Política, brexit, actualidad, Cataluña, mercado inmobiliario, finanzas, medios y ecologismo son algunos de los temas que trata este boletín informativo

05/03/18. Opinión. El periodista Lenox Napier repasa la actualidad española en su boletín semanal Business Over Tapas, al que puede suscribirse por 60 euros anuales. Puede obtener más información en su web (AQUÍ) o en su perfil (AQUÍ) en Facebook. EL OBSERVADOR / www.revistaelobservador.com ofrece este contenido dos días después de su lanzamiento...

EDITORIAL

IS Spain doing well? There are some problems, perhaps more than a few, but the underlying strength of the Spanish economy is now being seen. Perhaps with a few political adjustments (adiós Rajoy), Spain could be doing very well indeed. Here’s El Mundo introducing a financial supplement on Spain’s current position: ‘Spain is undoubtedly a world economic power. Clearly, the country presents serious problems, the recovery is far from reaching all levels of society and unemployment, debt and the number of young Spaniards at risk of exclusion is all alarming.  ... But even so, it is undeniable that the Spanish economy is one of the most important in the world and it is also one of the most important in many respects. ... The Gross Domestic Product itself, for example, states this. The crisis caused the loss of 10 years of growth, and Spain lost its place among the world's 10 largest economies. But thanks to the reaction it has had in recent years, in which it has led the growth of the Eurozone and regained market confidence as evidenced by this week's historic debt issue, the country remains within the 15 largest nations in the world...’. Graphs and different sections follow, showing that Spain is, at least financially speaking, on the right track.

HOUSING

‘SPANISH property prices are on the road to recovery with an analysis of the main national indices showing values and sales continuing to rise. Data from the latest index from appraisal company Tinsa shows that valuations by the company increased by 4.5% in December 2017 year on year. Prices in the big cities were up 7.5%, along the Mediterranean coast up by 5.7% and up by 3.8% in the Balearic and Canary Islands. Looking at the data over a number of years, the figures show how Spanish property prices crashed over seven years from 2008 to 2014, bottomed out in 2015 and 2016, then started growing across the board in 2017...’. From Property Wire here.

‘SECOND-HOME buyers are driving the recovery in Spain’s property market, including a growing cohort of Scandinavian buyers, according to new reports. Swedish nationals made up the fifth largest cohort of foreign buyers in Spain in 2017, accounting for 6.4% of all foreign purchases, according to government statistics released last week. In the fourth quarter of 2017, foreigners made up 13.6% of all Spanish property transactions—the highest percentage in at least two years...’. From Mansion Global here.

‘MÁLAGA has enjoyed one of the strongest recoveries from the 2008 property crash. Last year, the province registered 30,300 sales, a 14.6% increase on the year before. Foreigners acquired almost 30% of these homes, a percentage that also places Málaga among the most attractive provinces for the foreign buyer after Alicante, Tenerife (where foreign buyers accounted for more than 40% of sales) and Gerona (30.8%)...’. From The Olive Press here.

‘LAST year, 850 mortgages per day were signed. The number of hipotecas grew by 9.7% last year: reaching 310,096 contracts with a value of 36,191 million euros...’. More at Público.

MARK Stücklin from Spanish Property Insight asks that question: ‘Beaches are one of Spain’s big attractions, both for holiday makers and expats. The country has some of the best beaches for summer holidays in Europe, and being near the beach gives property a premium appeal. So if I was looking to buy a new home walking distance one of my three favourite beaches in Spain, what are my options? It turns out, I only have one option, but happily, it’s a good one...’. (A commercial presentation)

TOURISM

‘THE new tourist profile that Spain is looking for is a visitor with an interest in spending and not just looking for the sol y playa. That's why visitors from the Orient have become one of the most sought-after. During an informative breakfast organised by Vozpópuli, in collaboration with Executive Forum and Unicaja, the Secretary of State for Tourism, Matilde Asian, underlined the importance of these profiles. "We are world leaders in tourism, but we depend on Europe," says Asian. In our continent there is greater well-being and the culture of travel is almost a "social necessity," she says, adding that countries from the Far East are experiencing significant economic growth, which is leading to the creation of a new middle class that wants to travel, as is the case of China...’. More here.

