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

29/01/24. 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...


It was a shame that those of us Brits who back then in 2016 had lived abroad for fifteen years or more couldn’t vote in the famous referendum over leaving the European Union. The Brexit as it became known: the one where the UK would steer a new course all by itself.

As to where it was going, who could be sure? Glory, success and ennoblement of course, but maybe only for those few millionaires who had wisely moved their funds offshore beforehand.
But that’s the problem for the United Kingdom and its inhabitants to face. Brexit will bring some benefits perhaps, along with some unpleasant realisations and lessons.
Over here in the remains of the European Union, things appear to be moving along. We are managing quite well in the absence of the British, and wish them well with their straight bananas and trade deals with Timbuktu.
We couldn’t vote, us lot. Normally, voting for a candidate to become either a member of parliament or to crash and burn might be useful enough for those who live there – a good candidate will have ideas and energy to spruce things up locally – with the benevolent support and indulgence of his party.
But we live, and have lived for many years, in foreign parts.
The French have long had a group within their parliament which represents Frenchmen abroad. They have eleven seats in the National Assembly. Nice.
The referendum, of course, was different. Instead of discussing the pros and cons of increasing the acreage of sugar-beet (I’m from a bucolic part of East Anglia: left for Spain when I was thirteen), it was about a subject which would enormously affect us expats – traitors and malingers as we might have been considered back in Henley – in many ways.
Sugar-beet, by the way, is a kind of turnipy-thing that you can either get sugar from, or can feed to the cows.
Yet we couldn’t vote in the one thing that would have affected us.
Back then, I doubt even the British media bothered to ask us our views, despite there being 1,300,000 of us living in the EU and another 4,200,000 living elsewhere in the world.
Regardless of the usefulness or otherwise of swelling my North Norfolk constituency by one person; and following a change in the law, we Brits abroad (fifteen years and up) are now encouraged to register (every three years) and to call for our postal vote. This register of Brits abroad may not be huge (although they endearingly estimate three million potential voters – spread of course across 650 polls), but it might attract a few extra donations to one party or another which will no doubt be welcomed (if criticised elsewhere).
Right now, I’m renewing my passport (they do this these days in Belfast). My current one has ‘European Union’ stamped in gold on the cover. My new one won’t.
I suppose you are right – I should be looking for Spanish citizenship after all these years here. After all, I speak Spanish and know my way around – even if I do happen to look extremely and pinkly Nordic.
All I wanted, really, was to be a European.
Anyway, it boils down to this: either get myself a Spanish passport, or find out more about the fascinating politics of sugar-beet.


Not that many foreigners are considering moving to a Spanish city to live (with so many beautiful pueblos which are cheaper and more relaxed), but here’s Infobae with: ‘The cheapest cities to live in Spain’: Lugo, Orense, León, Logroño, Cáceres and Zamora with some nice photos. (I’d add Almería).

‘Real estate agencies can no longer ask you for agency fees. So they have started charging for "solvency studies". Anything serves to mask real estate fraud after the entry into force of the new Ley de Vivienda (housing law). More at Xataca here.

From The Majorca Daily Bulletin here: ‘Not only is Spain pushing the European Union to scrap the 90 day rule for non-British residents, it is also seeking ways to make it easier for Spain-based companies to contract British seasonal workers. Workers who are not from EU countries, such as Britain, need to obtain a Work Visa to be able to live and work in Spain.’


From El País here: ‘Tourism is established as a great economic engine and reaches a record of 12.8% of GDP (186,596 million euros), according to the Spanish tourist agency Exceltur. Meanwhile, large companies are mobilizing to improve the social impact of the sector and to combat la turismofobia’. The article criticises private tourist apartments – presumably one should always use hotels, safely owned by, er, ‘large companies’.

‘Spanish authorities have revealed that Spain welcomed more than 84 million international tourists in 2023, surpassing 2019 levels by one per cent. In addition, Spanish tourism generated over €108,000 million in revenue, which is 17.4 per cent more than in 2019’ SchengenVisaInfo.com reports here.

