Política, Brexit, turismo, actualidad, finanzas, Cataluña, ecologismo, medios o corrupción son algunos de los temas que trata este boletín informativo

11/07/22. 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). EL OBSERVADOR / www.revistaelobservador.com ofrece este contenido tres días después de su lanzamiento...

Editorial:

A local expat ‘news’ site based on the Costa del Sol (with a claim of ‘over 1.5 million web views per month’) had this leading title on Sunday: ‘Wayward kitten saved from motorway near Doncaster searching for new home’.

I don’t know why we bother.

Housing:

Spanish house-prices are down (as adjusted for inflation). From Spanish Property Insight here: ‘Spanish house prices are subdued by international standards as economic turbulence plays havoc with pricing signals around the world. Spain was one of the few territories included in the quarterly global house price index produced by international real estate company Knight Frank where house price data fell in real terms (after inflation) in both the last quarter of 2021 and the first quarter of 2022. As I reported back in May, Spain was the only major western economy to experience a real fall in house prices in the 2021 data. Nominal Spanish house prices increased by 4.4% in 2021’s data, but after taking inflation into account they were down by 2%, according to the Global House Price Index for 2021 researched and published by Knight Frank…’.

The number of overcrowded homes rises in Spain says elDiario.es here. ‘Spain is the second country in the EU where this type of housing has increased the most in the last ten years, 52%, only behind the Netherlands’. Eurostat defines an overcrowded home as having more residents than the dwelling was intended. Spain has an estimated 7.6% of the population living in these conditions – which, compared with some other EU countries, isn’t so bad (Romania 45%, Italy 26%... and the UE average at 17.5%).

Co-ownership is now being touted as the way to part-own a second home. 20Minutos gets into it here. This sounds similar to ‘time-share’, however, says the article, in the case of la copropiedad, the owners form between them an SL company which owns outright the home.

Tourism:

While the wealthy continue with their holiday plans, Las Provincias says that ‘30% of Spaniards have cancelled their vacations due to inflation. The economic situation and the rise in prices has made 57% decide to shorten the duration of their hols’.

An issue facing international tourists this summer is a shortage of airline personnel. CNBC hasRyanair cabin crew in Spain announce 12 new days of strikes in July to demand better working conditions’. Meanwhile, Sur in English reports that ‘EasyJet cabin crew union in Spain announces plan for nine days of strike action in July’. The Guardian says that ‘in the UK, airlines will this week announce a series of cancellations to summer flights, with reports indicating British Airways is expected to face the brunt of axed flights and Britain’s biggest airport, Heathrow, anticipated to be the worst affected…’ BBC News confirmed the story: ‘…British Airways has cancelled a further 1,500 flights, mostly for July. The wave of cancellations made over the past weeks will affect tens of thousands hoping to jet off this summer from Heathrow and Gatwick. The industry has been struggling with staff shortages as demand for air travel rebounds…’.

Finance:

Employment, once again, was ‘up’ for June, says El Confidencial here with 76,950 new jobs – mainly in tourism. Unsurprisingly, the conservative ABC was not so jubilant: ‘The summer effect dissipates: unemployment falls by only 42,409 people in June, 74% less than it did this time last year’.

Andalucía is the only region of Spain where employment fell slightly this past month says the CadenaSer here. Indeed, Diario de Sevilla itemises the six provinces of Spain where employment fell in June – all of them are in Andalucía.

Every six months, Hacienda merrily lists all of its major debtors (anyone or any company owing them over 600,000€ in unpaid taxes) by name for all to see (and scorn?). 20Minutos has the January 2022 list here and reports that that there are just over 7,000 names in all, owing at that time 14,567 million euros.

Algeria has confirmed that its gas prices charged to Spain will rise says El Debate here.

Energías Renovables explains here that the ‘Excepción Ibérica’ means that the megawatt/hour charges will be far under the price paid elsewhere in Europe, quoting the Ministry for the Environment as claiming that ‘the futures markets are already reflecting "clearly" the effect of the Mechanism: "in Spain the prices for the fourth quarter of the year stand at €147/MWh, while in Germany they rise to €362/MWh and in France up to €787/MWh”…’ The article shows various graphics to contrast Spain with its neighbours.

Politics:

El País (paywall removed) has an interesting interview with Pedro Sánchez here. In a week where the NATO Summit brought satisfaction, while the announcement of over 10% inflation was a bucket of cold water, ‘Pedro Sánchez (Madrid, 50 years old) is cautious about the duration of the economic uncertainty, very determined to give the political and ideological battle against both attrition and the agents he calls the "dark powers", and very firm about the need to strengthen the Atlantic Alliance against Putin and other challenges’. With video.