‘MURCIA’S Corvera airport is to start flights in December, San Javier to close. AENA officially took possession of the new Corvera airport last weekend, in a ceremony which saw the regional president hand over the symbolic keys to the building to the AENA representative, putting to an end an eight year farce which has cost the taxpayers hundreds of millions of euros for feck all. AENA, of course, is the Spanish partially state owned enterprise which runs airports across the nation. The new airport will be known as Juan de la Cierva, after a famous Murcian engineer...’. From David Jackson here.

‘CRUISE ships enter the "adults only" segment. P&O Cruises will launch its third childless vessel in 2019, while Virgin Voyages will launch its first vessel under this modality in 2020...’. What can it all mean? More at Agent Travel here.

SENIORS

SUPPORT in Spain ‘is a guide for British nationals over 50 and other foreign residents in Spain who may need extra help and advice’. Here.

FINANCE

‘SPAIN’S exporting prowess continued in 2017 when sales of goods abroad increased for the eighth straight year and notched up a new record of €277,100 million, close to one-quarter of GDP’. From the El Cano Royal Institute here.

FROM Nueva Tribuna: ‘The well-known and prestigious European Trade Union Institute has published a report ("Bad Jobs" recovery? European Job Quality Index 2005-2015 here) on the quality of employment in the 28 countries of the European Union that is devastating for Spain. If we consider that one of the State's responsibilities in any country is to ensure that the population can aspire to develop its great potential through work, then the overwhelming conclusion of this report is that the Spanish State is failing completely...’.

‘STOP los enchufados (those who obtain their jobs through ‘irregular channels’). It could be a good slogan for an election campaign. Or the banner of a demonstration. In Spain, there are plenty of posts in the public administration that have been hand-picked and it would be advisable to reduce their number. This is one of Transparency International's proposals to prevent and combat corruption in Spain. This week, it has published the Corruption Perceptions Index 2017 and our country is lagging behind.

WE only scored 57 out of 100. 180 countries have been evaluated and we have fallen between the 42nd and 45th places...’. From Sueldos Públicos here.

POLITICS

‘THOUSANDS of retirees took to the streets in protest across Spain last Thursday, calling on the government to raise pensions and defend the social security system. The pensioners, many with whistles and wearing ribbons with the brown symbol of their cause, marched in the capital Madrid as well as Barcelona, Bilbao, Seville and Granada. The union-organised rallies called for "dignified" pensions, saying that the conservative government's 0.25 percent increase fails to keep up with inflation, as Spain's consumer prices rose by 1.2 percent last year...’. From The Local here. Video here from LaSexta under the title ‘we are pensioners, not terrorists’. Wolf Street looks at the pension issue with ‘Structural unemployment and falling wages, precarious jobs, an endless brain drain, a rapidly ageing population, and the government’s constant pilfering of the national pensions pot have all taken their toll on Spain’s social security system. The country’s Social Security Reserve Fund, which was meant to serve as a nationwide nest egg to guarantee future pension payouts — given Spain’s burgeoning ranks of pensioners — has been bled virtually dry by the government...’. El Confidencial marvels at ‘the old folk getting out onto the street to demonstrate’. Es Diario warns that the pensioners’ unrest could cause a loss of millions of votes for the PP. Fresh protests are planned, says El Boletín here.

SUSANA Díaz is riding high once again, with the latest poll giving her PSOE the lion’s share of votes if an election were to be held in Andalucía now – with Ciudadanos rising to second place in front of the PP. As El Español puts it ‘From the disaster of a year ago (when Pedro Sánchez took the leadership), to her current position as Queen of the Polls’. See poll here.

A note from the Diario de Madrid: ‘The surplus of the City Council reaches 1,120 million euros in the liquidation of the 2017 General Budget. Debt was reduced by EUR 450 million. In 2017, revenues exceeded expenditures by 1,120 million euros’. There are those that will say the excellent figures are down to the politics of the Mayoress and her party Ahora Madrid.

THERE will be a ‘women’s strike’ next Thursday, March 8th: a general protest to be held across Spain against a variety of issues such as discrimination, low pay, machismo, male culture and so on. More at El País here.

CATALONIA

HELP Catalonia: politics from a Catalonian point of view, in English here.

GIBRALTAR

FROM The Gibraltar Chronicle: ‘Spain’s sovereignty aspiration over Gibraltar “is not the issue” in Brexit discussions, the country’s Minister for Foreign Affairs has told the Financial Times. Alfonso Dastis said Madrid instead wanted a deal that included managing Gibraltar’s airport “together”, as well as “more cooperation” on tobacco and taxation. “Sovereignty is something we aspire to, that we are not renouncing, but in these negotiations it is not the issue,” Mr Dastis said...’.

