A commission of historians and legal experts that was set up last May by the Spanish government to study the Valle de los Caídos (Valley of the Fallen) Civil War memorial has suggested, in its initial findings, that the body of dictator Francisco Franco be exhumed from the site close to Madrid and moved to a cemetery (read article in Castilian here, El Periódico). As such, the mausoleum, which was built by Republican prisoners and contains the bodies of 22,000 people who were executed under Franco and currently rest in the same place as their executioner (along with thousands of Nationalist dead), would be converted into a monument to reconciliation. In contrast, the commission has not suggested removing the body of José Antonio Primo de Rivera—who is buried next to Franco—from the site, as the founder of the right-wing Falange party (which supported Franco during his rebellion and rule) was himself executed during the Civil War, having been found guilty of conspiring against the Spanish government of the time and is thus also considered as one of the 'fallen'. However, the experts did say that it would opportune to move his tomb to a less privileged area of the Valle de los Caídos.
The conviction that Catalunya pays too much in taxes to the Madrid government and receives too little in return appears to be widespread in Catalan society (read article in Castilian here, La Vanguardia). No other political initiative creates as much consensus amongst citizens as the need for a new tax agreement (pacto fiscal) between Catalunya and Spain: the desire for a finance system similar to the concierto económico that the Basque country and Navarra already enjoy, and which would see the Generalitat responsible for the capture and management of all the taxes paid by Catalans then make payments to the central government for the services it renders afterwards, is supported by three out of every four Catalans, according to a new poll by Noxa. The relevant question in the survey was phrased as: "to what point do you think that it is necessary to have a new tax agreement for Catalunya, very necessary, quite necessary, not very necessary or not necessary at all?" And the response was overwhelming: 41 percent considered it to be very necessary, while 34 percent saw it as quite necessary. Those who considered it to be little or not at all necessary together barely made 17 percent of those questioned. One particularly notable feature of the findings is that those in favour of a new agreement come from the voters of all parties, regardless of whether the party that they support has actually declared itself in favour of the idea of the pacto fiscal. This includes voters of the Catalan Socialist Party (PSC) and the Partido Popular (PP), both of which have said they are against the pacto fiscal.
Catalan savings banks will have to cut the money they give to social causes in the future as a result of the restructuring of the Spanish banking sector (read article in Catalan here, El Punt-Avui). While the savings banks themselves, along with public institutions, have issued messages of calm regarding the issue in the face of growing questions on the matter, as a result of the almost complete dismantling of the local bank structure (which is seeing them transferred into normal banks while many have merged or are in the process of doing so), it is likely that the financial entities have kept enough assets to meet their obligations to these causes in the short and medium term. The resources that they will have for these payments will, however, gradually reduce and they will clearly not be able to finance all the initiatives that they have until now. The social efforts of the savings banks fall into five main categories: social assistance, culture, education, environment and research and development. “The assistance services have their continuation assured for many years, but it's true that the overall social work we do will have to be reinvented for it to be able to continue, and, as such, we will have to be more selective," explained Antoni Guiñón, head of the Obra Social of the organisation Unnim, which reckons its social efforts currently help around two million people. The restructuring of the financial system has meant that the local savings banks have divided into two parts that are completely different. On the one hand, they have segregated the banking business and, on the other, are the foundations responsible for the social causes. Problems are arising because the majority of these foundations have been left without a significant part of the assets and income that in the past let them help different causes. The new structure means that the ownership of the historic assets of the savings banks is guaranteed and won't be affected by the change, and they won't change hands if there is an eventual sale of shares in the banks that have just been created. For example, Catalunya Caixa has created a bank called Catalunya Banc, of which it only controls 10 percent, and which groups together all its finance activity. As such, to finance its social causes, it will have 10 percent of the profits that the bank generates, always providing that they are distributed amongst shareholders.