El País here has the latest poll. The PP are leading with an estimated 118 seats against PSOE with 103. Vox is third at 51 and UP would have 31. So they say. The next general election is scheduled for late 2023.

From The Corner here: ‘The NATO summit in Madrid has been a success in all respects, except for the recalcitrant naysayers, who have hardly been noticed. The rest of those involved leave the summit with the feeling of a job well done. In terms of content, in terms of the relevant “strategic definition” for the future of the organisation and its enlargement, the results are in line with the best of expectations. The image of unity came out of Madrid strengthened and the documents agreed left no fissures or misunderstandings. If the adversary of the moment, Putin, was aiming to weaken NATO, the result is the opposite and even greater…’.

The PP leader Núñez Feijóo congratulates Sánchez for the "positive image" of Spain during the NATO summit, says El Huff Post here, ‘…Although he notes that the government that managed to bring the summit to Spain was Mariano Rajoy's’.

Unidas Podemos is strongly against the promise by Pedro Sánchez to increase spending on Defence to 2% of GDP by 2029 says El Español (paywall removed) here. While the parties to the right would support the PSOE in increasing the spend on Defence (by 2,600 million euros for 2023), the budgets for next year need the approval of the parties to the left. 20Minutos says that two senior politicians from Unidas Podemos – Alberto Garzón and Irene Montero – have both spoken out against increasing the budget for Defence and in  ‘bringing security through a military rather than a social focus’ said Garzón earlier this week. The Podemos leader Ione Belarra has also spoken against the plan. In a larger view, 20Minutos says that the PSOE and Unidas Podemos are currently further apart than ever.

The Spanish have long enjoyed a poor opinion of those of the Roma ethnicity (the gypsies) and a new anti-discrimination law – la Ley Zerolo – has been passed to ensure that ‘… no one may be discriminated against for reasons of birth, racial or ethnic origin, sex or religion, belief or opinion, age, disability, sexual orientation or identity, gender expression, illness, health status, socioeconomic status or any other personal or social circumstance’. All-encompassing, but really aimed at ‘el antigitanismo’ says Público here.

The upcoming Debate on the State of the Nation (12 to 14 July) brings a problem for the Partido Popular. Their leader Alberto Núñez Feijóo will be present in the Cortes during the debate, but since he isn’t a deputy, he won’t be allowed to speak. The PP spokesperson Cuca Gamarra (right out of the Pablo Casado school of debate) will answer for the main opposition party. El Huff Post has the story here.

The PP has a conspiracy theory it wants to share with the electorate says elDiario.es here. In short, that the election results have been manipulated in favour of the PSOE. A long and disturbing article. Maldita here says that the PP are claiming that the public company Indra ‘counts the votes in Spanish elections’. The votes are, of course, counted by the election committee at each table (a graphic shows the full process).

Since the May 2019 local elections, where Vox took 530 councillors across Spain, over 200 of them have either left (or been ejected from) the party says El Español here. This includes a couple of them in the past two weeks – Gema Carrillo in Benalmádena (Málaga), and another, Nuria Almagro, in Águilas (Murcia). Nuria stays in local politics as a non-aligned councillor (known here as being in the Grupo Mixto) and her reason for leaving the party was its authoritarian rule and lack of democracy as she explained on CadenaSer here.

Europe:

From the EURIE, the European Observatory of Migration by the Elderly (an agency based in the University of Málaga), here: ‘The right to vote in municipal elections for UK nationals in their community state of residence after Brexit’, we return to the issue of the Court of Justice of the European Union and its recent ruling in Luxembourg regarding the removal of the British residents’ right to vote in local elections. The Spanish/British bilateral agreement of January 21 2019 takes precedence says the article (paragraph 13) and further notes that over 91% of the 290,372 British residents in Spain could potentially have the right to vote (fulfilling other requisites). It also says airily, ‘In addition, in the absence of official figures, it is estimated that there are thirty British nationals acting as councillors in Spanish town halls, particularly in the Valencian and Andalusian autonomous communities’. So, it would seem that we will retain our vote (see BoT editorial from Nº 450 here), unless, of course, we don’t. We continue to await an official response.

From The Guardian here: ‘Home Office to face legal challenge over post-Brexit rights of EU citizens in UK. High court allows judicial review of rules that remove rights of those who do not apply for residency in time’.

Health:

‘National health authorities in Spain have once again recommended wearing a mask in indoor areas, but have not made this compulsory as yet. Minister Carolina Darías says an increase in Covid cases means it is 'strongly advisable' to pop a mask on before entering shops, banks, post offices and public-sector offices, as it has already been seen that doing so helps reduce viral contagion…’. Item from Think Spain here.

