Blogging from the Highlands of Scotland until I return to the Murcia region of Spain
in the early part of 2017 for a few weeks

'Fair and softly goes far' - Miguel de Cervantes

Saturday, 12 November 2016

Moves afoot on eight financially precarious toll motorways in Spain

It seems that with the recent formation of a new government in Spain, steps are to be taken to either close or radically restructure the operations of upto eight "bankrupt" toll motorways across Spain. It is not entirely clear yet, at least to me, but it does seem that one of the toll motorways under the microscope is the section of the AP-7 between Cartagena and Vera, regarded really since its inception as something of a "white elephant".

It seems that the toll highways at most immediate risk are two radial motorways around Madrid (R-3 and R-5), according to this article dated 27th September 2016, although the Cartagena-Vera section of the AP-7 also receives what I suppose one might call an 'honourable mention'.

Since then, the new government has (finally and after many months of "negotiation") been formed and amongst its first and most urgent actions is to take decisions about "the spending ceiling, budgets and pensions" on many subjects including those eight toll motorways, according to this article dated 29th October 2016. An article in the same place, a few days later on 3rd November 2016, takes the sorry story on by declaring that the minister of development ('fomento') will have to look at amongst others the following:


Entre los retos que ahora tendrá que afrontar como ministro, figura la quiebra y el riesgo de liquidación de un conjunto de ocho autopistas de peaje, dos de las cuales el Ministerio ya se ha comprometido a asumir antes de julio de 2017

(or, in this rough translation into English):
"Among the challenges he will now face as a minister is the bankruptcy and liquidation risk of a set of eight toll highways, two of which the Ministry has already committed to take over before July 2017"

Quite obviously, it probably goes without saying, these problems with the transport infrastucture (not forgetting the delayed AVE high-speed railway network) that I have covered in this article, are only minor details in comparison with the major problems facing the whole of the Spanish economy, undoubtedly not helped by the dithering of the Spanish political establishment whilst it quarrelled over the past year about the formation of a new government. And these are, in their turn, only minor details in the overall problems facing the EU and within the Eurozone within which Spain limps on; the hopeful economic signs of recent months in Spain are not to be dismissed, of course, but wider and perhaps more alarming economic and political factors are in flux not only in the EU but in Spain too, in my opinion. Hold on tight, would be my adivce - and take nothing for granted.

Sunday, 23 October 2016

Public Holidays for 2017 - Murcia Region and local to Mazarrón

I have added a list of Public Holidays for 2017, applicable to the Murcia Region of Spain and including local public holidays in Mazarrón and nearby municipalities in the Region. You can find the list, which is available for download in .pdf format, in the Links page, under 'Public Holidays', of my personal Spanish website here (where you will also find a link to download public holidays for the current year, 2016, as this may still be useful for the remainder of the year).

You can also download the .pdf file of Public Holidays in Murcia for 2017 directly from this blog article by clicking here.

For those who are interested, you can view the official Spanish source documents for this information:
- here for the .pdf version (this is the formal official version);
- here for the HTML website version;
(These are the formal Murcia Region documents which contain the decisions authorising these public holidays, as gazetted in the Official Gazette of Murcia Region ["Boletín Oficial de la Región de Murcia"].)

NB/ Note added on 23 October 2016 at 12.35 RST - The consolidated list of equivalent Public Holidays for 2017 for the whole of Spain has now been added in the 'Public Holidays' section in the 'Links' page; it is also in .pdf format. However, to find details of municipal holdays in regions of Spain other than Murcia, you will need to visit their respective websites. You can however also download the consolidated list directly from this blog article by clicking here.

2nd NB / Note added on 26 October 2016 21.20 RST - as I wish to keep the list of Public Holidays I prepare as a one-page single-side document, I am unable to include every municipality included in the official BORM list, but in response to a comment received will probably add Fuente Alamo to my list from next year, because it is fairly close to MCC, specially with the opening of the new motorway link a few years ago, and of course because of the popularity of the golf course at Hacienda del Alamo amongst many golfers in the area.

Sunday, 25 September 2016

Briton arrested in Mazarrón under European Arrest Warrant

I wrote about this in my Facebook/Twitter pages a couple of days ago, but it probably merits mentioning in this blog too, unfortunately, as it touches on the area where my holiday home in Spain is located.

