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The minister Arias Cañete recommends having showers of cold water in order to save energy

30 Apr


The minister of Agriculture, Supplying and Environment, Miguel Arias Cañete, has explained on Thursday April 18th that “while you wait for the warm water to come out, a lot of water is thrown away”. Cañete repeats his words from April 17th, when he assured that he would have a shower with cold water “rather than consuming another half a litre”.

Cañete has made these statements during his participation in “Desayunos de Forum Europa”, a Spanish morning talk show, together with the European Commissioner for Climate Action, Connie Hedegaard, who has pointed out that she is not “willing to give up” her hot showers. “That’s the last thing I‘m willing to do”, she has indicated.

In this sense, the European leader has shown her disagreement with Cañete pointing out that, “in order to save energy and to be more efficient, people just have to think more about what we do in our daily life”.

In her opinion, this kind of actions contribute to make society think that “saving energy implies having a boring life where there’s nothing you can do”. Thus, it was pointed out that a responsible and sustainable life “is more interesting”.

On Wednesday April 17th, during his participation in the presentation in Spain of the initiative from the European Comission for Climate Action “The World that you want with the climate that you want”, Cañete has claimed that, before, he was “a spendthrift of water” until the President of the Government named him “minister in charge of the water in Spain” so that now he even prefers to have a shower “with cold water”.

In the same way, he explained that recently he has known about a system that allows us to “reutilize water and avoid its waste”. Likewise, he had encouraged people to carry out some day-to-day actions which can reduce energy consumption. Arias Cañete has remembered, for example, that turning down the central heating thermostat by one degree can reduce the consumption by 7 per cent.

Hedegaard, who is visiting Madrid to present the European initiative which looks for ecological innovative and creative plans that tackle efficiently the climate change, and who expects to promote a change of attitude and behaviours from every standard of the citizens, has explained that the goal of the initiative is to make the campaign “very useful and palpable” and to achieve the possibility to apply it in the daily decisions of the citizens.

Cañete has already caused much controversy due to its statements. Last January he claimed consuming out-of-date yogurts and that the best before date of some foodstuff has a “very high leeway”.



Spain is placed among the countries of the EU in which less money is invested in Education since 2010

17 Apr


  • A report from the European Commission evidences that Greece, Italy, Portugal, Hungary, Lithuania and Spain have reduced the investment in more than a 5%.
  • The Italian, Greek and Portuguese economies were bailed out by the EU. In Spain, the rescue took place only to avoid the bank indebtedness.
  • These cutbacks have caused multitude of protests and demonstrations in Spain.

Spain has been in the past years among the nine countries from the EU which has cut back a lot of money invested in Education. This was established by the report “Funding of Education in Europe: The Impact of the Economic Crisis” elaborated by the European Commission, which has studied this issue in the 25 member states.

According to the text, which was published on March 21st, eight national governments have approved measures in order to reduce the financing of the educational system. Spain, together with Estonia and Poland, has suffered cutbacks in Education from 1% to 5% between 2010 and 2012, while the reduction in Greece, Italy, Portugal, Hungary and Lithuania was bigger, more than a 5%.

Cyprus, Latvia, Finland, Ireland, Slovenia, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Romania, Slovakia and the French-speaking region of Belgium, as well as Croatia (future member state of  the European Union from July 2013 on), reduced the consignment in one year but increased it in another.

Austria, Denmark, Luxembourg, Malta, Sweden and the German-speaking region of Belgium decided to follow the opposite way and investment has risen more than 1%. Spain and other ten countries (Bulgaria, Croatia, Estonia, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania and Portugal) cut or froze wages and teacher’s allowance, which is a bonus payment equivalent to a month’s salary, paid twice a year.

This part represents more than the 70% of the Education budget according to the report. Bulgaria, Cyprus, Estonia, France, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Portugal and Romania reduced their teacher personnel, fact that also affected Spain, which together with Cyprus and Poland invested less money in technologies of the information and the communication. 

Moreover, the Spanish government opted for raising the taxes, the enrolments and the prices of the credits in high education. In relation with the unemployment, the European commissioner of Culture and Education,  Androulla Vassiliou, recognised the economic difficulties that the member states suffer from, but she warned that they should invest ‘properly in the modernization of education and competences’ in order not to ‘be left behind even more regarding our global competitors’.

Vassiliou alerted that the lack of educational resources can imply bigger difficulties in fighting against unemployment. A warning already done by the opposition, trade unions, teachers and social agents to the Spanish government. Nowadays, Spain, togheter with Greece, leads the unemployement in the Eurozone. By the end of 2012 the youth unemployement rate in Spain was 55.13%



Bullfighting has got a 41% lower since 2007 to 2011

4 Mar

The number of bull festivals has been reduced to half since 2007 | Professionals increase a 25 % and there is a 50% more of bullfighters assistants | Bullrings are empty, but the arena, where the bulls are killed, is getting filled by unemployed men doing ‘el paseíllo’, ceremonial entry of bullfighters.


‘Paseíllo’, ceremonial entry of bullfighters.

Bull festivals show growing symptoms of decadence every year in Spain. A year after banning bullfighting (in September 2011) in Catalonia, a region in the north-east of Spain, the number of bull festivals descended an 8%; so the fall in four years reached the 41% already, according to the information from the Spanish Ministry of Culture in 2007-2011.

