#EmbraceSpain XXI: from rhetoric to facts

#EmbraceSpain XXI: from rhetoric to facts

Whilst in the United Kingdom, the government is only awaiting the decision of the Lords to activate Brexit, the Supreme Spanish Court has finally positioned itself on the floor clauses.

Brexit should not be an excuse for the deterioration of the commercial and cultural relations between Madrid and London. The British exit from the EU can also serve as an opportunity to reinforce them. This is the thesis we defend from our Firm, and which was conveyed by our Managing Partner, Leon Fernando del Canto, in an article posted in El Pais at the start of our #EmbraceSpain campaign.  Leon Fernando advocates for a “constructive dialogue” with London, from Madrid and from the institutions of the European Union in Brussels.

Brexit is a process that only needs to pass the discussion of the House of Lords before the activation of article 50 of the TUE by Downing Street. Also, and precisely from the European Commission, the latest growth figures for the British economy estimate that the economy could grow by 1.6% this year; estimates which are added up to the fact that the British trade deficit fell during the last quarter of 2016.

In the United Kingdom, the government is asked to avoid increasing the property tax, which affects, among others, over 1,200 hospitals in the public health system, which in the coming years will have to face a Tax increase of 322 million pounds.

At Del Canto Chambers, we are moving forward with the organization of the two #BrexitOpportunity informative breakfasts, one to be held in Madrid on February 28th and the other to take place in London on April 19th with the aim to bring together companies and institutions from both countries. As Leon Fernando says in his article in El País: “In the face of those who raise fear, uncertainty and political resentment, a high, clear, positive and, above all, pragmatic message must be launched: it is time to show that The Hispano-British relationship has enormous potential. “

Also this week, we stressed once again Del Canto Chambers’ commitment to the application of the principles of Universal Jurisdiction and the development of codes of good practice for professionals in the tax sector to effectively fight against fraud and international tax evasion.  We did so by recalling the opinion piece written by Leon Fernando, published in the journal Financial Instruments Tax & Accounting Review.

In Spain, this week the Supreme Court has adapted the ruling of the CJEU on floor clauses to the Spanish jurisprudence and has also acknowledged the total retroactivity, a verdict widely expected by the citizens.

At Del Canto Chambers we have positioned ourselves in this direction and continue to work to make possible for as many of the most affected citizens as possible to get their legitimate money back. It is noteworthy that the stance of Spanish Supreme Court frustrates the attempt of some banks, already condemned to pay back these clauses, to benefit from the principle of “res judicata” in order to avoid giving back the money overcharged since the signing of the contract, and not only of those signed since May 2013.

Still in Spain, with regards to the fiscal field the Tax Office has signed an aid plan with the Spanish Federation of Municipalities and Provinces (FEMP) for the most indebted municipalities in the country. In addition, the European Commission (EC) has once again drawn the government’s attention to fuel taxes, such as gasoline and demands an increase.

On another subject, our partner, Isabel Mastrodoménico, from Agencia de Comunicación y Género, and our Managing Partner, Leon Fernando del Canto, published a joint article in the Huffington Post defending gender studies, in response to a critical article published in La Vanguardia, a Spanish newspaper.

Moving beyond Europe, in Qatar, the plans of the Qatari government (along with the rest of the Gulf countries) for VAT implementation are moving forward and expected to be introduced as of January 2018. The government has also introduced the mandatory ID card for expats and residents.

From the economic point of view, Qatar’s productivity continues to rise and is among the highest in the world, according to a report by KPMG. It is certainly an investment opportunity and, in this sense, the Spanish Business Council in Qatar plays an important role in the relations between companies and the institutions of the country.

From March 2017, when the UK negotiations with the European Union becomes a reality and the field of speculation is abandoned to enter certainty, it will be time to act and strive to effectively safeguard the relations between our country and London; to leave rhetoric to land on facts.

We continue to share our opinion about this and other tax and business matters with our  readers from our blog and social networks like Twitter, Linkedin or Facebook.

Xavier Nova (@xavinova)

Director of Del Canto Chambers


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