Sunday, July 21, 2019
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Elections In Spain: The Main Economic Proposals Reflect The Political Fragmentation

This Sunday 28, Spanish citizens will vote in a political scenario more fragmented than ever, although in the last few months two blocks have been formed reproducing the old left-right division that existed before. On the other hand, the conservative Popular Party (PP) and the liberal party Ciudadanos (Cs) have already declared their intention to form a coalition, but they would also need another ally according to polls. PP, Ciudadanos, and Vox have promised a considerable reduction of taxes, especially regarding the Income Tax and its maximum rate. Both Podemos and PSOE aim to increase the contribution of large companies and taxpayers with higher incomes to the’ State coffers’. Despite the economic recovery, the unemployment rate is still at 14% and job insecurity has increased due to the labor reforms to make the employment market more flexible after the economic crisis. Unidas Podemos proposes to prohibit temporary contracts of less than one month and set a maximum of six months, after which the contract must become permanent. For its part, PSOE has promised to simplify the types of contracts to three (indefinite, temporary and training), while the manifesto of Vox talks about reductions of 10% in social contributions to companies that create new permanent contracts to unemployed people. PP and Ciudadanos have focused on self-employed workers in their manifestos, proposing tax reductions and incentives to encourage entrepreneurship while Unidas Podemos emphasis on the need to address the growing phenomenon of 'false self-employed' people. There is also a big contrast when it comes to the minimum wage, which already experienced an increase of 22% in January after the agreement between PSOE and Unidas Podemos. And PP wants to deepen the flexibility of the labor market in order to create more jobs.

Spain’s general election 2019: all you need to know

Podemos and coalitions Citizens Before the no-confidence vote, Citizens was leading the polls, but has paid dearly for its decision not to back Sánchez’s successful bid to unseat the PP. Vox, led by the pistol-carrying Santiago Abascal, has further fragmented the Spanish right, and threatens to offer a home to disenchanted PP and Citizens voters. Current polls suggest the PSOE will finish first and increase its seat count – but will fall well short of a majority. The Citizens party is on course to win 15% and Unidas-Podemos 13%. 13.6 Vox 10 10.7 5 0 Jul-16 Jul-17 Jul-18 Apr-19 35% 13.6 Vox 10 10.7 5 0 Jul-16 Oct-16 Jan-17 Apr-17 Jul-17 Oct-17 Jan-18 Apr-18 Jul-18 Oct-18 Jan-19 Apr-19 35% Sánchez will be hoping the polls are accurate and that the PP, Citizens and Vox will not secure enough seats to build a coalition government. After the latter election, Spain was in the hands of Rajoy’s caretaker government for 10 months. Podemos left coalition 32 137 67 84 Absolute majority 176 seats Oct 2016 To appoint Rajoy as PM After opposing Rajoy's first attempt to secure an absolute majority, PSOE changed tack in a second vote, abstaining and allowing PP to enter government with a simple majority.

France, Spain and Belgium ‘ready for no-deal Brexit next week’

The diplomatic cable reveals that the French ambassador secured the support of Spanish and Belgian colleagues in arguing that there should only be, at most, a short article 50 extension to avoid an instant financial crisis, saying: “We could probably extend for a couple of weeks to prepare ourselves in the markets.” The chances of Theresa May’s proposal of an extension to 30 June succeeding appeared slim as France’s position in the private diplomatic meeting was echoed by an official statement reiterating its opposition to any further Brexit delay without a clear British plan. Tusk is pushing the EU to offer at a summit next Wednesday what he has described as a “flextension” in which the UK would be given a year-long extension with an option to come out early if the deal is ratified. Responding to May’s letter publicly, France’s secretary of state for European affairs, Amélie de Montchalin, told the Guardian in a statement: “The European council took a clear decision on 21 March … Another extension requires the UK to put forward a plan with clear and credible political backing.” The council would then define the necessary conditions attached to that extension, she said. “[I]n the absence of such a plan, we would have to acknowledge that the UK chose to leave the EU in a disorderly manner.” According to the diplomatic cable of the EU27 meeting, the French ambassador said he “failed to see in Theresa May’s letter any argument in favour of a long extension”. “Some member states insisted on the need to have a clear UK plan before granting a long extension,” the source added. “There are positive elements to the letter,” the ambassador added. France, with the agreement of the Belgian and Spanish ambassadors, agreed that the current position coming from London did not meet these conditions. A senior EU official briefing the ambassadors conceded there were concerns about a tweet earlier on Friday by the Conservative MP and chairman of the Eurosceptic European Research Group, Jacob Rees-Mogg, stating that the British government should disrupt the EU from within in the event of a long extension of EU membership. “The tweet of Jacob Rees-Mogg showed what they are capable of.” Earlier in the day a European commission spokesman played down the impact of Rees-Mogg’s remarks. “We hope for more clarity from London before next Wednesday.”

