The president of the Generalitat, Artur Mas, has spoken in an interview with The Wall Street Journal about his efforts to deal with the effects of the economic crisis in Catalunya and Spain (read article in Castilian here, La Vanguardia). Described in the piece as "the powerful president of the Spanish region of Catalunya", Mas says that he wants to lead the battle in Spain to deal with the public budget deficit. He emphasises the need to be responsible in putting in place methods for dealing with the financial situation as well as ensuring that the country meets the requirements set by Europe to its members regarding their deficits. Mas talked about some of the measures that the Generalitat is putting in place in Catalunya to help ease the effects of the crisis, such as having public employees do longer working-days as well as cutting jobs and closing certain public institutions. He added that "Catalunya has to set an example in how to deal with these problems and offer solutions, even if they are solutions that cause social reverses."
The Catalan police force, the Mossos d'Esquadra, is putting additional agents on to the Barcelona metro to help with the fight against pickpockets (read article in Catalan here, Avui). Both uniformed and undercover police officers will be involved in the initiative, working on station platforms and the trains themselves to try to improve the system's security and passenger safety. As well as the regular officers that have been incorporated into the security detail of the metro in recent weeks, coming from the group of recent graduates from police academy, and the higher number of private security guards and transport police that is always seen during the summer, the police have decided to increase even further the measures against the thieves operating on the metro here; the additional officers, around 12 agents, will be taken from different units of citizen security around the city. The focus will be on undercover operations, in the hope of catching pickpockets red-handed, although this is a difficult task in light of the increasing professionalism of the thieves when trying to evade arrest, not least through methods of counter-observation, by which they use mobiles to communicate and abandon robberies, if they identify a police presence.
The likely decision by the Spanish government to bring forward the national general elections from spring 2012 to autumn of this year is putting pressure on certain Catalan parties to choose their own candidates for the vote and get themselves ready in time (read article in Castilian here, El Periodico). While both Convergència i Unió (CiU) and the Catalan Socialist Party (PSC) have their principal candidates lined up (Josep Antoni Duran i Lleida and Carme Chacón, respectively), the Partido Popular (PP), Iniciativa per Catalunya Verds and Esquerra Republicana de Catalunya (ERC) have yet to decide who will be their main representatives. In addition, if the election is confirmed to take place in either October or November, this will have effects on the planned autumn party conferences for the PSC and ERC, which are both looking to elect new leaders. In general, CiU is hoping to see a significant improvement on the disappointing results it achieved in the past two Spanish national elections, while the PSC fears another electoral battering and the PP is expecting to continue its current good form.