Business over Tapas, october 29 2020

A digest of this week's Spanish financial, political and social news aimed primarily at Foreign Property Owners

Lenox Napier¹


A few days from now, and we shall (probably) see who will be the president of the USA. From this, many apples will fall: Boris Johnson’s Brexit plans (Biden is apparently no friend to the UK); the efforts of the USA in the Coronavirus plague, including its wobbly support for the World Health Organisation; Washington’s geopolitical work (Venezuela, Cuba, Bolivia, Syria, Israel, Russia plus of course China…).

The Mexican wall, the Paris Accord, the Iran nuclear deal…

Climate Change.

How strange that we should ever have seen a man like Donald Trump on the World Stage! Will he now be taking his bow or are we in for another treat?


From Mark Stücklin’s Spanish Property Insight here: ‘Higher property taxes on the way as Spain’s shaky foundations get hammered by Covid-19’.

Spanish Property Insight helps you understand the market and how to buy, own, or sell property in Spain with confidence. It is the only independent source of information on the Spanish housing market, written without any sales bias, and the only impartial guide to buying, getting the most out of, and selling property in Spain’. Find it here

From Cuarto Poder here: ‘A quick Google search returns disappointing results regarding rent regulation: «Pablo Iglesias stalks the owner with the regulation (…)» (Libremercado here), «The risks that can arise from excessive regulation» (Cope here) and «The Government will limit the rental price with the opposition of organizations and experts” (Idealista here). Although there is extensive literature for and against this price control, there is strong resistance well positioned on the Internet and in some media. The measure is part of the Government’s agreement between the PSOE and Podemos, and is already a reality in Catalonia, where in September a law came into force to control rent in areas with the highest demand for housing…’. The article goes on to list the arguments in favour of government-imposed rent controls, saying ‘42% of the population allocate 40% of their salary to pay the rent, although the UN advises that it should not exceed 30%’.


A collection of ‘travel bloggers’ were recently invited by the Consejería de Turismo de la Junta de Andalucía to inspect the many charms of the province of Almería. «With this action we also intend to publicize the services, resources, opportunities and potential that the province offers for tourism, as well as the infrastructure and complementary offer of the inland municipalities, 365 days a year,» said the representative from the Diputación de Almería. Naturally, no foreign bloggers made the list for the junket. Europa Press here


‘Sánchez and Iglesias agree to tax increases for large companies and high incomes (3% for those with over 200,000€ income) to close the Budgets. The two parties present expansive accounts that leave behind, they say, austerity and adjustments’. El País reports here ‘Sánchez and Iglesias announce an “historic” budget that ends austerity. The president asserts that these accounts represent a «before and after» in the country’s economic policy’ says La Vanguardia here and, with the details, here

‘Unemployment went up by 355,000 people last quarter. There are now 3,722,900 unemployed (16% of the workforce) across Spain. Nearly 1.2 million households have nobody in active employment. Unemployment amongst the under-25’s is now at 40%, almost 10% more than a year ago. More than a third of the unemployed have not had a job in over one year. More than 800,000 people (counted as «occupied») continued to be furloughed (ERTE) last month’. David Jackson here

‘Ninety thousand bars will close in 2020 due to the coronavirus. The sector estimates losses of 11,000 million euros until the end of the year’. Gloom from El Confidencial Digital.

El Economista says that withdrawing cash from the teller will now cost a few euros at three banks – the BBVA, the Banco Santander and the Caixa. Plus a few other choice details (like 10€ a month bank charges at the Santander).

La Información on donations here: ‘From how much money or value is a gift considered as a donation and do you have to pay taxes on it? The Civil Code defines ‘una donación’ as an act by which a person freely disposes of a thing in favour of another, who accepts it’.

Whose money is it anyway? La Información looks at the rules about inoperative accounts.

An article at La Información explains how people can buy an embargoed house at a public auction for a discount.

