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.
The leader of the People’s Party, Mariano Rajoy, is set to lose a confidence vote in the Spanish Parliament on Wednesday and nothing seems to suggest that he will have a majority to form a government any time soon. Spain will therefore continue to have an interim government after eight months of political standstill and amid growing speculation of a new election on Christmas Day. “I am not asking you to form a coalition, I am asking you to let me govern”, said Mariano Rajoy to the Socialist leader, Pedro Sánchez during a debate in Madrid. The PSOE, the radical left-wing coalition Unidos Podemos and the Catalan and Basque nationalists all are expected to vote against the PP government plans, which have the support of liberal Ciutadans (C’s). But despite calls from Podemos leader in favour of an alternative left-wing coalition, the PSOE is unlikely to accept, as such a government would need the support of pro-independence parties 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.
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 annual rate of mortgage borrowing increased substantially in the last 12 months, thanks to an increasing confidence in the economy. The amount borrowed in an average mortgage in Catalonia was €134,509 in June, according to figures published by the National Institute of Statistics of Spain. This figure is higher than the average Spanish mortgage, which stands at €112,516. In total, the amount of borrowed mortgage money in Catalonia stood in June at €559.7 million, a 72.7% increase in comparison to June 2015 and a 10.8% increase in comparison to May 2016. Up to 4,161 mortgages were sold in Catalonia in the first month of summer.
The leader of the People’s Party (PP) stressed in Parliament that he represents the only “viable” option to form a “stable” government in Spain. “It is urgent for Spain to have a government as soon as possible, a government ready to act, to put an end to this democratic anomaly”, he said referring to the eight-month period of political deadlock in Madrid. The PP has the support of Ciutadans (C’s) and the Canary Islands nationalists, but their 170 seats fall short of the majority needed to form a government. The main opposition party, the Spanish Socialist Party (PSOE) will vote ‘no’ in the confidence vote scheduled for Wednesday, and so will Podemos and pro-Catalan independence parties ERC and PDC. As things stand, the PP does not have enough support for Rajoy to pass the confidence vote this week and Spain will continue without a functioning government.
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.