Business over Tapas
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
We are asked to dine early by the restaurants to escape the curfew. We should be ‘more like the northern Europeans’ and change our habits for an early dinner.
It is our duty and responsibility, in short, to save the restaurants and bars from the current crisis.
Programmes on the TV show the plight of various industries. The flower sellers aren’t selling flowers; the tour-buses are going broke; the museums are all but empty and the open-air market people have lots of over-ripe fruit and no one to sell them to.
But all this is no one’s fault, or if it is, then it’s the fault of the politicians not daring to be stricter with the populace.
It’s probably fair to say that we are more likely to catch the coronavirus in a bus or a bus-station, an underground train or an airport. But, whether it’s a restaurant, a tour-bus or a cinema (who wouldn’t take his mask off in the dark?); you can count me out for the time being.
The Government is revaluing the valor castastral (here) – the taxable value – on around a million homes in 2021 says El Español here. This will affect the IBI, the property tax paid annually to the town hall. The Government, understandably, has been lax in its study of cadastral values in 2020.
‘Would you live in a hotel for 700 euros a month? The proposal could solve the Spanish tourist drama’. ElDiario.es reports here, saying that ‘several hotels in Spain have switched to room rental to survive; a model that in the future may become part of their business’.
ECD looks at resources to eject squatters or those in arrears from one’s property here.
Spain was already 50 million foreign tourists down by the end of September and more than 55,000 million euros short. France surpasses the United Kingdom as the main sending country, while the arrivals of British and Germans show a fall of 92%’. El Mundo headline.
‘Cancellations of 60% of reservations in hotels in the Canary Islands have been reported following the confinement announced in the United Kingdom. Travel agencies confirm that the majority of overnight stays have been paralyzed’ says ECD here.
How much will pensioners receive in 2021? El Español has the answers here.
Bankia has less financial problems than any other bank, and we are giving it away says the economist Juan Laborda bitterly. La Marea has the story here.
The Government rescues Air Europa with 475 million euros says elDiario.es here. ‘The company will receive a participative loan of 240 million and another ordinary loan of 235 million that must be repaid in six years. The public-owned SEPI (Wiki) will appoint two directors and will have the last word on dismissals or the appointment of the CEO’.
‘BlackRock, the world’s largest investment fund, with $7.4 trillion (7,4 billones de dólares) in its portfolio, is concerned about the situation in Spain and the reputational implications of the Villarejo case in several companies, such as Iberdrola and BBVA, of which it is the second largest shareholder. The American manager, which is the largest investor in the Spanish stock market, with close to 20,000 million euros in listed companies, recently brought together the main executives of the Ibex 35 to see first-hand how they saw the situation in the country, a conference which Blackrock used to remind them that it would only buy shares in companies that are socially responsible and not involved in corruption scandals…’. El Confidencial has the story here.
Hacienda has published a list of the top debtors to the tax office. A very long list! It shows by name and number any company or person who owes the tax man over a million euros.
‘Casado’s (apparent) turnaround disrupts the government’s strategy’ says El Confidencial here. It begins ‘Until now, the government has been relatively comfortable with the argument that the only alternative to the coalition and its supporters is the extreme right. In fact, the famous photo at the Statue of Columbus in Madrid (Colón), with the PP, Vox and Ciudadanos, was the main argument for the April 2019 election call. Seeing that image with Pablo Casado, Santiago Abascal and Albert Rivera, Pedro Sánchez and his team knew it was a good moment to call for fresh elections…’. Is it merely political posturing, or a genuine move to the centre?
‘Vox attacks the PP for calling it “the extreme right” and claims that it stands as the “only opposition” in the “Congress of the loons”. The party has called government officials to account for their intention to promote sanctions against those who make “hate” speeches or make “racist, xenophobic or sexist” insults in Congress’. The story is at ECD here.
Why do people always drift away from the centre? (Is Ciudadanos the centre?) VozPópuli reports that C’s have lost half of their militantes – registered supporters – in the past year.
The current unrest in the streets ‘benefits the Sánchez Government’ says VozPópuli here. It adds, ‘The Executive already has a state of alarm to allow it to legislate by decree for six months, without parliamentary or judicial control and without assuming overall responsibility for health matters’.
