The unemployment rate in Spain is unlikely to fall significantly this year (read article in Castilian here, La Vanguardia). That's the conclusion of a report released yesterday that has been written by two professors from the Barcelona business school ESADE regarding their predictions for the Spanish and global economy during 2011. According to Fernando Ballabriga and Josep Comajuncosa, there will be no notable creation of new jobs over the next 12 months, which is the key to reducing Spain's current unemployment level of around 20 percent of the working population, equivalent to some 4.2 million people. This coincides with declarations made by Spanish prime minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero last week, who indicated that until 2015 the economy here was unlikely to see the GNP growth of two to 2.5 percent that is the minimum requirement necessary for the creation of new jobs according to economic experts. The ESADE report states that "the Spanish economy will continue its tendency of generating levels of unemployment that are much higher than in the rest of the European Union because not enough has been done to bring the evolution of salaries in line with the economic cycle." This year, Ballabriga and Comajuncosa reckon, the Spanish economy will see growth of no more than one percent.
The former Interior and Justice minister of the Generalitat, Montserrat Tura, has said that she will present herself as a potential candidate to be mayor of Barcelona in the upcoming primaries in which the Catalan Socialist Party (PSC) will chose its runners for the council elections to be held on May 22nd (read article in Castilian here, El Periodico). This means that Tura will be running against the current Barcelona mayor, Jordi Hereu, in the contest by the local federation of the PSC to select the Socialist candidate for the elections; the incumbent has made it clear he is keen to stand again and take his mandate into a third term. Hereu has a meeting planned tomorrow with former Generalitat president and first secretary of the PSC, José Montilla, to discuss the matter, and sources close to the mayor said that he expected Montilla to ask him to step down. However, Hereu insists that "I won't take a step back. I accept the challenge of the primaries. I want to be the PSC's mayoral candidate." Meanwhile, Tura will present her candidature this morning in the headquarters of the PSC in Barcelona. As José Montilla has refused to throw his weight behind either candidate, they will both be able to call themselves 'outsider' candidates, rather than one put in place by the party machinery, a description that in the past has seen positive results for various candidates in primaries organised by the PSC.
The Catalan Flower and Ornamental Plant Market has declared its concerns about the negative effects that could be felt on annual rose sales due to the fact that Sant Jordi, April 23rd, when around 30 percent of all rose sales for the year are traditionally done, falls on Easter Saturday this year (read article in Catalan here, Avui). "We're worried because it's certain that we'll see a decline in the sale of roses, but we should also say that we are prepared to deal with it because it's been two years that we've known this was coming," said the market's spokesman Jordi Rodón. As such, the rose-sellers are considering special initiatives to stimulate the sale of the flowers, similar to one undertaken by book-sellers who are also concerned about the effect that the coincidence of holidays with Sant Jordi could have on a day that traditionally is crucial to both sectors - Sant Jordi is celebrated as the day of love in Catalunya, and couples exchange gifts of roses and books to mark the occasion. Florists are also worried because Mother's Day, another key day for sales, this year falls on Sunday May 1st, which is also a public holiday.