‘Pedro Sánchez announces that the Government is going to ensure that more than 67,000 regional health-workers with at least three years of temporary contracts under their belts will be awarded permanence’ says RTVE here. Not that this means more doctors for the public health system (just happier ones) says elDiario.es here. There is no doubt but that resources are stretched. Here we read that the Hospital General de Valencia is so crowded, patients must wait for up to four days for a bed.

Courts:

From Catalan News here: ‘A court shelves Barcelona mayor's alleged corruption case. Ada Colau had been accused of irregularly awarding subsidies’. The article ends with ‘…Colau celebrated the court's decision, but said she was "not surprised" by the outcome as she had a clear conscience, and ventured that the plaintiffs were likely "not surprised either".
"Who is behind this shadow organization? And what was their goal? To make noise, generate headlines, and make it seem like all politicians are the same and are corrupt when this is not true. We've had 10 complaints so far, that have been shelved one after another," the mayor said’.

The 36 month block by the PP of the renovation of the CGPJ, the General Council of the Judiciary, plays into the hands of Vox says El Siglo de Europa here. Yes, it’s another article about ‘Lawfare’. It begins, ‘Without the PP's blockade of the renewal of the CGPJ, pending for three years, the judicial offensive that progressive forces have suffered in recent times, almost always against leaders and members of Podemos, cannot be understood. The conservative majority of magistrates chaired by Carlos Lesmes imposes a bias throughout the judicial career under which judges such as Manuel García Castellón, of the National High Court, or Juan José Escalonilla, of Madrid's Court of Instruction number 42, have been placing themselves at the vanguard of this judicial front. All these cases usually come to nothing -like all those who have investigated the alleged irregular financing of Podemos- or are dismantled by higher authorities -such as that of Victoria Rosell or, probably, that of Alberto Rodríguez-. In addition, it happens that in many of them Vox is usually present as a popular accuser…’.
The Spanish Constitution allows for ‘acusación popular’, granting the right to members of the public to appear separately in criminal proceedings without being the direct victim of the presumed criminal act (here).

Media:

An article at The Corner disagrees with the accusation of media manipulation in Spain. ‘Discrediting is easy, it sounds good because it serves to justify oneself and blame others for one’s own mistakes. It is the easy road to social regression, to that malaise that demobilises and encourages irresponsibility’ it says.

So we should believe everything we read.

Several TV chat shows have been found to be manipulating the truth about Irene Montero recently, nothing new there. The Minister of Equality Montero (Podemos) was asked about the events in Melilla the other day when at least 23 immigrants died while trying to cross the border from Morocco. Montero went on record saying it was a tragedy and insisted on an independent inquiry. Her words were carefully edited and the result was something truly different. Thus the chat shows of El Programa de Ana Rosa (Telecinco) – a sort of ‘Fox and Friends’, Espejo Público (Antena 3) and Más de Uno (Onda Cero) were egregiously brutal against the minister. The video in question was tricked up – it says here – by a right-wing journalist and lawyer called Javier Gimeno Priede. On Wednesday, Ana Terradillos apologised on El Programa de Ana Rosa saying that they had failed to show the entire Montero interview. The question remains – do journalists believe all they see and read?

Pablo González, a Spanish journalist with Naiz, was arrested in Poland in late February accused of spying for the Russians while covering the Ukrainian refugee crisis. González is being held incommunicado and has just been given a further three months without a trial.

Ecology:

El Diario de León here brings us an interview with Antonio Turiel, physicist at the Csic (Spanish National Research Council Wiki): "We have to reduce the standard of living by 90% or we will collapse".

‘Antonio Turiel doesn’t hold back in his vision for the future for which almost none of us are prepared. He warns that our way of life is about to disappear and sees with astonishment how society prefers to continue turning its back on reality. "There are four possibilities: eco-fascism, neo-feudalism, a full collapse, or living with 90% less than what we currently have". He adds that we have to choose now’.
Turiel: ‘Energy sources are running out; gas production is about to begin to fall and renewables do not have the capacity that they claim to have. In addition, they need a lot of materials and fossil fuels’.
Turiel: ‘The collapse will come in two or three years, as has already happened in Lebanon or in Sri Lanka, which crashed completely in just two months. Ten days ago the International Energy Agency said that this summer there will be a fuel shortage worldwide’.
It doesn’t get any better…

‘This year it is expected that the installations of solar panels for self-consumption will double again’, reports ECD here. ‘The continuous rise in electricity and the non-refundable aid offered by the Government are making more and more families bet on solar panels’. EuroNews writes of ‘…the race to build renewable energy plants across the country and harness Spain's unique combination of sun and wind. The starting gun was fired when the current socialist government lifted the moratorium on renewables in 2018 and swept aside the notorious sun tax introduced by their conservative predecessors. Spain wants to generate 74% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2030 and is already a leader in Europe when it comes to wind energy. It had 1,265 wind farms and a wind power capacity of 28.1 gigawatts in 2021, second only to Germany in Europe…’ Of course, not everyone is thrilled, says the article (Not in my back yard - Wiki).