Some resorts fill up with tourists, leaving figures as high as 25 short-term visitors for each and every full-time resident. Peñiscola and Salou are mentioned in the article from Infobae here. As they will no doubt be thinking this week at Fitur (the tourist-fair in Madrid), we want more money and wealthier (but fewer) tourists… From elDiario.es here: ‘Tourism tries to digest its success: Spain seeks high-class travellers to avoid saturation. The sector accepts that the number of tourists is beginning to be unsustainable and that there should be less but should spend more and spread themselves throughout Spain’. Hmmn…

The Huesca airport is not showing decent passenger numbers, says La Marea here. Costing over 40 million euros to build, the airport received less than one passenger per day in 2023 (276 total). Since it opened in 2007, the airport can claim 4.5 passengers a day average.


The two major political issues at the present time are firstly, the apparent ‘dirty war’ waged by the previous government between 2012 and 2016 against businessmen, politicians and others in Catalonia. The PP, while now calling for independence parties to be banned, has been wrong-footed by the recent revelations of their perfidity during the previous legislation with their Operación Catalunya. One victim in particular, the erstwhile chief of the Catalonian regional police known as the Mossos d’Escuadrá (a fiction of his involvement in narcotics was fabricated by agents working for the then Ministry of the Interior), Josep Lluís Trapero, has taken his story to the courts.

The second subject in the news is the forthcoming elections in Galicia, with both Alberto Núñez Feijóo and Pedro Sánchez campaigning for their candidates. The PP wants to retain its absolute majority (without any help from Vox, preferably), but the two smaller opposition parties – BNG and PSOE, maybe with Sumar – might just tip the scales.  Could the ruling PP fall, and how would that sit with Feijóo (he was the previous president of the region before taking over party leadership from Pablo Casado – wiki).

From 20Minutos here (3/1/24): ‘The PP presents an amendment to the amnesty in which it proposes to "dissolve" organizations that promote illegal referendums’. And here: ‘The PSOE, to Feijóo about the illegalization of parties: "Be careful what you wish for". For the socialists, the PP's approach contrasts with its alleged actions in the Operación Catalunya'.

From The Economist here: ‘Spain shows regional nationalists make bad coalition partners.
Pedro Sánchez discovers how unwieldy his disparate coalition is’.

The PSOE has chosen the Minister for Ecological Transition Teresa Ribera to be the party candidate for the European elections to be held in June. Ribera is rather more in the news however for her recent attack against the apparent right-wing politics (and lawfare) of the Audiencia Nacional judge Manuel García Castellón (who has a decidedly murky reputation within the left-wing media).

Another day, another party. This one – if it gels – comes from some disaffected Voxxers plus a few PP and Ciudadanos politicians, led by Iván Espinosa de los Monteros says VoxPópuli. It’s looking at the European elections.


‘The Catalan pro-independence parties Junts per Catalunya and Esquerra Republicana (ERC) have reached an agreement with the Spanish Socialist Party (PSOE) to include two amendments in the amnesty bill that could pardon members from the pro-independence activist groups Committees of the Defence of the Republic (CDR) and Tsunami Democràtic…’ Item from Catalan News here.


From The Guardian here: ‘EU citizens are being kicked out of the UK. In Spain people are asking: why not treat Brits the same way?’ (Told you!)


‘The Government awaits the imminent agreement from the European Commission to mediate in unblocking the CGPJ – now overdue by over five years. The flagrant constitutional activity of the PP to perpetuate a conservative majority in the body of judges has already cost the public treasury sixty million euros in staff reinforcements, according to calculations by La Moncloa, which expects that the mediation from the EC will be made public later this week’. elDiario.es has the story.

‘The Catalonian Prosecutor's Office opens an investigation into Operación Catalunya based on the dirty war against its former boss. The public ministry requests documentation from elDiario.es and La Vanguardia about the exclusive information from the police mafia that fabricated reports against Catalan politicians and officials a decade ago such as the former attorney general of Catalonia, Martín Rodríguez Sol’. More at elDiario.es here.

