Madrid garbage crisis

The 4th November 2013, trash collectors began a strike in the capital city of Spain, Madrid. The chaos started in the center of Madrid, Puerta del Sol.images-1

(examples of what you can see in the street)

 This strike include the cleaning of the streets, the care of the parks,and the maintenance of the urban mobiliarity.

The reason behind this sudden action is showing a reaction to the government. All this problems began when some enterprises (OHL, Cepsa, Sacy y FCC) they proposed the dismissed go 1.400 workers of 6000 that they are in total. The worker were not agree with this proposition so they convoke an indefinitely strike.

The council have established some minimum service in the cleaning. The majority of them are concentrated in the most centric area in Madrid, where all the tourism is. So, this situation do not affect to the new visitants, and make the others who are here do not leave.

One on the problem that is happening in these minimum service, is with the workers, who can not work because of the Pickets. So the policemen have increase to protect them.

Citizens are troubled with this strike because they thought that it is a wrong way to show reaction by not collect the garbage, which causes stink and mess on the street.


(examples of what you can see in the street)

 As a result of the strike 40 cars were damaged, 260 garbage containers were burned. People who don’t know about the strike describe Madrid as a “dirty place”.

The Spanish Politician, in People Party Mayor Ana Botella said “the city cannot wait any longer for an agreement” to get street cleaners and garbage collectors back to work. Also Botella added that the garbage is not a public health risk, but the situation had become “intolerable.”


(examples of what you can see in the street)

 Taking everything  into a conclusion, citizens are complaining about this situation but however trash collectors are insisted on not to quit of their strike till they gain their rights. For our opinion, the crisis in Madrid make inroads into many catastrophes. This strike is the prominent example of the crisis. So it seems that it will take much more time, until these economic situation will be solved.

Does Croatia really want to enter European Union?

Written By Sean Farrell, Joe Wood, Saskia Schink, Sergio Serrano Perez and Roman Koshivka.

Only one fifth of the citizens able to vote on the election of twelve representatives to European Parliament actually did so. According to the latest results the opposition party has got most of votes. That leads to the question, what is the nation’s real attitude towards European Union Membership?

The population of Croatia stands at around 4.4 million, which means fewer than one million, gave their votes during this election. The topic of joining EU is considered as very important by both European Parliament and by the government of Croatia. Prime Minister Zoran Milanovic stated that the election has a historical significance and that joining the European Community will serve as the base for making big social and economic reforms.  However, the citizens are not as convinced about membership as could be expected as shown by the fact that only 20.8% of voters cast their vote.

One of the possible factors of such a low turnout at the voting stations is that the election campaign only lasted for three weeks and was very soft, most of the citizens were not exposed enough to it to be influenced by it (EU Observer). Another possible reason is that that the selected representatives are only going to be working at the European Parliament for one year, as the reelection is set to be held in each of the EU member states in 2014. “I hope that the impending accession of Croatia to the EU and the work of the country’s newly elected representatives will increase voters’ participation in next years’ elections” said Hannes Swoboda, Chairman of the Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament. Additionally, he congratulated the Social Democratic Party (SDP) which has the largest number of voters and is now considered as the opposition party in Croatia.

The most important factor is that people do not see joining the European Union as a significant and necessary step for improving the situation in the country.  The BBC’s journalist Guy De Lancey said that “the topic of EU entry was a matter of national pride to Croatians in previous years, but now they start understand that it does not automatically mean that the situation in the state will rapidly change”.  As an example he refers to Slovenia which joined the European Union nine years ago. The unemployment rate is continuing to grow and Croatia is still facing economic problems that arose during the crisis in 2009. Such matters take primary importance for the citizens as opposed to more and more election, from which they are tired in general, after holding a referendum about joining the European Union only one year ago. Talking about the low numbers, the SDP’s Prime Minister Zoran Milanovic said in the local Jutarnji List daily that “We will have to reflect why people are deaf to these choices.” One local citizen Dubravka Simac told AFP news “I back EU entry … but our incapable politicians are not worth my effort of going to a polling station,”

In 2012, 66% of citizens voted in favour of joining the EU. Croatia is going to enter the EU and become the 28th member state on 1st July 2013 and the second country from the former Yugoslavia after Slovenia in 2004.

Despite Croatia’s imminent admission to the EU, it seems certain, that the people are uncertain, as to whether this is the road to stability.


Luis Cantero is a graduate Madrid Business Administration, has been working since 2003 and is currently Manager of Financial Services at Accenture, whose business segment is the Consultancy. Mainly worked for a regular customer in your company, BBVA, after nearly seven years in that company.


