Two subjects continue to worry residents in Spain: the broken government and the fallout from a possible ‘Brexit’. The first continues to limp towards probable fresh elections in late June, as cries of ‘...y tú más’ (Roughly, ‘Oh yeah? Well you guys are even worse than us’) are still heard between competing party spokespeople. Meanwhile, as we wait for another important vote in late June – the UK referendum to stay in or leave the European Union – another catchphrase has become prominent, used by both sides (the leavers and the stayers) as they play on our nerves: ‘you’re scaremongering’ they say.
‘W ether you’re looking for a new life or just a holiday home, Spain has an undeniable appeal for Britons: sun, sea and sand - coupled with cheap property and a lower cost of living. For those who are interested in buying a property in Spain, detailed information on local house prices is now available...’. From The Telegraph. There’s a map of Spain with a guide to house prices in certain towns with over a hundred sale-prices recorded.
‘The average asking price reduction of homes sold in 2015 was 14%, according to an annual survey by the Spanish property portal Fotocasa.es. Every year for the last six years Fotocasa has conducted a survey of vendors and owners trying to sell a home in Spain. With buyers firmly in the saddle since the Spanish property bubble burst, vendors have been reducing their price expectations each year, and last year the average reduction accepted by vendors who found a buyer was 14%, the equivalent of €33,000 on average...’. From Mark Stücklin’s Spanish Property Insight.
From Spanish News Today: ‘The upturn in the Spanish residential property market which was consolidated during 2015 is set to continue throughout the current year, according to CBRE España’s latest ‘Real Estate Market Outlook’ report published this month...’.
House hunting in Spain with The New York Times. Here.
‘Spain was the top European property destination for British buyers in 2015 – but Brexit could throw a spanner in the works. Over the last two years, Spain has maintained its historic reputation as the top Mediterranean destination for Brits buying abroad but that could be about to change if Britain votes to leave the European Union...’. From The Local.
House valuations by the tax-people are sometimes a little odd, as we know, and now from Idealista comes the news that the ‘Supreme Court has taken the tax authorities to task by knocking down one of their most common practices: manipulating values in order to try to require taxpayers to pay higher taxes...’. This opens the way to appeals by lawyers on unfair valuations from Hacienda.
Little or large – what size is your home? El País says that an average house is 144 square metres, but in some municipalities, people live in mini-homes (average just 50m), elsewhere in much larger places. You can check your municipality against the average on their interactive map.
How can the hotel sector counter the increasing attraction of Airbnb? The cheap alternative to staying in a hotel (‘mi casa es tú casa’) can always undercut the big boys. So, after trying (with some success) to either make these Internet platforms illegal, or by making the renting of a private house or room as complicated and distressing as possible (with government blessing), along came a new proposal from the hotels: Room Mate. This has now been followed by a number of other ‘chains’, like Sidorme, Squarebreak, HomeAway and so on. El País examines the phenomenon.
News from Málaga: ‘The ‘World’s deadliest walkway’ the Caminito del Rey sold to private company. The walkway ... has been sold off to construction firm Hermanos Campano for €1.6 million...’. Story at The Olive Press.
‘The Government’s star plan to help Spanish jobless falls far short of goals. Only 15% of allocated funds have been spent, and just 25% of potential beneficiaries are collecting checks’. Headline at El País in English.
Hacienda is widening its powers of confiscation of our hard-earned money – not just through an embargo to our bank accounts, but from October this year, through confiscating fixed-interest deposits: the whole operation through the Internet. Diario Sur has the story.
For the first time ever, the GDP of the average Spaniard will be higher than that of his Italian cousin, says Bolsamanía, citing the end of 2016 for this historic notice. The average income, noted in dollars, will be $36,650 against Italy’s $36,430. Spain’s economy, quoting the IMF, is on the move towards levels seen before the crisis began.
César Alierta, for sixteen years the head of Telefónica, is to step down in favour of Jose María Álvarez Pallete. Story at El Español.
In a meeting on Wednesday between Pedro Sánchez and Pablo Iglesias, seeking to break the deadlock and find a common ‘progressive’ government, Iglesias stated that he would waive his insistence on becoming Vice-president. Podemos policies would be more important than his post in a future government, said Iglesias, as reported yesterday in El Huff Post. Could this be enough...? Probably not – as PSOE partners Ciudadanos says they won’t support such a deal.
