Street art is capable of addressing very different people and contexts, and this year’s edition of FiraTàrrega is marked precisely by an ambition to overcome differences and explore the intercultural potential of art. ‘Manifesta’, a large format coproduction of the festival, is the latest creation from Bobskené. A fun and festive song that celebrates difference while mixing text, music and circus, and which audiences will be able to enjoy for the first time on the 8th of September. The text is a multilingual manifesto, written in Catalan, Spanish, French and English, that reflects the seven nationalities of the artists that take part in the performance. “The manifesto makes us question the times that we live in and invites us to relax, to arrive to ecstasy and end up dancing”, said the director of the performance, Ricard Soler i Mallol.
Catalonia continues to be the most attractive destination for international tourists travelling to Spain. Up to 25.3% of all foreign visitors stay in Catalonia, according to figures published on Tuesday, that also show a 4.7% increase in the number of tourists between January and July 2016. The majority of international tourists staying in Catalonia are French (23.5%) and British (10.6%). In August, most regions within Catalonia have been fully booked, with figures suggesting better results than in summer 2015.
The conservative People’s Party (PP) and liberal unionist Ciutadans (C’s) are negotiating in order to form a stable majority for a new government in Spain and Catalonia is one of the main issues on the table. The MP from Ciutadans Jorge Soler has confirmed that the so-called ‘Catalan package’ of demands from C’s to the PP includes changing the school model, even though education is a devolved power in Catalonia. The current school model has been in place for more than 30 years and is widely recognised by school teachers unions, associations and experts, as well as families. In Catalan schools, Catalan is the language of instruction in order to guarantee that all pupils end their studies knowing both Catalan, which not everyone learns at home, and Spanish, which is widely used both in the media and on the street. However, C’s has always campaigned against this system, saying that it discriminates against Spanish families that want their children to be taught in the Spanish language. That’s why they’re asking the PP to scrap the system and introduce a trilingual model with Spanish, English and Catalan. Some of the other ‘Catalan-package’ demands of C’s is a new fiscal system and the prioritisation of key infrastructure projects such as the Mediterranean Corridor. Both PP and C’s frontally reject a referendum on independence in Catalonia.
The conservative People’s Party (PP) and the liberal Ciutadans sealed on Sunday an agreement that they hope will gain enough supports in the Spanish Congress to allow Mariano Rajoy to be appointed as Spanish president. The deal comes after a week of intense negotiations between the two parties and could put an end to an eight-month deadlock in Spain, which has been without a functioning government since December 2015. PP and C’s have agreed on a 150-point plan that includes economic, social and institutional measures. Amongst them, a controversial commitment to introduce a trilingual model in schools that would de facto suspend the current Catalan immersion system and a frontal opposition to any kind of independence referendum.
The Catalan government spokeswoman, Neus Munté, criticised on Monday the agreement between the conservative People’s Party (PP) and liberal Ciutadans (C’s), which includes a compromise to change the immersion education system in Catalonia, in place since the regain of democracy, for a trilingual model. In a TV interview, Munté said that Catalonia won’t change “a single comma” of its school system, which she reminded it is entrusted by law and attracts a “very broad consensus” in the country. According to Munté, C’s “changes its principals depending on where the wind blows from” in Spain, but has always kept intact its aim to “kill the immersion system” in Catalonia.
The leader of the Spanish Socialist Party (PSOE) described as a “waste of time” his meeting on Monday with conservative leader Mariano Rajoy. In a press conference in Madrid, Sánchez said that the Socialists will vote against a new Rajoy-led government. The People’s Party (PP) and Ciutadans (C’s) agreed on Sunday a 150-point plan to form a new Spanish government, but they do not have enough support in parliament. Rajoy will face a confidence vote on Wednesday, and a second one on Friday if the first ballot fails. According to Sánchez, the socialists cannot be blamed for the expected failure of Rajoy.
Up to 1.750 students from all around the world worked throughout the year on the design and construction of single-seater racing cars that performed on the famous Circuit de Catalunya on Sunday. Formula Student Spain was held in Montmeló to allow students to practice all the knowledge they have acquired at university while simulating a real situation. Students had to work as if they were part of a real company, looking for suppliers and sponsors, planning costs as well as designing and constructing the cars. The minister of Business and Knowledge of Catalonia, Jordi Baiget, described the event as a much needed activity to enhance interaction between industry and university.