1) When did you start traveling to the U.S.?

Being the headquarter of my company, Accentur in Chicago, I travel from time to time to attend conferences and training courses, which is a great opportunity to expand knowledge and increase my professional experience and time to improve economic relations between our countries, even on a small scale.

2) Did you have direct contact with the country before those journeys?

I had already spent many summers in the U.S. in my student days, and also I have family in Tampa Bay (Florida),and keep a friend in North Carolina with the trade I made a couple of summers. It was from these trips that I began to realize the importance of knowing different countries, cultures and ways of thinking, as the world and we live in is increasingly complex and need time for reflection.

3) Which were the reasons for your company to market in the U.S.?

The company was founded in the U.S. in 2001 after separating from Arthur Ardensen to be the object of business, consulting, different from the Audit. So, being the company of U.S. origin, professional contacts in the American country have been frequent.

4) How was that experience of work?

From the beginning it was very good, because whenever I travel to the U.S. not only share experiences with Americans, but also agree there with Japanese, Indian, Argentinean and German, and of course, given the importance of international relations today, is a great opportunity, both professionally and personally.

5) What are the differences found in American society and its way of working?

They are much more oriented to the objectives that are marked, with very strict schedules, and the length of meetings. Something here is not very common. We are more flexible schedules and our performance is not always what it should. In addition, there have a strong culture of teamwork, arriving at solutions by comparing and finding the best approach.

6) Since the crisis have decreased travel or professional relationship with that country?

Yes, it has been noted that the budget has been reduced, it has to take into account that each visit to the U.S. of an employee involves airline tickets, transportation, room and board, and in the total cost is usually clearly see the changes.

 7) How do you think has the current economic situation affected the relationship between Spain and the U.S.?

This is a very large and complex, but overall the situation in Spain has made it a less attractive country for investment and to recover the path of economic growth. Take time to change this perception.

8) Do you think the vision of Spain in United States is closer to reality?

I doubt that many Americans would not know to place Spain on a map and basically the image people have of us is the party and bulls, not social and ideological influence as France and economic and industrial power like Germany.


9) Do you know the representative of Spain in America? What the U.S. ambassador to Spain? How would you define your work?

I do not know either, but I imagine that their work is to serve as a bridge between both countries for economic and cultural exchanges. Must be a tricky task, especially in these times we are experiencing. I think it is at these times when most needed work how are you, that help us to approach one country to another to help and benefit each other


10) How do you think will be the relationship between the two countries with the recent change of the Spanish government?

I do not know because the current takes little time for perspective. I only hope is to improve because in the past, our president was to relate the best with the respective U.S. and Britain to celebrate great deals. Recently, however, pay attention to trivial issues but they are easier to gossip, and do not contribute in any way to improve things. We must focus on the common problem, and seek a solution that fits all, but that the discrepancies need to forget what divides us. We must be together to the problems that affect us all equally.

Paula Zapata










Interview to Juan March

Little biography:

– Bachelor of Laws from the University of Alicante in 1986.
– Preparation for three years of opposition to notary.
– Incorporation in 1990 at Banco Urquijo SA, where he developed commercial management role until 1993. In that year he joined as director of Banco Urquijo to the office located in Alicante.
– In late 1994, he became part of La Caixa, office number 2354 in San Blas
since 2008 he is director of the Office 1534 by Playa de San Juan (Alicante)

1. Could you describe your job?

Since 2008 I hold the position of director of La Caixa’s at Playa de San Juan (Alicante).

2. How did you obtain this job and how has been your career in the firm?

They appointed me to the position when the former director of that office was given the position of area manager. Before that I was director of another office of the same firm since 1994.

3. Has the company change since you go in?

Yes, the firm has change enormously since 1994, but it has also change the financial system.

4.Has the financial crisis directly affected your job? And the company? In which way?

Obviously, the position of director of a financial institution has suffered a radical change since the start of the financial crisis. When the crisis started, with the explosion of the USA mortgage crisis, the job of director of Savings Banks changed. In that moment the bank was called Caixabank, it had connotations of attention to the small thrifty and it was thrown in to the market of the private saving. Where the majority of the clients work with saving passbook and the fixed term deposit when they had

a leverage of the medium-term money. The family economy predominated with their mortgage on the family home as the only debt and the social labour was an added value and characteristic of the company. The Savings Banks, in general, throw an important percentage of their credit activity around the mortgages and everything related to it. The Crisis and its consolidation have brought to the sector an evolution since 2008 which was not know off in centuries. The Savings Banks have disappeared and they become Banks, almost with no time to assume the change and what it means. They have change to segment their base of costumers and to increase the roll of the medium and small enterprise, and also to augment the commercial factor and the sales. Until now, the perfectly know to manage the Banks, because they know what was to respond before the owner and the actionists.