China Politics and YOUR Business

With all that is going on with China’s economy and with its trade discussions with the United States and with US tariffs and with the EU’s mounting frustration with China, our China lawyers are finding themselves more often engaged in “big picture” discussions with our clients than ever before. What are you seeing in China? We are well-trained and well-positioned to answer some of these, such as the one regarding China’s new laws and we write about those. See China’s New Foreign Investment Law and Forced Technology Transfer: Same As it Ever Was and China Approves New Foreign Investment Law to Level Playing Field for Foreign Companies. Our client had read the report, found it exceedingly helpful, and thought we too would benefit from it. Yesterday, my law firm had its bi-weekly “international team” meeting. One of the things I love discussing at these meetings is what I call the 360 nature of our practice and in our meeting yesterday I talked of how the EU lead at a multinational company had contacted us because he had heard of our having opened a Madrid office and he was based right outside Madrid. I just assumed from this that he was seeking Spain legal help, but it turned out he wanted to work with our Spain lawyers on a China matter. The Special Report is 20 pages, but Ms. Minehardt nicely summarizes it on APCO’s blog here. Stability is the government’s top priority amid the continuation of China’s economic slowdown.

Raw Politics in Full: Parade politics, Spain’s Vox, Estonia’s likely PM

The group behind the float says they didn't intend to offend anyone — and that the carnival parade is simply a festival of caricature. But the Aalst carnival didn't stop at Jewish stereotypes. It featured people dressed up in what looked like Ku Klux Klan outfits, while others wore blackface. Vox visit European Parliament Spain's far-right Vox party was in the European Parliament today for an event in which they discussed Catalan separatism. But their presence was not welcomed by many. A group of civil servants protested, angry that parliament gave Vox a platform just weeks after banning an event with former Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont. The protest comes in the midst of an election campaign in Spain, with worries about the rise of the far-right in the country for the first time since the 1970s. Estonia's new PM? Three days after Estonians went to the polls, coalition discussions on forming a new government began on Wednesday. The centre-right Reform party took the most votes in the election Sunday — but not enough for an outright majority.

Brexit: May gives way over Gibraltar after Spain’s ‘veto’ threat

Theresa May has given way to Madrid’s demands over the future of Gibraltar after the Spanish prime minister threatened to “veto” the Brexit deal due to be signed off by EU leaders on Sunday. Sánchez said: “Once the UK has left the EU, Gibraltar’s political, legal and even geographic relationship with the EU will go through Spain … “Spain will be a fundamental pillar of the relationship between Gibraltar and the EU as a whole. “We have negotiated on behalf of Gibraltar, they are covered by the whole withdrawal agreement and by the implementation period. Donald Tusk, the European council president, sent a letter of invitation to Sunday’s summit to all the leaders on Saturday afternoon. Quick guide The European Union withdrawal agreement bill What is the withdrawal and implementation bill? A white paper published on Tuesday mainly takes in areas already dealt with by the initial agreement with the EU – reciprocal citizens’ rights, the transition period, and the divorce bill. Spain does not have a formal veto over the 585-page withdrawal agreement and the 26-page joint declaration by the leaders, but the EU would have been unlikely to go ahead with the summit without Madrid’s support. Spain has always insisted that Gibraltar could only be covered by any agreements struck between the EU and the UK with Madrid’s consent. Spain was furious when an article in the withdrawal agreement appeared to suggest that any future trade deal would cover Gibraltar. This is the same position as for the first phase of the negotiations.

