• The Lord Mayor of Dublin, Christy Burke (by ACN)

    Lord Mayor of Dublin: “You deserve your independence”

    Christy Burke says Irish people “understand the position, the views and the feelings of the Catalan people” because they “know how it was like to be treated as second class citizens”. The Lord Mayor of Dublin, and independent councillor, but formerly a member of the Sinn Féin, said that Ireland “could assist in whatever way possible” in order to help Catalan leaders achieve “an adequate, decent, independent by self-determination, country to live in”. Burke said that during an interview with the ACN after meeting a delegation of the Public Diplomacy Council of Catalonia and the Catalan Government.

Flats on sale in Sabadell, in Greater Barcelona (by J. Pujolar)

Mortgages increase 35% in number in Catalonia in March; 11th consecutive month of growth

The number of mortgages on homes in Catalonia increased by 35.1% in March compared to figures from March 2014, data from the Spanish Statistics Institute (INE) show, with a total 3,229 mortgages approved. This yearly increase strengthens an uninterrupted trend of 11 consecutive months of annual growth, following 44 months of uninterrupted decline. In Spain as a whole, a 19.71% annual increase in March on figures from March 2014 was registered and 19,806 mortgages on houses and flats were granted. These figures represent the 10th consecutive month of annual growth at Spanish level. In all the Catalan Provinces, an annual increase was also recorded: Lleida came top with a 76% increase, followed by Barcelona (35%), Tarragona (28%) and Girona (22%).

Barcelona is Europe's 8th most attractive city to invest (by ACN)

Barcelona Southern Europe’s most attractive city to invest in, according to EY

The Catalan capital is Europe's 8th most attractive city to invest in and the highest-ranked city located in the southern part of the continent, according to the international consultancy firm Ernst & Young. London, Paris, Berlin, Frankfurt, Amsterdam, Brussels and Munich come first in the European ranking and are followed by the Catalan capital, ahead of Madrid, which comes in 10th position. EY highlights the fact that Barcelona has attracted "enough" international business projects to confirm its place among Europe's top 10 most attractive cities for foreign investment. Catalonia ended 2014 with 108 direct foreign investment projects, a 27% increase on 2013 figures. These projects created 7,089 new jobs. EY stressed that none of the 7 cities ahead of Barcelona were able to transform direct investment into the creation of so many new jobs. London was the closest contender, creating 3,470 jobs, half of that of the Catalan capital.

Francesc Homs at this Tuesday's press conference (by P. Mateos)

Catalan Government warns about "extreme" liquidity situation and accuses Spanish Executive of financial "asphyxia"

The Catalan Government has sent another warning message about its lack of liquidity, which depends on the Spanish Executive’s regular transfers since most taxes are collected by Madrid-based services. The Catalan Minister for the Presidency, Francesc Homs, accused the Spanish Government of "deliberate asphyxia" and asked the rest of the Catalan parties to "pool together" to denounce the situation. According to Homs, such financial asphyxia will affect everything except salaries. All Catalan Government departments will be affected and their payments to service providers will be delayed. The Catalan Finance Minister, Andreu Mas-Colell, already warned about this financial asphyxia on previous occasions. In the coming days, Mas-Colell will meet with the rest of the parties to discuss the situation. However, the Spanish Finance Ministry rejects the accusation and has stated that it has made all the pending transfers.

Volunteers searching for homeless people throughout the city of Barcelona (by G. Sánchez)

Almost 900 homeless sleeping on Barcelona’s streets, according to the Fundació Arrels

The Fundació Arrels (Arrels Foundation) – a Barcelona-based NGO dedicated to homeless people founded in 1987 – registered 892 persons sleeping on the streets of the Catalan capital on Wednesday night. More than 700 volunteers – in groups of three or four – combed the city divided up into 160 areas from midnight until 2 am. The initiative aimed at counting people sleeping on the streets: inside ATM lobbies, under bridges, on benches of public parks, in front of private entrances or nearby train stations. Barcelona's local Ombudsman service – an institution for the defence of rights and public liberties – also took part, through the presence of some of its staff among the volunteers. According to Maria Assumpció Vilà, Head of Barcelona's Ombudsman office, the reality certified by the Arrels Foundation is "absolutely unacceptable".  "An emergency plan must be launched urgently", she stressed, as the Catalan capital cannot accept having 900 people without a place to sleep.

