• Oriol Junqueras (centre) looks at the Catalan President (talking) on Wednesday (by R. Garrido)

    Not all pro-independence parties are willing to join Catalan President’s shared electoral list

    Parties supporting the self-determination process have expressed their first reactions to the Catalan President’s offer to run in early elections by sharing the same electoral list and negotiating independence from Spain in a maximum of 18 months, if they obtain an absolute majority. The two-party centre-right pro-Catalan State coalition (CiU), headed by the President of the Catalan Government, Artur Mas, is divided: Mas’ Liberal party CDC wants to join it but the leader of the Christian-Democrat force UDC is sceptical, since he opposes independence. The left-wing Catalan independence party ERC, which tops most of the opinion polls, is thinking about it and its leader, Oriol Junqueras, will make his own proposal next Tuesday. The Catalan Green Socialist and post-Communist coalition (ICV), which supports Catalonia’s self-determination but is divided about whether or not to be independent, rejected Mas’ offer and accused him of forgetting about social and corruption issues. Finally, the alternative left and radical independence party CUP rejected the single list formula.

The President of the Catalan Government, Artur Mas, addressing Barcelona's Fòrum Auditorium (by R. Garrido)

Catalan President ready to call early elections to achieve independence from Spain in 18 months

The President of the Catalan Government, Artur Mas, proposed the next steps in Catalonia’s self-determination process: early elections to the Catalan Parliament and, if a single pro-independence list get an absolute majority, negotiations to reach full independence in 18 months. Such a list should be formed by independent personalities and recognised professionals, who should commit to only run once, with traditional parties adopting a secondary role. After negotiating independence and building the new state’s basic structures, a referendum to ratify the new state’s genesis and constituent elections would be called, in which traditional parties would again be running separately. Mas said he was ready to be the front-runner or to end such a list, the latter case ruling out the possibility of his being re-elected. However, he will only call early elections if parties and civil society organisations transform them into such a ‘de facto’ referendum on independence. After years of peaceful citizen mobilisations, now “it is time for the definitive vote” and the “only” way of doing it is through early elections, he said.

The Spanish PM, Mariano Rajoy, arriving at the Senate on Tuesday (by R. Pi de Cabanyes)

Rajoy denies having ordered Catalan President’s prosecution over symbolic independence vote

The Spanish Prime Minister, Mariano Rajoy, confirmed before the Senate that he had “not given any instruction to the Public Prosecution Office” to press charges against the President of the Catalan Government, Artur Mas, for having authorised and organised November 9’s symbolic vote on independence. Rajoy was answering a question from Mas’ party, the centre-right pro-Catalan State Coalition CiU, which had accused the Spanish PM of hiding behind the courts in order to avoid giving Catalan citizens a political answer regarding their self-determination demands. Besides, the CiU Senators showed banners in which they pleaded guilty for November 9’s vote as well. In the morning, the Catalan Government announced it will ask to testify before the court and to do it “en bloc”, if the criminal complaint from the Spanish Public Prosecution Office is accepted.

Juan Goytisolo, author from Barcelona, scoops prestigious Cervantes Prize 2014 (by ACN)

Juan Goytisolo, author from Barcelona, scoops prestigious Cervantes Prize 2014

Juan Goytisolo (born 1931 in Barcelona) is the latest winner of the Cervantes Prize, which is considered to be the Nobel Prize for literature in Spanish. On Monday at noon, the jury’s verdict was read by Spain’s Minister for Culture, José Ignacio Wert, and it emphasised the author’s "ability to delve into language", his "complex stylistic proposals" and "his desire to bring together" different cultures. Goytisolo, who currently resides in Marrakech (Morocco), will receive the award at a ceremony to be held on April 23 in Alcalá de Henares, in Madrid's region. The Cervantes Prize is awarded by the Spanish Ministry of Culture and is worth €125,000. Goytisolo's works have been translated into English, French, German, Polish, Slovak and Romanian, among others.

  • The Agbar Tower in Barcelona (by ACN)

    Barcelona ranks in the world’s top 10 of best reputation cities

    Barcelona ranks 9th in the list of the cities with the best reputation in the world, according to a study presented by the prestigious ESADE Business School. The Catalan capital stands out especially in areas of tourism, sport and culture. The City RepTrak 2014 study was presented on Tuesday at ESADE, which has its headquarters at the Catalan capital. The report measures the reputation of 100 cities around the world, and the 5 cities at the top of the list are Vienna, Munich, Sydney, Florence and Oslo. European cities were the highest ranking, followed by those in the United States, and well ahead of those in Asia-Pacific, Latin America and Africa. While Barcelona has risen from being 23rd to the top ten, Madrid has dropped from 27th to 32nd place.

