• Muriel Casals died this Sunday at the age of 70 (by ACN)

    Muriel Casals, one of the most representative figures of Catalonia's pro-independence movement, dies at 70

    Pro-independence cross-party list 'Junts Pel Sí's MP Muriel Casals died this Sunday at the age of 70. Former president of civil-society association Òmnium Cultural, Muriel was one of the most representative assets of the pro-independence movement in Catalonia. Recently, she was named president of the Study Committee for the Constitutive Process, responsible for setting the basis of Catalonia's roadmap towards independence. Together with Carme Forcadell, Parliament's President and former president of pro-independence grassroots organisation Catalan National Assembly, Muriel was responsible for the massive pro-independence rallies which took the streets in Barcelona during the last six years. Casals was in hospital since the 30th of January, after being ran over by a bicycle in Barcelona. She couldn't recover from her traumatic brain injury.

Catalan President, Carles Puigdemont, received the consuls based in Barcelona (by ACN)

Puigdemont to Barcelona’s consuls: “Catalonia walks towards independence”

Catalan President Carles Puigdemont warned diplomats stationed in the Catalan capital that they “will be busy in the coming months” even more than usual, since Catalonia “is walking towards independence”. Puigdemont made this statement during the traditional reception of the Barcelona-based consuls, together with the Catalan Minister for Foreign Affairs, Raül Romeva, and Catalan Minister for Business and Knowledge, Jordi Baiget. The Catalan President also asked the diplomatic community “to explain [Catalonia’s process] properly” to their countries and assured that he is at their disposal to address any concerns they may have. In the same vein, Romeva called on those present to find a “suitable framework” to deal with all their possible doubts in an in-depth manner. 

Catalan President, Carles Puigdemont and the Catalan government’s vice president, Oriol Junqueras received this Wednesday the visit of Hard Rock’s president Hamish Dodds and the company’s vice president, Nelson Parker (by ACN)

Hard Rock to invest €2.5 billion in BCN World casino, hotel and entertainment resort

Hard Rock’s president Hamish Dodds and the company’s vice president, Nelson Parker, met this Wednesday with Catalan President Carles Puigdemont and the Catalan government’s vice president, Oriol Junqueras, in order to outline to them the multinational’s aim to set up a Tourist Integrated Centre in BCN World which would represent a 2.5-billion-euro investment. However, the BCN World project, which is set to be built on the 800 hectares surrounding the Port Aventura theme park (on the Costa Daurada, near Tarragona), is currently on ‘stand-by’. The government is trying to find the greatest consensus possible amongst the different parties and institutions involved and President Puigdemont announced this week that a consultation may be set up to get to know the locals’ opinions. 

Current Spanish Prime Minister, Mariano Rajoy met Anti-Catalan nationalism Ciutadans' leader, Albert Rivera this Thursday (by PP)

“Defending national unity” one of Rajoy’s main conditions for reaching government alliances

“Defending national unity” is one of the key points that current Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy established in the People’s Party (PP) proposal for reaching agreements in order to form a stable government in Spain. A national unity “which is threatened”, according to Rajoy. Besides fighting Catalonia’s push for independence, Rajoy’s proposal also includes fighting towards economic recovery, strengthening the basis of the welfare state, fighting against terrorism and reinforcing the democratic bond between citizens and politicians. PP’s leader handed over the document to anti-Catalan nationalism Ciutadans leader Albert Rivera, with whom he held a meeting today. The proposal has also been sent to Spanish Socialist Party (PSOE) leader Pedro Sánchez, who is currently attempting to form government. 

Catalan Ministrer for Foreign Affairs, Raül Romeva, during his appearance before the Parliament (by ACN)

Catalan Ministry for Foreign Affairs proves Catalonia’s “unequivocal will to become a state”

“The Catalan Ministry for Foreign Affairs, Institutional Relations and Transparency is the first structure of state that the Catalan government has created and proves [Catalonia’s] unequivocal will to become a state” stated the new Catalan Minister for Foreign Affairs, Raül Romeva. The pro-independence cross-party list ‘Junts Pel Sí’ top member and former MEP aims to “increase Catalonia’s visibility as a global actor” during the upcoming 17 months, the planned duration of the new Catalan executive. “Our action must be regarded as an investment, rather than a cost” he stated, addressing Spain’s pro-unity parties. During his appearance in Parliament, Romeva also wanted to stress that “those who defend a new state reached the majority in this chamber in the 27-S elections”.

