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

26/02/24. 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...


Those of us who moved to Spain from the United Kingdom will have our view about how the old country has either prospered or gone to the dogs since the Brexit, or perhaps even before that particular upset.

My dad used to trace Britain’s final decline to the Suez Crisis in 1956. Now me, I think it was when they arrested Julian Assange in 2010 on a trumped-up rape charge (oh look, I’ve gone and used the t-word!). His extradition case is now awaiting the final judgement.
But we all have opinions. Those of us Brits who are living in Spain have other things to think about – unless we are among those unfortunates who find themselves enmeshed in the 90/180 Schengen Trap – then it’s a daily and anxious look at the calendar and the doubt about who to look after the house for the next three months.
Another way to look at the UK comes from a Spanish journalist who works at El País called Ana Carbajosa, who after travelling extensively across Britain has written a book called ‘Una Isla a la Deriva’: the drifting (or rudderless) island. The write-up provided by the printers, Península, says, ‘When did the United Kingdom collapse? How is it possible that the empire in which the sun never set has ended up becoming an increasingly isolated, fragmented and unequal place? How much has Brexit contributed to deepening cracks that had been opening for decades? How were unscrupulous politicians like Boris Johnson or Liz Truss able to end up running the country?’
elDiario.es interviews Ms Carbajosa. Their first question is: ‘What misconceptions are there in Spain about the United Kingdom?’
She answers, ‘We probably think that the United Kingdom is a unit and that the United Kingdom is the English (los ingleses). In truth, the United Kingdom is a very complex and diverse country due to the geographical and regional differences that, as the experts I spoke with for the book explained to me, are the most noteworthy in all of Europe. In all European countries there are differences between rich and poor regions, but the poor ones are not as poor as those in the United Kingdom, which is (by the way) also the sixth largest economy in the world. There is a brutal regional inequality that we are not aware of and that has contributed to Brexit and other political phenomena’.
She tells us that the media and politicians who she meets there talk of ‘Broken Britain’.
But hey, that’s all happening elsewhere. We live in Spain, with its own triumphs and failures (of which, if we stick to The Euro Weekly and other low-shooting English-language media, we are blissfully unaware of).
Perhaps we can stay here – or perhaps some hostile currents in Iberian politics or the media (chucking Spaniards out of the UK needs some retaliation, maybe) may send us abruptly home. You should know that there are no less than 5,700 Spaniards currently living in the UK under threat of deportation.
After all, as we fail to concern ourselves about Rishi Sunak’s hostility towards the immigrants, it’s not like we have the ear of the Spanish legislators.
Most unlikely, of course, but there you go. We live in unlikely times.


From BNN (it’s from Bangladesh) here: ‘Brexit No Barrier: British buyers still champions in Spain's property arena. British enthusiasts for Spanish properties remain resilient despite Brexit, with Costa Blanca and the Valencian Community leading the way. German buyers follow closely, enriching Spain's diverse real estate landscape’.

‘What’s it like living in Muxía (Galicia)?’ Mapping Spain does an occasional series on foreigners living in some interesting pueblo in Spain here.

‘Spain lives in flats: why we have built our cities vertically’. An open report in English from elDiario.es here. We learn that ‘Spain is one of the countries with the highest percentages of apartment dwellers in the world, according to data from the OECD. The concentration of population in a small spaces is even greater than in countries such as Switzerland, Germany or Italy. Only in South Korea more people live in collective dwellings than in Spain’.


El Plural brings us the buoyant employment figures in the Spanish tourism industry.

Galicia: Tourists welcome, but just the well-behaved ones, says a piece at El Confidencial here (or here). ‘The region is experiencing a tourist boom of 50% in the past five years. It has gone from being a place of rain to a climatic paradise. In some stressed areas, the rejection of visitors is beginning to emerge’. The writer says that people think of Galicia these days as ‘Galifornia’. This may be something of an exaggeration…

‘Since the UK left the European Union, the rules for travelling abroad have changed and British tourists who are not aware of the new entry rules for Spain could face a hefty fine. As well as having a valid return ticket or a ticket for onward travel, British passport holders must now also ensure they carry proof of accommodation for the duration of their trip.
Regardless of whether you’re staying in a hotel, hostel, Airbnb or a relative/friend’s house, if your trip is 90 days or less you will need to produce evidence of your pre-booked accommodation at border control once you reach Spain…’. Travel Insurance Explained has the story (also found at Majorca Daily Bulletin here).

