• Catalans offer each other books and roses on Sant Jordi Day (by J. Molina)

    Offering books and roses to the beloved ones: Catalans celebrate Sant Jordi Day

    On the 23rd of April, Catalans celebrate one of their dearest festivities of the year: Sant Jordi (Saint George). The day is Catalonia's equivalent to Valentine's Day in the Anglo-Saxon world but it also represents a homage to literature and reading. Traditionally men offered red roses to their girlfriends or wives, and women offered a book in return. Nowadays, both men and women offer books and roses to those they love, whether their life partners, relatives, friends or even work colleagues. On almost every corner and on the main streets throughout Catalonia there are stands selling either roses or books. It is the day celebrating love but also the most important day for the publishing industry, selling around 8% of their yearly sales and advertising the latest gimmicks. In a country with 7.5 million people, some 7 million roses are sold and around 1.5 million books on this single day.

The Catalan Rumba band La Màlaga in a beach near Barcelona (by La Màlaga Essència Rumbera)

Catalan Rumba, the soundtrack of Barcelona

Catalan Rumba is part of the Catalan cultural heritage as much as the traditional folk dance Sardana or the famous human towers known as Castellers. This musical genre, born on the streets of Barcelona during the Sixties, is often mistaken for flamenco or other popular Latin sounds. Musicians such as Peret, Antonio González ‘El Pescaílla’ or Gato Pérez were pioneers of this style and contributed to its institutional and social recognition. Different waves of groups and artists have left their footprint on the Catalan Rumba, which is experiencing a third new age defined by a more eclectic sound that reflects Barcelona’s multicultural and cosmopolitan lifestyle.

The Spanish Foreign Affairs Minister, José Manuel García-Margallo, on Wednesday (by J. Soler)

Spanish Foreign Affairs Minister accuses the Catalan Government of lying about independent Catalonia's EU membership

The Spanish Foreign Affairs Minister, José Manuel García-Margallo, has accused the Catalan Government of "not telling the whole truth" regarding the EU membership of an independent Catalonia. García-Margallo stated a month ago that an independent Catalonia would "roam across space" and would be "excluded from the European Union for centuries of centuries". On Wednesday he referred to an expert report issued this week by the Catalan Government's Advisory Council for the National Transition (CATN), formed of prestigious academics. The CATN stated that EU Treaties do not include provisions for automatic expulsion nor for automatic admission. Therefore, the final decision would be reached in a negotiation with political and economic interests at play. For them, the most likely scenario is one with transition measures to guarantee the continuity of EU Law, the Schengen Area and the Euro, while waiting for the official admission of Catalonia to be accepted.

Barça players celebrating a goal against Athletic Bilbao (by FC Barcelona)

FC Barcelona vs Athletic Club: Barça are still in the Spanish League race! (2-1)

FC Barcelona are alive in La Liga. The Catalans ended a three-match losing streak this Sunday thanks to a 2-1 win over Athletic Club, who had taken the lead through Aduriz in the 50 minute. Barça missed a number of clear chances to equalise before Pedro pounced on a scuffed shot from Alexis to score from close range in the 71. Just minutes later Messi scored a second from a free kick to seal the win and keep Barça in the hunt for the Spanish League title.

Barça players after the defeat against Real Madrid at Spain's Cup Final (by FC Barcelona)

FC Barcelona vs Real Madrid: The Spanish Cup slips away from Barça’s hands (1-2)

Gareth Bale's goal five minutes from the end clinched the Spanish Cup for Real Madrid. Neymar almost sent the game into extra time in the final minute, but his shot hit the post. The 2014 Spanish Cup goes to Real Madrid after goals from Di María and Bale at the start and end of the match tipped the balance in their favour in this evening’s final. It was a cruel blow for FC Barcelona, who equalised with a Bartra in the second half. Barça are still the ‘king of cups’ with 26 titles, but this season the only major title they can still win is the domestic league.

  • Rafa Nadal and David Ferrer at a photo opportunity at the Liceu opera theatre (by Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell press)

    Rafa Nadal competes for his 9th Godó Trophy against a strong lineup in Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell

    This week the ATP World Tour 500 series is in Barcelona for the 62nd  edition of the Conde de Godó Trophy, officially named Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell 2014. Rafael Nadal is the defending champion looking to retain his title, but the world no. 1 faces tough competition as the tournament features a strong lineup of some of the best clay court specialists in the world including fellow compatriot and four time finalist David Ferrer, one of the strongest contenders for the title. The lineup also includes former local resident Fabio Fognini, ranked 13th in the world and also a member of Real Club de Tennis Barcelona.

  • A caption from the CataloniaVotes.eu web site (by Diplocat)

    Catalan institutions launch a website to explain the self-determination process abroad

    CataloniaVotes.eu is a new website set up to present the independence referendum, related news, a chronology of the last few years and facts about Catalan society, culture and economy to a foreign audience. The new webpage is in English, French and German and will also follow the day-to-day evolution of the referendum process, a consultation vote scheduled for the 9th November. It has been launched by the Public Diplomacy Council of Catalonia (Diplocat), an organisation backed by the Catalan Government, the four Provincial Councils, universities, chambers of commerce, the main business-owner associations, trade unions, FC Barcelona and other public and private institutions.