COURTS

UPDATE on the Nóos Case: ‘Urdangarin and Torres released without bail until a Supreme Court ruling. The court only requires Felipe VI's brother-in-law to appear before the Geneva judicial authority once a month. His ex-partner Torres won't have to post any bail either. Princess Cristina's acquittal becomes firm. Now it's all in the hands of the Supreme Court’, says Público here.

VALENCIA Plaza considers the new wave of censorship in Spain: ‘Could something like The Sex Pistols exist today?’ The article offers some nice examples of improper rock songs from another age.

BREXIT

‘THE estimated net migration of European Union citizens in the United Kingdom fell to 90,000 people last year, ending in September, the first decrease of less than 100,000 in five years. The reduction came about because fewer EU citizens arrived in the UK and more left for their countries of origin, reflecting a trend related to the country's decision to leave the European bloc, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) explained...’. From El Mundo here.

HERE is Beatriz Becerra, a Spanish MEP, explaining to the Spaniards resident in the UK why they should vote in the upcoming local elections (in May) there. Video on Facebook here. She says ‘I want to remind you that in May there are local elections in the United Kingdom and that you have the right to vote. Your vote is your power, your voice, your democratic weapon against those who want you to become second-class citizen. I encourage you to register so that you can vote and thus claim your citizenship rights’.

‘UK driving licences may no longer be recognised in Europe after Brexit, EU suggests’. Story from The Telegraph here (Firewall).

INCOHERENT Brit talks of the problems for British tourists in the EU next year, on YouTube.

MEDIA

THERE is an interesting article about ‘the monopolies of the news’ and how, with foreign-run news-sites reporting on British and American domestic news, the world is facing either a normalisation of this phenomenon, or else, a new government control on ‘outside’ news agencies. Here at CTXT.

FROM El Cuellilargo on YouTube: ‘Why haven’t we had a revolution already?’

VARIOUS

‘AMNESTY International recently condemned the setbacks experienced by freedom of expression in Spain and considers that this right was "disproportionately" restricted in 2017. It has documented this in its annual report analysing the situation in 159 countries. "This has been a bad year for freedom of expression," summed up Esteban Beltrán, AI's director in Spain, during the presentation of the document...’. From El Diario here.

PODEMOS has some interesting proposals regarding transsexuals. As El Mundo explains, these include the right of any ‘self-declared transsexual’ to compete in sporting activities reserved until now for the, uh, other gender only. That’s not going to fly, is it?

THE DGT has come up with some very nasty mini speed-radars which are very hard to see until it’s too late. As someone writes in the comments, this is very modern technology which doesn’t exist anywhere else. They add that it’s a pity that Spain’s only efforts into research and development come down to ways to relieve citizens of their money. More at El Mundo here.

THIS one should confuse a few people: Animalists are not Ecologists, and vice versa. A debate over at El Independiente here.

THE Spectator wonderingly notes that Spain has managed to totally obliterate Franco’s memory – as if he never was. The occasion is the presentation of a book about the kindly old despot called ‘Franco: Anatomy of a Dictator’ by Enrique Moradiellos. The book can be found with reviews and other notes on Amazon Spain here.

‘SPAIN is set to officially recognise Ladino as a Spanish tongue. It is hoped that in doing so, it will save the language from extinction as well as allowing Ladino words to be added into the Spanish dictionary...’. From The Olive Press here.

EL Confidencial says that many foreign students from the Far East, often deficient in Spanish, nevertheless manage to get a title from a Spanish university. The Chinese are the third largest foreign student body in Spanish universities, behind Italy and Colombia.

SEE SPAIN

COMILLAS (Cantabria): ‘Not just a Simple Fishing Village’. An article at Eye on Spain here.

FROM Piccavey: ‘Every year in March, the Granada Tapas Fair comes along. Local Bars and Restaurants in Granada compete in the Annual Tapas Fair. This local food festival is where chefs compete to win the Best tapa of the city. The 10th Edition of GRANADA DE TAPAS runs from 1st until the 16th of March...’. Are you going?

FINALLY

PACO de Lucia – Entre dos aguas. On YouTube here.