Política, Brexit, turismo, actualidad, finanzas, Cataluña, ecologismo, medios o corrupción son algunos de los temas que trata este boletín informativo

Opinión. El periodista Lenox Napier repasa la actualidad española en su boletín semanal Business Over Tapas, al que puede suscribirse por 60 euros anuales. Puede obtener más información en su web (AQUÍ) o en su perfil (AQUÍ). EL OBSERVADOR / www.revistaelobservador.com ofrece este contenido tres días después de su lanzamiento...


From Sur in English here: ‘Some owners of illegal homes are still ignored by new law, says SOHA. While the campaigners for the legalisation of illegal homes say they support any initiative taken by regional government, they maintain that the owners are being forgotten’.
That’s the new law designed by the current right-leaning Junta de Andalucía to ameliorate the problems caused by the ‘illegal homes’ rules. While there is talk of an appropriately exact 327,583 non-authorised buildings in Andalucía (just for comparison, the City of Málaga has a mere 245,000 viviendas), we generally consider only the 12,700 or so in the Almería interior, plus another 22,000 in the Axarquía area on Eastern Málaga. This is because they tend to have been bought in good faith by foreign buyers (other editorials are welcome to concentrate on the ‘illegal homes of Cádiz’ etc...).
Andalucía lost heavily when it demolished that one home in Vera in January 2008, as the owners, Len and Helen Prior, solemnly moved into the surviving garage that was on a separate deed, and proceeded to embarrass the hell out of the foolish politicians and benumbed rubber-stampers of the day (many of whom, of course, are still in employment) who were responsible for Andalucía losing untold wealth and jobs plus the chance to re-energise some of their moribund villages (a problem they still, uselessly, must face today).
They discussed it endlessly in the British and German media.
They even talked about it at the time on Zimbabwe TV.
However, while the PSOE-A (who largely caused the problem of the 'viviendas ilegales' in the first place) eventually voted towards a resolution over the enormous number of illegal homes in the region (without escrituras and thus un-inheritable and un-saleable, with crippling water and electricity issues), joining for a welcome change with the PP-A and Ciudadanos, it now appears that the national government has called 'foul', putting the whole sorry affair back on the front-burner once more.
Gerardo Vázquez, legal advisor to AUAN and spokesperson for the National Coordinating Committee for Justice in Planning says “it would be terrible if the Spanish government attempts to impugn the Decree in the Constitutional Court, as appears to be the case. It is not only an environmental issue; we are talking about the most basic rights of people, the right to a home, to a residence and to a house; and these are real issues, not paper theories. It is not only the environment; it is people’s lives. I am sick and tired that people are dying without solutions. I do not understand the attitude of the government. Last week yet another of those affected, someone known to me, died without being able to obtain paperwork for their house. And I have been contacted by another poor lady whose house has been demolished, after cutting off the electricity to her house whilst she was on dialysis in the house, and this lady has nowhere adequate left to live. Please, we need to be sensible and work together to resolve these issues urgently”.
But then we have the environmentalists to contend with, as they relax in their comfortable apartments in the city, knowing with that particular satisfaction shared by zealots everywhere that their hostile indignation is once again turning Shangri-la into Gehenna.


A well-considered article on the subject of the ‘abandoned interior of Spain’ from a site called Nada es Gratis here.  It says that Rural Spain has actually gained population in the past twenty-five years. Not enough, it admits, and there has certainly been a drain on the number of immigrants for a variety of reasons. It also notes that rural areas need to flourish by moving into other areas than simple agriculture, including light industry, rural tourism and ‘the construction of second homes’ (careful!).

From Spanish Property Insight here, ‘British demand for Spanish property – latest figures analysed (Q3 2019)’.

Spanish Property Insight has a useful guide to how the Community of Owners works.


Being against the manifold wonders of mass-tourism for the Spanish is a bit like being uneasy about the British preoccupation over the poor treatment of Spain's feral cats. One must learn to keep quiet. Several people in Palma de Mallorca unfortunately failed to remain supine regarding their fellow-citizens' rights to the Tourist Dollar when they invaded a restaurant back in July 2017, letting off fireworks and confetti, while noisily calling for tourists to 'Go Home'. Not pretty. The Media called it 'turismofobia'. The judge is currently considering handing down between two to four years of clink apiece to eleven devilish evil-doers. We can only hope their cells have a decent sea-view.

