• The Catalan Minister for Foreign Affairs, Raül Romeva (by ACN)

    Spain to take the Catalan Ministry for Foreign Affairs before the court

    The new Catalan Ministry for Foreign Affairs will be taken before the Spanish Constitutional Court (TC) after Spain’s executive considered it to be in a “conflict of jurisdiction” and beyond the competences in matters of foreign action specified in the Catalan Statute of Autonomy.Thus, the Spanish government aims to stop the “internationalisation of the Catalan process”, the launching of which the Catalan President, Carles Puigdemont, defended  during his investiture ceremony. For his part, the Catalan Minister for Foreign Affairs, Raül Romeva, assured that Catalonia “has done, does and will continue to do foreign action”. Former MEP and pro-independence cross-party list ‘Junts Pel Sí’ leader Romeva also insisted on the “legitimacy” of the new department. In the same vein, the Catalan government’s spokeswoman, Neus Munté, assessed Spain’s announcement as typical of a “decadent” government.

Catalan President, Carles Puigdemont, this Wednesday during the plenary session at the Parliament (by ACN)

President Puigdemont: Catalonia’s push for independence “is for real”

“Catalonia’s push for independence is for real and you have realised too late” stated Catalan President Carles Puigdemont, addressing the future Spanish government. During the first session of control in the Parliament, Puigdemont criticised the difficulty of the Spanish government in reaching an agreement. The Parliament has also approved this Wednesday an extension of the public budget for 2015,thanks to 5 votes in favour and 4 abstentions from radical left pro-independence CUP. Cross-party list ‘Junts Pel Sí’ and CUP described this extension as “fundamental” to launching the social action plan. The pro-independence parties also lodged this Wednesday the request to start creating the legal framework which would allow the disconnection process from Spain to be started.

Spain's King, Philip VI and PSOE's leader, Pedro Sánchez agreed to start trying to form a new government in Spain (by ACN)

Spain’s king requests Socialist leader Pedro Sánchez to form government

This Wednesday, Spain’s king Philip VI requested Spanish Socialist Party (PSOE) leader Pedro Sánchez to start the negotiations with the other groups in the Spanish Parliament so that the first investiture debate can take place. Sánchez assured that he is “aware of the difficulties” but expressed his will to “unblock the current situation” in Spain. PSOE obtained 90 seats from the 350 in the Spanish Parliament and would therefore need the support of both alternative left ‘Podemos’ (68 seats) and anti-Catalan nationalism Ciutadans (40 seats) to reach the absolute majority. However, Podemos has openly expressed its support for holding a referendum in Spain, while both PSOE and Ciutadans have repeatedly rejected the possibility of holding such a poll. The Conservative People’s Party (PP), the party currently governing Spain, obtained 123 MPs in the 20th of December Spanish elections. 

Woman at a job centre in Barcelona (by ACN)

Catalonia registers its best January since 2007 in terms of unemployment

Unemployment in Catalonia grew by 0.47% in January, which represents a 11% decrease in comparison to the same month last year. Thus, the first month of the year saw 2,412 people added to the unemployment list, which now totals 518,080 and represents the best January in terms of unemployment since 2007, according to the Spanish Ministry of Employment and Social Security. The number of contracts in January dropped by 5.91% and totalled 202,894, representing 12,752 less than in December. This is mainly due to the termination of many seasonal contracts. In the whole of Spain, the number of unemployed grew by 57,247 people and now totals 4,150,755. 

Former Icelandic Minister for Foreign Affairs, Jón Baldvin Hannibalsson (by ACN)

Former Icelandic Minister for Foreign Affairs to Catalonia: “Don’t be scared by scaremongering”

If Catalonia proclaims its independence, the international community will in the end “accommodate itself to the new reality”, stated former Icelandic Minister for Foreign Affairs, Jón Baldvin Hannibalsson. “Don’t be scared by scaremongering. In the end, all nations and all political leaders have to accommodate themselves to new realities” he assured in an interview with CNA. Although he predicted that proclaiming independence outside of the law will at first be considered “illegal” for the international community, “freezing Catalonia out forever” would be “nonsense”. Baldvin Hannibalsson recognised the Baltic States’ independence in 1991, when neither the United States nor the European powers dared to do so for fear of confronting the USSR.

  • Zika virus is mainly spread by the bite of mosquitoes of the Aedes type (by Europa Press)

    First pregnant woman in Catalonia to be infected with Zika virus

    The Catalan Ministry for Health has confirmed this Thursday two new cases of Zika virus infection in Catalonia. One of them is a pregnant woman, the first of this type of case detected in Catalonia. The woman is between 13 and 14 weeks pregnant and is said to have contracted the virus on a trip to Colombia. These new cases are to be added to the other four detected on Wednesday and there are thus now already six people, four men and two women, infected with the Zika virus. Zika is carried by mosquitoes and has been linked to thousands of babies being born with underdeveloped brains. It is spreading through the Americas and the World Health Organization (WHO) has declared the disease linked to the virus a global public health emergency. 

