Saturday, 21 May 2016

Spanish Economy Thriving Despite Lack of Government Says Santander

Spanish Economy Thriving Despite Lack of Government Says Santander

It looks like politicians from abroad need to take note – the Spanish economy is doing pretty well despite there not being an official government in the country since last December.

Spain continues to preform very well without leadership !
The leading back in Spain, Banco Santander, has analysed the most recent economic data and found that the economy is doing pretty well without leadership. The CFO of Santander José Antonio García didn’t say the country should stay leaderless though.

He released a statement saying that he hoped there would be a government by the time the second general election was over with in June. He did add that there was no negative impact on the GDP during 2016; a year that has seen Spain not have a Prime Minister.

The economy has been bolstered by the recovering real estate market and is actually performing better than expected. The CFO of Santander told Bloomberg that mortgages have gone up 25%, business lending in Spain has gone up 13%, and this has been happening year-on-year. He sees it as a sign that the Spanish economy is performing very well.

There are more metrics that suggest things really are improving. Property Sales in the Costa del sol and Spain  have gone up 4.4% in the retail sector, suggesting that consumers are becoming more confident in the high street. Mortgage lending also peaked at €5 billion in February. This was the highest that it has been in over six years, which also gives credence to the idea that a strong real estate market is a sign of a strong economy.

Spain will go back to the polls on the 26th of June to vote once more in the hopes that this time there will be either a clear majority winner or, at the very least, a favourable coalition.

If the first five months of 2016 are an indication though it looks like Spain might not need as much leadership as was first thought. The country is doing a good job of running itself.

Friday, 20 May 2016

Spain Voted Best Place to Study Abroad by International Students

Spain Voted Best Place to Study Abroad by International Students

Spain is a great place to lean Spanish and study
Uniplaces have published a poll that has found that Spain has been voted the best place to study abroad by Erasmus students.

The survey showed that Madrid was voted the best place to study abroad, with two other Spanish cities, namely Seville and Barcelona, placing in the top ten at fifth and seventh place.

As a result Spain had more cities in the top ten than any other country. It showed us proof of what we’ve suspected all along; Spain is the place to be when you’re considering studying abroad.

Uniplaces used five main criteria to rank the cities. They were the living costs, the education standards, the culture, the history, and, as they are students, the nightlife. The famous party scene of Madrid earned some major points with foreign students.

Madrid is also filled to the brim with culture, excellent universities and transport, and is a safe and affordable place to live. All the worries of students (outside of the studying) were minimal at best.

There were other factors involved that helped Spanish cities claim the top places. They have an excellent climate that allows students to mix studying with sunbathing, and bars, restaurants and cafes that keep them well fed and help them relax during stressful periods.

Spain is also a great place to learn Spanish, a language quickly becoming more common in Europe, as well as learn English from the many people who speak it in the country.

The size and variety of Spain make it a real treat to explore. Each of the corners of Spain offer something new and unique to travellers. The northwest has verdant mountains while the southeast comes with dry deserts.

Throw in the thousands of miles of coastline and it’s not hard to see why people would choose Spain as the place to spend some of the best years of their life.

Thursday, 19 May 2016

It’s Official: Long-Term British Expats Are Ineligible To Vote In EU Referendum

It’s Official: Long-Term British Expats Are Ineligible To Vote In EU Referendum

Its official if you have lived outside the uk for 15 years
you can not vote
This past weekend the British High Court ruled against a legal challenge issued by two long-term British expats. They were fighting to overturn the controversial rule that expats of over fifteen years are not eligible to vote in the EU Referendum set for June 23rd in which Britain will decide whether it should remain in the European Union or not.

The case was put forward by 94-year old war veteran Harry Shindler, who now resides in Italy, and British lawyer Jacquelyn MacLennan, who now resides in Belgium.
They argued that the law, which prevents British people from voting in general elections and national referendums if they haven’t lived in the UK for more than 15 years, was actually technically illegal under rules set out by the EU. They were confident in their case as Prime Minister David Cameron himself pledged to repeal the law as part of his political campaign. He claimed that the rule was unfair.

The High Court ruled that there was no reason to change the law as it stands. They followed the idea proposed by the government that to change the ruling now, so close to the vote, would only cause confusion and would likely lead to the date of the vote being changed.