All inclusive holidays, when the money stays either with the agency in the country of origin, or (a bit) with the hotel, are of little use to a resort. From The Olive Press here, we read ‘All inclusive holidays at British tourist destinations to be banned by government in Mallorca. The crackdown focuses on Magaluf, Playa de Palma and Sant Antoni’.

On the bright side, says VoxPópuli, ‘Spanish tourism is reinventing itself to resist Brexit and the German slowdown. Spain is compensating for the decline of the British and German ‘sol y playa’ market with an increase in visitors from other countries with more purchasing power spending rather in our leading cities’. It backs it up with figures from the INE.


‘The EU Court of Justice has issued a ruling against Spanish regulations that does not allow the pension acquired in another Member State to be used in any calculation to obtain the early retirement pension. The Luxembourg Court has ruled at the request of the Superior Court of Justice of Galicia, after Social Security denied the early retirement pension charge to two people who had worked in both Spain and Germany...’. Item from La Razón here.

‘The base calculation of over one million officials exceeds 2,300 euros per month. The Ministry of Labour provides a new statistic that analyzes the average bases on which contributions to the pension system are calculated’. Not bad. El País has the story (as Lenox waits for over a year for one of these funcionarios to sign him a pension of 380€).

From El Mundo here: ‘Investors are looking to Portugal in the face of uncertainty and the risk of fiscal changes. Consultations with Spanish law firms, entities and advisors by investors and large estates have increased in recent weeks’. Ah, Podemos (Portugal is pretty much to the izquierda also).

So, wait a minute, who owns the Banco Santander? Not the Botín family (they only have 0.77% of the shares). The largest shareholder of El País, the Banco Sandander, is itself controlled by various groups, mainly custodian banks like Street State Bank and Chase Nominees. Chase Nominees belongs to JP Morgan Chase which, in turn, is owned largely by Vanguard Group and BlackRock, amongst others...  The convoluted story is here.


Pablo Casado launches his strategy to absorb Ciudadanos before the Galician and Basque elections of 2020. The PP wants to take advantage of the parliamentary weakness and the breakdown of the ‘centre’ party to proceed with the “España Suma” coalition in the new electoral cycle.’ Item from ElDiario.es here. From Público here: ‘Casado opts for the rebirth of the PP under the brand “España Suma” that would absorb both Cs and Vox’. While there are those who don’t want to see Vox drain into mainstream conservative politics, it does offer a solution to the current fragmentation on the right.

Ciudadanos asks the PP to drop its “España Suma” plan and to pact with them and the PSOE for a strong government (certainly not with Sánchez in charge, says Casado).

‘Santiago Abascal declares "war" on the pact between Pedro Sánchez and Pablo Iglesias: "Total and frontal opposition", he says. The president of Vox warns that his opposition to a Sánchez government will only be "normal" if it is in coalition with the PP and Ciudadanos’. Thus El Mundo here.

‘Catalan separatist party is in “no hurry” to help Spain’s caretaker PM return to power. After meeting with Socialist representatives, the Catalan Republican Left (ERC) says it sees a new willingness to talk, but that further negotiation is required for a pledge of abstention’. A headline from El País in English here.

It looks like the investiture will be in January, says Pablo Iglesias with resignation. The ERC, who they need for their abstention, are not in any hurry says ElDiario.es here.


BBVA admits it uses only the Catalonian language in the posters that adorn its branches in Catalonia. (One of them says: ‘When it comes to money, our principles go out the window).


From Business Insider here: ‘Boris Johnson says he will stop immigrants from treating Britain 'as their own country'. Intelligent readers will immediately spot the corollary.


Endesa, Repsol, Naturgy and EDP are the most polluting companies of 2018, but, by the way, they are also the main sponsors of the COP25. Just Endesa alone, which the Italian Enel both controls and is now for sale, emitted 30.2 million tons of CO2 last year – surpassing those of the oil company (10.6 million), the gas company and indeed the Portuguese energy company (both at 9 million) all added together.’. It’s all a bit like Exxon advertising in National Geographic – it rather weakens their stance as environmentalists.

Telecinco is dropping its star program Gran Hermano for a few months; due to the withdrawal of a number of advertisers following its lapse in taste (we mean the revolting ‘rape scene’ that is now on the news desks across the Spanish-speaking world).