  • The Catalan Parliament voting bills on Wednesday (by R. Garrido)

    Catalonia approves a tax on Internet providers and an external relations law

    On Wednesday the Catalan Parliament passed two important bills. With 74% support, it has approved the Law of External Action and Relations with the EU. Only two parties voted against it, the Spanish nationalist People’s Party (PP) – which runs the Spanish Government – and Ciutadans (C’s). A third party, the alternative left and radical independence party CUP, abstained because it considered that the law was not “ambitious enough”. All the rest supported the bill, which mainly puts in order the existing bodies and mechanisms, although it also creates some new ones, in line with the Catalan Government’s powers in this area, recognized by the Catalan Statute of Autonomy. The other bill is the tax on Internet suppliers, which aims to fund the Catalan audiovisual sector, affected by Internet piracy. No party voted against it. The new tax aims to collect some €20.5 million per year and it is welcomed by the cinema industry, and rejected by the main Internet suppliers.

  • Leo Messi scored another hat-trick against APOEL and broke another record (by FC Barcelona)

    Apoel v FC Barcelona (0-4): Messi leads Barça’s victory

    FC Barcelona rolled to a dominating 4-0 victory over Apoel Nicosia on Tuesday night at the GSP Stadium. Besides, the Argentinian has his second straight three-goal performance while breaking the all-time Champions League scoring record. The Argentinian attacker surpassed previous record holder Raúl Gonzalez. It was the second record for Messi this week after breaking Telmo Zarra’s all-time La Liga scoring record on Saturday night versus Sevilla. Luis Suárez also marks a milestone with his first goal for FC Barcelona.

Highlights

  • Josep Antoni Duran i Lleida next to the Catalan Vice President, Joana Ortega (by ACN)

    24.11.14 - 21:57

    Christian-Democrat leader introduces new initiative to promote a Catalan State within Spain

    After months of speculation, Josep Antoni Duran i Lleida, the leader of the Christian-Democrat party UDC – which is the smallest force within the governing  two-party centre-right pro-Catalan State coalition CiU – presented his new political initiative to build an alternative option between the current territorial model and independence from Spain. Duran has been advocating for the creation of a confederated Catalan State...

  • Leo Messi celebrating his record as La Liga's all-time top scorer (by FC Barcelona)

    23.11.14 - 12:36

    Leo Messi is now the all-time Spanish League scoring leader

    The FC Barcelona's forward surpassed the previous record of 251 goals held by Telmo Zarra since 1955. On Saturday evening, Leo Messi scored 3 goals against Sevilla at Camp Nou, giving him a total of 253 in only 289 Spanish league matches (0.87 per game). It's been almost a decade since Messi's first goal against Albacete in May 2005. His best year saw him get 50 targets in La Liga. Telmo Zarraonaindía played for Athletic Bilbao from...

  • A Desigual shop in New York's 5th Avenue (by Desigual)

    21.11.14 - 21:00

    Barcelona-based Desigual launches its own stores in Mexico and Canada

    The Catalan fashion multinational Desigual will be strengthening its presence in the Americas over the coming months. In 2015 it will be entering new markets, with the opening of its first three stores in Mexico and three in Montreal, Canada. Its entry into the Aztec country will be made through a franchise, alongside the company El Palacio del Hierro (the Iron Palace) which owns luxury boutiques in Mexico, a market considered a...

  • The presentation of the 2014 Huddersfield Festival in Barcelona (by R. Vidal)

    21.11.14 - 20:53

    Catalan musicians return to Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival

    On Friday, the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival opens in Yorkshire, England, and once again the line-up features many Catalan musicians and composers. This is thanks to an agreement with the Ramon Llull Institute (IRL); the public body promoting Catalan culture abroad. The festival is internationally renowned in the fields of contemporary and experimental music, and aims to create exchanges between artists from different countries....

  • Representatives of the 6 parties supporting the self-determination process and the Catalan President (talking) a few weeks ago (by ACN)

    21.11.14 - 20:15

    Self-determination parties plead guilty in independence vote after Catalan President’s prosecution

    On Friday, Spain’s Public Prosecution Office filed the criminal complaint against the President of the Catalan Government, Artur Mas; the Vice President, Joana Ortega; and the Education Minister, Irene Rigau. They are being prosecuted for the symbolic vote on independence that took place on November 9. Such a complaint has come with great controversy, as the Spanish Government and the People’s Party (PP) have been accused of...

  • The President of the Catalan Government, Artur Mas, on the Universal Children's Day (by ACN)

    20.11.14 - 23:30

    Catalan President: it is “disappointing” that Spain’s reaction to November 9 is based on “courts and prosecutors”

    The President of the Catalan Government, Artur Mas, reacted on Thursday to the announcement that the Director of Spain’s Public Prosecutor Office will press charges against him and 2 other members of his cabinet for having authorised November 9’s symbolic vote on independence. Mas stated that “it is disappointing and pitiful” that the Spanish authorities’ reaction to the peaceful mobilisation of 2.3 million...

  • The BBVA's headquarters in Barcelona (by R. Pagano)

    20.11.14 - 23:18

    BBVA forecasts better growth perspectives for Catalonia and 140,000 new jobs in 2014 and 2015

    The Catalan economy’s indicators are posting positive figures and the research department of the BBVA bank has reviewed its growth forecast for Catalonia for the current and the next years. According to the report issued on Thursday by the BBVA, the Catalan economy will grow by 1.3% in 2014 and by 1.8% in 2015, which are higher rates than those initially predicted. On top of this, 140,000 new jobs will be created in those two years,...

