Saturday, 5 November 2016

Spain Finally Has a New Government

Spain Finally Has a New Government

This past Sunday the Socialist Party of Spain (PSOE) finally agreed to step aside and let stand-in

Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy and his Popular Party (PP) go back to running the country after a ten month long political impasse.

Spain has continued to do well without a government
While the decision the PSOE made to stand aside and accede defeat wasn’t popular with the left-leaning Spaniards the political deadlock finally ending can only be good for the country. Rajoy is expected to take the helm of the country some time next month. He will be much less powerful this time around however.

Rajoy failed to secure a majority number of seats in the election from last December and the June election of this year; meaning that the PP will only control 137 seats out of the 350 seats available in Spanish parliament.

As such Rajoy will need to negotiate most of his political decisions with the other people in parliament with him. Watering down Rajoy’s power was one of the few positive things that the PSOE took from their move; arguing that it would be better to end the deadlock and stop the PP in parliament when needed than keep the impasse going for a third election.

Rajoy is expected to meet with King Felipe before two additional rounds of Congress voting will see the Popular Party reinstated as the Spanish governing party by the end of next week.

It’s somewhat of a “tradition” in Spain that the Popular Party and the PSOE trade power as the country swings from left to right. The recent recessions and cost of living of the country saw the emergence of two additional smaller parties that messed up this delicate balance. They were the Podemos party of the far left and the centrist Cíudadanos party. Both of these parties took some votes from both of the major parties but the PSOE in particular were badly hit.

There’s no doubt that the new leader of the PSOE Javier Fernandez must have had trouble choosing to stand aside. Even so he said that his decision was the lesser of two evils and the Spanish public are in agreement, along with the press and economists who are happy to finally see the political disputes of the past year come to an end.

The PSOE saw that 139 regional voters agreed to their decision to lift their veto to allow the PP to form a government while 96 were against it. This shows that there is still a pretty big divide in the party and that Rajoy will not find it so easy to run the country during his second term at the helm.

Fernando Vallespin; politics professor with the Autonomous University of Madrid said that it is unprecedented for a Spanish government to have such a small amount of parliamentary support. He added that Rajoy will most likely need to negotiate any laws he tries to introduce.

With the new government finally being formed Spain will continue to be a better place to live.

Friday, 4 November 2016

The Wall Street Journal Says Marbella is Southern California of Spain

The Wall Street Journal Says Marbella is Southern California of Europe

Marbella has always been considered as the California of Europe
with its 320 days of sunshine a year
Over the past few weeks media from both sides of the Atlantic have been going crazy about the Costa del Sol; both for its potential as a cultural holiday destination but also because it is one of the best places to own a place in the sun. Malaga city in particular has had plenty of articles praising it showing up all over. The Daily Mail declared Malaga the “New Barcelona” at the beginning of April and now Marbella is back in the spotlight after being compared, in a good way no less, to Southern California by the Wall Street Journal.

Beneath the headline declaring “Marbella Makes a Splash” the article focuses on, expectedly, the high-end homes of the resort including places in the Golden Mile, Los Monteros, Sierra Blanca and La Zagaleta, where price tags can begin as “low” as €5 million. The report noted that new-generation homeowners will head to Central or Northern Europe to take breaks in the sun. It also included a brief look at how the town has evolved since the 60s and 70s, along with a gallery of images and videos feature some of the most famous landmarks and luxury mansions of Marbella.
The property prices in Marbella have recovered from their 15% drop and are now back at pre-crisis levels. It also goes on to say that there is more interest from buyers in Scandinavia and the Middle-East, along with an improved infrastructure and plenty of year-round appeal to younger buyers. All of this goes together to create a town on the rebound that is starting to look more like south California than south Spain.

Thursday, 3 November 2016

Over Two Thirds of the Property Sold to Foreign Investors in Andalucía Are on Costa Del Sol

Over Two Thirds of the Property Sold to Foreign Investors in Andalucía Are on Costa Del Sol

The demand for the Costa del Sol keeps increasing
which good news for the whole region
A recent report from the Spanish Ministry of Development found that 7 out of the 10 Andalucía properties sold to foreign buyers during the first six months of the year were in Málaga.

A report published by the Spanish Ministry of Development showed that between January and July 2016, 70% of the properties in Andalucía sold to foreign buyers were in Málaga, which is the home of the Costa del Sol. This works out at 4,978 transactions, which is a 16.9% increase compared to this same period of time in 2015.

At the regional level there was a total increase in foreign purchasers in Andalucía of 18.9%, up from the 5,973 property transactions across the first six months of 2015 to a total of 7,105 sold in the same period for 2016.

The other Andalusian provinces are falling behind Malaga when it comes to properties sold to foreign buyers. Almería saw 797 real estate transactions registered, which was an increase of 33.7% for the first semester of 2015. Granada had an increase of 13.9% with 409 sales; Cádiz had an increase of 4.6% to 405 transactions; Sevilla had an increase of 47.1% to 262 transactions; Huelva had an increase of 23.5% for 126 transactions; Jaén saw an increase of 49% for 79 transactions; and Córdoba came in last place in terms of transactions with an increase of 16.6% for 49 transactions.

Wednesday, 2 November 2016

Famous Faces Visit Marbella for Global Gift Foundation Party

Famous Faces Visit Marbella for Global Gift Foundation Party

Ronan Keating was the star of the show at this year’s Global Gift Gala out of Marbella.

Ronan Keating in Marbella recently.
Marbella played host to one of the most anticipated charity events in Spain across this past weekend. The party has always managed to bring in more stars than can usually be found in Marbella and this year was no exception.

