• The ERC's President, Oriol Junqueras, on Tuesday at the Catalan Parliament's press conference room (by ACN)

    Deal on 2015 Catalan Government's budget is uncertain because of self-determination agenda

    The Catalan Government is currently preparing its budget for the next year. However, it is uncertain whether a new budget will be approved or the current one will have to be extended. The Government's parliamentary supports are uncertain because of self-determination and the prospect of early elections on the horizon of to be transformed into a plebiscite on independence. The governing centre-right pro-Catalan State coalition CiU does not have a majority in the Parliament. Its ally over the last two years, the left-wing Catalan independence party ERC, is reluctant to reach a deal because the original self-determination consultation vote was cancelled by the Government. Meanwhile, CiU's anti-independence sectors are trying to reach a deal with the Catalan Socialist Party (PSC) and the Spanish Government is trying to promote an anti-independence alliance between these last two.

A caption from the Catalan Government's website for the 9th of November's participatory process (by Generalitat de Catalunya)

Preparations for alternative independence vote kick off while Madrid hesitates to act against it

The Catalan Government is gradually disclosing details and starting preparations for the alternative consultation process on independence that will take place on the 9th of November, which replaces the consultation vote also scheduled on that day. Meanwhile, the Spanish Prime Minister, Mariano Rajoy, celebrates "the excellent news" about the Catalan Government abandoning the previous consultation vote, which had been temporarily suspended by the Constitutional Court. The Spanish Government and the People's Party (PP), chaired by Rajoy, would not want to raise the profile of the minor new vote by acting strongly against it. It seems they are hesitating whether to appeal against it or to tolerate it, in spite of Catalans still being called to cast a ballot about independence from Spain in a non-binding participatory process.

The CDU MEP, Ingeborg Grässle, in her European Parliament office this week (by A. Segura)

Trivialisation of Nazism by Spanish nationalists outrages German CDU and Catalan civil society

Comparing Catalonia's self-determination process with the Nazi regime has become one of the arguments the Spanish nationalists have used over the last two years, repeated in extreme-right television stations and even at the Spanish Parliament. Such an offensive comparison outrages most of Catalan society, for its total unfairness in describing a democratic process and for trivialising Nazism and the suffering of its victims. Now, the issue has reached the European Parliament, where the Spanish nationalist party UPyD sent a letter to all 751 MEPs comparing the situation in Catalonia with that of "Italy and Germany in the 1920s and 1930s". The CDU MEP Ingeborg Grässle was outraged by the letter and urged UPyD "to at least apologise". "Any politician in Germany would have immediately resigned", she added. Besides, civil society organisations in Barcelona have filed a complaint to the Public Prosecutor Office against dozens of calumnies against self-determination process and its comparison to Nazism.

Pilar Eyre and Jorge Zepeda on Wednesday evening, at the Planeta Prize ceremony (by P. Francesch)

Mexican Jorge Zepeda Patterson scoops 63rd Planeta Prize with novel 'Milena o el fémur más bello del mundo'

On Wednesday evening, at an award ceremony in Barcelona, the Mexican author won the prestigious literary award the Planeta Prize, with his novel 'Milena o el fémur más bello del mundo' ('Milena, or the most beautiful femur in the world'). The Planeta Prize, now in its 63rd edition, is an award bestowed on unpublished books in Spanish that are submitted under pseudonyms, and with false titles, in theory to avoid judges being biased by author’s reputations. In the case of the winner, the work was presented under the pseudonym Eduardo Nevado, with the fake title 'Los crímenes del cromosoma XY ('XY chromosome crimes­'). A finalist to the prize, was Barcelona journalist Pilar Eyre, who submitted her work 'Mi color favorito es verte' ('Seeing you is my favourite colour'), under the alias Coral Teide and title 'Se llamaba Sébastien' ('His name was Sébastien').

  • Neymar, Xavi and Messi scored Barça's 3 goals against Eibar (by FC Barcelona)

    FC Barcelona v SD Eibar (3-0): Second half firepower sees off Eibar

    Barça saw off a brave Eibar at the Camp Nou, with second half goals from Xavi, Neymar and Messi to confirm their top spot in the Spanish League and give the fans plenty of optimism a week before the trip to the Bernabeu to play against Real Madrid. With Ratikic and Busquets in the stands, Luis Enrique pushed Macherano into midfield alongside Xavi and Sergio Roberto, making his first league start, with Mathieu partnering Piqué in the heart of defence. Up front, Messi was accompanied by Pedro and Neymar , with Sandro and Munir coming on late in the second half. There were no surprises in the way the teams set about the game though, with Barça dominating possession and constantly probing the disciplined Basque defence.

  • Barça's Manager, Luís Enrique, in the press conference held before the Spanish League game against Eibar (by FC Barcelona)

    Luis Enrique: Barça won't sit back in the game against Eibar

    The Barça coach warned his squad about sitting back against Saturday's rival. He said Pedro will start but that the rest depends on the circumstances. "I'm only worried about the next opponent, Eibar, and their potential. They're playing well and could create problems," assured Luis Enrique in Friday's press conference, rather certain that the international stoppage won't have any affect on his players, any imminent records, or next week's El Clasico against Real Madrid.

