Councils around Catalunya are to ask Spanish and Catalan governments for financial help (article in Castilian, La Vanguardia). Faced with economic shortfalls, town councils want more money channelled to them from initiatives to help kick-start the national economy. The current financial crisis has seen towns lose up to 35 percent of their tax income in the past 12 months, which means that many are now having difficulties paying bills. Next year, Spanish Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero is due to launch the second phase of his Plan E, which has seen investment in different building projects around the state as a way to assist local economies; it is thought that some €5,500 million will be put in the pot and this is what the Catalan town councils are hoping to benefit from.
The town of Arenys de Munt, in the comarca of Maresme north of Barcelona, has had plans for the past few months to hold a referendum on Catalan independence on September 13th, but as the date approaches, the project is facing increasing problems (article in Castilian, El Periodico). The proposal has caused various reactions both in Catalunya and Spain: a falangist demonstration was called for the same day, and although this has now been moved back to avoid confrontations between the right-wingers and local supporters of Catalan independence, the falangist group is appealing against the change (article in Catalan, Avui). In addition, the Spanish socialist government opposes the move by Arenys de Munt to hold the vote, and a Barcelona judge ruled yesterday that the referendum can't take place because such votes are the exclusive remit of the central government. The vice-president of the Generalitat, Josep-Lluis Carod-Rovira of the left-wing independence party Esquerra Republicana de Catalunya (ERC) has said this decision is "out of place" (Avui) There have been other opinions about the referendum from within the Catalan government; the minister for governance, Jordi Ausàs, has said that the Spanish government's reaction was a 'mistake', while the justice minister Montserrat Turà believes that Arenys de Munt has to adhere to the 'limits' that exist on freedom. Ausàs is a member of the left-wing independence party ERC, while Turà is part of the Catalan Socialists.
Also in the news: Luxury Barcelona hotels affected by crisis (La Vanguardia); More police in the Ramblas sees prositutes move elsewhere (El Periodico); Barcelona council recruits prince's sister-in-law (Avui); The Bank of Spain will have control over the salaries of bank employees (El Periodico)