Workers’ rights are posted in full at Laboro here

‘Poverty in Spain could rise by more than 1.1M people due to the Pandemic, warns Oxfam’. Item from The Corner here


‘The Spanish prime minister has approved a new state of alarm with plans to keep it in place until May. The new decree gives regional governments the option to prohibit travel in and out of their territories unless it is justified, as well as imposing an obligatory nationwide curfew between 11pm and 6am (variable by one hour as decided regionally)’. The story comes from El País in English here The ‘six months’ could be reduced as circumstance permits says Vice President Carmen Calvo here Pablo Casado says he would support a truncated version of this if it were to end ten days before Christmas. ‘Experts warn that setting Christmas as the horizon repeats the error of the summer express de-escalation’ says here A later adjustment by the Government allows the regional authorities to decide on how to (or whether to) maintain the curfew rules after November 9th.

The Guardian gives a good rundown of the motion of confidence debate held last week. Vox and its 52 deputies failed to win a single vote from the other 298 deputies, who all voted against the motion.

El Español pays homage here to the winner of the debate last week. Pablo Casado! We also learn from a graphic that 80.3% of Vox supporters now have an even better opinion of Santiago Abascal! (Sorry about the exclamation marks)

A list of the untruths made during the debate from all parties is at Maldita here

El Español again (Mientras Dormías newsletter): ‘Pablo Casado has never felt so confident since he became president of the PP as he does now: the public scorn of Santiago Abascal has satisfied the PP voter (here, quoting the abovementioned poll results), causing a closure of the ranks of the party-barons and, more importantly, it has been carried out with a voting discipline and an impeccable absence of leaks. Pedro Sánchez now hopes that the «new and reformed» Pablo Casado will support his plan for a «light» and «tailor-made» State of Alarm for each Community, even if only for deepening the distance from a Vox that rages about an alleged «coup». It would be difficult to understand that, after claiming the legal instruments to manage the pandemic by autonomy, he now refused; but the PP remains silent and calculates how it can continue its ascent’. here: ‘Pablo Casado is looking for a second chance in the centre. The leader of the PP breaks with the extreme right in the harshest speech of all those who spoke against Santiago Abascal in the motion of censure. Casado finally chooses political moderation, just as was asked for by his barones (lieutenants) after two years of flirting and pacts with Vox’. But will it last, wonders Público here Of course, it didn’t last ‘any longer than Santiago Abascal’s military service’ says La Vanguardia here

The Ministry of Equality is set to receive the second largest packet of money (after the Ministry of Employment) from the new budget for 2021 at 451 million euros (up 15% over 2020). Europa Press wonders what they are going to do with it.

Hoja del Debate asks – ‘Who are those who are behind Ayuso and govern in the Community of Madrid?’ The website claims that to know why the Region of Madrid is the way it is, one needs to know the people pulling the strings. These, it says, are individuals close to José María Aznar and Esperanza Aguirre. It lists a few of them here


‘As Catalonia faces the prospect of another coronavirus lockdown, the region’s government has announced it is investing €2.5m to establish its own space agency and a further €18m in launching six communications satellites…’. Item from The Guardian here


From The Independent here: ‘Gibraltar and Spain plan a last minute Brexit side-deal to keep free movement. The British overseas territory is set to face disruption despite voting 95 per cent for Remain’.


‘The British government is seeking continued use by UK nationals of the automatic e-gates used by EU nationals at airports and Eurostar terminals. The move is seen by the European Commission as an attempt to keep Britons in faster lanes rather than having to queue up with the rest of the world after the end of the transition period. … The commission is adamant that giving UK nationals such a right would breach EU law. “The Schengen border code is restrictive on this,” says one internal EU document seen by The Guardian’.

The Coronavirus:

An excerpt from a recent interview (October 10th) with virologist Luis Enjuanes, the leading Spanish expert on coronavirus, at El Independiente (video): “After the Government had controlled things very well and flattened the curve, the precipitate rush to avoid damaging the economy and the scramble that many autonomies performed to put themselves in charge regionally and say what had to be done soon destroyed the good work done by the Government during the first wave. The numbers that are in Spain, and the numbers that are in Madrid, for example, are tremendous and still prevent the application of rules that are absolutely necessary…”. To belabour the point, he adds “…This is incredible. This is unbelievable political ignorance. It is absolutely incomprehensible what is happening, for example, in Madrid. It seems to me almost of mental retardation…”.