  • The Catalan President, Artur Mas (standing up), addressing the ERC's leader, Oriol Junqueras, at the Catalan Parliament on Wednesday (by R. Garrido)

    Potential pro-independence coalition after Catalan elections turned into independence plebiscite

    After the cancellation of the original consultation vote scheduled for the 9th of November, parties are preparing for hypothetical early elections, transformed into a de facto referendum on independence. The parliamentary stability alliance between the governing centre-right pro-Catalan State coalition CiU and the opposition left-wing Catalan independence party ERC is seriously damaged. This affects the approval of the Catalan Government's budget for 2015 and a potential electoral alliance in such a plebiscite on independence. CiU, formed by the Liberal CDC and the Christian-Democrat UDC, and social-democrat ERC were the three main parties within the pact for the consultation vote scheduled. As preparations for the 9th of November would have required breaking Spanish law, tensions between them were raised. After the pact was broken, there have been efforts to work together again on different fronts, while UDC is looking for new allies.

Highlights

  • Luís Suárez with the Golden Shoe trophy (by FC Barcelona)

    16.10.14 - 17:18

    Barça's player Luis Suárez receives Golden Shoe 2013/14 for the 31 goals he scored at Liverpool

    Luis Suárez is the golden boy. On Wednesday at the Damm Brewery in Barcelona he was presented with the Golden Shoe award that he shares this year with Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo, who both scored 31 goals in the Premiership and La Liga last season, respectively. Kenny Dalglish presented the Uruguayan with the award in recognition of the 31 goals that he scored last season at Liverpool. The new Barça signing was in...

  • A surf simulator, set in the Port of Barcelona for the International Boat Show (by J. Molina)

    15.10.14 - 21:13

    Barcelona International Boat Show opens from 15 to 19 October, anticipated to be its most successful yet

    Barcelona will be hosting the International Boat Show 2014, between the 15th and the 19th of October. The 54th Edition of the Show is expected to be the most successful yet, and organizers are confident it will show that the marine industry has left the crisis behind for the first time in 7 years. The Port of Barcelona is the perfect location for such an event, and is a significant contributor to the Catalan...

  • Andrés Iniesta training last season (by FC Barcelona)

    14.10.14 - 21:43

    Andrés Iniesta wins Golden Foot 2014, recognising the world's best active footballer aged over 28 years

    The FC Barcelona midfielder Andres Iniesta has won the Golden Foot 2014. Iniesta collected the award ahead of nine other active footballers aged 28 or over to become the first Barça player to ever win an accolade that has been awarded annually since 2003. He collected the trophy at a gala on Monday evening held in Monaco, where he was joined by FC Barcelona’s Director of Football, Andoni Zubizarreta; his wife, Anna Ortiz; his...

  • The leader of the PP's Catalan branch, Alícia Sánchez-Camacho, this Tuesday in Madrid (by R. Pi de Cabanyes)

    14.10.14 - 20:46

    Madrid is waiting to react to new self-determination plans while parties supporting the previous vote are puzzled

    The new self-determination process announced this Monday by the Catalan President is not shared by the majority of parties supporting the previous consultation vote, although they also said they will not boycott it. The left-wing parties supporting the previous vote are hoping that the Catalan Government will reconsider its new proposal and "come back to the consensus" around the initial plans. In Madrid, the Spanish Government will wait to...

  • Fresh fruit has influenced in September's prices (by ACN)

    14.10.14 - 20:44

    Catalonia shows a 0.1% positive annual inflation rate according to September statistics

    September figures show that prices are recovering in Catalonia, with inflation posting a 0.1% rate in annual terms. According to figures released by the Spanish Institute of Statistics (INE), Catalonia is showing a positive inflation of 0.1%, up from the -0.1% recorded in August, running away from a deflation scenario. While in Spain, there is a negative annual rate of -0.2%, although it improves the August rate of -0.5%. Overall, prices...

  • The Catalan President, Artur Mas, announcing the new "participatory process" to take place on the 9th of November (by ACN)

    14.10.14 - 17:56

    Catalan President announces alternative vote on November 9 although early elections will be "the definitive referendum"

    The President of the Catalan Government, Artur Mas, ruled out the consultation vote already called for the 9th of November and agreed upon among a majority of Catalan parties, in face of the opposition from the Spanish authorities. However, he announced an alternative "participatory process" on that same day, in which 20,000 volunteers throughout Catalonia will run the polling stations, located in Catalan Government venues, and...

  • The Vice President of the Catalan Government and one of the leading members of UDC, Joana Ortega, accessing this Monday's meeting (by T. Somoza)

    14.10.14 - 00:21

    Catalan Government rules out consultation vote as such but will propose an alternative for November 9

    Parties supporting the self-determination vote scheduled for the 9th of November have met on Monday in Barcelona to discuss whether to carry on the consultation vote as is currently planned or to launch an alternative, in view of the total opposition from the Spanish authorities. According to two parties present at the meeting, the Catalan Government has ruled out the organisation of the consultation as it has been proposed by...