A valid point from Público: A. ‘Are you a deputy who has 150 euros in your bank account? Then you must be “the new Rufiana” who has “become famous” for being “in that stereotype of people who have been in politics almost since childhood” (even if you are 23 years old). B. Do you have equity of almost 48 million euros? Then everything changes: you never fear opportunity; you have always been “a character in the very best sense” and “an eternal enemy of corruption”. You have “principles” and you are “an individual concerned with the social situation of this country”. That would be El Español talking about A. Marta Rosique from the ERC and B. Marcos de Quinto from Ciudadanos.

“Copyright trolls” are appearing in Spain, says ElDiario.es here. These are down-market lawyers who are looking to score off those “pirates” who download material from the Internet. Thousands of people have received letters demanding payment against possible copyright violations. The lawyers, of course, live off this rich harvest.


‘The Ocean is finally getting the attention it deserves. The planet’s largest carbon sink is a major focus at the United Nations climate summit in Madrid’ from The Huff Post here.

Since it is now so obvious - and fully accepted - that Climate Change is caused by man, says El País here, the only attack left to make is with scornful humour - known as 'hahaganda' (in Spanish, of course, it’s 'jajaganda'). Thus, the Greta jokes.

‘In Spain, the country’s biggest fossil fuel polluters are also some of the most generous sponsors for this year’s U.N. climate talks. On Saturday, we joined activists on a “toxic tour” of Madrid from the Madrid stock exchange to Santander Bank. Activists explained that when Spanish President Pedro Sánchez announced that Spain would host COP25, he went to IBEX 35 — the 35 biggest listed companies in the Spanish stock exchange — offering them a 90% tax break on a $2 million sponsorship. Advocates say that these same companies “have deep and dirty links to the fossil fuel industry.”...’. From Truthout here.

Greenwashing” – a new word enters the Spanish language, as Endesa, Repsol and Iberdrola clean up their act.

An enjoyable piece from Eye on Spain contrasts Madrid with the Spanish South: ‘The Madrid Climate Conference and the ‘no pasa nada’ of rural Andalucía’.


A modern hospital with five hundred beds. Abandoned by the politicians who built it. Never used. In Granada. A Spiriman video on YouTube here.

Loud music, blinking lights, expensive drinks and a dance floor. Spain’s discotheques are closing down apparently. The federation for discos and merry nights on the town (FASYDE), says that ‘Before the crisis, there were 20,000 pubs and 5,000 discos and venues with live entertainment across Spain. Now, the proportion is 16,000 pubs and only 1,800 discos...’. 64% of Spain’s discos have closed down in the last decade. No smoking, alcohol controls and in some cities, early-closing have also contributed to the decline. Also, modern music is crap. There are still plenty of bars, however, for those that are looking for stainless steel, a loud TV, a cold beer and a tapa. But, tragically, even many of the old forever bars run with just the owner making the coffee and serving the beers are closing as no one wants to run them anymore.

How to spot a hidden speed-radar. A short video from Auto-Bild explains here.

‘Picasso, Lorca, Capa … art reveals fate of exiles who fled Franco’s Spain. A huge exhibition in Madrid of sketches, photographs and paintings records the plight of the 500,000 republican refugees after the civil war’. The Guardian has the story here.

The pseudo-therapy industry is in the news, having been denounced by government and the media alike. Their answer, in part, is to sue, says ElDiario.es here.

Vox Cádiz has a nice Christmas Card. No, wait... Unbelievable. They’ve only gone and made Baltasar white!

See Spain:

‘Comillas, an Architectural Treasure’. Eye on Spain takes us to the Bay of Biscay here.

What to see and do with a weekend in Córdoba, with Molly from Piccavey here.


(On turismofobia and cats, above):
Treating a tourist badly in Spain was something unprecedented until these incidents. We Spaniards have always been taught to be very kind to tourists because since the 60s they have been an important contribution of our Gross Interior Product. It can also mean supporting some unprofitable and very problematic tourism, but every economic activity has its "drawbacks." The British citizens can also be calm as far as cats are concerned, their life in Spain is comparable to what they enjoyed in ancient Egypt.

(On the Pueblos Más Bonitos de España):
So glad my village ain't on the list, there are enough tourists already clogging things up in the summer season...


From YouTube comes ‘Portugal and Spain compared’.


Facebook: Useful news about Spain with Business over Tapas.