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 9 2021 Nº 412
Another editorial about the high cost of electricity in Spain, only this one begins by admitting that no one can explain how the monthly factura from the power company is so outrageous.
They say that it is figured on the cost of the most expensive bit of the energy provision – whether a squirt of gas or a soupçon of nuclear to top up the mix. This can only work if there’s a cast-iron agreement somewhere – strong enough that it can’t be broken.
A drive from Almería to Granada takes in around 300 aero-generators and a couple of major solar plants: which have to be a cheap way to create power? Or not?
Certainly, the power companies are pleased to coin it, while also gleefully contributing to the attrition of the present government.
The inflation (IPC) in Spain, year on year, rose to 3.3% in August, on the back of the high electricity prices. Even the government’s temporary drop this summer on the IVA from 21% to just 10% on the invoice didn’t appear to help much – if at all.
The Corner quotes the director of Red Electrica Socorro Fernández Larrea who says ‘All neighbouring markets have been at record highs for days. The rules of the electricity market are the same throughout Europe, and they are not going to change them’.
Regardless of how the bill is computed, or whether it is inviolate as the EU claims, Pedro Sánchez came out this weekend with a promise to have the electricity bill back to 2018 levels by Christmas and now three ministers are saying that ‘the packet of measures to lower the price of the electric is imminent’.
The reputation and longevity of the Government probably hangs on a rapid solution.
‘There is no doubt that the pandemic severely affected the property market on the Mediterranean coast and islands throughout 2020 and the first few months of 2021. The slump in international tourism due to restrictions on travel and uncertainty regarding how the health and economic situation would develop have led to a significant decline in the number of foreigners buying residential properties in Spain, plummeting by almost 50% year-on-year in Q2 2020…’. The Corner explains how the slump has affected foreign property-buyers here.
An interesting piece from Wired looks at ways of rejuvenating small and moribund villages in Spain: ‘Dozens of villages across Spain are in terminal decline. A new visa scheme aimed at digital nomads could revive them’. It seems that there’s a new plan to help both the suffering municipalities while circumventing at least one of the problems for would-be immigrants. ‘…the National Network of Welcoming Villages for Remote Workers scheme, or Red Nacional de Pueblos Acogedores para el Teletrabajo, aims to attract foreign workers with a new 12-month work visa for digital nomads. Spain’s draft Startup Act, which was passed by the cabinet in July but has yet to receive parliamentary approval, aims to encourage digital nomads to repopulate rural villages. Among Spain’s 8,131 municipalities, 3,403 are classed as at risk of dying out, according to the country’s National Statistics Institute…’.
From El País in English here: ‘Spain’s tourism sector seeks to extend peak season into autumn in a bid to offset pandemic losses. The regions are resorting to vouchers, advertising campaigns and sporting or cultural events to try to stimulate demand. Foreign visits were down 55.5% in July compared to levels before the health crisis took hold’.
Age in Spain – their video here.
‘Spain is already growing above the European average. Data from the EU statistical agency, Eurostat, places growth in the euro area at 2.2% in the second quarter of 2021 compared to the previous quarter, while Spain climbed to 2.8%’. elDiario.es reports here.
The latest polls indicate that the high electric bills are hurting the PSOE – a poll for Público says that the PP now leads the PSOE by an uncomfortable 24, and the combination of the PP together with Vox beats the PSOE plus UP by 174 to 124.
Ciudadanos, by the way, scores just 2 in this poll.
CTXT has an opinion piece called ‘And if the PP and Vox were to form a government!’. The article worries about the right-wing mediatic hold on the Voters and the likely intention to illegalise certain regional political parties (those who support the PSOE/UP coalition) and it calls on the parties of the left to work together. There are just the two ways forward at the present time, says the article. An English version at Jacobin is here. The article is written by Pablo Iglesias.
Vox has come up with a novel solution for the moribund municipalities of the long-forgotten interior of Spain: hunting holidays! That, says the party, will bring the tourists. Vox has long been in favour of the manly sports of huntin’, shootin’ and fishin’ and now they have hit on an interesting formula says El Huff Post here.
As noted – the GB stickers on British cars will be replaced later this month by ones that read UK. Whether GBG (Guernsey); GBA (Alderney); GBM (Isle of Man); GBJ (Jersey) and, err GBZ (Gibraltar) will also be pointlessly switched is unclear.
elDiario.es runs an article about the scientific proof showing that face-masks reduce the possibility of catching or spreading Covid. From the general to the particular, ABC says that in Madrid, despite the decreasing trend in infections, 1,292 people are hospitalized. Of these, it says, ‘69.5% of those currently admitted to hospitals in Madrid with Covid are not vaccinated’ (September 4).
A study from the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona suggests that corruption could lose a political party some 4.5% of its voters, only – most voters are careful not to expose themselves to tales of corruption regarding their preferred choice. From the control group of 2,500 people, the university found that up to 33.2% will choose entertainment before reading negative stories that persecute their party, and almost half prefer to seek out and only read reports about the good performance of their favourite political formation. The story is at CTXT here.