Many court-cases have been brought against corrupt politicians, not-so-corrupt politicians, and against many other citizens and institutions, by a group called Manos Limpios. An article – describing the organisation as a pseudo-syndicate – says that Manos Limpios are now under investigation themselves for a number of irregularities. The far-right organisation stands accused of apparently running some form of protection, by accepting funds to leave certain companies in peace, or to denounce competitors. Most strange.
A possible leader for the Partido Popular (if Mariano Rajoy only had the sense to leave) might be the unpronounceable president of the Xunta de Galicia, Alberto Núñez Feijóo. However, other people are after his services, including the owner of Inditex – the World’s second wealthiest man – who has offered Núñez Feijóo a job as president of his ‘Fundación Amancio Ortega’ – for a cool million euros a year.
The Andalusian Parliament has a new President (similar to the Speaker in British terms), called Juan Pablo Durán. The PSOE politician, says Libertad Digital, like Susana Díaz, has never worked in the private sector and has never attended a centre of higher learning.
Parliament has agreed that ‘fracking’ will not be allowed on Spanish soil.
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When the Banco de Madrid was closed down (a single Madrid-based bank owned by the disgraced Banca Privada d'Andorra which was noted for its wealthy patrons), the inspectors of the anti-corruption prosecution was invited to check the contents of the security boxes held by the institution. The answer was never given, and the opportunity was lost. Sometimes, marvels El Confidencial, one wonders who is on whose side!
‘Huelva judge rules Junta are responsible for paying back Edu training course funds.
Bogus training schemes for unemployed cost millions’. Headline at The Olive Press.
‘Teachers sent packing in midst of recruitment crisis – because they earn too little. Most non-EU skilled workers will soon need to earn £35k to stay in the UK, and schools fear losing key staff’ (The Telegraph here). If the UK leaves the EU, then Europeans working in the UK who earned under 35,000 pounds would be deported. WHAT do you suppose that Madrid would do to the lower-paid Brits working in Spain?
A fretful article in The Guardian written by an émigré living in Catalonia: ‘For British expats in Spain, Brexit is a cloud over the sun’.
While the British press has little to say about the possible fallout for ex-pats and the Spanish English-language media appears to be more worried about its advertisers than its readers/listeners, there are two articles of particular interest appearing in Connexion from France here and here:
‘How might Brexit affect expatriates? Several readers have been asking Connexion about the possible effects of a Brexit on expat Britons in France. Here we recap key areas for the lives of expats that could be affected, and we will update this article in due course if useful new information comes to our attention...’.
‘Does 1969 Vienna Convention help? Readers have contacted Connexion asking whether the 1969 Vienna Convention would protect expats’ ‘acquired rights’ in the event of a Brexit – experts we consulted say it would not...’.
El País in English asks: ‘Why did General Franco hate the freemasons so much? Spain’s Grand Lodge is aiming to recover its reputation after it was almost wiped out by the dictatorship.’
Trolling. It’s a popular phenomenon in the Internet. One use for it is to distort polls. For example: ‘Spanish ministry of defence staff vote thousands of times in Gibraltar poll.
Telegraph Gibraltar poll approaches one million votes – after thousands of votes from Spain’s ministry of defence and social media campaign’. A poll from The Telegraph in 2013 regarding Gibraltar’s supposed support from British readers. Well – they asked for it! Now comes another amusing example, where everyone appears to be ‘in on the game’. The British public was asked to choose ‘...the name for a $300 million polar research ship. The most popular so far is the plainly ridiculous Boaty Mcboatface. However, in second place in number of votes is a Spanish suggestion being supported massively. The ‘HMS Blas de Lezo’ - in honour of a Spanish admiral who, inexplicably forgotten by British historians, managed to sink a large number of British battleships in actions in the Caribbean during the 1740s...’. From Lenox’ The Entertainer Online. Later: well lookie here, the suggestion of Blás de Lezo has been eliminated from the competition!
‘Spain could lose €3.6 billion a year if it bans bullfighting. Spain could lose an estimated €3.6 billion a year if it banned bullfighting according to data from the National Association of Bullfighting Organizers (ANOET). The figures, quoted by Europa Press, are based on the 6.1 million tickets sold last year as well as the 199,000 jobs and 57,000 positions directly linked to bullfighting...’. Report at The Local.