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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February 27 2020 Nº 339
From The New York Times here: ‘The Coronavirus crisis that has engulfed China could sicken one leading cruise line and the air travel industry, companies say. Cruise operator Carnival Corporation indicated the outbreak may cause its earnings to take on water this year, while Boeing officials predicted it would stall the air cargo industry and cut into airline revenues…’.
There is little doubt that, barring an unlikely rapid solution, the Coronavirus will bite deeply into the world economy this spring and, nearer to home, the Spanish tourist industry. Who will want to share a cruise with a large number of passengers, any one of which might cause a serious outbreak and quarantine? Better to cancel and plan for next year. Who, too, will risk an uncomfortable and cramped aeroplane flight, fearful of every cough from a fellow-passenger and then followed by a nervous wait in some well-travelled airport?
Figures out so far this week as the tourist industry begins to take stock: ‘The Coronavirus effect: airlines will lose US $ 29.3 billion this year’.
‘It’s not only Chinese tourists, business travellers, and property buyers who’re not showing up, but also travellers from all over the world who’ve gotten second thoughts about sitting on a plane…’, says Wolf Street here.
This is moving quickly. A hotel in Adeje, Tenerife, with 1,000 tourists was put into quarantine on Tuesday. By Wednesday lunchtime, nine new cases in Spain had been confirmed says El País in English, in Madrid, Castellón and Valencia. Later, there was another case reported in Seville.
As we panic, and storm the supermarkets, visions of an apocalyptic end in our minds, a major study concludes that the Coronavirus has a low lethality, perhaps as low as three in a thousand. Around 95% of patients will recover without any complications.
The main casualty will be the tourist industry – which accounted for around 15% of Spain’s GDP in 2018. Highly aware of this, the Government has approved a number of protocols to address any tourist-related issues arising from the bug, while the tourist minister Reyes Maroto says that Spain is ‘a safe destination’.
Perhaps, as a beneficial side-effect, we can look forward to the Spanish authorities looking a little more kindly on those foreign residents who live here full time, modestly contributing to the economy.
The story about the hive apartments last week has a postscript from ABC here: ‘The controversy of the hive floors: “I will not return. It was a chaotic mess of dirt, robbery and fighting”. Those who have lived in the Haibu 4.0 rooms do not hold a good impression, as future tenants look forward to this «economic» and «temporary» option becoming available in Madrid’.
‘A bright-green steel frame perches on a steeply sloping site north of Valencia, Spain, projecting out from the hill above a busy main road. It forms a large 3D grid, some of its spaces filled with white cubic volumes, others left empty as if still awaiting their final function. “People kept asking if it was going to be a supermarket,” says architect Fredrik Hellberg, standing beneath the 10-metre-high frame. It’s a fair question: in Nueva Santa Barbara a new suburb where houses are variously neo-Moorish, Spanish rustic or developer modern, this startling new home is unlike any other for miles around…’. The Guardian reports here.
How the wealthy live – five amazing home-interiors in Spain from Living Etc here.
From El País in English comes ‘Spanish rail company wins €5,600 million contract to operate high-speed network in the United States. Renfe will be responsible for the line between Houston and Dallas in what will be the largest ever deal reached by a state-owned company outside of Spain’.
Chinese merchandise available in the corner ‘bazar chino’ is almost always sold without IVA. This will change from next year says ADSLZone here.
Magnet says that for the past forty years, the lower and middle classes have increasingly found themselves unable to save money for a rainy day.
There are some jobs which one can do, or income which one can make, while legally receiving the paro (the dole). An article from La Información here.
The minimum number of days necessary for part-time farm-workers in Andalucía and Extremadura to receive the PER (Plan de Empleo Rural), a subsidy for those who work on picking fruit or other seasonal tasks, has been reduced to twenty says Cordópolis here.
The PP candidate for the upcoming regional elections of April 5th in the Basque Country, Alfonso Alonso, has been relieved of his position at the eleventh hour by Pablo Casado, after Alonso baulked at the curious PP/Ciudadanos coalition for the region. (In 2016, the PP came fifth with nine seats; Ciudadanos scored none). He has since resigned from active politics. The new candidate, Carlos Iturgaiz, sounds fun – says the PP should join with Vox to face the ‘fasci-communist government’.
Vice-president Pablo Iglesias is on the commission of the CNI (Spain’s intelligence service) as is normal. The one person who seems upset about state secrets being shared with this politician is the increasingly conservative (and wealthy) ex-president of Spain Felipe González. As Público jests, González hasn’t been as annoyed as this since he accidentally holed his yacht.
‘The Consumer Minister Alberto Garzón regulates advertising for the gaming industry, although the decree remains halfway with respect to the initial plan. Football matches may advertise betting companies after 8 pm’. El País reports here. The new rules (despite the title) are in fact quite comprehensive, including bans on famous people, certain catchphrases (‘win, win, win…’) and gaming companies using their names for other purposes.
‘The coronavirus panic has already spread throughout Europe with 200 cases confirmed so far (Wednesday morning) and the deaths recorded in Italy. In Spain, due to this collective panic, the requests for face-masks have increased by 3,000% since December, according to the Federation of Pharmaceutical Distributors (Fedifar).
