June 2015 News Headlines

Pedreguer ready for drought with backup water from irrigation supplies

June 30th
Over the winter months Pedreguer has been linking its municipal water supply network with that of the irrigation community. They recently carried out a test drive, and are ready with this new backup in case of severe drought this summer. Their main source of supply for potable water is the Ocaive well. From: Marina Plaza. ( Ed's note: AMJASA bought Ocaive wells in 1975 and modernised and upgraded them. They dried up in the ‘90’s, leading to the desalination plant project See: http://amjasa.com/quienessomos )

It's official: Oil Exploration project between Balearics and Valencia coast is off

June 30th
The Ministry of Agriculture, Food and the Environment has officially terminated the oil exploration project put forward by Cairn Energy of Scotland. The company had announced its withdrawal from the project some months ago, and the ecological alliance which was opposed to the project, "Alliance Mar Blava" has claimed victory. From :La Marina Plaza.

Marina Alta faces summer with the lowest water reserves in the Valencian Community

June 29th
AEMET warns that the region has barely accumulated half the usual rainfall since September. Between March and May, the Xàbia weather station recorded only 32.5 litres per square meter, 78% less than average. The Marina Alta region is one of the driest areas in Spain with the north of Tarragona, Salamanca, Ibiza and the island of La Palma and has already suffered a year of emergency through drought. Xàbia's mayor Chulvi along with newly elected socialist Denia Mayor Vicent Grimalt are reviving the regional water consortium to look for a long term solution to the summer water supply problem. This will no doubt involve the use of the Xàbia's desalination plant. From La Marina Plaza.

Brussels Views Declaration of Assets Abroad in Spain as Illegal

June 28th
The obligation to declare all assets abroad valued at 50,000€ or more has not only caused many residents, particularly foreign residents in Spain, a lot of hassle and untold stress, it has also resulted in heavy fines for others, and even caused some foreigners to return home in defiance of the law that was introduced at the end of 2012. Now, however, the 720 Model, has been labelled as “illegal” by the European Commission in Brussels, due to the fact that it “infringes Community rights”, and the sanctions applied for failing to comply have been regarded as “disproportionate” when compared to similar sanctions in other cases. For this reason, the EU will now go ahead and open a judicial case against Spain for this act that it sees as breaking the law. For full story see: On the pulse

Fire in Camí Vell de Gata forces evictions

June 28th
A fire broke out on Saturday afternoon in the Camí vell de Gata, in the built up area between Calle Cantallops and Calle Camí Barcelona. It apparently started in a rubbish container and quickly leapt from garden to garden. The firefighting services were in high alert because of the high temperatures and high winds and the fire was quickly controlled with the aid of two helicopters and a plane. Residents were evacuated as a precautionary measure, but were allowed back home around 8.00pm. Luckily there was little damage, and it being a Saturday there were no children at the nursery nearby which would have complicated the situation. From XAD: Un incendio... Another fire broke out the same evening near Denia (Las Provincias)

Calpe Rock closed

June 26th
The regional Ministry of the Environment has closed Calpe Rock to hikers for safety reasons. The path is very slippery, both inside the tunnel at the start of the ascent, and along the cliff edge which the tunnel opens on to. The last restoration of the route was done with EU money in 2005. With the change of Government in Valencia still underway, it is not known what measures will be taken of when the path is likely to be re-opened. The closure of the natural park right at the start of the tourist season is a bad news for Calpe. The Rock is a big draw and is the most visited protected area of ​​the Community, with about 120,000 visitors annually. It was declared a park in 1987. Joined to the mainland only by a narrow isthmus and rising to 332 metres, it is only 45 hectares in area, making it one of the smallest preserved natural spaces in Europe. From:La Marina Plaza

Number of Spanish emigrants nearly doubles in four years

June 26th
Nearly twice as many Spaniards moved abroad last year as in 2010, according to new demographics figures released on Thursday by the National Statistics Institute (INE). A total of 78,785 Spaniards left the country in 2014, reflecting a drop in the resident population for the third year in a row….The vast majority of these people were born in Spain, and their main destinations were Britain, France and Germany, reinforcing the theory of migration for economic reasons, as Spain struggles to recover from the effects of the economic crisis that broke in 2008. But last year also saw more Spaniards return home after a period abroad. For full story see: El Pais in English