  • The new European Commissionner for Competition, Margrethe Vestager (by A. Casino)

    20.11.14 - 22:53

    European Commission on Catalonia: it’s “always beneficial” to “listen to people”

    “There is one thing that I always find beneficial […] and that is to listen to people; not necessarily because you agree but, without listening, you will never get any wiser yourself”, stated Margrethe Vestager, the new European Commissioner for Competition, when she was asked about Catalonia’s self-determination process. However, Vestager, who used to be Denmark’s Deputy Prime Minister, also added that...

  • Alícia Sanchez-Camacho in Madrid on Wednesday in Madrid (by PP)

    20.11.14 - 10:25

    People’s Party (PP) rejects the Catalan President’s offer to meet with Rajoy in Barcelona

    The Spanish Prime Minister, Mariano Rajoy, is rejecting the offer sent by the President of Catalonia, Artur Mas, to meet in Barcelona to coincide with the former’s trip to the Catalan capital on November 29. According to Alícia Sánchez-Camacho, the leader of Rajoy’s party in Catalonia, “it is not the time” for such a meeting. In addition, she also said that making the offer in a press conference through...

  • The Spanish Finance Minister, Cristóbal Montoro, on Tuesday at the Spanish Parliament (by Congreso de los Diputados)

    19.11.14 - 22:45

    Spanish Government rules out a new inter-territorial fiscal scheme, despite the current one having legally expired

    On Wednesday, the Spanish Finance Minister, Cirstobal Montoro, refused to start negotiating and launching a new funding scheme for the Autonomous Communities before 2016, even though the current model had to be reviewed before January 2014. The Catalan Government has been insisting on its review since 2012, since the system does not properly fund basic public services such as healthcare and education in times of economic crisis, areas which...

  • The Smart City Expo World Congress kicked off on Monday in Barcelona (by ACN)

    19.11.14 - 22:32

    Barcelona hosts the most international Smart City conference to date: 400 cities from 5 continents

    Between the 18th and the 20th of November, Barcelona is hosting the 4th edition of the Smart City Expo World Congress. This year it will be the most international edition so far, with 400 cities from 5 continents represented, a 33% increase. Participating cities include Berlin, Munich, Boston, Chicago, New York and San Francisco, who are present at the Fira de Barcelona exhibition centre. The goal of...

  • Eduardo Torres-Dulce meeting with Spain's main prosecutors on Wednesday (by ACN)

    19.11.14 - 21:33

    Spain’s Public Prosecutor Office to finally file complaint against Catalan President for November 9 vote

    Despite Catalonia-based prosecutors having concluded that there is no legal basis for such a complaint, the Director of the Public Prosecution Office, Eduardo Torres-Dulce – directly appointed by the Spanish Government – will finally file it, after 10 days of controversy. All the opposition parties have accused the Spanish Government of pressuring Torres-Dulce and taking a political problem to court. In addition, the Catalan...

  • The Spanish Army's main barracks in Barcelona (by ACN)

    18.11.14 - 22:01

    Spanish Army Chief about Catalonia: “when the metropolis is weak”, “the fall takes place”

    The Chief of Spain’s Army Defence Staff, General Jaime Domínguez Buj, was asked on Tuesday about the situation in Catalonia and he has implicitly compared it with a colony. The main General of the Army stated that “when the metropolis is weak” is the time when “the fall takes place”. He added that a “processes” such as Catalonia’s happens “when the central power is weak”, as...

  • Zenith cruise ship in Palamós (by X. Pi)

    18.11.14 - 21:57

    Cruise ships reach ports in cities around Catalonia beyond Barcelona

    Beyond Barcelona, other port cities in Catalonia that are also cruise ship destinations are closing the 2014 season with positive results. The Ports of Palamós and Roses in Girona’s Costa Brava (northern Catalonia), and that of Sant Carles de la Ràpita in the Ebro Delta (south of Tarragona Province) will be closing this season having brought a total of 43,000 passengers on 50 cruise ships. This will have generated a...

  • The Spokesperson for the Catalan Government, Francesc Homs, talking in the press room (by P. Mateos)

    18.11.14 - 21:22

    Catalan President offers to meet Rajoy during his visit to Barcelona

    Furthermore, the Catalan Executive regrets that the Spanish Prime Minister, Mariano Rajoy, has not made any political proposal in his answer to the letter sent by the Catalan President, Artur Mas, after November 9’s symbolic vote on independence. Rajoy answered Mas’ letter and highlighted that Spain’s “sovereignty” cannot be negotiated, therefore rejecting the possibility of any discussion about a...

  • The headquarters of the Public Prosecution Office in Barcelona ( by P. Solà)

    18.11.14 - 21:01

    Upheaval in Spain’s Public Prosecution Office over the complaint against Catalan President

    The public prosecutors based in Catalonia refused to back their Madrid-based boss regarding the complaint against the President of the Catalan Government, Artur Mas, and other members of his cabinet for authorising November 9’s symbolic vote on independence. According to them, there are not enough legal reasons for filing such a complaint, despite the pressures from Spanish nationalists to do so. The Director of Spain’s Public...