  • Xavier Trias (left) and Ada Colau (right) on Thursday at Barcelona Mayor's office (by ACN)

    Barcelona's most likely next mayor, leftist Ada Colau, validates offer to renew Mobile World Congress

    Ada Colau, who leads the alternative left and green coalition Barcelona en Comú, is very likely to become the Catalan capital's next Mayor, with there not being enough ground on which to build an alternative majority. Colau won Sunday’s elections by obtaining 11 seats in the 41-seat City Council, just 1 seat more than the incumbent Mayor from the centre-right pro-Catalan State Coalition CiU, Xavier Trias. In the last days, the People's Party – which runs the Spanish Government – and some economic powers have been pressuring for the building of an alternative majority led by Trias. However, the essential parties involved do not support the idea. In order to facilitate her election, Colau has cleared up any doubt surrounding her fully supporting the continuing of the Mobile World Congress, the world's main event of the mobile phone-related industries, which will take place each year in Barcelona until 2018. Colau has validated the offer prepared by Trias' team to extend the organisation of the congress until at least 2023.

  • The 2015 Primavera Sound music festival kicked off on Thursday afternoon (by P. Francesch)

    Primavera Sound is back with an impressive line-up and more than 190,000 fans expected in Barcelona

    In 15 years, Primavera Sound has established itself as the most international musical festival in Southern Europe and a global point of reference in the realm of urban music events, particularly among indie and pop fans. With more than 190,000 festival-goers expected this year, the core of the show takes place in Barcelona's Fòrum Park - an enormous setup by the sea - from Thursday the 28th to Saturday the 30th of May. During this 3-day-session, a total of 193 concerts will be held, with international artists performing non-stop from the afternoon (around 5 p.m.) until the next morning. The 2015 line-up looks once again to be pretty spectacular: The Black Keys, Interpol, The Replacements, alt-J, Underworld, Damien Rice, Belle & Sebastian, The Strokes, Patti Smith, Tori Amos, Antony and the Johnsons, Ride, Caribou and many (many) others will be playing on the 8 main stages of the festival. 49 concerts can be followed in high definition streaming on both the web and via the festival’s official app.

  • The UAB's electric car (by E. Rosanas)

    Driverless electric car cheaper than Google's developed by Barcelona's Autònoma University

    A team of researchers from the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB) has developed an electric car that can move without a driver, identifying roads, obstacles and traffic signs with its cameras. In fact, the use of cameras instead of expensive sensors is the main difference from similar existing models and makes the Catalan car much cheaper than its potential competitors, such as Google's prototype. In addition, the use of less sophisticated devices, such as simple cameras, makes the UAB prototype demand more intelligent algorithms and programmes than its competitors, says Antonio López of UAB's Centre of Computer Vision. In the last few years, Catalonia, and particularly Barcelona and its Metropolitan Area, has become one of the main centres at world level developing electric vehicles. In addition, Barcelona is also a world reference point within the mobile industry, as well as the Internet of Things and smart cities industries, hosting the Mobile World Congress each year and many smart city projects.

Highlights

  • Barcelona-born film director, Vicente Aranda (by Academia Española del Cine)

    26.05.15 - 21:20

    Barcelona-born film director, screenwriter and producer Vicente Aranda dies at 88

    The Spanish Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences announced on Tuesday the death of Vicente Aranda, who has passed away in Madrid at the age of 88. Aranda was a renowned Barcelona-born film director, screenwriter and producer and one of the founding members of the so-called 'Barcelona School of Film', a group of Catalan filmmakers during the 1960’s concerned about how cinema was portraying unexpected events in daily life, with...

  • Ada Colau (centre) before her press conference on Monday, the day after the local elections (by ACN)

    25.05.15 - 21:50

    Alternative left leader to seek agreements with other leftist parties to run Barcelona City Council

    The most likely future Mayor of Barcelona, Ada Colau, has held a press conference the day after election night, in which her alternative left, green and pro-self-determination coalition Barcelona en Comú became the most-voted party in the Catalan capital, obtaining 11 seats, far from the 21-seat absolute majority. Colau stated that she would “start a round of talks” with the other left-wing parties to look for government...

