surinenglish

Mark Nayler

A freelance journalist, Mark wrote for Spear's magazine and the New Statesman in London before relocating to Spain. In addition to his weekly finance column and features for SUR in English, he also writes on Spanish politics for The Spectator.

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recent published articles

13/10/2017 15:14

Opinion

Time-out

The economic reaction to Catalonia's illegal independence referendum two weeks ago has been somewhat confused - a fact mainly owed to the general chaos and unpredictability unleashed on October 1st. On Tuesday evening - much to the dismay of some

09/10/2017 13:14

Opinion

What now?

The markets are already registering the fallout from Sunday's shambolic and violent independence referendum in Catalonia. Shortly before 11am on Wednesday, Spain's benchmark index, the Ibex 35, dropped below 10,000 points for the first time since the

03/10/2017 18:50

Opinion

Only the beginning

It remains a mystery how Catalonia could split from Spain, even if a "yes" vote is returned in this Sunday's incendiary referendum. Even so, the region's business community is becoming nervous about possible effects of the protracted battle being fou

22/09/2017 11:41

Opinion

Going nuclear

The battle for Catalonian independence between Madrid and Barcelona is now being fought on two fronts. First there is the economic front, on which both sides are armed with figures apparently showing that secession would be a disaster for Catalonia,

15/09/2017 15:25

Opinion

Rewriting history

Annual predictions for Spain's GDP growth are changed several times a year by the Spanish government and various national and international economic bodies. That much we already know. But what we learnt this week was that the Spanish economy's perfor

11/09/2017 18:19

Opinion

Madrid versus Barcelona

On Wednesday evening, following a tense 11-hour debate, the Catalonian parliament voted by 72 to 52 in favour of an independence referendum on 1 October. An explosion of secessionist fervour followed, with regional president Carles Puigdemont leading

01/09/2017 17:33

Opinion

Risky business

The markets aren't taking the prospect of Catalonian secession seriously. That is the conclusion we can draw from this week's announcement by credit ratings agency DBRS that it is "very unlikely" it will change its rating for Spain if Catalans vote f

25/08/2017 17:42

Opinion

Withstanding the damage

Last Thursday afternoon, Barcelona and the Catalonian coastal town of Cambrils were hit by terrorist vehicle attacks that killed 15 people and injured over 100, fifteen of them gravely. These tragic events leave us to speculate about the combined imp

11/08/2017 17:51

Opinion

Losing touch

This week saw Mariano Rajoy issue his latest warning to the increasingly aggressive separatists in Catalonia. On Wednesday, he asked the regional government - headed by the fervent secessionist Carles Puigdemont - to act with "common sense" and to "i

04/08/2017 18:44

Opinion

Taking the credit

Spain appears to be on a roll. Second quarter economic growth, it was confirmed last Friday, was 0.9% of GDP, meaning that the Spanish economy has now returned to pre-crisis health. Unemployment is at its lowest level (17.1%) since 2009, with jobless

21/07/2017 16:53

Opinion

The magic number

Predictions for the growth rate of the Spanish economy this year have almost reached the magic number of 3.2% - the rate at which it expanded in 2016. On Tuesday, the IMF announced that the country's economic expansion will be 3.1% of GDP in 2017, th

03/07/2017 16:04

Opinion

A break from reality

Regardless of the economic and social problems Spain has endured over recent years, it has not lost its status as one of the world's tourism heavyweights. Every year, huge numbers of visitors from around the world come here seeking limitless sun, che

23/06/2017 14:27

Opinion

And the winner is...

This week saw the latest development in Spain's ongoing campaign for greater integration within the EU - or so a cynic could say. On Wednesday, it was announced that the EU has been awarded Spain's Princess of Asturias 2017 Concord Prize for maintain

19/06/2017 16:48

National

Come together

The Spanish economy minister has apparently turned into the EU's biggest fan. In an interview with the UK's Financial Times this week, Luis de Guindos said that the only way for the EU to survive in a post-Trump-Brexit world was to come closer togeth

13/06/2017 15:11

LifeStyle

In search of pure sources of feeling

When the English writer and Hispanophile Laurie Lee stepped off the boat and onto the harbour of Algeciras in November 1951, pandemonium greeted him. It was 15 years since Lee had been in Spain, but the seafront of this chaotic, dirty fishing village