The top officials of the Ministry of the Interior during the Rajoy era are shaking the branches a little. Both former minister Fernández Díaz and his number two Francisco Martínez have inquired of the judge that how can it be that they are accused of spying on Bárcenas while María Dolores de Cospedal, who was then the head of the PP, is not. From CadenaSer here we read a similar claim. The judicial inquiry into the Operación Kitchen was closed down too soon. This isn’t a simple left-wing meme, but the opinion of the ex-Minister of the Interior Jorge Fernández Díaz.
Being blocked, stuck, paralyzed, restricted, is not a pleasant thing. Unless they pay you a stellar salary and lead a more relaxed professional life than usual and with all the privileges of the position. This is what is happening in the Judiciary. The mandate for the CGPJ expired (by law) more than a thousand days ago but, as the PP refuses to renew it because its current composition suits them, they are still there.
The upper echelons of the Judiciary could resign to try to unblock the situation, but they do not do so, although they describe the situation as «unsustainable» and make an equidistant distribution of blame. The president, Carlos Lesmes, earns more than 140,000 euros gross per year. He and seven other members of the body have a salary higher than that of the Prime Minister. The budget for this body is 73 million euros a year. More at elDiario.es.
Maybe, says The Corner, we need a mediator. While it is vague as to who this might be, it says ‘…the Spanish democracy should not allow a perpetual deadlock that damages its reputation and brings it into disrepute. Sánchez and Casado have to step up to the plate and undo the mess, get out of their comfort zone and solve the problem’.
What we need is another TV channel. Step forward Marcos de Quinto (was the world executive vice-president for Coca Cola, and briefly a Ciudadanos deputy) who has announced the arrival of La Séptima later this year. With offices in Madrid and Murcia, and the station’s politics: ‘liberal democrat’. The story at VerTele here.
Jon Clarke, the editor of The Olive Press, has written a book about the disappearance of Madeleine McCann called ‘My Search for Madeleine’. He is interviewed on Sky News here. Buy his book at Amazon here.
Squatters – okupas – continue to fascinate the media. From MRT (who they?) we read: ‘Squatters: the “strongmen” who hire in Spain to evict those who invade property illegally’. El Salto Diario also looks at those who are paid to de-sqattify a home, with an article about the ‘criminal’ methods used by Desokupa, as told by an ex-employee here. A BBC podcast called ‘Catalonia: Squatters, Eviction and Extortion’ also considers the darker side of squatting (thanks to Brett Hetherington and his Standing in a Spanish Doorwayhere).
There has been an increase in violent attacks against gays, but one – which had shocked the nation – was found on Wednesday to be fake. The young-man in question, attacked by eight masked-men on Sunday night in Madrid, with the word maricón (‘homo’) cut into his buttocks by a knife, has now admitted that the whole story was a fabrication and that he got a friend to make the cuts (for some reason or other). The story with video at LaSexta here. Doubly annoying for Vox, which had been blaming immigrant gangs for the violence.
La Voz del Sur says that the Junta de Andalucía is going slow on its 1,000 million euros fund to help businesses rebound from the last eighteen months.
With the growth of electric cars, over-taxing the petrol pump (currently worth 21,500 million euros annually) is no longer going to help the Government maintain the national road system. Well, that’s the excuse (current road-maintenance in Spain runs at around 1,100 million euros). This is why toll-roads are the future says NIUS here. ‘All motorists need to pay a little, rather than the current system of toll roads mixed (arbitrarily) with free ones, says the Minister of Hacienda María Jesús Montero’. The story at El Economista here.
A brief reign: Serafín María de Sotto y Abach Langton (Wiki) was president of Spain for two days in October 1849. Isabel II promoted him to the position, but was obliged to reconsider after a massive parliamentary fuss. More on him and four other presidential duds (two more with just two days in power, one with four and another, who was president for all of six days) at El Reto Histórico here.
‘’Mediterranean Day’ will be held on November 28 every year starting with the first-ever in 2021, and will be a celebration of the region’s cultures, ‘wealth of diversity and difference’, as well as everything that unites the countries bordering the inter-continental sea…’. The item from Think Spain notes that ‘the Mediterranean Sea links three continents, 46,000 kilometres of coastline, and is home to over 480 million people’.
‘Some quirky facts about Madrid we bet you never knew’ from Think Spain here. One of them, for example, is to do with Che Guevara’s beret.
Survey: ‘Is the Government responsible for the high electricity prices? Readers of the right-wing ECD respond magnificently here.
Many thanks to those who wrote this week regarding the switch to the new ‘Outlook’ e-mailer. I’m glad it all went smoothly – mostly (the BoT GoDaddy email account-provider had changed for some reason, the Gmail one remains the same). Lenox
Here’s Ras Kuko (from Cañaman) with Siempre Positivo. Spanish reggae at YouTube here.
Enviado por José Antonio Sierra