  • The exhibition about Catalan architect Enric Miralles' work (by V. Gumà)

    25.05.15 - 21:34

    Architect Enric Miralles' creative universe on display in new exhibition in Barcelona

    Enric Miralles was an internationally renowned Catalan architect who died prematurely at the age of 45. His studio EMBT Architects, founded in 1993 with his wife Benedetta Tagliabue, created many globally recognised projects, such as the Scottish Parliament Building in Edinburgh and Igualada’s Cemetery. On Monday, the Fundació Enric Miralles launched the exhibition 'Urban regeneration 1992-2022. Enric Miralles-EMBT projects for...

  • The Catalan President and CiU's leader, Artur Mas, in his first speech after the results of the municipal elections (by ACN)

    25.05.15 - 01:55

    Left-wing victory in Catalonia's municipal elections and increase of self-determination representatives

    The municipal elections in Catalonia have resulted in five major highlights. First of all, the overall victory of left-wing parties, in a context of a gradual economic recovery after 7 years of economic crisis, with high unemployment levels, lower salaries and corruption scandals. However, the centre-right pro-Catalan State coalition CiU is still the vost voted party throughout Catalonia, but losing support. Secondly, parties clearly...

  • Ada Colau in her first speech after the electoral results (by ACN)

    25.05.15 - 01:15

    Alternative left wins Barcelona elections by a close margin and government formation is uncertain

    The alternative left coalition Barcelona en Comú, led by activist Ada Colau, has won the municipal elections in the Catalan capital by a close margin. The green and post-communist coalition has obtained 11 representatives, far from the 21 seat absolute majority, and governing will depend on the forming of a coalition. Colau defined her victory as that of "David against Goliath". She also stressed her commitment to Catalonia's right...

  • The alternative left candidate for Barcelona Mayor, Ada Colau, voting on Sunday (by ACN)

    24.05.15 - 20:12

    Alternative-left coalition to win in Barcelona with 10-12 seats, while incumbent CiU Mayor to get 9-11 seats, according to exit polls

    There may be a major change in the Catalan capital's City Council according to the exit polls, where the alternative left coalition Barcelona en Comú may have won this Sunday's municipal elections with between 10-12 seats but looks to be far from the 21-seat absolute majority. The centre-right pro-Catalan State coalition CiU, which holds the mayoral office, is set to go from 14 to 9-11 seats. Therefore, the exit polls point towards a...

  • Catalans are holding municipal elections this Sunday (by R. Garrido)

    24.05.15 - 19:09

    Higher turnout in Catalonia's municipal elections, while citizens vote with uncertain political horizons

    By 6 pm (CET time), two hours before the electoral polls close, 44.58% of Catalans had already voted, 6 percentage point higher than the 38.24% registered at the same time in 2011. However, in Barcelona, the turnout is much higher, reaching 46.37% (while four years ago it was 38.21%). This 8 percentage point difference is due to the political battle taking place in the Catalan capital, where the alternative left coalition Barcelona en...

  • Barça's first kit for the 2015/2016 season, with horizontal stripes for the first time (by FC Barcelona)

    24.05.15 - 18:15

    Barça's new kit for the 2015/16 season shows horizontal stripes for first time

    FC Barcelona next season will have a new kit from Nike in which the famous blaugrana stripes will be horizontal by the horizontal stripes of the blaugrana flags that are waved by the fans on match day at Camp Nou. The horizontal stripes have been seen before on kits for the basketball, rugby and track and field teams at FC Barcelona. However, it is the first time in the long and rich history of the Catalan club that the football team will...