  • Image of Current Spanish Prime Minister, Mariano Rajoy during an appearance before the media (by ACN)

    Rajoy may take the processing of the laws to start Catalonia’s disconnection from Spain before the court

    The current Spanish Prime Minister, Mariano Rajoy, announced that the processing of the three laws which would prepare Catalonia for its disconnection process from Spain may be taken before the court. According to Rajoy, Spain’s legal services will analyse these laws and if evidence that they “could contradict what it is said in the Constitution” is found “the Spanish government will act as is has done up to now”. “The government is temporary, but the State, the Constitution and the laws are still in force” he warned. Rajoy also announced that the executive will approve this Friday a conflict of jurisdiction to be presented to the Spanish Constitutional Court regarding the creation of the new Catalan Ministry for Foreign Affairs. 

  • 080 Barcelona Fashion's opening catwalk (by ACN)

    080 Barcelona Fashion week kicks off with a focus on entrepreneurs

    The 17th edition of Barcelona’s 080 Fashion week started this Monday and is taking place at the iconic Casa Llotja de Mar in Barcelona throughout the week. The opening catwalk featured the previous edition’s National Award to Emerging Designer winner CarlotaOms. The eventwill combine offerings from newcomers such as Pau Esteve with those of consolidated firms such as Custo Barcelona and Sita Murt. Besides the fashion shows, 080 Barcelona Fashion will also host many other parallel activities bringing together different points of view on fashion. One of the highlights of this edition is the presence of Manolo Blahnik, the shoe designer and global icon, who will present his book ‘Fleeting Gestures and Obsessions’. The event will also pay tribute to designer Pedro Rodríguez.

Highlights

  • Banc Sabadell's headquarters in Barcelona (by ACN)

    29.01.16 - 16:31

    Banc Sabadell nearly doubled its profits in 2015 after integrating UK bank TSB

    The Catalan banking group Banc Sabadell earned €708.4 million in 2015, according to figures published by the company. This result is 90.6% higher than that obtained in 2014. The good result of Banc Sabadell in 2015 is mainly due to the integration of the UK bank TSB in June, which added accounts worth €122 million. Without this operation, Banc Sabadell’s net profits would only had grown by 57.8%. Thus, net interest income,...

  • The constitution of the study Committee for the Constitutive Process, this Thursday in the Parliament (by ACN)

    28.01.16 - 19:32

    Committee to set the pro-independence roadmap officially constituted

    The Parliament started to constitute this Thursday the 29 committees of this term of office. One of the most controversial is the Study Committee for the Constitutive Process, which has been set up to put in place the basis of the pro-independence process. Muriel Casals, former president of the cultural association promoting the Catalan language and culture, Òmnium Cultural, described the committee as a place “to share and...

  • Resort in Esterri d'Àneu, in the Catalan Pyrenees (by ACN)

    28.01.16 - 18:33

    88,000 fewer unemployed in Catalonia, the biggest drop since 2003

    There were 87,900 fewer jobseekers at the end of 2015 in comparison to the end of 2014, which represents the biggest annual drop since 2003, according to the latest Active Population Survey (EPA). This represents the 10th consecutive month in which the rate of unemployment has decreased in Catalonia in comparison to 2014. The unemployment rate in Catalonia at the end of 2015 was 17.7%, 2 points lower than it was on the...

  • Luis Suárez drew Barça level in the 53rd minute (by FCB)

    28.01.16 - 09:55

    FC Barcelona knock out Athletic for yet another semi-final appearance in the Copa del Rey

    FC Barcelona spent over 40 minutes in an uncharacteristically precarious position but got three second half goals to knock Athletic Club Bilbao out of the Copa del Rey by a score of 3–1, 5–2 on aggregate, and qualify for the semi-finals for the sixth consecutive year. It was the third meeting in a 10-day span between the two sides — one in La Liga, two in the Cup — with FC Barcelona...

  • The new Catalan President, Carles Puigdemont and the Leader of the Opposition, Inés Arrimadas met this Wednesday at Palau de la Generalitat (by ACN)

    27.01.16 - 19:22

    First meeting between President Puigdemont and the Leader of the Opposition

    New Catalan President Carles Puigdemont and the recently named Leader of the Opposition Inés Arrimadas held this Wednesday their first official meeting. At a press conference directly after the meeting, the Catalan government’s spokeswoman, Neus Munté, expressed her hope that the differences regarding the roadmap towards independence, which is “a priority of the new government”, won’t obstruct...

  • Image of 1 euro coin (by ACN)

    27.01.16 - 18:41

    Political instability doesn’t seem to have affected the Catalan economy

    Barcelona’s Chamber of Commerce estimates that the Catalan economy grew by 3.2% in 2015, which is more than double the figure for 2014 and marks a return to pre-crisis levels, when the GDP increased by 1.5%. To “keep on advancing on the path of economic recovery” and to respond to Catalonia’s push for independence and “guarantee the territorial stability”, the president of Barcelona’s Chamber of...