A Briton has been arrested in Mazarrón under a European Arrest Warrant. All that the linked article reveals is that the individual is 32 years old and was identified as being present at an "urbanisation in Mazarron" with his partner (wife?). He was apparently detained near his home. He is alleged to have a pending conviction "for crimes against persons, cultivation and trafficking of narcotics, damage and reckless driving, which together represent sentences totaling 27 years in prison".

It is usual in Spain for official reports, and subsequent press reports, not to give the full names of arrestees, although sometimes initials are mentioned, but in this case no identifying information has been provided. I have, since my original Facebook article was published, been made aware privately of more details of the origin of the individual who has been arrested, but as this is 'hearsay' do not include it here.

Tuesday, 7 June 2016

For Europe, Against the EU

The first and most important thing to bear in mind is that Europe is not the EU and the EU is not Europe - Europe is a lot wider than the restrictive 'corset'/'straitjacket' of the EU.

For Europe, Against the EU. It’s not a contradiction in terms. The EU is a deadweight around the neck of this exciting continent, limiting the power of its peoples and submitting its parliaments to petty bureaucracy and diktat. Just ask Italy and Greece! The video embedded below argues that the referendum is an opportunity for the British public to strike out against the risk-averse, technocratic elites of Brussels and Whitehall, and an opportunity to inspire publics across Europe to do the same.

Watch, share and vote Leave on 23 June. Unless you prefer to remain in the gilded cage that is the EU, of course - gilded it may be (for some, at least), but it is still a cage.


PS/ Obviously this article is directed principally at those eligible to vote in the referendum to be held in the UK on 23rd June, but it may be of interest to others too.

Brexit the Movie - essential viewing before you vote in the Referendum on 23rd June

Watch this in full and then decide if you want the ‪#‎UK‬ to remain in the ‪#‎EU‬ - or not:


If you decide, after watching this film (1 hour 11 minutes in length), then at least you won't be walking into the decision completely blind - and will have no excuse for complaint afterwards if we do vote to 'remain' in the EU and things go belly-up, as I fear greatly they will. It'll be too late then to whine "but I didn't realise".

PS/ Just to be clear, I am a supporter of neither UKIP nor its leader Nigel Farage, although he appears in this film, but then so do many others of great reputation and stature.

PPS/ Obviously this article is directed principally at those eligible to vote in the referendum to be held in the UK on 23rd June, but it may be of interest to others too.

Friday, 22 April 2016

Local Politics in Mazarron - Camposol and District Independent Party (CDiP) - open letter to members

I've written about CDiP before, in November 2015 (see here). Since writing that last article, I have become a member of CDiP myself, so must now declare an interest.

I received today by email from CDiP a copy of "An Open Letter to our members and friends", sent out ahead of the organisation's AGM being held on 12th May 2016; for those who may read this article, and who live or own properties within the Mazarron municipality, and more specifically at Camposol or MCC, but who are not [yet] members of CDiP, you may be interested to read what it has to say by clicking here. (PS/ If you do not already have a .pdf reader installed, you can download a free piece of software from Adobe here to enable you to download the linked document.)

PS/ If relevant to you and you wish to have more information about joining CDiP, please click on the link at the top of this article, as the newsletter linked to from that earlier article provides contact details.

Saturday, 12 March 2016

Murcia Region (Spain) planning to extend number of beaches which permit dog access

A meeting has been held at Murcia Region's Consejería de Agua, Agricultura y Medio Ambiente (Ministry of Water, Agriculture and Environment), chaired by Murcia Region's Minister in this department, Adela Martínez-Cachá, at which were present the mayors of several municipalities in the Region with beaches (Mazarrón, Águilas, San Pedro del Pinatar, Los Alcázares and San Javier), to discuss extending access for dogs on named beaches.

Representing Mazarrón at the meeting were the Mayoress, Alicia Jiménez, and the Councillor of Tourism, María Ángeles Román. Mazarrón was the first municipality in Murcia Region to permit dog access to certain beaches in recent years, when it decided last year to allow such access on three beaches (I wrote about this in a blog article in February 2015 - you can read it here).