In that period, the number of bullfights went down from 953 to 561. Besides, the main bull festivals: bullfight, rejoneo, which consists on fighting the bull on horseback with a lance, and novilladas con picadores, who are lancers on horseback that bullfight with young bulls, will be reduced to half if we add the projections of 2012, yet without information. But the festivity resists dying, and proof to this is that the Spanish Congress discussed on February 12th whether they accept the initiative of the Federación de Entidades Taurinas (Federation of the Bullfighting Entities) to make the party Asset of Cultural Interest or not, as it was known on February the 7th. Here is the possibility of bullfights coming back to Catalonia.

The most surprising thing of the information provided by the ministry is that the number of bullfighters increased a 25% in that period. The main reason for this was the economic crisis, which made that many amateurs of these traditions decided to go ahead and grasp the bull by the horns to have a remunerated job.
“Don’t you fear being stabbed by the bull’s horns? Hunger stabs you worse”, they might think when jumping into the bullring.

Spanish people are less interested every time in bullfights and parties with bulls. In 2011, the number of main bull festivals (bullfights, rejoneo, novilladas con picadores) decreased a 14%, in such way that in four years (2007-2011) the fall makes a 46% (it went from 2,045 to 1,120 festivities).

The fall will be bigger when the new information of 2012 will be known, since it will be the first re-counting without Catalonia’s assistance, where bullfights were banned by the Parlament, the Catalan parliament, at the end of 2011. “We estimate that in the end of 2012, and with Catalonia’s prohibition, the number of bullfights would be less than half of the ones of 2007”, according to Chesús Ferrer, a member of Ecologists in Action, a bullfighting entity which has been carrying out this kind of monitoring of the bullfighting supporters.

In fact, people are losing their interest in bullfighting and bull parties in general. The evolution of the ensemble of bull festivals (including parties, bullfight with young bulls, funny shows…) has decreased a 37%. In 2007, 3,651 bull festivals were celebrated, whereas in 2011 they were reduced to 2,290. A wide sector of the Spanish citizenship seems to be keen to put an end to it. So then, if the known as the national party dies, it will not be because of its forbidding in Catalonia.
In some way, these data rule in favour of those who think that cruel, bloodthirsty festivals may disappear without the need of prohibitions, but as a consequence of the change of values and the modernization of traditions.

The increasing lack of interest that bullfights awake is also shown in the results of a cultural habits and practices survey carried out by the Ministry of Education, a four-year official statistic which reflects a decrease of attendees. The number of people who say they attend bullfights has fell from 9.8 % during the period 2006-2007 to 8.5% during the period 2010-2011. “This important decrease would be even higher if official attendance data were available, instead of mere surveys, since these also include the number of people who attend shows which are not about bullfighting, such us funny shows, running of bulls or shows with young calves in villages”, says Ferrer.

The decrease of bullfights (2010-2011) affects all the autonomous communities of Spain except for two of them. The result is that, despite of the warnings made by many fans, the national party is not recovered: “If this keeps this way, bullfighting’s ending can be near “, say the anti-bullfighting groups.

The detachment that Spanish people are feeling about these bull shows contrasts with the official support that bullfights are having, up to the point of that some autonomous communities, mostly the ones governed by the right-wing Spanish party, the PP, have started proceedings to declare this festivities World Heritage or Asset of Immaterial Cultural Interest, trying to have with this the support of UNESCO.

But while the bullring is getting empty, the arena fills with jobless people, eager for the ceremonial entry and for carrying some traditional elements such as a cape, banderillas, which are small lances used during a bullfight or a pica, a pointed stick used for making bulls move. In the past years, permanent or mobile bullrings had turned into a yearning job for a lot of unemployed workers who are longing to risk everything and to change their lives.

Since 2007, in absolute terms, the number of taurine professionals has been increased until reaching 9,293 in 2001 (compared to 7,397 in 2007). There are people whose lives have been centered around bulls somehow and who have decided to take a step forward to try their luck, something which makes us remind of those post-war Spaniards who struggled to escape from poverty triumphantly. And everyone is aware that professional bullfighters earn very good salaries.

The number of matadores or bullfighters has augmented these last four years (an 18.6%) and  the same happened to the number of rejoneadores, people who fight the bull on horseback with the lance; novilleros or apprentice bullfighters who fight young bulls; banderilleros, men who stick small lances or banderillas into the bull’s neck; lancers or picadores, who pokes the bull with a large spear before the performance in order to prevent major hurts to the bullfighter and even comical bullfighters, dwarf men that make people laugh in circus shows. Nevertheless, the most surprising datum is the growth of bullfighters’ assistant, a 50%, which indicates that working in a lower hierarchy is not that bad. In the same way, the number of registered bullfighting livestock companies has increased (from 1,327 to 1,391), even though the amount of bullfighting schools has decreased from 49 to 42.

“All these results contrast with some state and autonomous administrations’ determination of shielding bullfights and giving them more public assistance. If bull’s survival depended on public attendance, it wouldn’t survive. All aids would be in vain, since the lack of citizens’ interest, increasingly sensitized against animal abuse, is the main enemy of these customs”, Chesús Ferrer says. Ecologists in Action demand to public institutions not to insist on keeping “aberrant and cruel practices with animals” and to go on the way paved by the broad majority of the Spanish society.