  • Xavi Hernández played his last Spanish League game as Barça player on Saturday (by FC Barcelona)

    23.05.15 - 22:13

    FC Barcelona v Deportivo La Coruña: League's celebration, Xavi's tribute, and a 2–2 draw

    Camp Nou was jubilant for the 2014/15 La Liga title celebration and farewell to Xavi Hernández. Messi net two for Barça but Depor pulled both back with second-half strikes from Lucas and Salomão. Saturday afternoon was the perfect opportunity for FC Barcelona to enjoy a well-deserved rest stop. Nearing the end of a pleasant ten-month journey and just six days after one its biggest highlights, the time had come to pull...

  • Catalans hold municipal elections on Sunday (by ACN)

    22.05.15 - 22:28

    Municipal elections take place on Sunday in Catalonia in uncertain and agitated atmosphere

    Catalans are holding their municipal elections on Sunday, while the elections to the Catalan Parliament are to be held in September, as opposed to other parts of Spain, where they are voting for their regional parliaments on Sunday. These municipal elections come after 7 years of economic crisis and also with very uncertain political horizons. Two debates have dominated the campaign: Catalonia’s independence and the rise of new or...

  • The Spanish Deputy Prime Minister, Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría, explaining the new bill (by ACN)

    22.05.15 - 22:19

    Spanish Government could take control of Catalan Police for security reasons, new bill states

    The Spanish Government gave the green light on Friday for the bill for the ‘Law on National Security’, amid criticism from Catalan political parties. The new text foresees the Spanish Government taking control of police corps run by the Autonomous Community executives, such as the Catalan Government’s Mossos d’Esquadra, and the local police run by municipalities. This shift of powers would happen if a State of...

  • The Danish flag in Sant Pol de Mar's municipal museum, located next to the town hall (by ACN)

    22.05.15 - 22:09

    Town halls in Catalonia to fly Danish flags to avoid ban on pro-independence flags during election campaign

    The Association of Municipalities for Independence (AMI) has requested Catalan mayors to fly Danish flags in municipal buildings as a way of complying with the ban on pro-independence flags during the electoral campaign and as sign of gratitude to this country, which on Tuesday approved a motion in favour of “a democratic and pacific dialogue” between Spain and Catalonia regarding Catalonia self-determination. The initiative...

  • A golf course and PortAventura theme park, next to the land where BCN World should be built (by ACN)

    21.05.15 - 21:19

    Veremonte could quit BCN World project if definitive Urban Planning does not fit expectations

    Veremonte has added additional uncertainty to the future of the BCN World project, the largest holiday resort in Europe based in the Costa Daurada, near Tarragona. After a $6 billion investment, it will include – among other facilities – 6 mega-casino hotels, amusement parks and shopping malls. Veremonte – which was initially leading the project – announced that it could leave, depending on how the Catalan Government...

  • Xavi Hernández has been Barça's greatest midfielder so far (by FC Barcelona)

    21.05.15 - 21:00

    Xavi Hernández: “It's time to go”

    The midfielder announces he's leaving Barça at the end of the season, after 17 years with the first team. "I'd like to announce that I'm leaving Barça after this season. The decision is definitive yet difficult. I think now is the time to leave, that's the way I feel.” Thus, with those words and raw emotion, Xavi Hernández, the greatest midfielder in FC Barcelona history, made his farewell to the club of his...

  • A short-distance train at Mataró station is ready to work again after the morning chaos (by J. Pujolar)

    21.05.15 - 20:59

    Entire short- and medium-distance train network run by Spanish Government in Catalonia collapses

    There has been railway chaos throughout Catalonia due to a major failure in the control centre of the IT system of the network run by Adif and operated by Renfe, two public companies both owned and managed by the Spanish Government. This incident is to be added to a long list of problems in this network during the last decade due to a lack of investment by the Spanish Government. All the short- and medium-distance trains in Catalonia using...

  • An agri-food company from the Girona Province that exports hams (by ACN)

    20.05.15 - 23:08

    Exports from Catalonia set new historic record and grow 6.6% over first quarter

    Catalan exports totalled €15.66 billion for the period January-March 2015, a 6.6% growth on figures from the 1st quarter of 2014. This represents a new historic high, setting a new record for Catalonia’s export sector, which has been growing strongly over the last few years. As well as this, exports in March increased by 15.4%, reaching the highest amount ever recorded for a single month. Exports from Catalonia during...