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

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September 12 2019            Nº 317

Bibliophilia: 

I used to visit record stores and bookshops when younger. So nice to flip through the records, stacked in their boxes; so nice to angle my head and walk the bookshop shelves.

Following a trip somewhere, my suitcase home would hold a tee-shirt, a stack of albums and a selection of novels for ballast. 

The money spent on those records… 

The money spent on those books…

At home – Mojácar – there were never any local record or book shops of note, or if there were, they never lasted for long. After all, it’s a small place and, there’s not much of a market (especially for books, where half the population doesn’t read the language of the other half).

I tried Amazon for a while, but they have a pesky prime account which adds to the bill, and with our local charity-shop selling thrillers and whodunits at four for a euro, who cares how up-to-date they are?

My parents brought a quarter of a ton of books with them when they moved to Spain, as a kind of alternative activity to drinking. There was no TV in those days (there still isn’t in our house), and apart from a regular trip to the local cinema to improve our Spanish (‘Hands up’, being the first phrase I learnt), the evening pastimes back then were reduced to sleeping, reading or carousing. 

Since I was thirteen, it was pretty much just the first two for me.

They stopped making records in around 1992 (and decent pop songs as well), so my record-buying days ended (I’ve got about 1,500 albums, all in stacks). As for the thousands of books, well they’ve just increased over the years and probably mated and had children.

The house is full of novels, with shelves of them in every room, a pile on the floor by the bed, a clump on the mantelpiece, a couple under the PC monitor (for height), boxes of them in the dining room, crates of them in the kitchen and even one on the table by the lavatory (with most of its pages missing for some reason). 

My daughter has been putting them in boxes. She tells me not to worry and that they will be safe. I went out and bought some more paperbacks last week, just in case… 

I expect I read less than I used to – what with social media and other Internet usage (for an apparent total of four hours a day average!) cutting into my time, but I’ve been in bed just now, with man-flu, so have been enjoying a good read.

Lenox Dixit

 

……

Housing:

La Vanguardia says that 20% of all homes sold in Spain go to foreign buyers. The paper has advice on how to sell your property to an extranjero. 

From Spanish Property Insight here, ‘Home sales data for June shows the biggest national market decline in five years, and areas popular with foreign buyers weren’t spared the kicking. Spanish residential property sales figures for home sale deeds inscribed in the Land Register were down 8% countrywide in June , according to figures from the National Institute of Statistics (INE), based on source data from the Spanish Land Registrars’ Association…’.  

‘In Spain’, says The New York Times ‘Buyers Relish Designing Their Own Golf Homes’. 

Rental news from The Local here: ‘Salaries in Spain have only increased by 1.6 percent since 2013, whereas rent prices have shot up by 50 percent. Recent reports by the Bank of Spain and the country’s National Statistics Agency (INE) have shed light on the increasing cost of living in the country, in particularly Spain’s wild rent hikes.  Whereas Spaniards earn only 1.6 percent more in wages than they did five years ago (€23,646 a year on average in 2018) they’re paying twice as much in rent than they did in 2013…’. 

Mark Stücklin writes of the troubles for neighbours of a nightclub in an article here (loud noise at 4.00am from the revellers and, er, carousers). 

‘From the ‘Airbnb scam’ to phishing: how to spot fraud when flat-hunting. Learn how to identify the signs of scammers in the Spanish market, who will often advertise properties that seem too good to be true, and will always be in a hurry to close the deal’. The article includes a sub called ‘How to Spot Fraud’. A useful item from El País in English here. 

‘On Monday 16th September the President of the Junta, Juan Manual Moreno, and the Minister for Development and Territorial Planning, Marifran Carazo, will attend an important public act in the Valle of Almanzora. We understand that the President is going to make a significant announcement about illegal houses’. From an AUAN press release. 

……

Tourism:

The Imserso tourism for Seniors will have a late start for bookings this year as the rival agencies squabble over the program. 

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Finance:

‘The number of Spain’s ‘super rich’ millionaires (30 million euros and up) surges by 74% in a decade as the poorest get even poorer. The Olive Press says that ‘The net wealth of Spain’s poorest 50% has decreased by 4% since 2008’. 