Alicante population down for the second year running

June 25th
Last year Alicante Province lost 22,000 foreign residents. 90.1 % of the decline was of EU citizens, with British, Rumanian and German leavers topping the list. Alicante remains a province with one of the highest foreign populations - 20.6 %, and is third after Madrid and Barcelona. 20 of the 141 municipalities accounted for 75% of the total foreign presence. From Diarioinformación

Homeowners win victory over demolitions

June 25th
Legislation passed by the Senate in March saw a suspension of the demolition of homes found to be built illegally by unscrupulous developers, until owners have been compensated. That measure was extended on Wednesday to include homeowners that were under threat of demolition not because of criminal action but "administrative error". It means that not only will there be protection for those living in homes built illegally by rogue builders but also those who bought in good faith with all the papers in order only to see the licence revoked at a later date. For full story see: The Local.es

Call for the creation of a Museum of the Sea

June 25th
The explosion of a sea mine off the coast of Denia (see below) has revived a proposal to create a Museum of the Sea. Apparently Denia has been calling for projects to boost underwater archaeology for the past 20 years without success. The coastal relics are already badly plundered, and what's left needs to be preserved for future generations. The mine explosion has re-opened the debate. From La Provincias

Detonation of Civil war mine near Denia comes as a bit of a surprise


June 25th
A German manufactured sea mine dating from the Spanish Civil war was detonated by the Navy on Tuesday about 300m off the beach of Marineta Cassiana in Denia. The artefact had been documented after a survey conducted 22 years ago by two universities and the Denia museum. However there seems to have been a lack of coordination between regional and national government authorities since no prior inspection was carried out. The area is the resting place of many wrecks and remains dating from more than 2000 years ago and there since has been a call for a post-explosion inspection, though the municipality says that there have been no serious environmental effects. From La Marina PlazaLa

Spanish working-age adults among the lowest-qualified in Europe, says research

June 21st
Nearly half of Spain's working-age population aged 25 and over has no qualifications beyond compulsory schooling – the equivalent of GCSEs or O-levels in the UK, known as the ESO in the Spanish system – and some do not even have this level, according to a recent survey. The research by the Foundation for Applied Economics Studies (FEDEA) effectively reveals that those who have been on the dole for many months or years have not been studying or training to improve their existing skills or learn a new trade or profession…As a result, when the construction industry collapsed and competition for bar and restaurant work became far more fierce, a large chunk of an entire generation was left without a job and not qualified to do anything else. And those aged roughly over 40, who studied French at school as a second language rather than English, say most positions advertised require at least a basic working knowledge of the latter, meaning they lose out to younger applicants. Yet only a small number of the construction and hostelry industry generation has attempted to retrain or go back to college to get a higher level of education. For full story see: ThinkSpain Ed's note: This ties in with the story below about fears of another construction boom..

Studies raise fears of another construction boom

June 21st
Four separate studies on the socioeconomic situation in the Marina Alta indicate that the region may be set to repeat old mistakes and depend on a future economic prosperity based on construction and hospitality. House sales have already picked up (mostly to foreign buyers) and not just re-sales, but also the construction of new luxury villas on the coast. Both businesses and politicians seem to be just waiting for the building industry to revive again after the crisis. During the hard times people spoke of opting for a different economic model advocating innovation, technology parks, the introduction of university sub-campuses in the region, reindustrialisation and diversifying tourism through prioritizing culture, the environment and promoting various experimental offerings. A few years later it has made some little progress in this aspect. The rest remains to be done. Perhaps because carrying out the ideas was so difficult, and perhaps hoping for a recovery of construction is much easier. However other voices describe how Marina Alta destinations now have a higher prestige, attracting visitors all year round, especially at weekends. That foreign residents with high purchasing power will contribute to galvanising the economy, and that small businesses in commerce, design, consulting and industry are taking off. All that is needed is time. From La Marina Plaza Ed's note: This article provides links to the four studies it quotes: Tinsa; Jovémpa; Servef and Caritas. Detailed report on the Tinsa study in English on: Spanish Property Insight

Half of Spain’s employees find work through contacts, survey reveals

June 21st
46.7 percent of those who have found paid employment in Spain in the last five years did so through their contacts, while just 22.2 percent earned their position purely on the basis of merit, after applying to a company or organization directly. .. The country’s network of state-run job employment offices place just 2.5 percent of positions, with private agencies managing 3.6 percent. The remaining posts are filled as a result of job seekers sending their résumés to companies. For full story see: Ela Pais in English

Shelves for Xàbia's Municipal archives will cost half as much as expected.

