The Cercle d'Economia has requested that the CiU and the PSC parties join forces to negotiate in Madrid (read article in Castilian here, El Periodico). Since the July ruling on the Estatut by the Constitutional Court, the Cercle, a business lobby of the country's most influential businessmen, has remained on the sidelines of the debate. However yesterday the lobby broke their silence and called in to question what they called the "widespread malaise" that now exists in Catalunya and its resulting distance from the rest of Spain. Secondly, they claimed that if the two major parties did not act now then the situation would just get worse. In a document, made public yesterday, the group, chaired by Salvador Alemany, called for a more "high-minded" approach in Parliament and in the House of Representatives (Congreso de Diputados). The Cerle has requested that the parties, in order to not further contribute to the popular disaffection, do not spend the campaign disqualifying each other and offering the public "empty promises". The document expressed their belief that "the new government should make decisions, not always popular in order to restore public finances to improve the country's competitiveness."
The Pope's visit, scheduled for November 7th, is likely to cut off eight blocks of roads around the Sagrada Familia and to cost around €600,000 (read article in Castilian here, El Pais). The Archbishop of Barcelona, Lluís Martínez Sistach, explained yesterday that the Pontiff's visit will see 40,000 chairs and screens for crowds to follow the ceremony of the consecration of the temple from outside. The procession and events around the visit will cost the archdiocese, around €600,000 of which €300,000 has already been raised through donations. The press centre at Drassanes, which will hold 2,000 accredited journalists, will cost €200,000. However no figures have been given over the cost of security and the traffic control. Martínez Sistach, explained that transport links will be strengthened to facilitate the access and said that the frequency of trains, both Rodalies de Renfe and Ferrocarrils de la Generalitat will be increased. The archbishop also reported that the metro lines, 2 and 5 will close at midnight on the day of the visit for security reasons.
José Viñals, head of Markets and Monetary Affairs at the IMF, said in a meeting with Spanish press that Spain must be ready to face great fiscal adjustments in order to meet growth forecasts and to keep the promises of the deficit reduction (read article in Castilian here, La Vanguardia). Viñals, said that once such pledges were made it was fundamental that they are fulfilled. He said that the current market tolerance for failures to reduce deficits and to improve economic competitiveness were simply zero and ventured that the punishments on such failing economies would be very serious, have a negative impact on families and companies and further increase unemployment. "Tolerance today is not what it was last year or two years ago," he said. Viñals' statements are in line with those made on Tuesday by the Bank of Spain's governor, Miguel Angel Fernández Ordóñez, who suggested that the government devise a contingency plan, named Plan B, to correct possible budget deviations. Fernández Ordóñez has advocated a change in the law to control the deficit in order to put a ceiling on spending by the Comunidades and increase transparency in their accounts.. "We must find ways to strengthen the commitment of the Comunidades and local governments, to encourage compliance and create budgetary stability objectives," said Fernández Ordóñez. The Congressional Budget Commission, stated that "the greatest variance risk is territorial governments." In his view, the success of fiscal consolidation is a "centrepiece" for the Spanish economy, since the correction of the deficit has become an "unavoidable" priority in economic policy in Spain. He went on to say that before a possible deviation, the government must be able to quickly put in place additional measures and consider making contingency plans, which would "greatly facilitate the success of these performances."