  • A picture from Gas Natural Fenosa's headquarters, located in Barcelona (by ACN)

    13.10.14 - 20:32

    Barcelona-based Gas Natural Fenosa to make take-over of biggest energy distributor in Chile for €2.6 billion

    The energy company Gas Natural Fenosa announced they have launched a tender offer for 100% of the share capital of the Chilean Compañía General de Electricidad (CGE), which represents a €2.6 billion purchase. The transaction is to be the biggest international  acquisition by the Barcelona-based company. The total size of the operation, including the consolidated debt of CGE and its subsidiaries, is approximately...

  • The main demonstration organised by Spain's unity supporters in Barcelona on October 12 (by J. Ustrell)

    13.10.14 - 16:16

    Unionists organised rally for 3rd consecutive year, but much smaller than pro-independence one

    On Spain's National Day, the 12th of October, the unionist association called Catalan Civil Society (SCC) organised a massive demonstration against Catalonia's self-determination and independence in downtown Barcelona, which was backed by the People's Party (PP) – running the Spanish Government, the anti-Catalan nationalist party Ciutadans (C's) and the Spanish nationalist party UPyD. It is the 3rd consecutive...

  • A gigantic Catalan flag mosaic at Barça's Camp Nou stadium (by FC Barcelona)

    10.10.14 - 20:13

    FC Barcelona publicly supports Catalonia’s self-determination, following leading Catalan sportsmen

    FC Barcelona has joined Catalonia’s National Alliance for Self-Determination, which groups together more than 3,000 organisations, such as chambers of commerce, employers’ associations, trade unions, political parties, NGOs, etc. The world famous sports club therefore backs Catalonia’s self-determination process and will participate in this group that works to push it forward. Furthermore, in the last few weeks leading...

  • The judge Santiago Vidal, a few months ago (by ACN)

    10.10.14 - 20:00

    Judge persecuted for writing draft of Catalan Constitution defends his freedom of expression in his free time

    The Disciplinary Commission of Spain’s Judicial Power Council (CGPJ) will have to decide whether it suspends Santiago Vidal, judge of Barcelona’s High Court, for having worked in his free time on the drafting of a proposal for a future Catalan constitution in the event of independence, together with other law experts. The CGPJ judge in charge of investigating other judges, Antonio Jesús Fonseca-Herrero, recommended...

  • Spain's Constitutional Court, located in Madrid (by ACN)

    09.10.14 - 20:58

    Constitutional Court dismisses request by Catalan Parliament to sideline its 2 members suspected of bias

    Spain’s Constitutional Court has unanimously decided to reject the Catalan Parliament’s requests to sideline 2 of its 12 members from the debate and final verdict on the law and decree regarding Catalonia’s self-determination consultation vote. The Catalan Parliament considered that the Court’s President, Francisco Pérez de los Cobos, and the rapporteur on the appeal against the Catalan Law on Consultation...

  • Kiko Veneno at last year's Mediterranean Fair of Manresa (by ACN)

    09.10.14 - 20:43

    Mediterranean fair, focusing on folk and ethnic music, to attract 100,000 people in Manresa

    The 17th Mediterranean Trade Fair, specialised in folk and world music, will take place from Thursday to Sunday, expected to attract 100,000 people to the city of Manresa, in central Catalonia. The most international fair of its history, it will feature over 300 art activities, host 107 companies and show 35 exhibitions. Highlights of the programme include the popular Portuguese singer Dulce Pontes and the musical duo Toumani...

  • Francesc Homs on Wednesday at an event organised by ESADE business school (by M. Belmez)

    08.10.14 - 20:11

    Alternative consultation vote on independence to also take place on November 9 fades away

    Both the Catalan Government and the main pro-independence civil society organisation ANC are rejecting the possibility to organise an alternative self-determination vote on the 9thof November if the official one, which has already been called, cannot take place. Furthermore, the ANC's President would back the organisation of early plebiscitary elections if the Spanish authorities were to totally block the current...

  • The UPyD's leader, Rosa Díez, a few weeks ago in Catalonia (by ACN)

    08.10.14 - 20:09

    Spanish nationalist party UPyD files complaint against Catalan President for "disobedience"

    In addition, the Spanish nationalist and populist partyUPyD compared Catalonia's self-determination process with Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy, in a letter sent to all the 751 Members of the European Parliament. Furthermore, it states that "defending democracy in Europe" means stopping Catalonia's "illegal referendum", thus denying the existence of a Catalan nation.  Furthermore, after the recent measures adopted by Catalan...

  • Nissan's plant in Barcelona (by ACN)

    08.10.14 - 20:07

    Nissan to hire 700 people in Barcelona and work 24/7 for the next 3 months

    The factory that the Japanese car multinational has in Barcelona will be working 24 hours a day and 7 days a week for the first time in its 30 years of existence in order to produce the Pulsar saloon car and the NV200 van. In addition, it will hire 686 new temporary workers to deal with this production increase. As from the 20th of October, Nissan will hire 86 new staff that will strengthen the current night shift on week days,...