(Reminder) ‘Foreign nationals who have to spend their vacations in any EU destination are advised to check their passport validity before travelling to the zone. According to Schengen rules, passports of third-country nationals, including UK nationals since Brexit, must be valid for another at least three months after leaving the EU. In addition to the passport validity requirements, UK passports need to be issued within ten years before entering the Schengen Area, so Brits should also check the date of passport issuance.’. More at SVI here.


Euronews discovers the Imserso (wiki) here. ‘Spain gives its pensioners subsidised holidays and it wants other EU countries to join in. Pensioners in Spain can access low cost holidays thanks to the government initiative. Even expats can benefit from the bonus. Millions of older adults - both Spanish and foreigners living in Spain - are eligible for heavily subsidised trips, costing as little as €115 for short breaks and €455 for longer holidays…’


‘The debt of all public administrations fell to 107.7% of GDP at the end of last year, according to data published by the Bank of Spain. The result represents a decrease of almost four points in the Spanish public debt compared to the previous year and improves the Government's forecasts, which estimated a liability of 108.1%. It is the third year in a row in which the debt-to-GDP ratio has been reduced thanks to robust growth in the economy, thus leaving behind the peaks—over 120%—reached during the pandemic, although it remains at historic highs in terms of volume…’ El País has the story.

‘Marbella’s Puerto Banus marina is continuing to be a massive money earner generating €954 million euros per year to the Costa del Sol’s GDP, according to accounting firm PwC.
Marina managers say it has “an important impact on job creation and income generation for Marbella”, as it greets five million visitors each year’. Item from The Olive Press here.


From Canal Red (Pablo Iglesias’ news-TV) here: all of the political parties owe, between them, 160 million euros to the banks in loans. All parties, that is, except Podemos, which operates strictly on donations from its supporters…

Galicia elections February 18

The results (short of the votes from Galicians overseas) was an absolute majority for the Partido Popular. PP-40; PNG-25; PSdeG (PSOE)-9 and a local party Democracia Ourensana-1. Sumar, Vox and Podemos all struck out. It was good news for Núñez Feijóo back in Madrid as he turns his attention to the European Elections in June, bad news for Pedro Sánchez as the regional councillors dropped by a third (from 14 to 9).


El País are doing a discounted subscription run here. 12€ for a full year (if you’re quick)!


‘Last week, representatives of the WWF, Greenpeace, Ecologistas en Acción, SEO/Birdlife and Friends of the Earth held a meeting with the Secretary of State for the Environment, Hugo Morán, to address the problem of the drought in Spain and they advised him that the solution to water scarcity must be to reduce irrigation and not to rely on desalination plants or ships that transfer water from one area to another’. Europa Press reporting here adds that there are thought to be around a million illegal wells in Spain.

What to do with the increasingly scarce water-supply in Spain? From the RTVE here: ‘a massive 79.1% of the water resource is taken up by agriculture and livestock. Of the rest, 15.03% corresponds to urban supply (including that of tourists), 5.8% to industry and 0.4% to recreational use, which includes, for example, irrigation of golf courses, filling of swimming pools or water parks…’

From Cadena Ser here: ‘Pedro Sánchez in Torrevieja (Alicante): "Spain has become the European leader in the production of desalinated water". The president has announced that the expansion of the town's desalination plant will include a photovoltaic plant that will lower the price of water’. Generally, desalination plants take about 45% of the treated water, now fresh and potable, while returning the heavily salted 55% back to the sea (with evident pollution issues). The cost of desalinated water is high thanks to the associated high energy costs in production.

The Guardian is unhelpful here: ‘What will Spain look like when it runs out of water? Barcelona is giving us a glimpse. Angry farmers, worried tourism workers and unprepared politicians – Catalonia is on the frontline of a drought-stricken future’.

From Sur in English here: ‘Water pressure reduction to hit the Costa del Sol. A general night-time reduction in pressure from 21 February has been brought in to comply with the reduced limit of 160 litres per inhabitant per day’.


Plastic is politics. Plastic manufacturing companies have been selling us the virtues of recycling their products for decades. A report accuses them of having knowingly lied to us, exaggerating the real possibilities of managing their waste and documenting how managers from different companies have recognized this over the last 30 years. The Guardian has the story here. From Xataca here: ‘We have been thinking for decades that plastic recycling was worth something. Maybe we were wrong. In the world, less than 10% of the plastics that are discarded are recycled, a very low figure. The industry has been promoting the recycling for decades... knowing that it has little practical application’. The idea seems to be to make the consumer somehow responsible for the mess (unless we put our plastics in the right contenador!). From El Español here: ‘"They knew that recycling was not the solution": a report accuses the petrochemical industry of 'laundering' plastics. The Centre for Climate Integrity (CCC) reveals that plastic producers deliberately deceived the public for more than thirty years’.