Friday night saw a welcome cocktail party held at the La Sala nightclub, which was attended by former Boyzone star and current The Voice judge Ronan Keating and his new wife Storm.

Other stars flocking to the city included Ashley Williams from Made In Chelsea, TV presenter Olivia Cox and former popstar and X Factor judge Alesha Dixon, who also made an appearance at the Global Gift Gala dinner at the Gran Meliá Don Pepe hotel that was held the following night in Marbella.

Another famous face making an appearance was James Nesbitt, Irish star of Cold Feet. The party was held to celebrate the great work that the foundation does to improve the lives of children, women and families the world over who need some help.

Keating, 39, also took the time to play a round of golf with Nesbitt at the Estepona Golf Club as part of the Global Gift Golf sideshow, before taking to the stage for a performance at the evening bash hosted by Spanish actress María Bravo, who is also the founder of the charity.

The party has really become a major event over the past few years and it continues to bring in some major names. In the past it as played host to Victoria Beckham, Antonio Banderas, Ricky Martin, and honorary chair of the Foundation Eva Longoria come together to raise awareness of the foundation and their work.

Tuesday, 1 November 2016

Brits Spend Over €74 million a Day In Spain During August

Brits Spend Over €74 million a Day In Spain During August
Tourist spending has been at an all time high.

Brits really dug deep into their pockets during August;spending money on drinks, food, shopping, and hotels.

If people still doubted that British were vital to the Spanish tourism industry then the recent statistics from the tourism ministry will remove those doubts. The latest data shows that British tourists accounted for 22.3% of the tourist spending in August.

This came to a grand total of €2.3 billion spent by Brits throughout Spain during August, or €74.6 million each day. This works out at around €116 per person, per day.

This data is a reflection of the strong tourism trends of Spain in 2016. All the indications are that Spain will see record visitor numbers in 2016. Though for the brits this is just a continuation of the decades-old trend. It just shows that Spain is still deep in the hearts of many UK holidaymakers.

The Spanish economy was boosted by an extra €334 million each day thanks to the tourism in August. As well as Brits the French and German tourists were spending their fair; making up roughly 14% of the tourism spend for August.

Brits spent an overall 3.5% more this August compared to last year, while German tourists spent around 0.2% more and French tourists spent a whopping 9.1% more.

The only downside to the news was that average spending per person was actually down a little compared to 2015. The average tourist spend was €116 per person, which is down 1.9% compared to last year when compared against the average time that people spent in the country.

Even though more people are coming to Spain they are spending slightly less over last summer. This is really only a tiny negative mark on what has otherwise been an incredibly positive Spanish summer season though.

Regions across all of Spain are celebrating as most places are reporting record highs in terms of tourism spending. Tourists have currently spent €53.3 billion so far this year in Spain, which is 7.1% higher than last year. A statistic to put everything into perspective is that Spanish tourists spent more in the year leading up to August than they did in all of 2012, and there’s still four months of 2016 left.

The Brits still make up the bulk of the spending in the first eight months of the year. Brits accounted for 21.1% of all spending; an increase of 11.8% over 2015.

Monday, 31 October 2016

Spain Set to Create Equal Maternity and Paternity Leave

Spain Set to Create Equal Maternity and Paternity Leave

Spanish parliament decided recently that they would agree with a proposal that was put forward by the Podemos Party to standardise both maternal and paternal leave.

Paternity leave for fathers is a welcome addition.
Current laws entitle Spanish fathers to have 13 days off work consecutively, which begins two days before a child is born, fostered or adopted. While fathers of three or more children are entitled to 20 days off it is still much shorter than the 16 weeks of maternity leave that Spanish mothers receive.

The current law does still allow for mothers to transfer up to 10 weeks of their 16 week maternity leave to fathers but this rule is on the way out after it was only used by 2% of couples.

This change in the rules means that Spain is catching up with the rest of Europe and it also allows Spanish couples to have an equal role when it comes to early parental duties. The government will compensate companies for the time that employees spend away from work and this was one of the biggest sticking points for the conservative parties in Spain.

The Popular Party (PP), headed up by the current interim Prime Minsiter of Spain Mariano Rajoy, has been against equal parental leave for some time. They feel that it will cost the government too much. Podemo countered this argument by saying that both the Spanish constitution and EU law forbid discriminating based on gender.

It could be a while until a new government budget is set to accommodate the change given the current political situation in Spain. Given that it could take until a new Prime Minister is elected the rule could soon be overturned if Rajoy and his PP win a majority in the upcoming third election.

What is more likely to happen is that Spain will be ruled by a grand coalition of mostly left-leaning parties that will ensure the ruling stays and that Spain will finally make good on a promise made in 2009, before the country was hit by a double-dip recession and people lost interest in a ruling that would increase government spending.

The ruling comes at quite the coincidental time for Spain as October 21st marks the day when women begin “working for free” in a crude measurement of the gender pay gap in the country.

The data behind this imbalance comes from information taken from the entire adult population of Spain and the end result is that women are paid almost 20% less than men. Given that the EU and Spanish constitution state that gender discrimination isn’t allowed it is a bit misleading to say that women are deliberately paid less than men.

Another significance of this October 21st date is that social and cultural norms leave women feeling the need to leave work early or work less so that they can take care of their families. This is another reason that women fail to go after high-paying careers and also stops them from pursuing a tertiary education, which also cuts down on their earning potential.

Now that new fathers are entitled to as much paid leave as mothers it is hoped that this imbalance will effectively rectify itself as time passes.