5. How has the housing bubble affected Spain? And, especially to the zone where you work?

The Housing Bubble has affected Spain much more than other countries, mainly because our country has thrown its growth in the lasts years in the property sector, now known as the brick sector.

I develop my job in the Comunidad Valenciana, and this region has suffered the financial crisis much more than the rest, because the building has been one of the main stands of the regional economy during the last fifteen year which has given rise to Valencia, Alicante and Castellon to experience in its economy an important decline and a shocking rise in unemployment, with a high rate of arrears.

6. Do you think that is possible to get out of the crisis?

It will be possible but also slowly. The problem of the crisis in Europe is different to the one produced in United States. In the USA exists a unique policy in the different states while in the Euro Zone there as many fiscal and economic policies as there are countries that set it up. This gives place to a process of slowing down in every aspect and this makes things more difficult and slowly to every improvement in economic matters. Because the countries don’t realize that we have to do things all together to evolve positively in the different economies.

7. Do you think that Spain will exit of the Crisis sooner than other countries? Why?

I think that our country will take longer that in other countries like France and Germany, because the exposition of construction is much higher. The majority of the unemployment comes directly from construction or dependent sectors of it.

8. Do you consider that is advisable to continue with the euro?

I understand that it is advisable to continue with the Euro, but I also think that for this to continue is necessary a common policy and that Europe is not managed by a country own wants. If the governments doesn’t realize this and put it into practice, the better solution will be to eliminate the Euro and for each country to go back to its original currency, with its own fiscal and economic policies.

9. The measures that the Spanish government has adopt, do you think that are correct? In which way?

I think that they are correct, but they have been implemented too late. I also think that we must be patience to see the effects. However the reduction of the public deficit is not the solution of the crisis. It is necessary a philosophy of growth and for this we need to increase the expenses the enough for this.

10.Do you think that the economic aids to the financial institution will be enough?

I think that they should be enough, but we don’t have to forget that there are good, medium and bad Banks. And we don’t have to put them in the same basket. Because sometimes a rotten apple could affect the whole batch.

By Patricia Martínez Vicent

Living in Spain and in Hungary

By Irina Czakó

Firstly I was going to make one interview with my friend from New-Zealand, who has been living in Spain for one and a half years. But than I realized that Spain and my country Hungary have several similar current issues. That’s why I decided to ask my Hungarian classmate on the situation of home as well. My interviewees both are young, dynamic, working at international companies and know other cultures and people from other countries. I was wondering what they would answer to the same questions. We have had a lot of discussions about the countries we live in, which would be hard to summarize staying within the word limit. In spite of this I would like to publish my second additional interview as well.


What is the biggest or the most surprising cultural difference for you in Spain? Is there any habit or custom here that you are not yet used to?

The two most significant differences would be

 (1) The attitude – things are taken slowly; regulations are sometimes bendable, whereas others are set in concrete; layers of bureaucracy etc – you need to not be a stressful person to deal with Spain sometimes! I think I am used to this now: I think this affects foreigners working for Spanish companies more.

 (2) Lack of ‘personal space’ – People always stand very close to you in Spain, whether they are talking to you, or when standing in a queue. I am not used to this yet. If I have to pick only one cultural different, this is the one, as it is one I wasn’t prepared for in the least.

Rachel is from New Zealand. She is a physicist and

has been working in Spain for one and a half years.

Spain’s economy is in big trouble. It is suffering from a high level of national debt, a recession and unemployment. Have you noticed any signs of the crisis in everyday life?

Broadly, there are three ‘signs’: (1) closing of businesses and vacant office and shop space, (2) unemployment (3) unrest

 (1) This is frequent in Madrid and in the small village in which I lived at first. On Paseo de la Florida there are many empty shop spaces for rent. The convenience store recently closed. The drugeria/perfumeria has signs saying (I think – check this) ‘liquidacion por cierre de negocios’. A related topic is the bankruptcy of construction companies creating the huge half-finished ‘ghost towns’ that are prevalent near my work. This does not affect anyone I know personally, but people are often saying that they know peopl who still owe money to the bank for these houses that were never built.