12/06/2017 15:10

National

Message not received

One of the Popular Party's key messages to the Spanish electorate is that it is the only party fit to run the economy. This week, further proof of the PP's economic competence was offered - so Mariano Rajoy would say, anyway - by Bank of Spain govern

02/06/2017 15:19

Opinion

Weak foundations

The state of Spain's GDP has been much on the mind of Luis de Guindos this week. On Wednesday, during a debate in which the country's absurdly delayed 2017 budget was finally approved, the Spanish economy minister told congress that GDP growth might

26/05/2017 12:39

National

First things first

Pedro Sánchez is back. After eight months as a political outcast, the former Socialist leader once again took control of his party on Sunday, defeating establishment favourite Susana Diaz - head of the PSOE in Andalucía - in doing so. Some comment

19/05/2017 13:08

National

A tough sell

Spain's recently unveiled proposals for deeper integration within the eurozone highlight one of the 19-member bloc's fundamental problems - namely, that its most wealthy countries resent subsidising the poorer ones. In a paper submitted to the EU in

12/05/2017 11:47

Opinion

Slow progress

Though there must have been a sigh of relief in the Popular Party headquarters last Thursday, when Mariano Rajoy's 2017 budget narrowly survived defeat in a parliamentary vote, the Spanish prime minister would be wrong to think he thereby passed some

05/05/2017 12:07

Opinion

Read with Caution

For the Spanish economists I wrote about here last week, the phrase "official statistics" is little more than a synonym for "invented statistics" when it applies to Spain's economy. They will therefore be deeply sceptical of the latest "official" ind

21/04/2017 11:36

Opinion

Risk assessment

In its most recent tweak to global growth forecasts, the IMF has hiked Spain's projected GDP expansion for 2017 to 2.6%, up from 2.3% in January. Although very slight, the increase is an indication that the body's economists see no immediate threat t

12/04/2017 14:46

Opinion

Return to form

Economically speaking, it seems that Spain is firmly back on track. According to official statistics, the country's GDP will very soon rise above pre-crisis levels; in other words, Spain's economy is back to where it was in 2008, before the recession

11/04/2017 14:30

Opinion

Better late than never

Mariano Rajoy has finally presented 2017's budget, over half a year late. The political deadlock of 2016 is largely responsible for this delay, as is the fact that Rajoy now only commands a minority government. As a reflection of the prime minister's

31/03/2017 15:13

National

A prime candidate

The mini-scandal generated by Eurogroup president Jeroen Dijsselbloem's claim that southern European countries squander EU funds on drinking and chasing women will soon be forgotten. Ignition of Article 50 this week is, after all, a slightly more imp

17/03/2017 15:41

Opinion

THE VICIOUS CIRCLE OF BREXIT

It doesn't happen often, but I recently agreed with something Mariano Rajoy said. Last Friday, the unflappable Spanish prime minister told reporters in Madrid that regarding the soon-to-commence process of the UK's withdrawal from the EU, "There is n

10/03/2017 19:36

Opinion

Let's not fight

At a conference organised by El País and Sabadell Bank on Monday, post-Brexit relations between Spain and the UK were discussed by a panel from Spanish media, business and politics. Spain, said some of these experts, can't afford to display hostility

03/03/2017 15:08

Opinion

Schrödinger's sentences

The outcome of one of Spain's highest-profile criminal trials is now known: Rodrigo Rato, former deputy prime minister and ex-head of the International Monetary Fund, is going to prison for four-and-a-half years after being found guilty of overseeing

24/02/2017 19:35

Opinion

Setting an example

Banks that are planning to move their London operations to EU cities as a result of Brexit are expected to choose their new locations within the next few months. The competition for this post-Brexit business among other major European cities is there

24/02/2017 18:38

Travel

Buda and Pest, shabby and chic

Over recent years Budapest has gained a reputation as one of Europe's most exciting and cultural cities. It is fully deserving of this unofficial accolade, and not just because of its gargantuan parliament building (the third largest in the world aft

17/02/2017 18:00

Opinion

Expecting the worst

In the first economic report it has released since Americans voted for Donald Trump last November, the EU Commission states that the soon-to-be-27 member bloc is "assailed by risks" and faces "large uncertainties". The threats posed to the EU's econo

16/02/2017 11:08

Opinion

Trying times

The soon-to-be-announced verdict in Rodrigo Rato's fraud trial is, for many Spaniards, imbued with a symbolic importance. Rato, former head of the International Monetary Fund and ex-deputy prime minister and economy minister in Mariano Rajoy's govern

03/02/2017 16:04

Opinion

Cause for concern?

