Corruption and scandals in urban planning and construction have negatively affected Spain’s image, as reflected in the Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI), a yearly report published by Transparency International (TI).
The study indicates that Spaniards’ perception regarding corruption in the public sector has increased, relegating Spain to the unenviable position of number 25 among the least corrupt countries in the world. A total of 163 countries figured on the list developed by the anti-corruption organization.
This is the second year in a row that Spain’s position in the ranking has suffered, a development seen in the report as “worrying” and as “requiring measures.”
Spain, which in the last two years had scored above average with a 7.1 in 2004 and a 7.0 in 2005, scored a 6.8 in its fight against corruption in 2006.
This puts the country below Finland (9.6), Iceland (9.6), Singapur (9.4), Australia (8.7), the United Kingdom (8.6), France (7.4), the United States (7.3) and Chile (7.3); and above countries like Portugal (6.6), Italy (4.9), Greece (4.4) and Poland (3.7).New Zealand and Denmark figure as the most transparent and Myanmar, Somalia, Iraq and Venezuela as the most corrupt.
The report explains how famous cases in Spain like Operation Malaya (an anti-corruption campaign led by a prominent Spanish judge) and Ballena Blanca (a similar initiative that uncovered the country’s largest money-laundering operation) have brought to light the level of corruption in Spain’s public administration to the Spanish public.
The president of TI’s Spanish chapter, Jesús Luzcano, explained however that Spain finds itself in a central position in its fight against corruption in Europe and that the perception of corruption “isn’t alarming” with regard to institutions, the judicial, executive and legislative powers or the progress of democratic development.
What has provoked Spain to fall in the CPI index is the level of corruption in the urban development sector, which prompted Lizcano to support an agreement with the government to curb corruption. One step will be the creation of an index of transparency for Spanish city councils.
According to TI, bad local financing, the “peculiar” Spanish urban planning system and the lack of transparency of local corporations has caused the perception of corruption to increase.
Lizcano pointed out that although the actual level of corruption, however, may not have increased, but that the perception of it has because scandals have only been surfacing lately.
During the presentation of the report, TI’s president confirmed that the lack of transparency in the urban development sector should be at the top of Spain’s agenda. Thanks to the deceleration of the property market and new legislative acts that aim to improve Spain’s transparency, this coming year will constitute a time of reflection to this end.
Amidst the series of incidents where investigators have uncovered illegal building in Spain that have come to light within the last few years, foreign homebuyers have been made more weary when purchasing their home in Spain. In most cases, builders are fined and home owners compensated. Buyers can never fully protect themselves against a corrupt town hall or council but due diligence will give investors' the vital 'leg to stand on if things do go wrong.
BUILDING YOUR OWN PROPERTY
Check if the land can be built upon.
Check for charges.
Sign a contract.
Build to standards.
BUYING NEW OR OFF-PLAN PROPERTY
Special care must be taken when buying new property in Spain and a good lawyer is an invaluable asset in the process. The following should be checked before proceeding with the sale.
If you are buying in an urbanization in Spain, you should first check the Partial Plan (Plan Parcial). It is the plan of building plots, which must be approved by the urbanism department (town planning department) of the Town hall where the plots are recorded. This plan assures that your urbanization is legal and that there are no other developments planned nearby that could affect your new property. Ask your lawyer to check this carefully.
Conform with Coastal Law.
Sort out the paper work.
Check Builder's liability for construction defects.
SECOND HAND PROPERTY
Sort out the paperwork.
If your property does not have a registered title...
Once you decide to go ahead...
The Town of Muro de Alcoy is top of the charts for foreign investors
Based in the Alicante region, the town of Muro de Alcoy is 30km from Benidorm on Spain's south-eastern coast. It was voted as the most popular area in Spain to buy a house in an online research by property experts Kyero.com.
There are many factors contributing to this, primarily, the fine weather of the region and the fact that it is close to Alicante International Airport are crucial to its success.
House prices in this town have increased to 22 per cent in the past 12 months and these days prices are close to the national average of €247,000.
The costal town of Adra, in Almeria, came in at second most popular. It has warm weather all year-round and low property prices at a stunning 43 per cent lower than the national average. Also the town is less than one hour’s car ride to the airport.