June 21st
Part of the Portal del Clot municipal building will be used to house the Town Hall's archives. To this end, a supply contract for bookshelves was put out to tender at an expected price of €250,000 (VAT included) . The winning company from Galicia came in at €111,000 - less than half the expected price. This company, José Manuel Carregal Silva SL has fulfilled similar contracts in other big cities. It is the second Galician company to win a contract with Xábia, the other being regard to the leasing of police cars for the local police. The good reputation that Xàbia has developed as being a prompt payer has attracted lower cost tenders from far and wide. From XAD: Las Estanterias

Table of Contents

As Greece stares into the abyss, has Spain escaped from crisis?

June 21st
… Spain’s economy appears to be emerging at full throttle from one of the longest and deepest recessions it has ever suffered. An IMF report said growth by the end of this year will be a startling 3.1%, leading to job creation, and, in theory at least, a better standard of living for Spaniards who have suffered crippling levels of unemployment and decline over the last seven years…“Spain has returned to about 95% of where it was in 2008,”…(however) - “The economy is certainly not improving for those without a job or a home,”…A tourism boom is helping as retailers and hotels take on seasonal staff, and some industrial sectors, including car manufacturing, are on the up. But going back to the growth model of the past is not an option. Spain’s economy – built for years on cheap debt and a housebuilding bubble – imploded amid the credit crisis of 2008. For full story see: The Guardian

Xabia, Denia and Jesus Pobre join forces to coordinate Montgó fire protection plan

June 18th
The Ayuntamiento de Xàbia hosted the first meeting between the towns of Xàbia, Denia and Jesus Pobre to agree a coordinated local strategy, to strengthen the safety and security of Montgó… It was agreed to continue working at a technical level establishing both preventive actions and effective responses in the event of fires. The three municipalities will seek a greater awareness and involvement by the Generalitat Valenciana in this protected area and a greater allocation of resources and investment in fire prevention with the implementation of employment programmes focused on forestry clearing. For full story see: Javeamigos

Why Spain’s research and development is going nowhere

June 16th
A large part of the science carried out in Spain is not transferred because there is no infrastructure” … Problems include bureaucratic issues and the reluctance of Spanish financiers to fund innovation….“Allowing these discoveries to disappear has almost become the defining characteristic of Spanish research: the ideas and the people go abroad. There is no structure here to make use of R+D. There is very little R, and still less D. For full story see: El Pais in English

Spain turns its back on the sun

June 16th
n a country that has the fourth-highest electricity costs in Europe – around €80 per person a month – and where many regions enjoy plentiful sunshine, you might think it would make sense to encourage people to generate their own power….Proponents of self-production want to see a “net balance” introduced, which would allow people who generate their own electricity to store their excess energy and then use it at night. Systems to cater for this are already in place in Germany, Portugal, Greece, Italy, Denmark, the United States and Mexico. But Spain, where 26 million households consume around 30 percent of total energy output – the rest being used by businesses, industry, schools, and government offices – is not only a long way from such regulation, but is about to publish draft legislation that will impose hefty taxes on small-scale renewable producers while ending payments for pumping their excess electricity into the national grid. For full story see: El Pais in English

Xàbia's new Town Council announced

June 12th
The make up of Xàbia's new PSOE Town Council was announced today. There will be committees for four basic "pillars" Finance, Culture, Planning and the Environment (now merged) and Economic Promotion (which combines Tourism, Economic Development, New Technologies, youth and exisiting economic sectors). As before there will be weekly government meetings, informative comissions on a set day each month to facilitate organisation of the various councillors, a monthly plenary council meeting, sectorial councils for citizen participation, with the possibility of adding new ones such as Sports, Fiestas and Youth. An innovation will be councillors for various districts such as the Arenal, Port and Urbanisations, also the councillors from the previous administration will have new jobs to avoid getting "typecast" - "We want the municipal management to be a constant challenge and to remain vigilant" For details of appointments see: Xàbia Council 2015. Read more about his team in English on: http://josechulvi.es/team/