There were no surprises this Monday, when Spain's National Statistics Institute (INE) released initial data on the country's economic performance in 2016. In the final quarter of last year, the Spanish economy posted growth of 0.7%; overall, it expan

27/01/2017 14:19

Opinion

Toeing the lines

Within the Spanish government there is clearly no official 'line' on Brexit. This became evident on Tuesday, when Rajoy told a press conference organised by the newspaper ABC that Brexit was a "serious threat" to Spain. When asked to elaborate he res

20/01/2017 17:16

Opinion

Let's be reasonable

It was a pleasant surprise this week to hear Spain's economy minister displaying common sense and pragmatism when asked about the latest Brexit news. Interviewed at the World Economic Forum in Davos on Wednesday (one of the cushiest tickets on the di

18/01/2017 17:08

Opinion

Great expectations

Ever the optimist, Spain's economy and industry minister has recently been hinting that the country's economic growth might exceed the predicted 3.2% for last year. That figure, it should be remembered, was already pretty positive: it's about twice t

17/01/2017 10:12

LifeStyle

The essence of old Andalucía

This series ends as it began, with the great poet and Hispanophile Laurie Lee. 'A Rose for Winter' is a love letter to Spain's most iconic region, written when Lee returned with his wife Kati, after a fifteen-year absence, for a three-month tour of "

17/01/2017 10:12

LifeStyle

A first taste of the land of his dreams

One bright June morning in 1934, aged 19, Laurie Lee left his quietly bereft mother standing alone in the garden of their Cotswolds home and started an epic, life-changing walk. This young English poet had no money and had never been abroad before; h

17/01/2017 10:12

LifeStyle

As far as you can go - and one step further

Jason Webster has written what is surely the most arresting opening sentence in recent travel literature, a sentence that forces difficult, searching questions upon you: "Often we end up doing what we almost want to do because we lack the courage to

17/01/2017 10:12

LifeStyle

A beloved country at war with itself

A central vein of disappointment and sadness runs through A Moment of War, Laurie Lee's unrelentingly bleak account of his experiences during the Spanish civil war. As I Walked Out One Midsummer's Morning - the conclusion of which is this book's begi

17/01/2017 10:12

Opinion

No news: good news?

It's not just because the English and Spanish press has been unable to talk of much except Donald Trump for the last week and a half that you've heard very little about Mariano Rajoy's new government. Three weeks have elapsed since the veteran Galici

17/01/2017 10:12

LifeStyle

A short-lived revolutionary idyll

George Orwell was lucky to make it out of Spain alive. By a mad irony only conceivable amidst the paranoia of war, the pro-revolutionary line of the organisation for which he had been fighting - the Partido Obrero de Unificación Marxista (POUM: 'The

17/01/2017 10:12

LifeStyle

Life, death, love and war

The greatest books make you envious of those who have not yet read them, those who you know have a great experience still to come. For Whom the Bell Tolls, Ernest Hemingway's Spanish civil war masterpiece and arguably his best novel, is one such book

17/01/2017 10:12

LifeStyle

Haunted by the past

Spain's political landscape is about to undergo titanic shifts. Last Sunday, the coalition of separatist parties in Catalonia, Together for Yes, won a majority in the region's parliamentary elections, and the imminent general election will see the do

17/01/2017 10:11

LifeStyle

A return to find poverty... and vitality

One couldn't wish for a better travel companion than Gerald Brenan. His honesty, curiosity, humour and deep knowledge of Spanish history are all on display in The Face of Spain, written after he and his wife, the American poet Gamel Woolsey, revisite

17/01/2017 10:11

LifeStyle

Emotions running high in Pamplona

It changed my life and made me want to write and explore the world." So says American bull runner and author Bill Hillman of the novel that put a small Spanish town and its annual bull-running fiesta well and truly on the world stage. In the minds

25/11/2016 16:40

National

Risk exposure

Spain's two biggest banks, BBVA and Santander, are already registering the effects of Brexit and Donald Trump's victory in the US election. And ironically, it's the global expansion plans that both these banks have pursued - and which enabled them to