Spanish prime minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero has said that there will be future tax rises for higher earners in the country (read article in Castilian here, El Periodico). His announcement was made yesterday, in the face of conflicting statements from members of his own government, including vice-president and economy minister, Elena Salgado, who said just a few days before that tax hikes were not on the current agenda. Zapatero said that taxes would be raised on those who “really have money”, without specifying who this group was, although he assured his audience that the middle classes would not be affected. He gave no suggestion of dates for the rise or the details of how much the taxes would actually go up by. In this way, Zapatero is trying to keep the left wing of his Spanish Socialist party happy in the face of other announced austerity measures, including pay cuts for civil servants and the elimination of certain state benefits. Within the party, key figures including the third vice-president Manuel Chaves and the minister of Public Works José Blanco, have said in recent days that the budget for 2011 will include taxes for the richest in Spanish society.
Barcelona mayor Jordi Hereu has announced that the city’s bid to co-host the 2022 Winter Olympics will go on despite the recent problems the council has had with the vote on the Avinguda Diagonal, but that it will move at a discreet rate (read article in Castilian here, El Periodico). Speaking yesterday in front of representatives from 50 different public organisations that make up a new ‘consejo territorial’ (regional council) to work on the joint bid between Barcelona and various ski resorts in the Pyrenees, Hereu said it would be “lethal” to stop now a project that is “strategic and for the country.” A member of the council, Enric Truñó, said that the plan wouldn’t suffer any cuts but would continue with “austerity, few staff and specific responsibilities” while making the most of current personnel resources. He also reminded the group that in the Eighties, when work was being done on preparing the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona, there was 24 percent unemployment in the country and it was another difficult time of disillusionment.
The Palau de la Música Catalana has already had to spend over €1 million in its efforts to uncover the full extent of the fraud committed against the organisation by Fèlix Millet (read article in Catalan here, Avui). The Fundació Orfeó Català Palau de la Música has assigned €1.1 million between its 2009 and 2010 budgets for the investigation of the theft of millions of euros by Millet and various other former members of the Palau’s governing body; the costs have come as a result of work carried out on behalf of the Palau by auditors Deloitte and the law firm Garrigues. The Fundació has been able to spend so much money on the Millet case thanks to a budget surplus that the Consorci del Palau (Consortium) earned last year of just over €1 million. However, this year, costs are due to be cut by around 19 percent in particular regarding staff and works on the Palau’s buildings.
Also in the news: French and Spanish police collaborate on arrest of ETA members in Bayonne (read full article in Castilian here, La Vanguardia); Another failed attempt by Consitutional Court to reach sentence on Catalan Statute (read full article in Catalan here, Avui); City council due to approve Barça’s plans for developments around Camp Nou (read full article in Castilian here, El Periodico).