Asset declaration horror story

June 12th
A retired gentleman from Granada had worked offshore for some years and saved €340,000 in USB in Switzerland. According to his lawyer, he had not known about the overseas asset declaration process (Modelo 720), and voluntarily made his first declaration a year late. As a result he has been fined a total of €439,267. - 150% because it was a "very serious infringement". It has been estimated that around 30,000 people have undeclared assets. The case has been appealed to Brussels. From El Pais

Fish deaths in the Canal de la Fontana to be investigated

June 9th
The appearence of dead fish in the Canal de la Fontana over the weekend is being investigated by the Town Hall and has been reported to the Service for the Protection of Nature (SEPRONA) of the Guardia Civil. It seems that the deaths were not due to excess salinity from effluent from the desalination plant, but may have been caused by a one hour power outage in the desalination plant which meant that the pump circulating water into the canal was out of action, leading to a reduction in oxygen levels in the canal. The Council is now looking for a company to provide a backup power supply to mitigate against such occurrences in the future. From XAD: Xàbia abre...

Electricity charged by the hour from July

June 6th
Electricity for homes and small businesses will be charged by the hour from July 1, meaning peak and off-peak rates will apply to everyone and not just those who have applied for the so-called 'white tariff' where costs differ throughout the day and night. All premises which have a digital, remotely-managed meter will automatically be switched to the hourly charge system, and the cost of each day's consumption will appear online from 20.15hrs for customers to check. Where a digital meter has not yet been fitted, the electricity board, Iberdrola, has until October 1 to do so. For full story see ThinkSpain Note: There's a graph of hourly prices and table in English on: http://www.omie.es/en/inicio

May 'hottest and driest in 68 years'

June 5th
The month of May this year was the driest in 68 years with just 1.7cm (less than three-quarters of an inch) of rain, according to weather records. Typically a rainy month - although mild and sunny on dry days in most parts of the country - May this year not only saw the hottest day for the time of year since 1869 but also the least amount of wet weather since 1947. Normally, May would see an average of 61 litres of rain per square metre across Spain, which translates to 6.1 centimetres or two-and-a-half inches. But an ongoing drought in the south, centre and coastal areas is gradually worsening with rainfall at its lowest since just after World War II. for full story see ThinkSpain.com

Cairn Energy withdraws from oil exploration in Gulf of Valencia

June 5th
"Cairn has informed the Spanish Ministry of Industry, Tourism and Commerce that it intends to withdraw from four exploration permits in the Gulf of Valencia." Cairn's Spanish portfolio consists of the four licences in the Gulf of Valencia, which it was awarded in 2011. The company has closed its office in Madrid where around five people were employed. The announcement came months after Spain's environment ministry published a report that found seismic surveying work could harm sea life such as whales. Cairn's decision was welcomed as a victory by opponents of drilling in the area. But Cairn said it remains interested in Spain and has applied for licences covering an area north of the Gulf of Valencia and one in the Bay of Biscay, off the northern coast of Spain. For full story see: The Herald, Scotland.

Environment a 'victim' of the crisis: Greenpeace

June 5th
Spain's economic crisis and successive corruption scandals have led to looser environmental regulations which have taken a huge toll on the environment, Greenpeace said in a report published on Wednesday. The environment is "one of the main victims of the crisis", which was sparked by the collapse of a decade-long building boom in 2008, the group said in the 47-page report. "There are hundreds of corruption cases which have left behind them natural spaces covered in cement and soil contaminated by hazardous waste," the report added. There were 1,754 court cases involving suspected illegalities related to urban planning decisions in 2011 alone, it said. For full story see: The local.es

Spain is spending less on protecting the environment than the rest of Europe

June 1st
Even in countries which are traditionally thought of as less developed than Spain, more priority is given to climate change. According to figures produced by Eurostat the average spending in the EU on protecting ecosystem soil air and water was 172 Euros per inhabitant, whilst in Spain the figure was €49. From Spanish News Today

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