‘The Government has agreed with regional ERC party to remove from the law that Spanish is the vehicular language in education in Catalonia. The amendment is framed within the ‘Celaá law’, which includes other controversial measures such as abolishing the limit of failures to pass the course’. More on this at El Español here.
An amusing (or maybe tragic) article at El Huff Post called
‘The British after Brexit will not be able to enjoy the benefits of the EU … has the penny dropped yet?’
‘We could laugh for a while with what I’m going to tell you, and it could well be treated as a comedy if it weren’t for the seriousness of the matter.
Last weekend the British media spoke of one of the consequences of Brexit: not being able to use the queue for European citizens when entering EU airports, but rather having to use the route for citizens of third countries. It is estimated, for example, that at Schiphol Amsterdam airport, it can be translated into an hour or more to be added in the estimation of the trips … and if you have to use connections with other flights it can make one’s schedule very complicated.
Hundreds of comments in the newspapers adorned the news, “I did not vote for this”, “we are going to take an hour more to start the holidays”, or “I hope this is fixed before the departure of the European Union” … in their wonderful little heads there was a Brexit in which they would choose which parts of the EU they kept, and which were the ones they did without.
The seriousness of the matter is in the level of ignorance that was shown when voting something which from the start was illogical, arrogant and stupid.
It is not the first time that Brexiteers, as Brexit supporters are called, have raised their voices on similar issues that are nothing more than a consequence of what was voted on…’.
It goes on to poke fun at the future complications, indignities, bother and inevitable price rises thanks to the efforts of the Brexiteers.
El País in English headline here: ‘Spain sets new weekend record for coronavirus cases, fatalities in the second wave. Monday’s Health Ministry report included 55,019 new infections and added 379 victims to the overall death toll’. From La Vanguardia here: ‘The Government and the autonomous regions reckon on two or three weeks before further tightening measures. Until then, the Health Minister Salvador Illa rules out applying home confinement’.
What of those who have no home to go to? ElDiario.es looks at Spain’s 40,000 homeless people in the times of the plague.
‘A coronavirus strain from Spain accounts for most UK cases’ says The Guardian here. ‘The study found that in Wales and Scotland it accounted for about 80% of cases in mid-September, whereas the proportion in Switzerland and England was about 50% at that time’.
(Thanks to Lorna)
The extreme (left… or right…?) are producing violent protests in the streets against the Government rules over the coronavirus. Who…who? Spanish Revolution says it’s the extreme-right, as does Contrainformación; while ABC leans towards the ‘the extreme-left’. Short of asking them, BoT’s opinion is that they are merely extreme idiots.
This one, a protest against face-masks for next Saturday (or, if we prefer, a protest against the Government), is run by a group within the Madrid police. A fake political party called ‘Sentido Común’ is promoting the Saturday protests in a number of major cities here.
‘Time at a Standstill’ – photos from the lockdown are shown at the Fundación Enaire here.
A one-minute video for young people.
Anti-corruption is investigating ex-King Juan Carlos, Queen Sofía and several of their relatives for the use of credit cards from an account not held in their names says elDiario.es here. The Guardian has the larger story here. El Español considers it a storm in a teacup, while indentifying the account-holder as ‘a Mexican-British businessman friend of Don Juan Carlos called Allen Sanginés-Krause’.
Público says that immigrants are being charged up to 150€ on the black market to get appointments at Extranjería. ‘The difficulty of getting an appointment through the normal channels has been a common complaint for years. The pandemic increased the problem and Interior has reacted, but it is still practically impossible to get a date to register fingerprints and get the TIE or NIE’.
The Russians are Coming. The Russians are Coming:
A judge called Joaquín Aguirre has spent the last five years examining the various threads of the plotter (and ex-president of Catalonia) Carles Puigdemont. To the consternation of many, he announced last week that he had found proof of a Russian offer for the secessionist ring-leader to pay off the Catalonian debt and to receive 10,000 spetsnaz to, uh, keep the peace in Barcelona in the event of the declaration of UDI. ElDiario.es headlines it as ‘Crypto-currencies, disinformation and 10,000 Russian soldiers: the last thesis of a judge on the procès’. ‘In parallel’, says the news-site, ‘the Kremlin, together with the founder of Wikileaks Julian Assange, the former CIA employee Edward Snowden and “media controlled by the Kremlin like Russia Today and Sputnik” would carry out “a strategy of disinformation and destabilization on the procès as part of the general narrative about a European Union on the brink of collapse”’. All good fun. This whole construct incidentally comes from a bugged telephone call involving a local politician called Víctor Terradellas.