From The Corner here: ‘In Spain, middle class incomes fell with the crisis, although on average they suffered less than the rest of the population. However, in recent years they have only recovered part of the lost territory. With the crisis, middle class households saw their income reduced less than the rest of the population. Concretely, their income reduced 8.5% between 2008 and 2013, while lower class incomes fell 13% and upper class incomes 13.2%…’. 

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Politics:

We seem to be close to calling for a general election on November 10th. The PSOE says it won’t offer a coalition with the Unidas Podemos, leaving the chances of an agreement looking remote. Podemos says that there won’t be ‘a progressive government without our participation’. At the same time, Pedro Sánchez has asked the opposition parties to drop their block against his proposed minority government and allow passage with a simple abstention. A balance of the latest polls shows the PSOE still on the rise (now at 32%) and the PP also up at 19.5%. The other three national parties are down. 

The reasons why Pablo Casado is against fresh elections, according to ElDiario.es are worries of a fresh defeat, a reduced purse for the campaign and the fallout from the current round of corruption trials. 

As we wait to see whether an election will be called, the PSOE and Ciudadanos have agreed to work together on a possible euthanasia law says El Español here. 

Another accusation for plagiarism has appeared, this time against the President of the Senate, Manuel Cruz (PSOE) in his book called Filosofía Contemporánea (2002).

España Suma’ is a kind of brand name for the right, invented (and copyrighted) by the PP. Ciudadanos is not keen to join, but Vox is intrigued, says Público here.

 

El País has an interesting interview with Felipe González here. 

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Gibraltar:

From The Independent here: ‘Forget the Irish backstop – the biggest Brexit crisis is happening at another border altogether’. The article begins: ‘Tuesday was Gibraltar’s national day. It marks the referendum date in 1967 when the Mediterranean territory voted by an overwhelming 12,138 to 44 to remain a British overseas territory. Another ballot in 2002 rejected Spanish sovereignty proposals by an equally crushing margin. Oh for referendums with such decisive majorities. Half a century on, there’s a cloud on Gibraltar’s horizon: Brexit…’. 

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Corruption:

From El País in English here: ‘The Tax Agency insider who helped defraud foreign sports players of €6.3 million. The scam, which was run by three lawyers, involved filing fraudulent claims for rebates in the names of high-profile sportsmen who were resident in other countries’. 

……

Brexit: 

From The Guardian here: ‘’A beautiful dream destroyed’: Britons in EU on no-deal Brexit.

British citizens living in EU27 nations tell of feeling abandoned as a no-deal exit looms on horizon’. 

‘Spain warns 90,000 companies about risk of no-deal Brexit. Tax Agency sends letters to businesses with advice on what to do if Britain crashes out of the EU without an agreement’. From El País in English here.

‘Spain ropes in almost 1,000 civil servants to battle Brexit fallout as 400,000 ‘hidden’ Brits expected to officially register. The preparation efforts have mainly focused on customs, trade, border control and document workers’. The Olive Press reports here. El País in turn covers the subject here. 

The new British Ambassador to Spain Hugh Elliott talks to La Vanguardia here. 

A free-sheet we rarely quote from, The Euro Weekly News, ran an article last week from its columnist Leapy Lee titled ‘They Are Traitors!’. It was about those who are against the Brexit in the UK and the appalling article ends with ‘…For all our sakes, get some cojones, get behind Boris and get away from the shackles of Europe’s fourth Reich’. We are sorry you had to read that. Whether Leaky Lee will be quietly dropped from the quiver of EWN writers remains to be seen. On the other hand, perhaps the editors agree with him.

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Various:

Again, how to navigate a roundabout. Our experience, don’t worry about what’s behind and be careful of what’s in front (and very careful of what is about to overtake you on the left and cut in front of you heading to the right). 

There are more smokers than ever in Spain, says El Confidencial here. Apparently, the anti-smoking people can’t agree on tactics. The last figures published say that 34% of Spanish adults smoke. 

‘Toledo’s Visigothic city under threat by real estate development. Once the capital of a powerful kingdom, the Vega Baja site includes remains from the Roman, medieval and Islamic eras that could soon make way for over 1,600 homes’. El País in English reports. 