But do these masks really work and are they really necessary in Spain?
The WHO states that “you should only wear a mask if you have respiratory symptoms (cough or sneeze), if you suspect you have a 2019-nCoV infection with mild symptoms or if you are taking care of someone suspected of being infected by 2019-nCoV ”.
Sensible precautions and the frequent of washing hands are recommended. The above comes from El Huff Post here.
‘Spain insists ‘country is safe’ and has ‘best health system in the world’ amid fears coronavirus could hit tourism industry ahead of Holy Week’ says The Olive Press here.
The correct way to wear a mask (from the WHO) is on YouTube here.
‘Spain ready “for any scenario” amid global coronavirus outbreak’ (Monday) here.
*If you’re worried about the ‘Wuhan outbreak’ or feel unprepared, this guide is for you.
For those following the BBVA/Villarejo industrial spy scandal: ‘The BBVA made 52 payments for 14 years to Villarejo’s bank account. A new police report details the transfer of 31 million euros to the commissioner’s parent company. A third of the funds were payments from the financial institution’. El País reports here.
How much will Brexit cost us Spaniards, asks El Confidencial Digital. The article looks at Gibraltar; commerce between Spain and the UK (including tourism); Spaniards living in the UK and Britons living in Spain. On this last point, it says, Britons can expect the same rights as they currently enjoy (for those who have residence papers before the end of 2020) and, ‘…With regard to retirees, «they will be able to continue receiving health care in Spain and also to continue receiving the retirement pension paid by the British Social Security.» Although, British citizens who begin to reside or arrive in Spain after the end of the transitional period (December 31 2020) will have to comply with what is eventually agreed between the EU and the UK on future relations.»’.
From The Sur in English here: ‘Concerns remain over relocating with EU partners to the UK, going home for an extended period of time and the impact of Spanish citizenship’.
A program called Verba analyses the words used by the national television news to see what they are talking about (or ‘promoting’, if one prefers). Which parties and political leaders, Catalonia, climate change etc are most mentioned… VerTele checks the results here.
‘The Mar Menor – when our contempt for the environment finally turns against us’: a major report with photographs from El País here.
Spain leads for the fifth year in environmental violations in Europe. Spain has managed to resolve eleven complaints in 2019, but maintains 25 files open: among them the complaints to the European Court for Doñana and the contamination in Madrid and Barcelona’. A report comes from ElDiario.es here.
Público on the Madrid Region here: ‘PP governments have closed one in five beds in Madrid’s hospitals. Figures from the Madrid health system are getting worse: there are almost 3,000 closed beds in the region, 3,200 fewer workers than ten years ago and waiting lists have increased’.
‘Activists outside Madrid abortion clinic: “Are you here to kill your child?”’. Uggh. A piece from El País in English here. It says that ‘A report shows that 89% of women trying to terminate their pregnancies are pressured by pro-life groups’.
Almost 25% of people in Spain are overweight, says The Olive Press here.
‘Morocco puts an end to irregular trade in Melilla. The general director of the Moroccan Customs warns that the measures applied in Ceuta will also be applied to Melilla’, says the local paper. Ceuta meanwhile has called to be admitted into the Schengen area ‘to survive the Moroccan asphyxia’ as it would make the autonomous city ‘more European’.
Tourism from 900 years ago. A report in La Marina Plaza identifies seven ‘hostelries’ from the Islamic age in Denia (Alicante). Interesting stuff worth a look!
The Hispanist Henry Kamen: “There was no Reconquista. No military campaign lasts eight centuries ”. The British historian and expert on Spain fights the myths that have largely contributed to the Spanish identity. «Politicians now have no idea what a nation is,» he says’. Item found at El País here.
From Brett Hetherington’s Standing in a Spanish Doorway here: ‘»Street photographer documenting Madrid’s invisible population», a series about Romani population in Europe.
Friday, February 28th, is el Día de Andalucía – a regional fiesta.
‘Five treasures from an empty Spain’ – shows how you can travel to the back of beyond and discover astonishing marvels. El País has the story with photos here.
Here with Cerodosbe, we find some ‘landscapes from another planet’, but no, they’re all in Spain.
Eye on Spain treats us to a most beautiful and extraordinary plaza. ‘The Plaza de España in Sevilla is a plaza located in the Parque de María Luisa. It was built in 1928 for the Ibero-American Exposition of 1929 and almost bankrupted the city. It is a landmark example of the Renaissance Revival style in Spanish architecture…’.
BoT 338 ETIAS visa waiver via Brexpats in Spain here.
The EU’s ETIAS requirements will, possibly as intended, likely complicate the lives of many of those from northern Africa, Moroccans, notably, in Spain, Algerians in France, etc. who make annual migrations back to their countries of origin for several weeks or months. Given that officially- i.e. Spanish figures, there are about 200,000 Chinese residents in Spain, whereas some of the bilingual Chinese publications here refer to more than double that number actually being in the country, the ETIAS may cause some special problems for any of those who leave the Schengen zone and wish to return, although it some instances the ETIAS is valid for two or more years, if a valid passport is held. Or even move within the Schengen zone without residence papers for an EU member state.
Luis Eduardo Aute with his 1992 hit Slowly on YouTube here.
Enviado por José Antonio Sierra