The story raises a certain amount of smiles beyond the orbit of the far-right media and elDiario.es obliges with an editorial called ‘The judge and the Guardia Civil defeat the best of Ian Fleming and Frederick Forsyth by a landslide’.
From the World Socialist Web Site here comes the background to the peculiar claim by the Court that Russia had planned to send 10,000 soldiers to Catalonia in 2017 (the centenary of the October Revolution!). Maldito Bulo takes a swipe at the story too, noting that : ‘The Russian embassy in Madrid answered the claim by saying, ‘There are two zeros missing from the number of troops we were going to send, that and the agreement was that they must be flown to Barcelona in Civil War aircraft built in the nineteen thirties in Catalonia’.
Note: El Confidencial and El Confidencial Digital have no relation between them, so to avoid confusion, I’m quoting the latter in BoT as ECD. Lenox
On the map, there’s a small territory within the Basque Country that belongs to the neighbouring province of Burgos within the region of Castilla y León. It’s called Treviño. It’s a bit annoying for weather forecasters as they have to feature it or ignore it depending on which region they are talking about on the Telly. Treviño (Wiki) doesn’t have a city and the population is only 1,350, but it is tolerably large at 266k2. Now the two regions are squabbling about who should be in charge of the enclave says ECD here.
An odd story from Portugal comes from El Español here: it says ‘The Portuguese king who cheated on his queen by sleeping with nuns: he had two children with them. João V of Portugal, instead of visiting the brothels like other monarchs of his time, frequented the convents near the court’. Wiki, oddly, describes him as ‘…a very pious man who devoted large parts of his day to prayer and religious study’ although it also notes ‘…he fathered at least four children from various extramarital affairs’.
The splendid defeat of El Glorioso, who fought against twelve British warships alone for three days, sinking two, before surrendering, has been a popular fixture at the Museo Naval de Madrid since 2014. The painting by Augusto Ferrer-Dalmau, which recalls this uneven battle (honoured by both the Spanish and the British navies) has now been withdrawn from display (to general indignation), as the director feels that the commander of the Glorioso wouldn’t have liked to be remembered thus.
‘In 1719, Cardinal Alberoni – advisor to Philip V – devised a risky and bizarre plan to conquer England and return to Spain the power and influence lost on the European scene. As a result, three hundred Spanish marines were isolated in Scotland, left to their own devices, and ended up fighting side by side with the Scottish clans led by the rebel Rob Roy…’. The story continues at Wanderer (en castellano) here.
The Church Militant has a 2018 article called ‘Spain Chooses Anti-Catholic Atheist Prime Minister’ which proselytises against Pedro Sánchez and Pablo Iglesias here. The piece is brought to our attention by an opponent of the ‘Deep State’ and ‘The Great Reset’ (something to do with Bill Gates) called Carlo Maria Viganò, the former Apostolic Nuncio to the United States of America, in his essay ‘President Trump is the final garrison against the world dictatorship’ here. He evidently feels the use of a face-mask is over-hyped.
La Razón checks out the ‘ten most common spelling mistakes, according to the Real Academia Española’ here.
The Government has approved aid of 775 euros per month for workers in the culture-related industries (including the bullfight business) through January 2021 says 20Minutos here.
A confederation of book shops has started a service for readers. The first I heard of was the UK-based bookshop.org here. But it doesn’t appear to mail overseas. A Spanish version is due to open next week called Todostuslibros.com (here). Infolibre has more here.
‘More than 48,000 visitors have decided: Potes, in Cantabria, has been voted the most beautiful inland town in Spain, according to a survey carried out by the Lonely Planet community of Spanish travellers. The town Besalú (Gerona) has also reached the final and in third and fourth position come the towns of Albarracín (Teruel) and Alquézar (Huesca)…’. The story comes from El Huff Post here.
‘Brisa Fenoy: “It is almost impossible to get out of the system, when you move away from the politically correct then they will come after you”. The artist who revolutionized Operación Triunfo (TV spectacular) in 2018 with her song ‘Lo Malo’ presents a new song titled ‘Fake’, where she criticizes fake news and misinformation’. From elDiario.es here. Fake is (a rather racy song) on YouTube here.