  • More than 2.5 million foreign tourists visited Catalonia between January and March 2014 (by ACN)

    Foreign tourism in Catalonia grew by 10%in the first quarter of 2014

    The number of foreign tourists who visited Catalonia between January and March reached 2.55 million people, which represents a 9.8% increase compared to the same period last year. In addition, the number of international visitors in March this year increased by 4.9% compared to the same month of 2013, despite the Easter holidays not being in March but in April in 2014. In the whole of Spain, 10.1 million foreigners visited the country in the first quarter of 2014, a 7.2% increase on the previous year. 25.3% of those visitors went to Catalonia, which ranked second among the Autonomous Communities. The Canaries topped the ranking with 3.12 million alien visitors, 31% of Spain's total.

Highlights

  • 70% of Spanish exports are made through Catalonia (by ACN)

    16.04.14 - 19:44

    Catalonia represents over 25% of Spanish exports

    In the first two months of 2014 exports by Catalan companies increased by 2.2% on the same period last year, according to figures released on Wednesday by the Spanish Ministry for the Economy and Competitiveness. In fact, Catalan companies were behind 25.3% of all exports from Spain. Spain's exports in January and February reached €37.76 billion, a 4% increase on figures from the same period last year. In addition, the amount reached...

  • Messi and Neymar in the last win to Real Madrid (by FC Barcelona)

    16.04.14 - 14:18

    FC Barcelona vs Real Madrid: The classic Spanish Cup final

    This Wednesday evening Valencia's Mestalla hosts the Spanish Cup Final and the Catalans face old rivals Real Madrid. It’s 63 days since FC Barcelona beat Real Sociedad in the semi-finals. It’ll be a peculiar final. There is no clear favourite, both sides are missing important players to injury, and for the first time in several years, these two teams are not the runaway leaders in La Liga. Barça come into the game...

  • The Catalan Minister for the Presidency, Francesc Homs, reacting to the European Commission's comments (by P. Mateos)

    15.04.14 - 22:10

    Brussels repeats that EU Treaties would no longer apply in a seceded region but opens the door for nuances

    A Spokesperson for the European Commission was asked on Tuesday about the report issued on Monday by the Catalan Government's Advisory Council for National Transition, which stated that EU Treaties did not include any provision regarding the secession of a Member State and therefore the final decision would be a political one, following economic interests. They stated that the most likely scenario would be setting up transition measures...

  • Containers at the Port of Barcelona a few months ago (by ACN)

    15.04.14 - 17:59

    Barcelona Port increases goods traffic by 9% in the first quarter of 2014

    The Port of Barcelona handled 10.7 million tons of goods during the first 3 months of 2014, which represents a 9% increase on the same period last year. Between January and March, all the types of transported goods posted a significant growth, and the same trend applies to the traffic of passengers, which grew by 9%. In the first quarter of the year, the number of vehicles transported grew by 5%, as did the number of containers, which...

  • The Catalan Government's Advisory Council for the National Transition met this Monday (by P. Mateos)

    14.04.14 - 21:46

    Catalan Government's Advisory Council: an independent Catalonia would not be excluded from the EU

    An independent Catalonia would benefit from transition measures that would guarantee the continuity of European Union agreements, thus staying within the Schengen Area and the Euro Zone. This is the most likely scenario in the event of independence, according to the Catalan Government's Advisory Council for the National Transition (CATN), which is a body formed of independent and prestigious academics. The CATN is issuing a series of...

  • Barça players could not score any goal against Granada (by FC Barcelona)

    13.04.14 - 11:25

    Granada CF vs FC Barcelona: Barça's destiny in La Liga is out of their hands (1-0)

    FC Barcelona suffered their fifth defeat of the season away to Granada, losing by the only goal of the match. It was one of those games in which the ball just simply didn’t want to go in. The visitors shot no fewer than 29 times, but not one of those was enough to neutralise Brahimi’s opener. This was a very different game to the ones in San Sebastian and Valladolid. At the Nuevo Los Cármenes, Barça created threat...

  • The Spanish Deputy PM on Friday (by La Moncloa)

    12.04.14 - 14:24

    The Spanish Government rejects a Constitution reform once again "because there is no consensus"

    The Spanish Deputy Prime Minister, Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría, has asked the President of the Catalan Government, Artur Mas, to abandon his demands to organise a self-determination vote in order to start a dialogue. She was answering Mas' request to PM Mariano Rajoy "to set a day and time" to start talking. Sáenz de Santamaría stated "there was already a day and a time, which was last Tuesday at 4 pm", when the...