  • Catalan Exeuctive's meeting this Tuesday (by ACN)

    26.01.16 - 19:08

    Law on climate change the first project of Puigdemont’s government

    The law will first charge those vehicles emitting more than 160 grams of CO2 per kilometre and in 2020 the bar will be set at a lower level. “This is a law of a country which is committed to the global challenge that humanity is facing” stated the new Catalan Minister for Planning and Sustainability, Josep Rull. The aim is to reduce the level of emissions registered in 2005 by 25% before 2020 and “by 80% or even...

  • Image of Iberpotash' salt plant in Sallent, 80 km north of Barcelona (by ACN)

    26.01.16 - 16:45

    EC investigating possible illegal state aid to mining company Iberpotash

    The European Commission has opened “an in-depth investigation” into whether public measures in favour of mining company Iberpotash gave it a selective advantage over its competitors, in breach of EU State aid rules. “The Spanish authorities fully financed EUR 7.9 million of costs to physically cover one of Iberpotash's waste heaps and reduce pollution” stated the EC’s press release. If confirmed, this would...

  • Current Spanish Government Vice President Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría (by ACN)

    22.01.16 - 18:58

    Spain to take the Catalan Ministry for Foreign Affairs before the court

    The Spanish government’s acting vice president Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría announced that the competences of the new Catalan Ministry for Foreign Affairs will be taken before the court. The commission to study the constitutive process of a potential Catalan Republic, which was approved on Thursday during the new government’s first plenary session, will also be appealed. Spain’s executive believes that both...

  • Pimec's President, Josep González, interviewed by CNA (by ACN)

    22.01.16 - 14:33

    SMEs ask the Government to keep the pro-independence process “within the law”

    The main Catalan trade association for small and medium-sized companies, Pimec, has repeatedly shown its support for Catalonia’s right to decide its political future. However, in an interview with CNA this Thursday, Pimec’s president Josep González called for the Government to keep the pro-independence process “within the law”. “Let’s do things, but let’s do them right and with common...

  • Image of a meeting of the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages, in 2014 (by ACN)

    21.01.16 - 18:44

    Council of Europe highlights the difficulty of using Catalan in the administration of justice

    The European body expressed its concerns regarding the use of Catalan and the Spanish State’s other “regional languages” in the administration of justice and in the health service. The Council of Europe called on the Spanish State to “modify the legal frame” and “guarantee that an appropriate proportion of the administration of justice’s workers” has a “practical knowledge” of the...

  • MWC's director and GSMA's CEO, John Hoffman (by ACN)

    20.01.16 - 19:46

    Facebook founder and F1 driver Lewis Hamilton to attend Mobile World Congress in Barcelona

    Mobile World Congress 2016 expects 95,000 visitors, 2,000 more than in 2015. 2,100 exhibitors, 160 government delegates and 4,000 journalists from all over the world will also attend the fair, which is considered the most important in the mobile sector. Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg will feature, for the third year in a row, as one of the congress’ most high-profile speakers and F1 driver Lewis Hamilton will take part in a round table to...
  • Image of the Parliament during the first plenary session of the new Catalan government (by ACN)

    20.01.16 - 18:52

    First plenary session of the new Catalan Government

    New Catalan President Carles Puigdemont called for “permanent dialogue”between the different parliamentary groups in the chamber, besides the agreement between pro-independence forces cross-party list ‘Junts Pel Sí’and radical left CUP. During the first plenary session of the new Government, Puigdemont committed himself to putting...

  • Image of the exhibition 'Miró's Studio' at London's Mayoral Gallery (by ACN)

    19.01.16 - 18:31

    London gallery reproduces Miró’s studio

    The atelier where Catalan painter Joan Miró worked in Palma de Mallorca has been accurately reconstructed by the Mayoral Gallery, in London. Besides 22 paintings and drawings from the artist, the exhibition includes reproductions of personal objects from the artist, such as photographs and postcards, but also leaves, shells, roots and other natural items which Miró picked up and brought into his working space. “Visitors...

  • Image of new Catalan Minister for Foreign Affairs, Raül Romeva, receiving the portfolio from Catalan Foreign Affairs Secretary, Roger Albinyana (by ACN)

    18.01.16 - 14:29

    Catalan Minister for Foreign Affairs defends the legality of the new department

    Catalan Minister for Foreign Affairs Raül Romeva assured that he is “not worried at all” about the legality of this new Ministry. Thus the cross-party list ‘Junts Pel Sí’ top member responded to the Spanish government’s claim that the new department may violate some of the Spanish government’s functions. Foreign affairs “is a competence which is attributed to Catalonia and recognised in...

  • Image of products wainting ffor delivery in an Amazon's logistic centre (by ACN)

    15.01.16 - 15:40

    Barcelona to host first Amazon express delivery centre in Europe

    The Catalan capital will host the first Amazon express delivery centre in Europe. Similar to New York’s recently opened Amazon ‘Prime Now’ delivery centre, Barcelona will have a centre to attend to customers’ demands quickerand deliver products on the same day. Amazon will establish this centre at 89 Rosselló Street, in Barcelona city. The building was previously the headquarters of the Editorial Gustavo Gili...