On the first day that the morning-after pill was made available over the counter in Spain, there was evidence of confusion amongst both chemists and customers about its use and application (article in Castilian, El País). Following the hasty decision by the Health Ministry last Friday to make the morning-after pill available in chemists from yesterday, many pharmacies were lacking the obligatory protocols for dispensing the píldora poscoital (also known as the píldora del día después). As a result, with no time to receive instruction from the official governing bodies in their industry, pharmacists had to establish their own criteria for selling it. In addition, whereas the only autonomous region where ‘conscientious objection’ permits chemists to refuse to sell the pill is Catalunya, there were incidences of this refusal in other areas, including in Madrid. Despite the issues that arose, there was not a big rush to buy the pill as it is already available for free in casualty departments of hospitals, whereas in chemists it costs €18.76.
The proposed increase in various Spanish taxes is provoking opposition from different sources (article in Catalan, Avui). The government of José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero has put together a package of tax rises due to its need to face the growing economic deficit in Spain, but many disagree with the move. The president of the Spanish Confederation of Spanish Businesses has said that the increases will be bad for the economy and not raise more money for the public purse, but instead slow the country’s rate of recovery. Protests have also come from car sellers in response to a proposed two-point increase in VAT that will reduce any benefit from the 2000E plan, which gives car buyers a €2,000 lump sum to help with their purchase. Estate agents and construction companies voiced a similar concern about the effects that a VAT rise could have on the already sluggish property market.
The Spanish Minister of Employment, Celestino Corbacho, yesterday said he was in favour of the EU advancing money fro the European Social Fund which is due to be paid over the next two years with the aim of using it now for retraining people who are out of work (article in Castilian, El Periodico). Speaking in Paris at a meeting of employment ministers from different nations, Corbacho argued that it wasn’t possible to maintain the same financial resources now as compared to before the crisis began. The original suggestion to pay the money in advance was put forward by the President of the European Commission, José Manuel Durao Barroso, to help member states fight the problem of unemployment—Spain would receive some €2 billion through the scheme.
Also in the news: Metro and trains still cause access problems for disabled passengers (La Vanguardia); Catalan politician paid €12,000 for study about how satire show portrays him (Avui); Motorcycles given priority at more Barcelona junctions to reduce accidents (El Periodico); Inflation falls again, now at -1 percent (La Vanguardia)