estate agents association spokesperson, Jeronimo Jover says that signs are ‘barely’ noticeable on the front of a third of properties being marketed…’


It’s a huge industry and it brings enormous amounts of money to Spain. However, it has its problems. From The Majorca Daily Bulletin here: ‘Are there celebrations for record seasons in Mallorca and the Balearics any longer? In terms of tourist numbers, they are more matters for concern, great concern because of overcrowding and the stresses that human pressure brings to the islands. In 2023, the total number of tourists increased by a staggering 1.3 million to 17.8 million. In 2024, it is not inconceivable that this total could increase by a further two million - touching 20 million, twice as many as at the start of the century…’

‘Tourist apartments increased by 9.2% in Spain in the last year, with a total now standing at 351,389 homes’ says 20Minutos here. 1.33% of all homes in Spain, says the article, are short-term tourist apartments – with an average of five beds. EPE reports that there are only 1,008 fully legal tourist apartments in Madrid out of 13,502.

I live in a tourist resort where the town hall issues daily news-items related to its attractions. So many concerts, parades, sporting events, presentations, prize-givings, blue-flags and galas, it’s clear that the place is focused more on the tourists than the residents. A kind of Butlins or better still, a Disneyville (the ayuntamiento insists that Walt Disney was born in Mojácar and has two giant murals to prove its claim).


From 20Minutos here: ‘The tourist industry estimates that reducing the working week to 37.5 hours would cost the sector 2,348 million euros’.

The conservative news-site The Corner says here that ‘According to data from the Banco de España, Spanish public debt rose in the first quarter of 2024 to 109% of GDP, which is 1.3 percentage points higher than at the end of 2023, while it set an all-time high at €1,613,063 million, 5.1% higher than in the same quarter of the previous year…’. Could the answer be to lower taxes for the wealthy?

From El Mundo here: ‘Spanish businessmen meet behind closed doors with Javier Milei: "He tells us that he will turn Argentina into a reliable country for investment". Some fifteen representatives of large Spanish companies attended the meeting of the Head of State of Argentina, who described the confab as "fabulous." Antonio Garamendi (CEOE), Héctor Grisi (Banco de Santander) and Alonso Aznar (son of the ex-president of Spain), were among the attendees…’

The olive-oil harvest was better this year in Spain – so why does the price continue to rise asks El Economista here.


n interview from El Huff Post here: "Feijóo's problem is who rules over him". ‘The PSOE spokesperson in the Senate and leader of the Andalusian socialists Juan Espadas denounces the "partisan" use of the PP in the Senate and the health situation in Andalucía’.

Commenting on the results of the Catalonian elections, ‘Pedro Sánchez: “It is grotesque to hear the supposed defenders of the unity of Spain harking after the bad times of the Catalonian independence protests (‘el procés’)”’. The item comes from elDiario.es here. This to do with the PP policy of confrontation with the Independents versus the socialist approach of harmonisation and amnesty.

How can Sumar and Podemos and Más Madrid and Izquierda Unida and Compromís and Los Comunes (etc.) all attempt to be independent of each other, when all they have managed to do (as they have – in various incarnations – since long before the Civil War) is to fragment the far-left? Maybe El Mundo could stir things up a bit?

A couple of interesting types at the Vox Europa Viva 24 jamboree held in Madrid this weekend: the Israeli Minister against anti-Semitism Amichai Chikli and the Spanish Holocaust-denier Pedro Varela. They probably sat at different tables. La Marea fills in the details here.

The Argentine president, Javier Milei, took a poke at Pedro Sánchez during the Vox-fest, saying his wife Begoña Gómez is corrupt and that it took Sánchez five days to think about it (here). The reaction from the Government was to recall their ambassador and to insist on a public apology, which Milei says in a television interview that he most certainly won’t give – “Sánchez is a coward who hides under the skirts of women”, he says. 20Minutos reports that ‘The PP responds to the Government for the crisis with Milei: "Our job is to oppose the president of Spain, not the president of Argentina"’, although they later say ‘…that Milei cannot come on his first trip to Spain without greeting the King or the Parliament and to only participate in a political event designed to "stir up Spanish politics". Vox says that Milei created more opposition to the Government in fifteen minutes than the PP has managed throughout several legislations. Milei himself, notes El Huff Post here, tweets that he couldn’t care less about all of this fuss: “I’m surfing on a wave of socialists’ tears. Long live Freedom, shit”. Indeed, says El Mundo, Milei fired off over 1,000 anti-Sánchez tweets while flying home. Mind you, says La Nación (Argentina), Milei has to date also insulted the presidents of Colombia, Brazil, Chile, Mexico, the USA, China and Venezuela… and even the Pope. Lastly, El Mundo reports that ‘Diplomats are in shock at the stupidity of the Government action against Argentina: "It is something that will be very difficult to repair"’.