‘The ICUs of eight autonomies, on the verge of collapse’ says La Vanguardia here


Subasteros are those who haunt the public auctions (confiscated cars, houses and so on) looking for a deal. They understandably have a reputation for fixing things between them and the ordinary public is outmanoeuvred at the sale. From Subastanomics here, an explanation of how a low bid can take the item when a higher bid is not paid in time. This can be a tactic used by associates to defraud the auction-house (often Hacienda) as they only pay the low bid plus the deposit on the higher one. The article gives many examples…


From Colin Davies’ daily take on Spain at Thoughts From Galicia here ‘Talking of lawyers and notaries. . . . I am regularly amused by the reaction of Spaniards to the news that notaries – the institution which dominates their lives – are virtually unknown in the Anglo world, where lawyers carry out most of their functions – in the interests of their clients, not the state. Most obviously by checking out the outrageous claims – or unrevealed facts – of estate agents/realtors. British lawyers are either barristers, (high street) solicitors or corporate creatures, as commercial lawyers. Normally students take a degree in Law(s) and then take the (non government) entrance exam for the branch they’ve chosen. Solicitors can then start earning money, as ‘articled clerks’ in a firm of solicitors (un bufete in Spanish) but new barristers join a ‘Chamber’ and might not earn anything for a while, if ever. Should they succeed, barristers can end up earning a lot more than solicitors. As in Spain, there are an awful lot of lawyers among the members of parliament and the executive branch of government. The difference might well be that, in Spain, many of these will never have actually worked as lawyers, having been too busy swotting for the various exams that they can take. For example to be a judge at 30. Unthinkable in the Anglo world, Or Britain, at least’.

Russia offered Carles Puigdemont 10,000 soldiers and to pay off the Catalonian debt prior to the illegal UDI in 2017 says the judge. Heh! The improbable story is at El Español here


The breakup between Pablo Casado and the Vox party is causing editorial problems for some of the fight-wing media. Who to champion… who to support? has some fun with the fallout here

While the right-wing media (see above) were busy trashing Pablo Iglesias over the secret Podemos black funds, it seems that a lack of editorial space precluded them from publishing a retraction when the judge dropped the case. Público reports, with pictures, here

From elDiario here: ‘The fall of Diario Gol, the fake website that made gold by ‘killing’ celebrities on Google. The website, which managed to attract more than 10 million people per month with spurious content thanks to Google Discover, has now seen its impact reduced by 95%, presumably due to an action by the multinational’.

Free modern movies and serials at Gnula here Fiddle about, and they’re in English too!

Who would you vote for if there was an election today asks El Confidencial Digital. It gets the (surprising) answer it no doubt wanted…

It’s said that ‘if you’re not paying for the product, you are the product’ – which is why we don’t have adverts at BoT. The Economist (paywall) considers the larger world of publishing here: ‘…the print media’s advertising supported business model has floundered. In the past twenty years, newspaper’s ad revenues in America – before the corona-related closures of small businesses – have fallen by about 80% (to Depression-era levels) while circulation has roughly fallen by half. … the ad-funded business model was living on fumes even before the Internet took over…’. (Thx to Jake)

Are journalists facing extinction? Media-tics looks at a worldwide survey from 1400 hacks.


‘A Spanish company creates the most efficient solar panels in the world’. The story of Abora Solar is at El Economista here From Córdoba here, ‘The repeal of the ‘sun tax’ causes a ‘boom’ in photovoltaic self-consumption’.