Christine Blasey Ford, Brett Kavanaugh, and the Death of Dignity in Politics

I was underneath one of them while the two laughed, two friends having a really good time with one another.”) Conversely, Brett Kavanaugh and his defenders, most prominently Senator Lindsey Graham, cast Ford’s accusation and the hearing itself as an attack on Kavanaugh’s dignity: the shouting, hectoring, crying, and Graham’s explicit refusal even to consider the subject of the hearing communicated that they saw any challenge as an offense. For the rest of us, the spectacle of the hearing, and the vote that followed, became a death watch for dignity in politics. I have written about the concept of the “feminization of politics,” which foregrounds restoring dignity to those who are not often heard: women, poor people, black and brown people, disabled people, and many others. Seemingly out of nowhere, there appeared the performance of respect for the law, for the intellectual rigor of interpreting the law, and for procedure. But as Russia deteriorated, so did the public performance of politics, including in the courts. That underscores the interplay of the two kinds of political dignity: the dignity of participation and the dignity of performance. What we witnessed yesterday was the deliberate refusal to perform dignity. Every single one of them demonstrated, through their sympathetic questioning of Kavanaugh, that they were not in the least swayed by Ford’s credible and moving testimony. However, if the rest of the Republicans on the Judiciary Committee had had their druthers, Ford’s story would be told, but it would not be heard—at least not in the United States Senate. They would deny her, and the millions of women and men outside the Senate who did hear her, the dignity of participation.
Run with the bulls in Pamplona - 360 Video

Run with the bulls in Pamplona – 360 Video

Every year, thousands of amateur daredevils flock to Pamplona in the hopes of coming face to face with Toro Bravo - the Spanish Fighting Bull. Get closer than ever to this intense, and controversial, spectacle.
Go running with the bulls in Pamplona - 360 Video

Go running with the bulls in Pamplona – 360 Video

Every year, thousands of amateur daredevils flock to Pamplona in the hopes of coming face to face with Toro Bravo - the Spanish Fighting Bull. Get closer than ever to this intense, and controversial, spectacle.

Spain offers to take in migrant ship marooned by Italian politics

ROME, Italy (AFP) — Spain offered Monday to take in a ship stranded in the Mediterranean with 629 migrants aboard after Italy and Malta refused to let the vessel dock in their ports. The migrants, including pregnant women and scores of children, were saved by the French charity SOS Mediterranee on Saturday. “The prime minister has given instructions for Spain to honor international commitments on humanitarian crises and announced that the country will receive the ship Aquarius,” his office said in a statement. “The priority of both the Italian and Maltese authorities should be ensuring these people receive the care they need,” European Commission spokesman Margaritis Schinas told reporters, calling for a “swift resolution.” Italy’s refusal to take in the migrants is the first sign of the new government’s hardened stance on immigration. Its far-right Interior Minister Matteo Salvini showed no sign of backing down on Monday. “Saving lives is a duty, turning Italy into a huge refugee camp is not. Italy is done bending over backwards and obeying, this time THERE IS SOMEONE WHO SAYS NO,” he wrote on Twitter followed by the hashtag #closethedoors. ‘Vulnerable patients at risk’ “We haven’t moved since last night, people are starting to wonder why we’ve stopped,” journalist Anelise Borges, who is aboard the Aquarius, said in a tweet. We need to have an idea of what port to go to, something that up to now we haven’t had,” Aquarius crew member Alessandro Porro told news channel Sky TG24 on Sunday. The French organization said those brought on board included 123 unaccompanied minors, 11 small children and the seven pregnant women.