Lord Justice Lloyd Jones and Mr Justice Blake said they felt there were significant practical difficulties about changing the law. In particular it would be necessary to create a new electoral register that included all of the expats who had been out of the country for more than 15 years.

While the estimates of what that number is vary there are approximately 700,000 Brits living outside of the UK who are currently unable to vote because they have been out of the country for more than 15 years. To add these names to the registry would be difficult, even though the Conservative party promised numerous times to make these changes.

An official spokesman for the Cabinet Office released a statement about the ruling. He said that the government welcomed the decision reached by the High Court. They added that the EU referendum had been debated and agreed by both Houses of Parliament before becoming a recognised piece of legislation.

Mr Shindler was disappointed by the outcome and expressed his sadness that there are still people in Britain that are fighting for the right to vote when Britain is supposed to be a democracy.

This issue has become a major issue across all of Europe as there seems to be an equal amount of people both for and against the 15-year rule.

The barrister who represented the pair said that their rights were threatened by the ruling, along with the rights of the thousands of other Brits who are ineligible to vote. They rely on Britain being a part of the EU so that they can live and work in Europe, as well as own property in Europe and eventually retire there. They need Europe to receive their health care from the NHS.

This isn’t the end of the fight however. The barrister and lawyers representing Shindler and MacLennan have declared their intent to take the case to the Supreme Court, the highest court in the land.

Even though there is a lot of demand for a Brexit the polls currently suggest that Britain will remain. The polls show that 53% wish to remain in the EU while 47% wish to leave. Three quarters of the Brits who live outside of the UK are in favour of Britain staying in the EU according to data released by Angloinfo.

The Electoral Commission said that some 106,000 Brits from abroad registered to cast their vote in the last general election in May.

Wednesday, 18 May 2016

Is Prince’s Unsold Villa in Marbella A Sign of the Times for Homebuyer Tastes?

Is Prince’s Unsold Villa in Marbella A Sign of the Times for Homebuyer Tastes?

Prince, who sadly left us earlier this month from currently unknown causes, was famous for a lot of things. Obviously he was a famous musician, but he was also famous for his flamboyance, his short stature, his love of purple, and for the people of southern Spain he’s famous for the “Prince Villa”.

Back on the market Princes former Villa is back in the headlines  
The Prince Villa can be found in El Paraiso, just west of Marbella, and is valued at €5.25 million. It’s been on the market for years now, even before Prince passed away. He bought the home in 1998 and it was a gift for his wife at the time. He put it on the market in 2006 and it’s been on there ever since.
Bloomberg recently published an article in which they tried to determine why the villa, which manages to be glam, garish and glitzy all at once, is unsellable.
The owner of a local nightclub, Olivia Valere, says that the house is glamorous and luxurious but it’s so flashy it’s become outdated. There’s a lot of truth to that too. Marbella property has always been the height of fashion and tastes. These days homes need to have an understated elegance and so something as flashy as the Prince Villa is easily too brash for its own good.
The property is also valued too high for most people in the region at over €5 million. Now that Prince has passed there is a higher chance that someone will want to buy the home that has been described as the inspiration for some of his later work though.
The property market of the Costa del Sol is doing pretty well and should do even if Prince’s old home isn’t sold though. It currently takes an average of 10.5 months for a Spanish property to sell according to date from Tinsa. The average in Marbella and the Costa del Sol comes down to 9.1 months though and the prices of homes in the region are set to rise by up to 4.3% in 2016.

Tuesday, 17 May 2016

Flexible Working Hours Being Considered by Spanish Lawmakers

Flexible Working Hours Being Considered by Spanish Lawmakers

Life would change as we know it but be more productive long term.
The Spanish would definitely welcome the idea of having more flexible working hours. They managed to defeat the stereotype that they were workshy a number of years ago when the Spanish economic crisis caused a number of hardworking Spaniards to seek employment in the rest of Europe as there were no jobs left at home.

The Spanish have always been hardworking. The truth is that working hours in Spain are some of the highest you can find in Europe, along with productivity. The Spanish really know how to work.

Unfortunately Spanish labour laws have been slow to change and as a result the country has started to fall behind the rest of Europe in terms of economic output. One of the things that has been blamed is the inflexible working hours that the Spanish have to put up with.