What’s the difference between a jolly party for eighty politicians, captains of industry, senior journalists and their companions, asks … and a botellón (a street party)? Four PSOE ministers (including the Health Minister Salvador Illa) joined many PP and C’s leaders at the Casino de Madrid at the invitation of Pedro J Ramírez, the director of the influential El Español, on the occasion of its fifth anniversary. The article says, ‘What we do know is the explanation of the Ministry of Health: «He sat at a table with five people, complying with the social distancing measures. He stayed for about an hour and at no time did he remove his mask. After the awards ceremony, he left «. In order not to incur a sanction, it is recommended not to use this version if the police catch you leaving a party in a house where there are more than six individuals. The police don’t have as much sense of humour as journalists…’. Maldita quotes other sites as ‘150 persons were present’. ‘Everything was strictly within the rules’, says El Español indignantly here

In his defence, when a press baron invites you around for a drink and a canapé, you go.

Spanish teenagers are among the most ‘respectful and accepting’ of other cultures and nationalities in the world, scoring well above the average for developed countries as a whole, according to the latest PISA study. … Spain scored 512 points – 13 more than the average for the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), which covers all developed and some emerging nations on earth…’. From Eye on Spain here

From Portugal’s O Jornal Economico here ‘Portugal rules out the high-speed train between Lisbon and Madrid and prioritizes the Atlantic axis with Galicia. «Our priority is not the connection between Lisbon and Madrid; we can easily get to Madrid by plane, but the Lisbon-Porto-Vigo line, and we do not accept impositions on the part of the government of the Kingdom of Spain» indicated the Minister of Social Co-operation, Ana Abrunhosa’.

‘Teens will be taught at school about the Civil War, Franco’s dictatorship and the Transition to democracy involving the signing of the Spanish Constitution as part of a new ‘Law of Democratic Memory’ passed by the national government. At present, the Second Republic, Civil War and the Francoist régime are included in History for ESO (Spain’s answer to GCSEs) and Bachillerato (A-Levels), although the latter would only be taken if the student follows the ‘arts route’ rather than the ‘science route’ through sixth form…’. Think Spain has the article here

‘Weaponizing “socialism” is a familiar trope from conservative politicians, but one with an incredibly poor record’ MSNBC looks at Trump’s America (applicable in Spain?).

They’re a little obscure some of them, but Sevilla Secreta has found eighteen English words adopted by the Andalucians over the years here

Book Review: ‘The tragic idealism of the International Brigades by Giles Tremlett’ (found at a read-me site here but taken from The Economist): And, while we are on the subject, here at The National Interest is ‘How the Spanish Civil War Helped Set up World War II’.

The Biblioteca Nacional de España has released 30 million images for free usage from next week.

Nick Nutter is writing interesting travel and historical articles about Spain. Here is his ‘Moorish Invasion of Hispania’ at Visit Andalucía.

Brett Hetherington remembers the peculiar hero Lluís Maria Xirinacs i Damians at his blog Standing in a Spanish Doorway here Brett has a book out called ‘Slow Travels in Unsung Spain’ (Amazon) and he offers services in translating and private email Spanish lessons. Write to him at [email protected]

A short and sorry tale from Lenox at Eye on Spain here


Hi Lenox,

That link of yours on the bass player Adam Ben Ezra was to his YouTube homepage not the specific flamenco song he did. Here‘s that one. I think he gets the feel pretty damn well.



Interpreters for public hospitals? If the patient can’t say what his problem is, or the doctor can’t explain the situation, what happens? The system isn’t equipped for non-Spanish speakers, but, in Madrid at least, there’s a solution: Intérpretes Mediadoras YA. Video

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Licenciado en Filosofía y Letras, Magisterio y Estudios en la Escuela Oficial de Periodismo de Madrid. Residente 40 años en Francia, Reino Unido e Irlanda como profesor de español. En Irlanda fundó el Centró Español de Documentación y el Instituto Cultural Español, actual Instituto Cervantes de Dublín. Asímismo, fue corresponsal de: Agencia EFE, Diario Informaciones, Carta de España, Crónicas de la Emigración, España Exterior, La Región Internacional y Escuela Española. Jubilado.

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