José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero last night pledged to rebuild the Catalan Estatut (read article in Castilian here, El Periodico). Speaking last night at the televised State of the Nation debate the President seeks a reconciliation after the failure of the TC ruling and said that he will look to make legal reforms with Montilla. On a hot evening, on the verge of the governmental holidays their was a notable struggle to lend gravitas to the normally solemn act of parliament. However Zapatero managed to survive a difficult debate which was devoted to making efforts to justify the polemical steps over the economic crisis and to seek a quick reconciliation with Catalunya and commit to develop legislation over some of the items cut by the TC. Zapatero didn't give many clues yesterday as to how and who would be in charge of this but it was stated that he would be working hand in hand with José Montilla, and the Generalitat. Warnings were released by the spokespersons from the CiU, ERC and ICV in Congress over a new era of disaffection thanks to the ruling. The Estatut was an important feature of the opening speech by the chief executive after a brief mention of the economic situation and the collective effort to overcome the crisis and immersed themselves completely in the Catalan subject. Following recent criticism Zapatero recalled that the PSOE have helped the gestation of the Catalan Charter, while the PP was saying that Spain was broken. Zapatero was quoted as saying "I set out to continue to contribute to the development and application of the Estatut. As is my obligation." The PSOE pledged to do "everything possible" to restore the confidence of Catalunya and called for peace.
More than 60,000 people are living on the minimum income of €400 per month in Catalunya (read article in Castilian here, La Vanguardia). Created to help the poor and the elderly in the Nineties the minimum wage has now become the last resort for many families. Since the crisis erupted in 2008 and until last April, seven hundred people have increased the list of beneficiaries in Catalunya. It originally was created to help those citizens outside the system, for instance the sick or those elderly who have no pensions. The failure of the labour market changed the profile of many of those beneficiaries of the wage. Now more than ever the profile is increasingly of those people who were, several years, ago earning good money. An official of the city office said "There are increasingly more people here who never imagined they would end up in our office asking for public money to live on, many of which had lived a lifestyle that is now impossible to sustain."Funding for this was originally budgeted at €99 million but it is now clear that this amount will be exceeded." Last year the total reached €109 million over the twelve months.
Experts predict that the most poisonous jellyfish, which have plagued the Mediterranean coast will stay away this year (read article in Castilian here, El Periodico). This year it is expected that there will be less jellyfish and those that there will be will cause little discomfort. Representatives of the Projecte Medusa, launched by the Institut de Ciències del Mar (ICM) and the Agència Catalan de l'Aigua (AGA) revealed their predictions yesterday. They did however admit that thanks to sea currents and winds there will be swarms of them for two or three days or so with the most exposed areas of the coast, such as the gulf of Roses, el Maremse and Salou being most effected. Josep Maria Gili, director of the programme reassured that the feared and poisonous Portuguese Man o' War which came to Murcia and Alicante in the spring, has withdrawn from the Mediterranean. He went on to say that the increase in water temperatures in the last couple of years has encouraged the proliferation of cnidarians, but does not suggest that in the coming months that foreign species will appear. The programme, which has been running for 10 years has made significant progress, including breeding some species in captivity but admits they have more work to do, especially in the area of treatment from bites. Gili said that there must be found methods to communicate to swimmers the protocol for treatment when bitten. "It would be optimal if pharmacies, tourist offices or hotels assist in the distribution of brochures."