The agreement is still not there. From The Guardian last week: ‘A joint statement hailed significant progress since last month’s meeting. “Today’s discussions took place in a constructive atmosphere, with important breakthroughs and additional areas of agreement. All sides are reassured that the agreement is getting closer and will work closely and rapidly on outstanding areas towards an overall EU-UK agreement,” it said. But the failure to reach an agreement – said to be within “within kissing distance” last month – raises doubts about whether differences can be reconciled before the European elections in early June. After the voting, from 6 to 9 June, the EU institutions change their leadership, a factor likely to further delay the agreement…’

European elections June 9:

20Minutos says that ‘Feijóo creates a working group to capture the foreign vote residing in Spain in view of the European elections’. Around 2.5 million immigrants with Spanish nationality can vote here – worth in the European elections around an extra five deputies.

‘The PP presents the European elections as a plebiscite on Sánchez: “It’s Now or Never”. The party drops its usual colours and images, and proposes the June 9 elections to be a way of "responding" to the letter with which the President of the Government announced his "reflection" on his future: "There will be no other opportunity until the next general elections”, says the party’. The story at elDairio.es here.

El País publishes its latest survey: the PP runs at 23 seats, PSOE at 20, Vox 8 and Sumar at 3 (out of 61). The Ciudadanos vote has collapsed since 2019 (they had 7 in 2019) and most of their supporters will have migrated to the right. In all, thirty-four Spanish parties will be looking for a vote including a few oddities: Frente Obrero; Iustitia Europa; Escaños en Blanco; Feministas al Congreso; Se Acabó la Fiesta (far right); La España Olvidada Existe; Soberanía Alimentaria Española; Pirates de Catalunya y Europeos - Alianza Rebelde… and, yes, even Ciudadanos.

ECD says that only a third of young Spaniards (defined at being between 18 and 30) intend to vote in the European elections.


From 20Minutos here: ‘The President of the Government, Pedro Sánchez, announced this Wednesday that Spain will recognize Palestine as a State next Tuesday the 28th. Spain will do so simultaneously with Ireland and Norway, whose decision has caused Israel to re-call their ambassadors for consultations…’ As says that ‘Recognition by the Government has more symbolic value than legal effects. Spain holds diplomatic relations with the Palestinian Authority, but will not open an embassy in Ramallah’. Over 140 countries now recognise Palestine. The paper also notes that Israel has spoken of ‘grave consequences’ against the three European countries.


The Olive Press says that ‘Spain has launched its annual plan to alert vulnerable people about heat-waves during the summer. The initiative from the Health Ministry has run for the past 20 years and will be active until September 30th - with an option to extend it to October 15th if needed. A new feature will be meteoalert zones kicking in from June 3rd, which will be a reference map for extreme heat warnings. The 182 meteohealth zones are designated areas of the country that according to previous years vary in temperature between each other…’ EuroNews says that ‘Spain has suffered 22,000 heat-related deaths in the last eight years … the country is bracing for another scorching summer, having endured two years of record heat. Copernicus, the EU climate service, states that there is up to a 70% chance that this summer will be one of the hottest on record in Spain’. The meteohealth map, 180 mini-areas, will show dangerous areas. 20Minutos has a video to explain the danger and notes that the same tropical heat in different areas of Spain has different effects.


El Plural brings ‘The Partido Popular's reason not to renew the CGPJ: the same lie every time it is in the opposition. The PP's blockade to renew the CGPJ (the maximum judicial authority) has now lasted more than five years’. They would allow it only if changes in the procedural system were effected, allowing the judges to choose their own champions.

‘The Guardia Civil does not find signs of crime in the actions of Begoña Gómez. In a report sent to Judge Juan Carlos Peinado, the UCO (wiki) does not find that the president's wife had any influence in the rescue of Air Europa’. From El Confidencial here. The judge (here) however appears to be continuing with his investigation, which now has both Manos Limpias and Vox as civil plaintiffs. A late item from La Sexta says that the judge ‘…disregards both the Prosecutor's Office and the UCO and calls on six witnesses to testify in the case against Begoña Gómez’. Pedro Sánchez, who calls the whole thing ‘una máquina de fango’ (a mud machine) here on RTVE as he defends his wife, said in Congress on Wednesday that he will be glad to give any explanations necessary. So, is this all another example of conservative lawfare or rather a judge determined to get to the bottom of things?