‘Police have revealed how an Eastern European organisation comprised of ex-soldiers robbed at least seventy homes in wealthy neighbourhoods on the Costa del Sol. Six people of Eastern European origin, including their Albanian leader, had earlier been arrested after allegedly committing dozens of robberies…’ The Olive Press has the story.


‘The previous Minister of the Interior received fake news items manufactured by the police during five years – from 2012 to 2017 – regarding Catalonian public figures which were then passed to the news-services. The PP used our tax-money to create bogus items and manipulate public opinion’ says Miguel Charisteas on YouTube here. Silvia Intxaurrondo on TVE1 here: ‘This is how the PP violated the principles of democracy through the Ministry of the Interior’ (video). This behaviour is not something that we are likely to see in other established democracies says Pedro Sánchez in an extended interview on Radio Nacional de España (transcription).

Gerardo Tecé at ctxt here: ‘Judge García Castellón does not prevaricate (he may just have been having a bad day). Perhaps the problem of this judge, sometimes absent-minded, sometimes passionate, is the impossibility of his addressing cases that affect the PP’.


From Xataca here; ‘Figures that have not been seen for at least 42 years: a huge subtropical anticyclone is going to leave Spain out to dry. The meteorological phenomenon is going to be as powerful as it is desperate: no rain is expected until the end of the month’. Temperatures will soar over the coming days.

Headlines from 20Minutos here: ‘Andalusian President Juanma Moreno announces his fourth decree against an "extreme" drought and predicts water cuts this summer in Seville, Córdoba and Málaga’. There has been a "critical" lack of rain over the winter months, and City Hall in Seville is considering reducing the water pressure at night after Easter’.
Andalucía reservoirs are now ten points below the average of the last decade and are once again losing water after a week of increases. The region would need thirty days of heavy rain to bring the reservoirs up to their normal state – an impossible dream, says the article. The Olive Press shows the capacity of the reservoirs in each Andalusian province (Almería is just 9.4%). Infobae here looks at the coming ‘inevitable’ water shortages in both Andalucía and Catalonia.


Once the paperwork is signed and agreed (!), ‘The Junta de Andalucía will finance 50% of the demolition of the Algarrobico hotel (Almería) with the State paying the balance’. Idealista fails to mention how much the taxpayer will have to spring for to return the never-finished hotel to an empty expanse of rock and scree.

Leo Noticias reports that the Real Academia Española is digitalising its library of literary treasures. The first Don Quijote, dramas and manuscripts. Head to their digital library here.

‘A pueblo in Spain finds the answer to a dwindling population’. Enix in Almería (Pop. 690) has more bars per inhabitant than anywhere else – with 12. That’s 16 per 1,000 residents. The reason? Apparently a lot of foreign residents find their way there for a beer and a tapa…

Here’s rather an alarming headline from El Confidencial: ‘The secret telegrams of the nuclear accident that could have erased half of Spain’. The item refers to the USAF nuclear accident over Palomares (Almería) in January 1966.

Equatorial Guinea is the only country in Africa where Spanish is the official language. What does it sound like? The BBC (Español) finds out here.

From the BBC News here: ‘The Spanish Grand Prix to move from Barcelona to Madrid in 2026’ (with map). More details at EFE here.

Spain's best carnivals in 2024. All the details about Carnival in Spain in 2024, including dates, cities and the most important events at Idealista (in English) here.

What if Spain became a republic? The story is at Eye on Spain here.

See Spain:

‘One of the best preserved Roman mosaics in the world is in Noheda (Cuenca) a village with less than 20 inhabitants’. 20Minutos has photos and a video here.


Hi Lenox,
Bit of a mess about Galicia last week. Vigo is not a province. Lugo is the province. And the independent party is the BNG, not BNP. It stands for Bloque Nacional Galego.
A Reader.

Sorry for the errors!


Pablo Alborán with Carminho perform Perdóname on YouTube here. Beautiful song!