The principal Convergència i Unió (CiU) candidate for the upcoming Spanish general elections, Josep Antoni Duran i Lleida, has said that the current welfare state is unsustainable (read article in Catalan here, El Punt-Avui). Speaking at a conference at the Barcelona business school Esade, Duran predicted that governments will have to take "decisions, some of which will be painful", to solve this problem. Part of the necessary solution, he feels, is to guarantee "the same services" in a different way. With regards the health sector, he suggested that there be a "greater collaboration between the public and private sectors", although this didn't mean privatisation. However, Duran didn't want to expand upon the idea. "I won't be more specific," he said. "It's not that I don't have ideas, it's that if I explain them, I'll lose the elections," he commented, in response to a question from the audience.
Part of the Trambaix system (which operates between Francesc Macià and Sant Feliu de Llobregat, Sant Joan Despí and Cornellà de Llobregat) has had to be halted temporarily this morning following a carriage derailment (read article in Castilian here, La Vanguardia). The affected section of the service is that between Can Rigal and Montesa (between L'Hospitalet de Llobregat and Esplugues de Llobregat). Nobody was hurt in the incident, described as a small derailment of a tram convoy, according to sources from the operating company in comments to Europa Press. The incident happened at around 7.35 when, for reasons that are still unknown, the tram crashed into a tow-truck at the point where the carretera de Collblanc and Països Catalans meet, in Esplugues de Llobregat. As a result of the crash, one of the units of the convoy derailed, and will need a crane to move it back on to the rails. All three lines of the Trambaix have been affected by the incident.
The Basque country peace conference currently taking place in San Sebastián yesterday called on ETA to make a public declaration regarding a definitive cessation in its violence and said that the Spanish and French governments have to start a dialogue to deal "exclusively with the consequences of the conflict" (specifically regarding matters concerning disarmament and the situation with prisoners) (read article in Castilian here, El Periódico). Never before has the izquierda aberzale (left-wing Basque nationalist parties) joined a call that has so clearly said that the terrorists have to stop killing, which makes this text particularly important. The Spanish government, as they've been doing in the past few days, avoided making assessments regarding the San Sebastián gathering and restricted itself, through spokesman José Blanco, to demand that ETA abandons violence "without further ado."