The current economic crisis is making itself felt in all areas of life in Spain – including bullfighting. One of the country’s most famous breeders, Juan Pedro Domecq, told reporters last week that the number of bullfights per year will probably have to be reduced, because people will think twice before buying tickets. It’s good news for the anti-bullfighting campaigners but Sr Domecq said he and his fellow bull breeders were determined to keep the breed alive for the better times that he is sure lie ahead.
One unexpected consequence of the current economic crisis is that more teenagers are staying on at school. Until now, Spain has had one of the EU’s highest school drop-out rates but youngsters are beginning to realise that the more qualifications they have, the better the chance of finding a job. The unemployment figure for October – 2,818,026 – was the highest since April 1996 and some gloom-and-doom merchants predict it could top the four-million mark by the end of next year.
The commercial centre that Eroski plans to build in Ronda will generate about 1,300 much-needed jobs for the town. When announcing the project last week, Mayor Antonio Marin said the centre would occupy between 50,000 and 60,000 m2, making it twice the assize of the Eroski centre in Antequera. He said there would also be 2,000 places in the car park, 14 cinemas as well as several stores. Not everyone is pleased with the project. The local Small and Medium-sized Businessmen Association views the project as a threat to the town’s small shops. The mayor said the project would take 15 months to complete but did not give a starting date.
A 16-year-old boy from Granada has ruined his family by running up a €48,000 debt on his parents’ credit cards playing at a virtual casino on the internet. A spokesman for the Spanish Federation of Rehabilitated Gamblers, FEJAR, said such incidents are common because the virtual casinos cannot see or check the age of the players. He said it was getting so common as to be ruining some people’s lives forever. He said the latest figures showed that the amount gambled on the internet in Spain is up five-fold since 1997, and could reach €5 billion. He said FEJAR estimates that some five percent of the Spanish population could have a problem with gambling. The spokesman also warned about the amounts now being spent by some children on their mobile phones, especially if they have access to the Internet, with bills of €300 or €400 a month not uncommon. He said some children already suffering from deformed hands from sending so many text messages.
It looks as if the stores in Malaga are having one continuous sale this year. Sale posters offer 2×1 and 50% discounts are splashed across the windows of household goods, clothes and shoe stores and many jewellers’, as their owners vie for an ever-dwindling number of shoppers. A spokesman for the Malaga Trade Federation, Fecoma, said most stores had suffered drops in sales ranging from 25% to 40%. He said the mild weather hadn’t helped either as people didn’t feel the need to buy winter clothes yet. He added that a growing number of people appeared to be prepared to make do with last winter’s clothes.
Thousands of people protested in the streets of Barcelona last Thursday against Nissan’s decision to lose 1,680 jobs at its factory in the region. The workers – some 10,000 according to the unions – were not only from Nissan but also from Seat and companies in the supply chain. The Guardia Urbana put the number of demonstrators at 5,000. The Workers’ Commissions union warned that if the sackings go ahead they will spark “a huge social conflict” while the General Workers Union called them “business terrorism” and urged the Public Prosecutor to take action. They said the government should spend less time defending the banks, and more time helping ordinary citizens.