Joan Puigcercós, the secretary-general of the Catalan left-wing party Esquerra Republicana de Catalunya (ERC), has announced that once the party has seen the details of the financial agreement that is due to be reached with the Spanish central government on July 15th, members will decide whether or not to remain in the Catalan ruling coalition (article in Catalan, Avui). At the moment, ERC shares power in the Generalitat with the Socialist Party of Catalunya (PSC) and the green party Iniciativa per Catalunya Verds (ICV), but the repeated delays by the Spanish government on the subject on finalising the budget for Catalunya and concern that the amount will not be sufficient for the autonomous community's needs, has led Puigcercós and ERC to make this threat. If ERC does decide to withdraw from the coalition, it could trigger early Generalitat elections, which are not due to take place until November 2010.
The number of teenagers who drink heavily for extended periods of time has risen in the past two years, with 24 percent of those questioned saying that in the previous month they had had a drinking session that lasted more than four days, compared to 17 percent in 2006 (article in Castilian, La Vanguardia). Thirty thousand people aged between 14 and 18 were interviewed for the study, which was carried out by the Ministry of Health for its 2008 School Survey on Drugs. One positive finding was that the use of cocaine amongst this age group has fallen and the drug is less available than two years ago.
Catalunya's industrial output has fallen in just one year to return to its 1999 level while employment has also shrunk to arrive at the numbers of 15 years ago (article in Castilian, El Periodico). The figures are part of the latest report from Caixa Catalunya, which also says that the gross domestic product of the Catalan economy will shrink by over three percent in 2009, and not grow next year; recovery is unlikely before 2011 claims the study by the Catalan financial organisation.