Great success at this year’s edition of La Mercè Festival Barcelona. The festival was closed on Sunday with a Pyromusical performance in which fireworks, light and music were synchronised. Around 90,000 people gathered to see the show, which honoured Paris, the guest city of the 2016 celebration, and David Bowie and Prince, who passed away in January and April, respectively. The festival had a French and international accent and included performances of French artists like the street and circus art cooperative 2r2 and the prestigious theatre group Company Théâtre Silvia Monfort. However, during the celebration there were also several Catalan traditional activities such as human towers.
Visitors coming to Barcelona in 2017 may be levied with a tourist tax. This would be added to the fee Catalonia already applies to people staying in Catalan hotels, camping sites and tourist cottages. The Municipal Commission of Economy and Finance passed on Tuesday a proposal presented by liberal ‘Convergència i Unió’ (CiU) in which the political party asks the local government to consider the application of a tourist tax, fee or public levy. The aim is to balance the costs and benefits of receiving around 30 million visitors each year. The text approved also insists on the necessity of demanding from the Catalan Government the transfer of all the revenue collected from tourists visiting the city, and not just half of it.
El Vendrell, a coastal town near Tarragona in southern Catalonia, will hold from the 29th of September to the 30th of October some 20 activities to commemorate the 140th anniversary of Pau Casals’ birth. The programme for ‘Pau Casals Month’ includes conferences, concerts and exhibitions which aim to pay tribute to the prominent cellist. The two principal activities will be the talks given by Casals’s widow and the Abbot of Montserrat, Josep Maria Soler Canals. The commemoration, which last year went on for a week, has been extended to a month this 2016. El Vendrell’s Councillor for Culture, Eva Serramià, stated during the presentation of the programme on Monday that the goal of this extension is to “surpass the local sphere and situate El Vendrell in the international scene”.
Catalonia is a land of wine and cava, therefore Catalan wineries want to expand their market beyond the Catalan borders. This week the 6th International Wine Business Meeting is taking place in Lleida, in eastern Catalonia. In this edition the guest country is Russia. The aim of this event is to promote Catalan exports and find new trade opportunities. Up to 20 Catalan wineries are participating at the meeting and considering whether to increase or open their exports to Russia. For their part, a dozen of the major wine and cava importers in Russia are attending the meeting with the aim of for new trading partners, which offer quality but which also make products that the average Russian consumer can afford.
Paris, the city of light, is the guest at this year’s edition of ‘La Mercè’, the festival of Barcelona’s patron saint. From the 22nd to the 25th of September many French artists will perform at Ciutadella Park. “Our desire is to keep the spirit of an open and cosmopolitan city in contact with other capitals, in this case, Paris", said Jaume Collboni, Barcelona’s Deputy Mayor for Culture. Popular activities such as ‘cercaviles’, parades which include all the folklore symbols of the city, and ‘castellers’, traditional Catalan human towers, will also be part of the programme. The festival will finish with the traditional ‘Pyromusical’, a performance where music and fireworks are synchronised.
FC Barcelona overcame the absence of Leo Mesi and secured the win at Sporting Gijón on Saturday. The Argentine is going to be out for three weeks but was not missed, as the Barça team scored five away from home for the second week in a row. Luis Suárez, Rafinha, Neymar (2) and Arda Turan were the scorers of the goals that allowed FC Barcelona to achieve victory, three of them coming in the last 10 minutes. After the midweek draw with Atlético de Madrid, Luis Enrique made five changes to the starting eleven. One of those was Rafinha, who started in place of Messi. The Brazilian justified his election when, on 32 minutes, he scored the second goal.
Catalonia has the “cultural capital” and the “knowledge” to promote a new model of production, more sustainable than the “obsolete” one. This is the main conclusion of a lecture given at the conference “A new Economic Paradigm for a Sustainable Catalonia’ by economist Jeremy Rifkin organized on Wednesday in Sant Cugat, a city near Barcelona, by the Public Diplomacy Council of Catalonia (Diplocat). According to the sociologist and political advisor, Catalonia has the potential to “lead the way of Regional Europe” to the ‘Third Industrial Revolution’. Rifkin predicts an economic paradigm shift as a result of two merging factors: Internet technology and renewable energies, which will create a powerful Third Industrial Revolution where people will produce their own green energy and will share it on a sort of “Energy Internet”, in the same way we share information today.
The leader of the Spanish Socialist Party (PSOE), Pedro Sánchez, will not offer the Catalan Government a referendum on independence in exchange for his investiture, said the Catalan President, Carles Puigdemont. The politician stressed during an interview on Thursday that PSOE backbenchers are already warning Sánchez against this possibility, despite the leader having not made any move in that direction. The General Coordinator of the Catalan Democratic Party (PDC), Marta Pascal, stated on Wednesday that the referendum is a “red line”. “We will not sit at the negotiation table unless the referendum issue is solved”, Pascal said, while stressing that there will be “no chance” to debate Sánchez’s investiture if Catalonia’s right to a referendum is not recognised.