Some 250 people have joined hands around the old Cathedral of Lleida (Western Catalonia) for the third consecutive year, urging the monument and its surroundings to be declared UNESCO World Heritage Site. In the heart of the Catalan city, the tremendous ‘Turó de la Seu Vella’, literally the Hill of the Old See, is formed of several buildings, with the most significant being the 13th century cathedral, known as ‘La Seu Vella’. The hill also hosts the remains of La Suda or King's Castle (Castell del Rei o La Suda), well preserved military fortifications built from the 14th to the 18th century and other archaeological gems. An official nomination bid was eventually presented this January, setting up the first stage of a lengthy procedure.
The Greens' candidate to chair the European Commission in next May’s elections, Ska Keller, committed herself to working for Catalonia's right to self-determination. The German politician said on Monday in Barcelona that "the Greens defend radical democracy and in Catalonia there is a citizen demand in favour of a [self-determination] referendum". "For this reason I want to make the personal commitment that, if I am elected Commission President, I will support Catalonia in allowing a consultation vote on its political future and its relationship with Spain", promised the European Greens' top candidate. Keller, who has been a Member of the European Parliament since 2009, urged the Spanish Government to launch a negotiation process to make this vote possible.
Spanish Government: Independent Catalonia to "roam across space […] excluded from the EU for the centuries of the centuries"
The Spanish Foreign Affairs Minister, José Manuel García-Margallo, stated that a unilateral declaration of independence would condemn Catalonia "to roam across space" and that it would be "excluded from the European Union for the centuries of the centuries". García-Margallo, who is one of the most vocal members of the Spanish Executive against Catalonia's independence, stated that such a scenario is "a high risk operation". He criticised the politicians supporting independence, who "put at risk a population that is essentially European", which goes against the will of a majority of Catalans "who want to be part of the European area". "Secession is extremely harmful for Spain but particularly harmful for Catalonia", he insisted. On the same day, the Candidate of the Greens to chair the European Commission, German Ska Keller, stated she was supporting Catalonia's right to self-determination.
Greater Barcelona-based car manufacturer Seat has hired 450 new workers to cover an expected increase in production. The new employees will join the workforce at the Martorell factory to aid the production of two of its most popular car models, the Ibiza and the Leon. Seat also announced an increase in overall production during a strong performance in 2013, which saw its highest production rates for 5 years. Besides, the Japanese Nissan recently extended the contract to 308 temporary workers and hired additional 20 people in its Barcelona factory. Last November, Nissan launched a shorter night shift to produce the Primastar X83 van, which was extended in February in order to increase production.