  • Catalan authorities during L9's metro line maiden trip (by ACN)

    Barcelona’s metro finally arrives at El Prat airport

    Barcelona’s El Prat airport can now be reached by metro from the city centre. Transports Metropolitans de Barcelona (TMB) has finally opened L9 Sud, a driverless 20-kilometre stretch which connects the city centre with El Prat’s Terminal 1. The project, which was originally set to be completed by 2008, has been awaited with much anticipation, especially by those living on the outskirts of Barcelona or in areas without a metro connection, and is expected to transport nearl 30 million passengers per year. The project itself was initially estimated to cost roughly €3 million, but the Catalan government invested 200 additional million on top of the original budget. Despite these changes, L9 Sud will provide passengers a new, more convenient route to El Prat Airport as opposed to the current Rodalies line. Additionally, it will connect to 15 new stations and three other metro lines.

  • Current Spanish Prime Minister, Mariano Rajoy, after his meeting with PSOE's leader, Pedro Sánchez (by ACN)

    Rajoy doesn’t exclude putting himself forward for investiture

    Almost two months after the 20-D Spanish Elections, current Spanish Prime Minister, Mariano Rajoy, and Spanish Socialist Party (PSOE) leader, Pedro Sánchez, have met. After the encounter, which lasted less than half an hour, Rajoy announced that he may still put himself forward for investiture. “The most reasonable thing, in democratic terms, would be a government led by the People’s Party” he stated and added that PP won the 20-D elections and obtained “more than one million votes more” than PSOE. Regarding the approach towards Catalonia’s push for independence, Rajoy said they hadn’t talked about it but emphasised the commitment of both leaders to “complying with the Spanish Constitution”. Rajoy also referred to Catalan President Carles Puigdemont’s statement to Barcelona’s diplomats, considering it “lamentable and unconstitutional” to have told the consuls that “Catalonia walks towards independence”.

  • Electricity prices decreased this January (by ACN)

    Prices dropped by 1.7% in January, leaving annual inflation flat

    The negative inflation rate in January has been accentuated by a drop in housing prices (-4.8%) mainly due to the decrease in electricity prices, according to figures released by the Spanish Statistics Institute. The January sales have also affected the so-called Consumer Price Index (IPC). On the other hand, the price of transportation grew from -2.7% in December to -1.7% this past January, due to the increase in fuel prices. Thus, the annual variation in Catalonia leaves annual inflation for last month flat. In the whole of Spain, the drop was even more accentuated; prices decreased by 0.3% last month in comparison to January 2015. 

Highlights

  • One of the troupes of Sitges Carnival (by ACN)

    12.02.16 - 09:36

    Sitges draws in thousands to celebrate Carnival festivities with parades and pageantry

    Just 35 kilometres southwest of Barcelona, Sitges draws in tourists every year for its nightlife, beaches, and also for its Carnival celebrations. Starting a week before Ash Wednesday, the city’s streets fill with tourists from all over as well as many commuting in from Barcelona by bus or train. This year, festivities began on the 30th of January and lasted well into Ash Wednesday on the 10th of February. Much...

  • Kaptoum celebrates his goal with Aleix Vidal and Munir (by FCB)

    11.02.16 - 10:56

    Valencia CF v FC Barcelona: Record broken and into the Copa del Rey final (1-1)

    FC Barcelona stretch their unbeaten run to an amazing 29 games on their way to a sixth Copa del Rey Final in eight years. With a seven-goal head start, the Catalans were effectively  through to final before a ball had been kicked at Mestalla, so it was little surprise that Luis Enrique opted to rest players for more decisive matches, including all three of the famous trident. Barça provided most of the early...