There is definitely some truth to the idea. Spain is an hour apart from the rest of Europe and tend to get things done later. They start work a little later, take their lunch break a little later, finish their work a little later, and dine and dance in Spain a little later than everyone else.

Because it’s considered the way that things are done in Spain it’s been difficult to bring about change. Now at last most politicians in Spain are in agreement that the working hours could be a little more flexible and that Spain should have similar working hours to the rest of Europe including Germany, the UK, the Netherlands and most of Scandinavia.

Before things can really change there needs to be a push from both a political and cultural direction. This is something Spain saw when they brought in anti-smoking measures. They are not perfect by any means but they haven’t found a foothold in the country.

The polls show that the Spanish are keen to have more flexible working hours. There is currently a campaign going on in the country to have them brought about. The campaign is called Mamiconcilla and they are spreading the message that politics should be a reflection of the needs of society, and that there is no shame in admitting you want things outside of work and want to spend time with your family.

There is another campaign that has managed to collect over 289,000 signatures. It has called upon incentives to be given to small companies that bring in an uninterrupted work day and a more flexible schedule. The idea behind the campaign is that more flexible workers are happier and more productive, as well as being more creative and also important for starting a new business.  

Madniaveitia, one of the campaigners with Mamiconcilia has said that it is more important to be flexible. Bosses need to understand that sometimes things come up and you need to leave work but will come back, or that you should be able to leave work if you’ve finished all of your tasks for the day.

It’s a controversial idea to be sure, but she is being heard by politicians who want to improve the Spanish work culture and foster a more northern European mindset, even if the idea sounds alien to Spaniards.

The CEOE is the largest confederation of employers in Spain. The head of the CEOE has backed up the idea of bringing in a 6PM clock-out time. They said that it doesn’t have to happen instantly but they definitely feel it is a possibility and one that should be explored and would not affect the cost of living in Spain in the long term.

Monday, 16 May 2016

Spain’s Booming Tourism Sector Could Grow 3.8% This Year

Spain’s Booming Tourism Sector Could Grow 3.8% This Year

Spanish resorts like Puerto Banus has always had success when it comes to attracting tourists even in winter.

The Spanish tourism industry has caused the Spanish economy to recover as well as brought smiles to the millions of Brits every year. It’s also behind at least one in five jobs that have been created in Spain this year. The Spanish tourism industry is set to continue to grow in 2016.

2016 all set to break records
Exceltur, the driving force behind the Spanish tourism sector, has altered their growth forecast for 2016. They originally estimated a growth of 3.4% and have since revised it to 3.8%. So the already strong start to the tourism industry seen in 2016 is going to be strengthened even further once the holiday season officially begins.

The Spanish tourism sector has grown for the past ten quarters, or two and a half years. This means that each quarter has seen more money come in the last and the growth has been at least 3%. This means that the tourism sector is the best-performing sector of the Spanish economy.

In the first quarter of 2016 the tourism sector brought in a GDP of 4.3% in the first quarter of 2015. It also created 89,000 new jobs along the way. All of this happened during a time where things are typically quiet for the tourism industry in Spain.

Tourism has always been something Spain is good at, along with the real estate market which is itself seeing a recovery.

Spain is expecting record numbers of visitors this summer thanks to the recent safety concerns arising in other popular tourist destinations such as Turkey, Egypt and Tunisia. It’s expected that holidaymakers will find their way to the more popular destinations in Spain, most of which can be found on the Costa del Sol.

It’s been calculated by Exceltur that Turkey, Egypt and Tunisia have seen 870,000 less tourists than usual so far this year, with Spain seeing an extra 799,000, so it’s not hard to guess where they’re going instead.

The data also shows that Spain has seen 12.5% more visitors so far this year, while Egypt has seen 46% less foreign tourists in 2016.

Exceltur did have some words of warning among all the good news though. Even though Spain is seeing a lot more tourists each tourist is spending an average of 7.8% less than they usually do. Exceltur are recommending that Spain try and bring in some more big spenders rather than relying on this low-cost tourism.

It’s expected that the big spending crowds will flock to the country during the summer months, as they always do to enjoy the beaches, food and Spanish lifestyle.