 (2) The biggest sign of this is the number of beggars on the street. When I arrived in Madrid very few people were begging on the trains in the metro – now I see on most trips. There were always a few musicians/buskers in the metro trains – these have increased significantly also.

 (3) the Huelga general is the most obvious sign.  The other obvious sign was the M-15 movement which occupied Sol (and there were further protests this weekend). While neither involved anyone I know, both were obvious in everyday life from the disruptions they brought (even though they were minor). As my work is an international organisation, in general these issues do not affect the employees. The fact that they are not hiring very many new staff here is caused by general austerity across Europe.

Another factor, which I have heard of anecdotally from friends, but for which I arrived too late to really appreciate, is the change in the style of life of people of Madrid – apparently it was common for all the bars and restaurants to be full and lively every day of the week, but now this is only really seen in the historical centre. Since I live quite close to the centre, places still seem quite busy on weeknights, so I can’t really comment on whether this observation is accurate.

The level of the unemployment in Spain is the highest in the European Union. Amongst young people -like you are- this ratio can reach the fifty percent. According to your and your friends experiences is it difficult to find a job for youth nowadays?

I do not know any Spanish people who are unemployed and cannot find work. A couple cannot find permanent jobs. However, my experience of this is quite limited because of who I socialise with, broadly 3 groups:

(1) Work colleagues: international organisation therefore unaffected – and mostly internationals who will return to their home country at the end of their fixed-term contracts.

 (2) Other foreigners in Madrid for specific work and study opportunities: English teachers and students (PhD and Erasmus), who in general do not plan to stay in Madrid at the end of their study or contract.

(3) A group of mixed internationals, English and Spanish speaking young people, mixture of students and young professionals: Of this group, I do know some people who have actively searched for work in Spain, and found it fairly easily – engineering and telecommunications-type roles. This is possibly because they are fluent in Spanish and English, which I hear is increasingly a priority. Accordingly, English teachers are in very high demand, making it arguably easier for English-speaking foreigners to find work in Madrid than the Spanish – I know many British young people who have just landed in Madrid and had work within a month. I only really have 2 Spanish friends – both are not currently unemployed, but have both told me about their urgent need to improve their language skills for their future employability.

How can you describe Spanish people?

Lively, but relaxed about living their lives!

Spanish people are often considered lazy and less productive than their counter partners in other European Union countries. You have Spanish colleagues at your workplace, as well; according to your opinion is this stereotype true or not?

I think this is not correct, I find that all the ‘latin’ type countries (Spain, France, Italy) have a fairly similar philosophy – to take time to live as well as work, which is different to, say, America, where by taking a job it is often assumed that your work becomes your life. Hence, people here take time to go to the canteen to have lunch together, instead of sitting at their desk. Does this decrease productivity? Personally, I don’t think it does, though I don’t have any figures to back this up. Their philosophy is that you need to take these breaks to be able to work optimally after lunch. I caution that, though there are Spanish workers at my institute, this is foremost an international organisation, with the bulk of its employees being French and German (based on the contributions from different countries). There is no siesta.

Rajoy’s central-right Popular Party won the parliamentary election in November. Have you seen any changes after the elections?

Honestly, I haven’t seen any changes. Of course, Rajoy has made some controversial decisions, which led to the Huelga general in March, but there was also controversial legislation and a large general strike under Zapatero (in October 2010 I think). There may be a growing feeling of discontent against Rajoy (at least amongst the few discussions I’ve had with Spanish people).

My second interview is the following.

Dóra Dunai lives in Hungary. She has a Master’s Degree in Organization and Leadership and works at a multinational company as compliance specialist.

Nowadays is not too easy to find a job for the recent graduates. How do you see the opportunities of the young people in Hungary?

I think in Hungary the market is full, so finding a position as a fresh graduate is quite tough. I was lucky, I entered the company via internship 2 years ago, so when I graduated I transferred from trainee to full-time employee. From what I see people with strong language skills have much better chances.

Hungary needs to improve its economic governance, which struggles as the growth slows and investors retreat. Have you experienced the recession or the austerity measurements in your everyday life?

Yes, absolutely. Goods and services are getting more and more expensive, this is true for all kind of goods for ex. bread, utility costs, … there’s a longer queue in the banks, less people in stores and more Hungarian people are vacationing within the country.

Spanish economy is also suffering from similar problems. You have been in Spain recently. Have you noticed any signs of the crisis?

Not really. Traffic is great, vehicles are jammed, also the streets, cars are new, stores are full of people, from what I saw, it’s not in crisis. However I did find Spain surprisingly expensive.