From elDiario.es (May 2021) here: ‘Spain throws 126 tons of plastic into the sea every day, most of which are disposable objects. 76% of the waste on beaches is pieces of plastic – disposable objects such as cotton swabs, straws, cutlery or bottles. Furthermore, within the 17 million tons of mixed annual municipal waste all types of plastic objects can fall: toys, cutlery, plates, wrappers, buckets, baby bottles... And two thirds of what goes to unseparated general waste is not recycled, according to statistics from the Ministry of Ecological Transition…’

From El País here: (In general terms), ‘Spain has a problem with recycling: it reuses less than the European average and is particularly weak in the circular use of materials. Germany almost doubles the Spanish rate of reuse of urban waste, according to a report by the BBVA Foundation with data from Eurostat’.

Not everyone in agriculture can afford a tractor to go and join the protests. From Público here: ‘Hundreds of migrant agricultural workers in Almería continue to live in shanties or in demolished houses in the middle of the countryside, anywhere but in decent housing. The only plan that has been launched to rehouse them, that of Níjar, has not yet fully started and has even registered another eviction, twelve months after the destruction of one of the largest settlements in the municipality, the Walili compound, highly criticized at the time by social organizations for not providing alternatives for its occupants…’

From Xataca here: ‘Murcia and Almería will both end up as deserts – as other parts of Spain as well. Spain's arid areas are growing, while the lack of water threatens most of the country’.

As rivers become increasingly polluted, a ray of hope from Ecoticias here. ‘The sun has the key to cleaning polluted rivers: a project that could be revolutionary is being tested in Spain’. The process is being tested by the University of Jaén, and seeks to reduce – through ultra-violet and infra-red rays – the amount of organic matter in contaminated water.


Anne Hernandez, the president of Brexpats in Spain International, died last week after a short illness. Our thoughts go out to her family and friends. BSI is a useful place to find information about bureaucratic issues to do with moving to Spain.

From The Corner here: ‘Immigration increases Spain’s population by half a million to 48.6 million in 2023. What the INE statistics reveal is that all this growth comes from a population born outside Spain that now resides in our country. This group grew last year by 571,000 people, compensating for the loss of the population born in Spain. The population born and residing in Spain suffered a drop of 63,500 people in 2023. This means that births in our country did not compensate for deaths. However, the number of inhabitants grew by more than half a million people for the second year in a row’. The INE page is here.

‘They would have died anyway’. Isabel Díaz Ayuso, president of the Madrid Region, on why she didn’t order the transfer of the elderly Covid victims in the residencies during the crisis. 7,291 elderly patients died in the Madrid residencias, alone and without medical attention. An indignant article appears in La Pajarera Magazine here.

Ximo Puig, the previous president of the Valencian Generalitat, has quit as senator to take on his new role as Spanish ambassador to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development based in Paris. The story at elDiario.es here.

From Jacobin here: ‘Why Spain opposed the West’s punishment of UNRWA. When the US suspended aid to the main UN aid agency in Gaza, the Spanish government increased its funding. While most Western countries follow a dogged pro-Israel line, left-wing ministers in Spain have been a rare dissenting voice’.

The tractor protests continue… they were in Madrid on Wednesday. Some photos here.

A waiter looking for a job receives this offer. We don’t pay anything, but you get to keep 80% of your tips, so… the harder you work, the more you make! La Razón is in little doubt as to why there are so many unfilled vacancies in the hospitality sector.

Business euphemisms – some companies have discovered that English words or titles have rather vague meanings compared with Spanish ones. elDiario.es finds some examples in the workplace here. We meet: work-life balance; teambuilding; offboardings (despidos); buddy; burnout; start-up; soft-skills and of course, sales-manager. By the way, remember to pronounce them as a Spaniard would!

See Spain:

Parador hotels are almost always the best places for off-the-beaten-track visitors to spend a couple of days (and enjoy a good dinner). So, when you are in Cuenca…‘The Parador de Cuenca is located in the old convent of San Pablo, built in the beautiful setting of Hoz del Huécar. This is one of the most beautiful places in the city, as it allows an ideal panoramic view of the San Pablo Bridge and the Hanging Houses. The building is a monastery built by “Canon Juan del Pozo in 1523 in late Gothic Plateresque style and closely linked to the iconic San Pablo Bridge, which is also named after him”, says Infobae here with photos.


From France, some terrific Celtic folk with La Rioule des Compagnons du Monde performing La Denrée on YouTube here. (Sorry, I couldn’t resist).