Zapatero defended the solvency of Spain yesterday whilst speaking at the EU summit (read article in Castilian here, El Pais). The president will announce today to his EU partners the adjustment efforts of his government at what is to be the last EU meeting to be held during the Spanish presidency season. The summit coincides with renewed pressure on the Spanish debt situation, the cost of which registered a new record yesterday. Zapatero is thought to announce that Spain will look to place between €2,500 and €3,500 million of bonds between the next 10 to 30 years, plus a further €16.200 million is scheduled to be renovated in July. Luxembourg Prime Minister and president of Eurogroup Jean Claude Juncker insisted that he has had "no indication that Spain is in a position that requires him to seek the assistance of the European rescue mechanism". There remains however serious doubts about the final wording in the draft conclusions that state that "the European Council agrees to create a rate for financial institutions to ensure help over the cost of the crisis. The decision over this will be reached at the G-20 meeting taking place later this month in Toronto.
A test of the basic skills of students in the sixth grade, aged between 11-12 years, in both public and private schools in Catalunya has revealed that of those tested (58.501), 35 percent of them (20.488) did not have even the most basic skills in English (read article in Castilian here, El Periodico). This is the case even after those children will have received an average of 315 hours of class time learning the language in the past six years. The lack of skill shown in foreign languages is even more evident than the poor results of testing in their own language. The results seems to affect all students, regardless of their economic level but is prime among those who have fewer resources; there, 58 percent of them do not know the essentials of the language. The Minister of Education, Ernest Maragall, the new president of the Consell Superior d'Avaluació, Jorge Calero, alongside Francesc Colomé, the secretary of Educative Politiques presented the results of the latest editions of the tests. Maragall said of the results "We have opted for an improvement in the quality of education and went on to say that "this is a good investment to have an excellent test in the coming years". The tests were carried out by 66,446 students enrolled in the sixth grade although only 58,501 of the results were counted, the rest of the results came from those with special education needs, mostly immigrants with less than two years spent in a Catalan classroom.
The mercado del Born is to leave a third of the archaeological remains on show and confirm the 2012 opening date (read article in Castilian here, El Periodico). The opening year of 2012 remains in force today and the conversion of the market into a cultural centre has been confirmed with a third of the found remains to be shown outdoors, protected only by the cover of the old market. The rest of them will be found under the floor where they are to build the cultural spaces. Previously down to be converted into a library plans were changed when archaeological remains from the year 1714 were found and plans were scratched. The market was built in 1876 and designed by Antoni Rovira i Trias. The restoration works, which began a year ago, include a difficult restoration process to restore the construction of the industrial age building. They have had to strengthen the foundation of the building and have replaced around 25 percent of the original iron parts casting new ones. In addition to this the dome plate must be remade, piece by piece and shingles, skylights and window profiles have to be replaced. The exhibition space will hold a permanent show that show Barcelona in 1700 and will serve as an introduction to visitors to the site. The cost of the project is set to cost around €61 million.
Also in the news: Spain lose against Switzerland in their first World Cup game (read full article in Castilian here, La Vanguardia). The government will create a commission to control the works surrounding the AVE around the Sagrada Família after the last document from Unesco is published (read full article in Castilian here, El Periodico).