The president of the US, Barack Obama, has said that Spain represents one of the European Union's biggest problems (read article in Castilian here, El Periodico). Speaking at a round-table meeting with a small number of Castilian-speaking journalists yesterday, Obama said that EU leaders needed to take a decision about how to combine monetary union with more effective union on coordinated fiscal policy. "It's difficult to coordinate when there are too many countries with different policies and economic situations to be able to agree a common way," said the president. He predicted that "we will continue to see weaknesses in the global economy for as long as this issue is not resolved." Obama indicated that Greece is currently the "big immediate problem", but the "greatest problem", according to the president, "is what will happen in Spain and Italy if the markets continue to attack these very big countries."
Inflation fell in August in Spain for the fourth month in a row (read article in Castilian here, La Vanguardia). The Spanish retail price index fell by 0.1 percent compared to July, leaving the annual rate at three percent, the same level it was at in December 2010. According to information published today by the Instituto Nacional de Estadística (NIE, National Statistics Institute), the figure does not correspond with what had been earlier forecast, which had given an annual inflation level of 2.9 percent. The fall in prices last month was largely due to a decrease in the cost of medications and other pharmaceutical products, which went down by 1.2 percent, a fall of 0.5 percent compared to July, as well as a small decrease in the cost of clothing and shoes, which were 0.2 percent cheaper in August compared to the previous month.
The mayor of Lleida, Angel Ros, has made it clear that he wants to run for the leadership of the Catalan Socialist Party (PSC), which will be decided at a party conference to be held in December (read article in Catalan here, El Punt-Avui). "I want to head the party," Ros said yesterday, speaking on the new 8tv television programme, 8 al dia, when he made the surprise announcement. As such, Ros joins the only other candidate currently in the race, Joan Ignasi Elena, the former mayor of Vilanova i la Geltrú. The decision on who will take over from ex-president of the Generalitat, José Montilla (who announced his decision to step down at the end of last year following the PSC's poor showing in the Generalitat elections), has had to be postponed until the end of the year due to the early holding of the Spanish general elections, programmed for November 20th. It is possible that other candidates will enter the race, with potential leaders Miquel Iceta and Pere Navarro both yet to decide whether to take part. At a moment of significant internal weakness within the party, as revealed by Ros on the programme, his objective is to "try to create a united team" that brings together the different sensibilities of the Catalan socialists. "I don't want to be the candidate of one or other sector," warned the Lleida mayor in comments to El Punt-Avui.