According to your opinion has the Hungarian economy similar pattern like the Spanish?

I don’t really have a knowledge to tell. For now I think we don’t have the same root causes but we’re facing the same challenges and problems. One similar point in our economy is the big dept our countries have to deal with.

We often hear it that Hungarians work less and are not so productive than people in Western countries. Do you agree with this?

No, in our firm we work way too much. We’re in early, we slightly have lunch break, and we finish late then continue it at home. At least at the business world. In the public sector on the other hand I can imagine it’s true.

How can you describe Hungarian people?

Pride, but shameful, hard workers but usually unmotivated, whining, but smart and most importantly survivors.

Two years ago the right-wing party Fidesz won the election and two-thirds majority in the parliament, which is unique in the history of European elections. Have you seen any remarkable changes in the past two years?

To be honest, not really. We have a lot of new laws – but his has been the case for as long as I remember, and I’m not fully following the politics, so I can’t really answer besides ‘not really’.

Nuevas medidas en Japón

El primer ministro japonés, Naoto Kan, anunció el pasado 10 de mayo, que su Gobierno revisará la política energética del país, que hace un uso escaso de las renovables y depende mucho de la nuclear. Kan señaló que la energía nuclear y la procedente de combustibles fósiles han sido claves en el desarrollo y economía de Japón, pero ha añadido que, a partir de ahora, debe poner mas empeño en energías como la solar y otras renovables.

“En cuanto a la energía eólica y solar, nuestro país está retrasado, así que vamos a abrir el camino en este sentido, como están haciendo otros países occidentales”, ha destacado el primer ministro.

Dejando a un lado el nuevo plan de energías renovables, el primer ministro japonés anunció esa misma semana, que renunciaba a su sueldo de mandatario, aunque conservará el que le corresponde por ser diputado, mientras dure la crisis nuclear que vive Fukushima desde el pasado 11 de marzo, según fuentes nacionales.

“Voy a continuar cobrando mi retribución como miembro del Parlamento, pero no la relativa al cargo de primer ministro ni sus primas correspondientes”, ha explicado Kan en una rueda de prensa.

Por otro lado, Kan ha explicado que de momento no hay fecha para la aprobación de la segunda parte del presupuesto extraordinario con el que el Gobierno tiene que hacer frente a los gastos para la reconstrucción de las zonas devastadas por el terremoto y tsunami del pasado 11 de marzo. Esta segunda partida presupuestaría es necesaria para complementar la primera, de 32.700 millones de euros (48.500 millones de dólares) y aprobada el pasado 30 de abril, destinada a la fabricación de viviendas temporales para las personas que se quedaron sin hogar y para la retirada de escombros.

Asimismo,en los últimos días,la compañía Tokyo Electric Power (TEPCO), operadora de la central atómica, reportó pérdidas económicas por más de 15 mil millones de dólares, las más graves de su historia, a la vez que anunció la dimisión de su presidente, Masataka Shimzu, quien asumió la responsabilidad por el desastre nuclear, reportó la agencia de noticias Kyodo.

Se trata de la mayor pérdida neta registrada en la historia por una compañía nipona no financiera, empujada por los números rojos extraordinarios de 12 mil 631 millones de dólares a causa de la crisis nuclear en Fukushima.

Los mediadores del Líbano se retiran

La división política del Líbano, que se acentuó tras la caída del gobierno de Saad Hariri, parece no tener fin. Esta crisis es tan fuerte que los estados mediadores acaban por desistir. Los cancilleres de Qatar y Turquía han renunciado a las labores de mediación en la crisis política libanesa como lo hizo con anterioridad Arabia Saudita, que consideró la situación peligrosa. Los representantes de Qatar y Turquía decidieron suspender sus esfuerzos y abandonaron este jueves Beirut en dirección a sus respectivos países para consultar a sus dirigentes.

El ministro turco de Asuntos Exteriores, Ahmet Davutoglu y el primer ministro qatarí, Hamad bin Jassim al Thani abandonaron Beirut tras varios días de diálogo con los representantes de las partes concernidas libanesas. La mediación que se estaba llevando a cabo para resolver la actual crisis era en base a la iniciativa de Arabia Saudita y Siria. Pero el mismo jueves, antes de abandonar Beirut ambos ministros anunciaron a través de un comunicado que “teniendo en cuenta ciertas reservas” han decidido “suspender los esfuerzos en el Líbano y abandonar Beirut” para consultar a sus gobiernos sobre sus propias “reservas”.

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