  • Former Catalan President, Jordi Pujol, on its way to testifiying before Spain’s High Court (by ACN)

    10.02.16 - 18:37

    Former Catalan President Jordi Pujol testifies before Spain’s High Court and denies being a corrupt politician

    The judicial process for alleged fiscal fraud and money laundering against family members of the President of Catalonia between 1980 and 2003 Jordi Pujol continues. This Wednesday, Pujol testified before Spain's High Court, 'La Audiencia Nacional', and gave further details on his father’s legacy, some €4 million which it is alleged was kept in Andorra for 34 years without informing tax authorities. He insisted that his father,...

  • From left to right, Swedish MEP Bodil Valero, Liberal CDC’s MEP Ramon Tremosa and left wing pro-independence ERC’s MEP, Josep Maria Terricabras (by ACN)

    08.02.16 - 19:55

    MEPs visit the Ebro Delta to check whether Spain’s National Water Plan infringes European regulations

    Six MEPs from the Committee on Petitions visited the Ebro Delta, in Catalonia’s southern region of Tarragona, to meet the several petitioners who have claimed that Spain’s new National Water Plan (NWP) may infringe the EU Water Framework Directive. Environmentalists say one of Europe's most important wetland areas is under threat as Spain’s new Plan aims to reduce the river’s flow to 3,000 cubic hectometres per year...

  • The Catalan Minister for Foreign Affairs, Raül Romeva (by ACN)

    05.02.16 - 19:28

    Spain to take the Catalan Ministry for Foreign Affairs before the court

    The new Catalan Ministry for Foreign Affairs will be taken before the Spanish Constitutional Court (TC) after Spain’s executive considered it to be in a “conflict of jurisdiction” and beyond the competences in matters of foreign action specified in the Catalan Statute of Autonomy.Thus, the Spanish government aims to stop the “internationalisation of the Catalan process”, the launching of which the Catalan...

  • Image of Current Spanish Prime Minister, Mariano Rajoy during an appearance before the media (by ACN)

    04.02.16 - 18:54

    Rajoy may take the processing of the laws to start Catalonia’s disconnection from Spain before the court

    The current Spanish Prime Minister, Mariano Rajoy, announced that the processing of the three laws which would prepare Catalonia for its disconnection process from Spain may be taken before the court. According to Rajoy, Spain’s legal services will analyse these laws and if evidence that they “could contradict what it is said in the Constitution” is found “the Spanish government will act as is has done up to...

  • Catalan President, Carles Puigdemont, this Wednesday during the plenary session at the Parliament (by ACN)

    03.02.16 - 20:03

    President Puigdemont: Catalonia’s push for independence “is for real”

    “Catalonia’s push for independence is for real and you have realised too late” stated Catalan President Carles Puigdemont, addressing the future Spanish government. During the first session of control in the Parliament, Puigdemont criticised the difficulty of the Spanish government in reaching an agreement. The Parliament has also approved this Wednesday an extension of the public budget for 2015,thanks to 5 votes in...

  • Spain's King, Philip VI and PSOE's leader, Pedro Sánchez agreed to start trying to form a new government in Spain (by ACN)

    03.02.16 - 10:44

    Spain’s king requests Socialist leader Pedro Sánchez to form government

    This Wednesday, Spain’s king Philip VI requested Spanish Socialist Party (PSOE) leader Pedro Sánchez to start the negotiations with the other groups in the Spanish Parliament so that the first investiture debate can take place. Sánchez assured that he is “aware of the difficulties” but expressed his will to “unblock the current situation” in Spain. PSOE obtained 90 seats from the 350 in the...

  • 080 Barcelona Fashion's opening catwalk (by ACN)

    01.02.16 - 19:27

    080 Barcelona Fashion week kicks off with a focus on entrepreneurs

    The 17th edition of Barcelona’s 080 Fashion week started this Monday and is taking place at the iconic Casa Llotja de Mar in Barcelona throughout the week. The opening catwalk featured the previous edition’s National Award to Emerging Designer winner CarlotaOms. The eventwill combine offerings from newcomers such as Pau Esteve with those of consolidated firms such as Custo Barcelona and Sita Murt. Besides...