The dramatic lack of water halves the number of birds that winter in the Parque Nacional de Doñana. The wintering aquatic birds have fallen from more than 500,000 to 226,000 in just one year, the worst figure in the last two decades’. elDiario.es has the story here.

José Miguel Espina Bejarano, the PSOE councillor and vice-mayor for Ayamonte (Huelva) is facing four years of prison for having permitted "irreversible" damage in Doñana by green-lighting some works on a local system of fossil dunes that extends over several kilometres on the beaches of the protected area. The story at El Confidencial here.

From The Guardian here: ‘Spain and Portugal are suffering the driest climate for 1,200 years, research shows. Effects of human-caused global heating are blocking vital winter rains, with severe implications for both farming and tourism’.

Various:

‘The main purpose of sex is procreation!’ The politician who wants to crack down on casual sex. Too many Spaniards ‘dedicate their existence to satisfying their sexual desires’, claims Juan García-Gallardo. But is that really why the country is struggling?’ The Guardian here reports on the eccentric Vox deputy-president for Castilla y León.

Cartagena has long dreamed of independence from Murcia. It is claimed that it once asked the government of the USA if it could join as an overseas possession (here). It even once declared independence from Spain back in 1873 (wiki) and was besieged for several months by an irate Madrid. An odd place indeed. Still keen to take independence from its big sister Murcia, a local party in the Cartagena city hall exists called the Movimiento Cantonal de Cartagena (wiki). From elDiario.es here we read that the PP and Vox have both taken interest in the plight of the Cartageneros and would contemplate the formation of a new province.

From El Mundo here. ‘Algeria fulfils its threat and begins to flood the Spanish coast with pateras. Several boats have already arrived in Almería and they show Algiers' intention to no longer control migration in the midst of the current diplomatic crisis with Spain’.

‘Spain is the country which suffers the most cyber-attacks to steal passwords or bank details’, says elDiario.es here.

From Epe here: ‘Teruel will have the first stratoport in Spain’. A Danish company called Sceye, manufacturer of High Altitude Platform Stations, will build its European base for stratospheric flights in Teruel and will invest 35 million euros says the item. The company website here says ‘Sceye is building the world’s most advanced, high-altitude platforms. Robust, versatile and solar-powered, they operate in the stratosphere at 65,000 feet. From here, they can deliver super-fast internet directly to device and high-resolution imagery of the Earth in real time’. The man behind Sceye is Mikkel Vestergaard Frandsen (here).

‘All the snow in the Sierra Nevada has an owner. It was sold in perpetuity by the Government of Spain at the end of 1871 for 125,000 pesetas. The owners of the snowfields keep their title deed fully valid’. They made money by selling the snow locally as a coolant, until the ice factories began in the 1880s. The family has failed (unfortunately for them) to be able to charge rent for the ski-resorts in the Sierra Nevada. They clearly need, says the article, a better lawyer! A remarkable story from El Independiente de Granada here.

‘The spirit of the beehive: a series of photographs depicts the brutalism of Benidorm’ – a horrifying collection of snaps by Alfons Cabrera at designboom here. ‘Apart from its disproportionate growth and its commitment to mass tourism, Benidorm is characterized for its extreme urbanism and kitsch aesthetic....’.

The week-long Pamplona festival of the Sanfermines is upon us. Many people like to watch ‘the running of the bulls’ on the TV (8.00am, they only last a couple of minutes). The highlights are here.

Mojácar spliced, is twice as nice.

See Spain:

20Minutos brings us ‘The two most impressive trails over the sea in Spain: San Juan de Gaztelugatxe and Fuciño do Porco’. Some nice photos to enjoy.

Molly from Piccavey brings us ‘a list of six things to keep in mind when planning a trip to the Iberian Peninsula so you get the most out of your trip’. Some useful tips here.

Finally:

‘Los Fabulosos Cadillacs is an Argentine ska band from Buenos Aires’ says Wiki. Here on YouTube they enthusiastically perform Matador.