The president of the Generalitat, José Montilla, took the occasion yesterday to explain to José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, to what extent the TC ruling on the statute has impaired the confidence of Catalans towards the institutions (read article in Castilian here, El Periodico). Montilla said he felt moved to express to Zapatero, the demands and sentiments expressed during the rally on July 10th. He said, the Estatut is not just a matter for Catalunya but is a "problem in Spain." Unlike previous visits to Moncloa, Montilla asked for the press to be present and claimed he had asked Zapatero for some clear "political gestures" to "rebuild affections" and repair the "moral damage" that the TC sentence has done to the Catalan people. Montilla went on to explain that he had not come to Madrid with the intention of negotiating the list of cuts in order to rebuild them by legal reform. Montilla began the meeting by explaining to Zapatero that the damage which resulted after the ruling was "more serious" than the cuts themselves, because they affect the dignity of Catalunya. "The risk of failing to understand or address the reasons for Catalunya, not only slams the Catalan people's legitimate aspirations, but would be a failure of Spain to be inclusive and open." Sources at Moncloa said that Zapatero had already put into motion some of the 'political gestures' demanded by Montilla. The first being that last Thursday, in Congress, he has said that he would not "close the mouth of those Catalans who feel they are a nation," the second act was yesterday's meeting. According to sources, the third comes tomorrow when the President will make a trip to Barcelona to give a lecture at the Tribuna Barcelona for El Periodico newspaper.
Catalunya is the community most affected by the budget cuts in public works (read article in Castilian here, La Vanguardia). The ministry of public works, has terminated 32 contracts and rescheduled 199 with delays of between one to four years in a bid to reduce costs. One of five contracts, already in progress, will be affected by the cancellations or rescheduling. Development minister, José Blanco, announced today that cuts in spending on public works, imposed by the austere budget, will be reduced to €6,400 million between this year and next. In Catalunya, there are currently 182 new works contracts worth more than €1 million, of which five will be canceled. In particular, contracts which will be suspended, the stretch of A2 motorway between Orriols Mendinyá and Baix Llobregat, also the AP-7 motorway near Castellbisbal. Whilst work on the Lleida-Roselló and Roselló-Almenar and the A-14 highway will also be suspended but it is expected will be recontracted out again through a public-private partnership. Speaking in front of the Development Commission, Blanco said that the reprogrammed contracts, 199 of them will have delays of between one to four years. Of these, 112, involve roads and 87 of them are rail. So far none of the cuts involve airports, ports or maritime rescue.Catalunya, the community most affected by cuts in public works Promotion
The Ayuntamiento is to invest €700,000 on emergency reforms of the municipal dog shelter on Montjuïc (read article in Castilian here, El Periodico). The Ayuntamiento have been forced to undertake emergency reforms on the current facility, it is thought the full project will take more than four years. Of the €700,000 budget, €250,000 of that will go to new cages, which can be used in the new facility but 200,000 of it will be used to move animals to other shelters and to manage their care and adoptions for the duration of works. The rest will be used to improve the old kennel in work that has now become essential after years of decline. Until 2003, dogs were being destroyed after only a matter of days because they had no room to keep them, now at least they are prepared to care for some dogs to spend years at the shelter. The environment minister, Imma Mayol said yesterday, that at its current location it is impossible to extend the premises, so the only option is to undergo the works in several stages, the first being the renewal of the 101 metal and plastic cages with each dog having space to sleep and a covered area. They will also install a biomass heater under the floor and invest in improving veterinary care. During the period of construction, some 40 dogs are to remain but around 90, of which include the most difficult dogs to re-home, will be transferred to the Vic facility and another 20 will go to Argentona. The works do not include the cattery.
Also in the new: Catalunya in orange alert for storms and rains (read full article in Castilian here, La Vanguardia). The number of foreign residents claiming social security grew by 0.86 percent in June (read full article in Castilian here, El Periodico).