  • Former Icelandic Minister for Foreign Affairs, Jón Baldvin Hannibalsson (by ACN)

    29.01.16 - 18:53

    Former Icelandic Minister for Foreign Affairs to Catalonia: “Don’t be scared by scaremongering”

    If Catalonia proclaims its independence, the international community will in the end “accommodate itself to the new reality”, stated former Icelandic Minister for Foreign Affairs, Jón Baldvin Hannibalsson. “Don’t be scared by scaremongering. In the end, all nations and all political leaders have to accommodate themselves to new realities” he assured in an interview with CNA. Although he predicted that...

  • Banc Sabadell's headquarters in Barcelona (by ACN)

    29.01.16 - 16:31

    Banc Sabadell nearly doubled its profits in 2015 after integrating UK bank TSB

    The Catalan banking group Banc Sabadell earned €708.4 million in 2015, according to figures published by the company. This result is 90.6% higher than that obtained in 2014. The good result of Banc Sabadell in 2015 is mainly due to the integration of the UK bank TSB in June, which added accounts worth €122 million. Without this operation, Banc Sabadell’s net profits would only had grown by 57.8%. Thus, net interest income,...

  • The constitution of the study Committee for the Constitutive Process, this Thursday in the Parliament (by ACN)

    28.01.16 - 19:32

    Committee to set the pro-independence roadmap officially constituted

    The Parliament started to constitute this Thursday the 29 committees of this term of office. One of the most controversial is the Study Committee for the Constitutive Process, which has been set up to put in place the basis of the pro-independence process. Muriel Casals, former president of the cultural association promoting the Catalan language and culture, Òmnium Cultural, described the committee as a place “to share and...

  • Resort in Esterri d'Àneu, in the Catalan Pyrenees (by ACN)

    28.01.16 - 18:33

    88,000 fewer unemployed in Catalonia, the biggest drop since 2003

    There were 87,900 fewer jobseekers at the end of 2015 in comparison to the end of 2014, which represents the biggest annual drop since 2003, according to the latest Active Population Survey (EPA). This represents the 10th consecutive month in which the rate of unemployment has decreased in Catalonia in comparison to 2014. The unemployment rate in Catalonia at the end of 2015 was 17.7%, 2 points lower than it was on the...

  • Luis Suárez drew Barça level in the 53rd minute (by FCB)

    28.01.16 - 09:55

    FC Barcelona knock out Athletic for yet another semi-final appearance in the Copa del Rey

    FC Barcelona spent over 40 minutes in an uncharacteristically precarious position but got three second half goals to knock Athletic Club Bilbao out of the Copa del Rey by a score of 3–1, 5–2 on aggregate, and qualify for the semi-finals for the sixth consecutive year. It was the third meeting in a 10-day span between the two sides — one in La Liga, two in the Cup — with FC Barcelona...

  • The new Catalan President, Carles Puigdemont and the Leader of the Opposition, Inés Arrimadas met this Wednesday at Palau de la Generalitat (by ACN)

    27.01.16 - 19:22

    First meeting between President Puigdemont and the Leader of the Opposition

    New Catalan President Carles Puigdemont and the recently named Leader of the Opposition Inés Arrimadas held this Wednesday their first official meeting. At a press conference directly after the meeting, the Catalan government’s spokeswoman, Neus Munté, expressed her hope that the differences regarding the roadmap towards independence, which is “a priority of the new government”, won’t obstruct...

  • Image of 1 euro coin (by ACN)

    27.01.16 - 18:41

    Political instability doesn’t seem to have affected the Catalan economy

    Barcelona’s Chamber of Commerce estimates that the Catalan economy grew by 3.2% in 2015, which is more than double the figure for 2014 and marks a return to pre-crisis levels, when the GDP increased by 1.5%. To “keep on advancing on the path of economic recovery” and to respond to Catalonia’s push for independence and “guarantee the territorial stability”, the president of Barcelona’s Chamber of...