• 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.

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

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 within a more decentralised Spain, which would recognise Catalonia's nationhood, respect Catalan language and launch a fairer inter-territorial fiscal scheme for Catalan interests. With the platform 'Construïm' ('We build', in English), Duran is now trying to reach new potential voters "who feel orphaned from any political party"; voters worried about "social issues" and the economy, "beyond the debate about independence". With early elections on the horizon, the initiative is likely to represent the split of the CiU, which has been the main actor of Catalan politics for the last 35 years.

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

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 “priority” by Desigual. Thanks to this cooperation, Desigual clothes will be sold in almost 30 different department stores throughout Mexico. In addition the Catalan brand will open its own boutiques in Andares in Guadalajara, Antea in Querétano and in Mexico City. Moreover, Desigual has also committed to strengthening its presence in the US before the end of 2015, with the opening of two new stores, one in Miami and the other in Las Vegas.

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

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 1940 to 1955, scoring 251 goals in 277 games (0.91 per game). Almost 60 years later, Messi has gone past him. The 27 year-old Leo Messi has now reached the summit, one season after surpassing the career marks of Hugo Sánchez (234), Raúl (228), Alfredo Di Stéfano (227), César (224) and Quini (219).

  • 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.

  • 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.

Highlights

  • 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...

  • The Spanish PM, Mariano Rajoy, in Brisbane, Australia (by La Moncloa)

    17.11.14 - 22:03

    Rajoy does not back Socialists' Constitutional Reform to better integrate Catalonia

    On Sunday the Spanish Socialist Party (PSOE) approved another solemn declaration proposing a Constitutional Reform, after it already did so in July 2013. Once again the PSOE has not detailed their proposal, but insists on building a true federal model, going beyond the current Autonomous Community system. The People's Party (PP) – which runs the Spanish Government – opposes such a reform although they "agree to talk" about it....

  • The Quatre Camins prison, in Greater Barcelona (by L. Vilaró)

    17.11.14 - 21:35

    Property developer and former FC Barcelona President, Josep Lluís Núñez, goes to jail for tax fraud

    Josep Lluís Núñez Clemente – aged 83 – and his son – who had been Director of the family company – have been accused of bribing tax inspectors in the 1990s regarding their private business and have entered jail this weekend for a 2 year sentence. Núñez senior chaired FC Barcelona between 1978 and 2000 but his sentence has nothing to do with the famous sports club's activities. After...

  • The Castor offshore platform, in front of Vinaró's coast, near Catalonia's Ebro Delta (by ACN)

    14.11.14 - 20:29

    Catalan Government takes Spain’s €1.35 billion bailout of the failed Castor Project to the Constitutional Court

    On Friday, the Spanish Government approved the €1,350 million compensation to Escal UGS, the company behind the controversial Castor Project, a submarine facility built to store 1.3 billion tonnes worth of gas reserves off the Ebro Delta coast. This project failed after it was found to have caused almost 1,000 small earthquakes. This amount will be financed through increased tariffs to gas consumers over the next 30 years, resulting in...