That unfortunate Spanish journalist rotting in a Polish jail without charges for the last 27 months has just been given another three months extension (his ninth).


Over in Argentina, President Milei has ordered the closure of all public media, TV, radio and print, pending a ‘restructure’. elDiario.es has the story.

Political jokes are at Así Va España here.


From InSpain here: ‘The state of Spain’s water reservoirs is about the same as last week’s. Four cubic hectometres have been added in the past seven days. That represents a very small increase of 0.01%. However, Catalonia is no longer the region with the lowest water level in the reservoirs…’ The prize goes to Murcia (says the article), or the province of Almería at just 8.48% capacity.

There was more rain than had been expected a few weeks back – and now we can fill our Costa del Sol swimming pools after all, says Sur in English here, from June 1st.


INews has a piece on Richard Hill (Brexpats in Spain) and the many advantages (and some difficulties) for the British migrants to Spain.

Publicly-owned museums across Andalucía will now charge visitors to frequent them, says El Diario de Sevilla here. This cultural windfall for the Junta de Andalucía to be worth an anticipated 7.8 million euros per annum. The Almería museums (well, monuments mostly) will now charge 5€ per person.

Adventure Elliot again, this time in Roquetas de Mar (Almería): ‘Migrants Are taking over This Spanish City’ (Thanks John).

From Sur in English here: ‘The Courier: a film about the real estate 'boom' and corruption in Marbella unexpectedly tops the Netflix chart worldwide. After its success in the cinema, it has become the most watched non-English language film on the streaming platform, although it is not yet available in Spain’ (with trailer).

Infobae brings us the question ‘Should graffiti be protected? The debate reopens after the discovery of one from the mythical Muelle on an old wall in the centre of Madrid’. We read that ‘Juan Carlos Argüello, alias Muelle (Madrid, 1965-1995) was the first Spanish graffiti artist recognized worldwide’. My own opinion (Muelle’s work involved painting the word ‘Muelle’ on various walls and doors across Madrid) is that this is not art but vandalism and that spray-cans should have a canon on them in the shops (to help pay for the subsequent clean-up).

Up a Mountain in Spain brings us ‘Beekeeper Toni and the Importance of Bees’ here.

A Spanish expression: ‘Not even El Tato was there’. Ideal has the story of the bullfighter Antonio Sánchez (1831 – 1895) known as El Tato, who never missed a party, a fiesta, a dinner or an event. Even after he had a foot amputated following his last fight in the arenas, he would always show up for any treat. Thus, if there’s an event and no one comes along, you say "no ha venido ni el Tato".

“Now, my friends, keep you from the white and from the red, and especially from the white wine of Spain that is for sale in the streets of London. This wine of Spain creeps subtly into other wines, which are grown nearby, from which there rise such fumes to the head that, when a man has drunk three draughts and thinks he is at home in London, he is in Spain, right at the town of Lepe and then will he drunkenly say, “Samson, Samson!”

— Geoffrey Chaucer (Thanks Jake)

See Spain:

Eye on Spain takes us on a visit to ‘El Escorial, Spain's Majestic Renaissance Complex’.

érida (Badajoz) is an amazing city (‘where under every rock, you’ll find something Roman’). Here from Spain’s official tourist site Spain.info, we take a visit to the Roman Empire. ‘One day is enough to discover the essential Mérida and to bring its Roman past back to life. This World Heritage City boasts a Roman theatre which is over 2,000 years old and is still in use. Visit the city in the summer to see it in all its splendour. In June, the “Emerita Lvdica” festival is held, returning the streets of Mérida to the Romans and the gladiators. In the evenings of July and August, the Roman theatre hosts the International Classical Theatre Festival…’


The Banksters (here).

Your usual fine work here, Lenox. Especially so on the multiple stories on the banks. Nobody does it better.


Our local branch was burgled on May 1st, and remains closed ‘for repairs’, three weeks later. Which proves my point I think…

Hi Lenox,

... the archaic idea that public companies are run for the benefit of their owners, the shareholders. They are not. They are run for the benefit of the people who are doing the running, that is, the management team. Shareholders have to hope, or work to ensure, that management’s interests line up with their own’. (Robert Armstrong: Will another bank fail? Financial Times March 14 2023)


Dear Lenox,

The choice by Brits of Granada as southern Spain’s best city is understandable but I would like to put in a good word for Córdoba. Cádiz is another fine city. Then there’s Seville of course.


I went to school in Seville in 1971, but have hardly ever been back, for no particular reason… My favourites are Granada and Córdoba. Lenox


Julieta Venegas, Caminar Sola (Live in Seville) on YouTube here.

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