An anomaly in the current economic crisis: despite the fact that interest rates keep falling, the price of a new mortgage in Spain is rising (article in Castilian). Standing at 5.64 percent, half a point higher than the 5.1% of a year ago, it seems that banks and savings banks are trying to compensate for the problems of some existing clients in making their repayments, as well as seeking to be more prudent in their approach to lending. In addition, banks are being stricter in their valuation of properties and are very unlikely to finance more than 80 percent of the cost of the house or flat.
University students demonstrated through Barcelona last night (article in Catalan), but there were no repeats of the clashes with police that took place a week ago. Instead, the demonstrators avoided the key streets of the Rambles and Via Laeitana and took to the streets of the Eixample and Sants. They were once again voicing their opposition to the Plan de Bologna, which will see changes to university education throughout Europe, and there were calls for the dismissal of the Catalan minister for universities, Josep Huguet. In addition, there were shouts of protest against the treatment of students last week by the Catalan police.
Good news for fish lovers looking for a treat: the price of some seafood has seen a dramatic drop in recent times. Prawns are now 30 percent cheaper than they were a year ago, and in some places (such as the Mercabarna wholesale market), their prices have gone down by almost 50 percent. Hake (merluza / lluç), Dublin Bay prawns (cigala) and sea bream are also considerably cheaper than in past months. It seems that the fall in demand as a result of the economic crisis, has led to this reduction in what has been one of the more expensive products at Barcelona markets.
Talks between the Spanish Socialist Party (PSOE) and the Partido Popular (PP) are continuing regarding the future regional government of the Basque country (article in Castilian). Following the elections on March 1st, where no one party won an outright majority, these two - who have in the past clashed over policy for the autonomous community and ways to deal with terrorist group ETA - have been discussing the possibility of a minority government headed by the PSOE, with the PP providing the necessary support for Socialist Patxi López to become the Basque leader (lehendakari) in return for having, for the first time, the presidency of the Basque parliament. It is thought the deal will be formally agreed next week.