For the second time in two months, a group of 30 okupas (squatters) have broken into a luxury building in the Raval (read the original article in Castellano here, El Periodico). The building is on the corner of Carrer Sant Pau and Carrer de les Flors and was built in 1992. It contains five luxury apartments which have never been sold. The real estate company that owns the building, Camats, suspects that this is the same group of squatters that were evicted by the Mossos d’Esquadra in May this year. Camats estimates the damage done last time by the group at 30,000 euros. Since then they boarded up all the doors but according to the owner’s spokesperson this is no deterrent. “They are professionals. If they want to enter a building, they know exactly how and when to do it”.
Zapatero defended his government’s employment and pension reforms at the National Press Club of Tokyo yesterday (read the original article in Castellano here, El Pais). The proposed reforms address many aspects of employment and aim to bring Spain more in line with other European countries. The reforms will reduce the costs to companies when hiring and firing employees, giving them greater flexibility to deal with a difficult economic panorama. The government is also proposing to delay the pensionable age to 67 from the current 65. In order to qualify for a state pension a person will have had to work for 20 years instead of the current 15. Zapatero recognised that there would be short term “sacrifices” but that these were necessary for the country’s long-term economic recovery. But, he said, the majority of Spanish people understood that the measures were necessary for creating a sustainable future. Opposition from the unions was inevitable he accepted and the government would do its best to achieve social and political consensus where possible.