The Spanish government is due to today approve the re-introduction of a tax on wealth of €700,000 and above (read article in Castilian, La Vanguardia). The decision is expected to be taken during the weekly cabinet meeting and should affect about 160,000 taxpayers across the country who have assets worth that amount or more. The move will see the tax reintroduced initially as a temporary measure to apply during the 2011 and 2012 fiscal years, through a law that won't modify the existing structure of the impuesto de patrimonio, which has in effect been non-existent for the past three years with a 100-percent exemption having been applicable to it. The management and collection of the tax will continue to be the responsibility of the autonomous communities, who will have the option to adapt it as they wish or continue the exemption, as is the intention of Murcia and Valencia. The government has calculated that if the tax were applied across Spain, the revenue it would generate would be just over €1 billion a year, to be collected in 2012 and 2013 with respect to the preceding years.
The education secretary of the Generalitat, Irene Rigau, has cautiously welcomed the decision of the Catalan Superior Court to suspend the two-month limit in its ruling on the introduction of Castilian as a principal teaching language in public schools here (read article in Catalan here, El Punt-Avui). Despite her caution, Rigau said it was a positive move because in this way the court will have more time to properly study the appeal that the Generalitat has presented against the ruling. “If they have more time to study the appeal, they will have more time to see that we're right," said Rigau today. However, she pointed out that the court has only delayed the application of the ruling rather than examined its actual content. Rigau also said that when the Generalitat presents an appeal, it's to win the case in question and as such, she believes that in this situation the Catalan government has more chances to win if the court has longer to study the appeal. She said she is convinced that the appeal "raises, in a reliable way, the principles that convince us that we are right."
The Superior Public Prosecutor's office of Catalunya has judged that the actions of the Mossos d'Esquadra against the 15-M protestors in Plaça Catalunya on May 27th were "excessive and disproportionate" (read article in Castilian here, El Periodico). However, for the time being, there is no proof or evidence that would lead to a penal charge being brought against the Generalitat's interior minister (who has overall responsibility for the Catalan police), Felip Puig. This is the ruling that was made by the office in July, which El Periodico has had access to. The Catalan high court has taken note of the ruling and decided to send to ordinary courts at least 20 complaints that have been lodged against Puig. At 7am on May 27th, an operation was started that, according to the interior department, was aimed at cleaning up dangerous and offensive items from the campsite that had been set up in Plaça Catalunya by protestors (known as indignados). However, the police intervention, which in the opinion of the indignados was effectively an undercover eviction, ended with agents charging against the protestors in the centre of the square. By 7pm, the tents were full again and thousands of residents came on to the streets of the city to protest against the operation. At the end of the police actions, 120 protestors and 37 agents were injured. As a result, a group of those affected lodged complaints, some only against the police and others against Puig, who was accused of having given the order that motivated the police operation. The public prosecutor's report says that the action of Puig was, in principle, part of his powers and that the complaints don't offer any proof that would confirm his implication in the excessive actions that were taken in the carrying out of the order.