The present meeting was called to take into account a petition signed by 4,148 residents of Murcia Region asking for authorisation for beach access for their pet dogs in clearly delineated beaches and beach pathways for recreation and walking. Sra. Martínez-Cachá stressed "the importance and need for these spaces for the use and enjoyment of citizens with their pets, and in addition to responding to the demands of citizens, also contribute to being a tourist attraction". The meeting has agreed to work on common signage and standardize usage rules for municipalities to have more facilities when enabling public spaces for canine recreation. One presumes from this that the Mazarrón "experiment" since last year is considered successful and can safely be extended in a controlled way to other parts of Murcia Region.

Thursday, 31 December 2015

Toll motorway charges for 2016 in Spain using the AP-7 Cartagena to Vera motorway

As mentioned in an article in this blog about 10 days ago (see here), the Ministry of Development (Ministerio de Fomento) has agreed that motorway toll tariffs will fall by about 0.6% in 2016, compared with tariffs for 2015.

Full details of the revised tariff for 2016 for the AP-7 Cartagena-Vera toll motorway are now available. The tariff reduction is minor, generally 5 or 10 Euro-cents for most sectors and in a few cases the tariff for 2016 remains at 2015 levels. For example the toll fee on the Cartagena to Mazarrón sector falls from €5.80 to €5.75 .

The full tariff for 2016 may be downloaded from the Aucosta website here (.PDF document). Abridged details of the new tariff may be viewed in relevant pages of my own Spanish website, for example here (scroll to the bottom of the page).

Sunday, 20 December 2015

Toll motorway charges in Spain are to fall by 0.6% in 2016

(Please see UPDATE at end)

It is being reported by industry sources, in newspaper articles published today, that toll motorway fees in Spain are to fall by 0.6% in 2016, the first fall in at least 15 years. There are no details yet of how this will affect specific sectors in the toll motorway network; usually such detailed information becomes available only during January.

According to data released by the Ministry of Development (Ministerio de Fomento) up until the month of October traffic in the toll motorway network has increased by 6.38% (17,759 vehicles) per day, and it is hoped that the reduction in toll fees will help to further the recovery in traffic experienced since the financial crisis hit the country about 8 years ago causing toll motorway traffic to fall substantially. The fall in toll fees is a result of the application of a formula for automatic annual toll fee adjustments agreed with the government in 2002. Further details of how this formula operates are in the linked articles (see 'sources' below).

It may be recalled that for 2015 it was agreed to freeze most toll fees at the rates applying in 2014 (my article published in January 2015 about this is here).

Sources
- El peaje de las autopistas bajará un 0,6% en 2016, su primer descenso en 15 años (elEconomista.es)
- El peaje de las autopistas bajará en 2016 por primera vez en quince años (expansion.com)

UPDATE (31DEC2015 18.05 GMT) Full details of the revised tariff for 2016 for the AP-7 Cartagena-Vera toll motorway are now available. The tariff reduction is minor, generally 5 or 10 Euro-cents and in a few cases the tariff for 2016 remains at 2015 levels. The full tariff for 2016 may be downloaded from the Aucosta website here (.PDF document). Abridged details of the new tariff may be viewed in relevant pages of my own Spanish website, for example here (scroll to the bottom of the page).

Tuesday, 10 November 2015

Local Politics in Mazarron - Camposol and District Independent Party (CDIP)

Prior to the last local elections in Spain, a new political grouping was formed in the Mazarron area of Murcia Region, designed largely to promote the interests of residents and owners in 'urbanisations' ('urban developments') nearby, specifically those at Camposol and the 'Country Club' ('Mazarron Country Club [MCC]'). Although I was obviously very interested in this development at the time, as a non-resident and a non-voter in the local elections (not registered on the 'padron') it was of only academic interest to me, given that my home at MCC is a 'holiday home'.

Through a friend and fellow-owner (also a resident) at MCC, I have just been made aware of the latest CDIP newsletter for November 2015 in which it is indicated they wish it to be circulated as widely as possible amongst interested parties, so I thought it might be useful to post a link to it here so that those who like me me are not [yet] members of CDIP, but own properties within the Mazarron municipality, and more specifically at Camposol or MCC and who happen to read my blog, might become aware of it. Accordingly, you can find the CDIP Newsletter for November 2015 by clicking here. (PS/ If you do not already have a .pdf reader installed, you can download a free piece of software from Adobe here to enable you to download the linked document.)