  • One of the buildings of HP in Sant Cugat del Vallès (by ACN)

    12.04.14 - 13:58

    HP to set up its world centre for 3D printing in its Greater Barcelona offices

    Hewlett-Packard has announced that it will locate its world centre to develop 3D printing business in its facilities at Sant Cugat del Vallès, in Greater Barcelona, where it has already developed part of this technology. In fact, HP's Catalan offices are one of the multinational's main R&D centres at world level. HP also develops the technology for large-format printing in Greater Barcelona, employing some 350 engineers. In...

  • The entrance to Puig's new headquarters, designed by Rafael Moneo

    11.04.14 - 13:46

    Perfume maker Puig unveils new headquarters designed by Moneo and aims to rank the world's 3rd by 2020

    The Catalan fashion and fragrance multinational Puig, which runs international brands such as Carolina Herrera, Nina Ricci, Paco Rabanne, Jean Paul Gaultier and Prada, has unveiled its new international headquarters, located in L'Hospitalet business district in Greater Barcelona. The tower has been designed by Rafael Moneo, who won the Pritzker Architecture Prize in 1996. The Catalan company has also presented its results for 2013,...

  • The terminal of Lleida-Alguaire Airport (by ACN)

    10.04.14 - 19:54

    Israeli airline Arkia to link Tel Aviv with Lleida-Alguaire, near the Catalan Pyrenees

    The Israeli airline Arkia will offer a total of 20 flights during the summer and 20 more during the winter between Tel Aviv and the Lleida-Alguaire Airport. The new connection will start on the 27th of June and will have a capacity of 110 passengers per flight. Israeli tourists will be better connected to Western Catalonia and the Pyrenees, which host a large range of ski resorts, adventure sports opportunities, impressive...

  • Neymar was not able to score on Thursday against Atlético Madrid (by FC Barcelona)

    10.04.14 - 01:28

    Atlético Madrid vs FC Barcelona: Barça bid farewell to Champions League (1-0)

    An early Koke goal denied Barça the chance of a seventh successive semi final appearance. Barça’s dream of a Lisbon final came to an end at the Vicente Calderon tis Wednesday evening, when a combative Atletico Madrid beat them 1-0. The hosts’ early goal and their whirlwind start really set Barça back, but Martino’s side fought their way back into the game and had their chances to draw level. However,...

  • The Catalan President Artur Mas on Wednesday at the Catalan Parliament (by P. Solà)

    10.04.14 - 01:02

    Catalan President to Spanish PM: "set a day and a time" to talk and present a Constitutional reform

    The day after the Spanish Parliament's debate about Catalonia's self-determination vote, the President of the Catalan Government, Artur Mas, asked the Spanish Prime Minister, Mariano Rajoy, to "set a day and a time" to start talking about the current political situation. Yesterday Catalan representatives explicitly asked for the same thing, stressing their offer "to talk about everything", including the organisation of a self-determination...

  • Josep Maria Subirachs next to one of his sculptures (by Premsa Basilica de la Sagrada Familia)

    09.04.14 - 19:08

    Sagrada Familia's main sculptor Josep Maria Subirachs has died aged 87

    Josep Maria Subirachs died in Barcelona after a neurodegenerative illness aged 87. Subirachs had a long career in several artistic disciplines but he will be mostly remembered at international level for the work he created in the Sagrada Familia basilica designed by the Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí. In 1986, Subirachs was commissioned to create sculpture groups for the church's Passion Façade, picturing Jesus Christ's Via...

  • The Spanish PM Mariano Rajoy answering the Catalan Parliament's petition (by G. Sanz)

    08.04.14 - 23:56

    Rajoy gives another “no” to Catalonia and offers a banned Constitutional reform

    On Tuesday evening the Spanish Parliament rejected a motion to transfer to the Catalan Government the power to organise a specific non-binding self-determination referendum, using Article 150.2 of the Constitution. 86% of all Spanish MPs rejected a motion presented by the Catalan Parliament to this effect, which was backed by some two-thirds of Barcelona’s Chamber. The Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy rejected the petition using...

  • The Spanish Parliament (by ACN)

    07.04.14 - 22:29

    Spanish Parliament to reject one of the legal ways for an agreed self-determination vote in Catalonia

    The Catalan Parliament is formally requesting the Spanish authorities to transfer the power to organise referendums to the Catalan Government, using Article 150.2 of the Constitution in order to organise an agreed self-determination vote in Catalonia. The Spanish Parliament, where the governing People's Party (PP) holds an absolute majority, will reject the petition on Tuesday, closing the door to one of the current legal paths to hold such...

  • Scytl's website (by Scytl)

    07.04.14 - 22:12

    Microsoft's co-founder Paul Allen invests $40 million in Catalan e-voting company Scytl

    Paul Allen, who founded Microsoft together with Bill Gates, has invested $40 million in the Barcelona-based Scytl, which is present in 35 countries and is one of the most innovative e-voting companies at world level. Allen will join Scytl's shareholders through his investment fund Vulcan Capital. Vulcan Capital's Manager Abhishek Agrawal will join the Catalan company's Board. Agrawal praised Scytl's "key role" in upgrading electoral...