Evidently the vital variable on whether an area was popular seemed not to be so much the weather but keeping the distance to the airport at less than an hour.
Now the Buyers Have the Upper Hand in the Spanish Market
The slow down in Spanish real estate has twisted the markets authority from a sellers market to a buyers market, this can prove positive for those whishing to buy a Spanish property in the near future.
A buyers market is defined by a situation where there is an oversupply of all properties (both new and second-hand homes) in the market. There have been more than 600,000 new properties constructed per year during the last decade. The interest rates have risen and there have been less professional investors buying property and therefore the demand has decreased. This is why the buyers now have the dominance over the market, because there is too much supply and not enough demand. Property prices will fall and buyers can invest at a cheaper price and the sellers will make less money from their properties.
There are other positive factors for the long-term buyer: There are more properties to choose from, the promoters will focus more on quality and bonuses to ensure a sale and the buyer is in a better position to negotiate the price and the conditions of the sale, i.e. the contract. Also experts agree that there will not be a crash in the Spanish real estate market, at most just an adjustment in prices and mainly in areas with a clear oversupply of new properties. In the long run the prices will increase, which could mean that buyers who purchase now could make a substantial profit, if they were to sell in the distant future.
Sitting on a gold mine
September 10th 2007. Continually there are on goings stories about Spanish property prices going down, however, there is one village that seems to have struck it rich. Irish mining firm Ormonde Mining PLC have discovered high-grade gold deposites in the village of Pino del Oro, which justly means "Golden Pine". The village Mayor, Jesús Ángel Antón, heard the news, but while thrilled about the job prospects for the villagers, he remained composed.
"We've also known there could be gold here," he said, "the name of the village" – Golden Pine in English – "points to that. I've even witnessed some of the finds, but they've always been in very small quantities."
Set in the region of Castilla y Leon, near the Portuguese boarder, this region attracts few international property buyers. It appeals to people who wish to immerse themselves within the Spanish community, or who prefer a rural place off the beaten track rather than the bustling touristy southern coasts full of international buyers. Buying a rural property in Pino del Orno could have cost less then 50,000 Euros. This, conversely, could all change dramatically and prices in the near future may sore sky high as the locals realise that their houses are infested with gold.
Cancer Not a Predictor for Divorce
Findings presented at the European Cancer Conference in Barcelona confirm that most cancers don’t increase the risk of divorce in marriage.
Research was done over a 17 year period comparing the cases of 215,000 cancer survivors with cancer-free couples.
The sole exceptions might be with testicular and cervical cancer. The study found that men with testicular cancer and women with cervical cancer were 20% and 40%, respectively, more likely to divorce than the cancer-free study participants.
A possible reason offered by researchers is a decrease in sexual intimacy and desire, although the study leader was quick to point out that age (most people affected by these two types of cancer are young) might have been a stronger determinant than the cancer itself.
Brand New Species of Fish Discovered Off Spain’s Coast!
Scientists from Spain and Switzerland have identified a new species of fish off the coast of Spain and southern France.
The new species has been denominated Squalius laietanus and has been mistaken in the past for the European Chub.The new species has been denominated Squalius laietanus and has been mistaken in the past for the European Chub.
Fortunately, it will now easily be distinguished from its close relative by its “slightly sub inferior mouth” its “projecting upper lip” and, perhaps most stunning, “no or little marked discontinuity between the dorsal profile of head and body.”
Spain’s King Valiantly Defends Monarchy
After recent attacks on the relevancy of a monarchy in modern Spain, His Excelency Juan Carlos has stepped forth to remind Spaniards that were it not for decades of tax money, luxurious yacht regatta’s and charming ceremonial public appearances, Spain would not have been able to enjoy an unbroken string of democratic rule since the death of dictator Francisco Franco in 1975.
But despite the monarchy’s role in aiding the transition from fascism to democracy and its support of the democratic order during the country’s 1981 coup, many Spaniards sadly no longer have faith in the Divinely Ordained need for the glorious leadership of Royal Spanish Blood in the new millennium.
Some have gone so far as to publicly burn pictures of the King and demand that he step down from his position as the head of armed forces and other politically significant roles. But the King has graciously neglected to lay down his Sword of Justice, ever-ready against the forces of corruption and Evil in the world.