‘A woman has destroyed the Cross of the Inquisition, the stone crucifix located between the Chapter Hall and the Arquillo of the City Hall of Seville, on San Francisco Square on Monday night’. Headline from Diario de Sevilla here. 

Back in 2006, archaeologists discovered in a dig outside Vitoria (Álava) links to early Christianity and to fragments of text in euskera from the III century AD, six hundred years before any other evidence of the language had been found. After public funding of 3.7 million euros by the Basque government, other investigators found that the 476 pieces originally reported were found to have been ‘manipulated’. The apparent fraud will be heard in court next February. El País has the story here.   

Suicide watch. According to Qué!, there are ten suicides daily in Spain.

‘The Spanish “anti-napkin” – why does it still exist? Unlikely as it may sound, there is a role in life for those old-fashioned wipes that do such a poor job of cleaning’. An amusing tale from the bar across the street from El País in English here. 

All you ever wanted to know about Paella, with Molly at Piccavey here. 

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See Spain:

From Eye on Spain comes ‘Sensational Andalucía – sight, sound, smell, taste and touch impressions from the Spanish south’.

From CNN here: ‘World’s best country to visit in 2019, according to the World Economic Forum’. Well, we already knew that.

‘The Drought Has Revealed Spain’s Long-Submerged ‘Stonehenge’, says Atlas Obscura here, ‘Up close with the 7,000-year-old Dolmen of Guadalperal’.

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EuroCitizens Spanish Nationality Questionnaire

As a British citizen residing in Spain, we would like to ask you to participate in a survey related to application for Spanish Citizenship. The purpose of this brief questionnaire is to provide information on the progress of nationality applications, and how this affects UK citizens. We will share the results with our members and also with the Spanish Administration and the press, in order to keep UK citizens’ situation in Spain on the “front page” as Brexit draws nearer.

The questionnaire takes only about 5-10 minutes to complete. It is anonymous and confidential, and provides valuable information. Please complete this questionnaire by the 15th of September 2019.

Please do it yourself and then share it with as many people as possible. 

You can find the link to the survey here.

Full link: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/3WDJ8WP 

Thanks for your support!

Sincerely,

EuroCitizens Committee

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Letters:

Dear Lenox,

We are guffawing, choking, crying and totally bemused, so we are not functioning either, just the same as the British government then?

Thanks always for all your efforts, we appreciate them.

We don’t tend to watch the TV that often and may press the no button again if all this palaver continues.

«Safe and sound up a Spanish Mountain» Jackie

Sadly, this (Brexit) chaos is also affecting people here who feel «invisible» in the present negotiations. It´s not just about pensions and healthcare, it is already affecting a lot of British workers here. Everybody I know has heard of somebody who has already been affected by this uncertainty. British applicants are not getting jobs they thought would be certain, or getting passed over for promotion, or not getting contracts renewed. I myself know of 3 people who at the last minute have not had their contracts renewed for September. Two teachers, who do not stand a chance now of getting other employment for the coming academic year which is already under way, and one office worker. Their positions have been filled by 2 Irish citizens and one Dutch. Employers fear future complicated paperwork problems. These are not just numbers – these are lives being turned upside down. Other British workers have been called in for uncomfortable interviews with their employers who have explained that if they cannot get a work visa granted post Brexit then they will have to be let go. These people are frantically worried by the intention of Britain to have a minimum salary requirement of 30,000 pounds for work visas, as the Spanish government have said in that case they will require a minimum salary of 35,000€ here, and most ordinary workers in hotels/call-centres/teaching/ offices/banks/shops/restaurants etc. do not earn this sum. Neither can a lot of autonomous workers provide proof of earnings of this sum. 

All so worrying for so many people in so many ways. 

(In answer to a blog-post from Tamara here, forwarded by Charles)

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Finally:

One of Spain’s great pop stars, Camilo Sesto, died last Sunday in Mexico. Camilo Sesto sold 100 million records during his forty year career. BBC News has his top five songs here. 

 

Enviado por José Antonio Sierra