• Oriol Junqueras, leader of the ERC, addressing the Catalan Parliament on Tuesday (by P. Mateos)

    Left-wing independence party ERC requests to join Catalan Government to protect self-determination vote

    The left-wing independence party ERC asked the Catalan President to join the Government "in order to protect the [self-determination] consultation vote" scheduled on the 9th of November. The Catalan President, Artur Mas, stated that they will talk about it in the coming days to strengthen the unity around November's vote. In addition, the Catalan Socialist party (PSC) also asked Mas to talk to them if the Constitutional Court ultimately bans the consultation vote. The People's Party (PP), which runs the Spanish Government, accused Mas of promoting "a soft dictatorship" in Catalonia. The green-socialist and post-communist coalition ICV stated they want a consultation vote with "credibility". The Spanish nationalist and populist C's said that Mas' time is finished and asked for early elections. Finally, the alternative left and radical independence party CUP advocated ignoring Spain's institutions and voting on the 9th of November by any means.

The President of the Catalan Government, Artur Mas, addressing the Parliament of Catalonia (by R. Garrido)

Catalonia would go for early elections if November's independence vote cannot have "enough democratic guarantees"

The President of the Catalan Government, Artur Mas, stated that his "full commitment" is to make sure that Catalans can vote on the 9th of November self-determination consultation "with full democratic guarantees". In his opening speech at the Catalan Parliament’s main annual debate, Mas emphasised that his will is to make use of his entire term in office, which ends in November 2016, but only "if it is possible". He hinted that early elections could be called if November's vote could not be carried out with "enough democratic guarantees". In addition, Mas stressed the Government's "unequivocal commitment" to eradicate corruption. He also underlined that the Catalan economy is starting to recover from the economic crisis, leading Spain's recovery. However, he warned of the weak situation of public finances and of Catalonia's self-government because of Madrid's recentralisation and unilateral actions.

The Spanish Deputy Prime Minister on Friday (by R. Pi de Cabanyes)

Madrid says 'no' and makes threats with "penal" actions after 1.8 million Catalans asked to vote

The Spanish Government "cannot change its stance", stated Spanish Deputy PM on the day after Catalonia's independence supporters peacefully formed a colossal rally for the 3rd consecutive year. Furthermore, the Director of Spain's Public Prosecution Office – appointed by the Spanish Government – threatened the Catalan President with "penal" actions if he carries on once the vote has been formally banned. The day before, 1.8 million people formed an 11km-long Catalan flag mosaic demanding to vote on the 9th of November. "Citizens have the right to demonstrate but governments have an obligation to honour the law", stated the Deputy PM. Using a restrictive interpretation of the Constitution, Madrid has been insisting that it is "illegal" to hold such a vote. Besides, the European Commission refused to provide specific comments on the massive demonstration of European citizens, repeating it is "an internal issue".

The Catalan President (centre) and the Vice President (red jacket) with the organisers of the massive demonstration (by J. Pujolar)

Catalan President asks Madrid "to sit down and talk" after the 3rd massive pro-independence rally

"Madrid, but also Brussels" should take note that "these people want to vote", stated the President of the Catalan Government, Artur Mas, after the massive pro-independence demonstration, which gathered 1.8 million people according to the local police. Mas met with the civil society associations organising the rally after the event and "congratulated" them. "There is barely any other country or society throughout the world that has this mobilisation level" and can send such a "powerful message" in such a peaceful and festive way. In addition, he agreed with the organisers that the "unity" among those supporting self-determination "is fundamental". "I commit myself to do whatever is possible, whatever is needed" to guarantee such a unity. "I am fully engaged in making sure people can vote", he concluded.

Neymar, wearing the Catalan flag shirt, scored Barça's two goals (by FC Barcelona)

FC Barcelona vs Athletic Club: Neymar and Messi brilliance sees off brave Bilbao (2-0)

Barça played with the Catalan flag shirt, as a way to commemorate Catalonia's National Day, which took place on Thursday.It was a special tribute, in the middle of the self-determination debate and in the 300th anniversary of the year Catalonia lost its sovereignty. Two goals in five minutes late on from Neymar gave Barça a deserved win in an exciting game against Bilbao at the Camp Nou on Saturday afternoon. The Brazilian came on for Munir, who again gave a solid performance, just after the hour mark and his skill, speed and understanding with Messi tipped the scales FC Barcelona’s way against the determined and lively Basques. So that’s three games and three wins for Luis Enrique’s Barça at the Spanish League, with six goals scored and none yet conceded. Next up is the opening game of the Champions League against Apoel on Wednesday night.

  • The Spanish Foreign Affairs Minister, José Manuel García-Margallo, at the Spanish Parliament (by ACN)

    Spanish Government threatens to suspend Catalonia's self-rule to stop independence vote

    Catalonia's self-government might be suspended in the coming weeks if the Catalan authorities organise the self-determination consultation vote on the 9th of November, suggested the Spanish Minister for Foreign Affairs, José Manuel García-Margallo. The week after 1.8 million Catalans formed an 11km-long mosaic to support November's non-binding vote, García-Margallo stated that the Spanish Executive will use "all the means at its disposal" to stop such a vote from happening; all the means "within the Law, but using all the Law", he added. A few hours later, before the Spanish Parliament, García-Margallo was asked about this statement, which he confirmed. He also dared to talk about an armed intervention but ruled out the possibility of "putting out the tanks", because "that does not seem to be within the Constitution". Catalonia's autonomy was restored in Autumn 1977 and it was one of the most essential pillars of Spain's democratic transition and of the Constitution approved in December 1978.

  • Jordi Pujol Ferrussola, son of the former Catalan President Jordi Pujol, arriving at the Audiencia Nacional (by R. Pi de Cabanyes)

    Son of former Catalan President Jordi Pujol denies having earned illegal commissions before the judge

    The judicial process for alleged tax fraud against family members of the former President of Catalonia Jordi Pujol (who led centre-right Catalan nationalism from the mid-1970s until 2003) has started this week with the testimony of his oldest son, Jordi Pujol Ferrussola, in front of the Spain's High Court 'Audiencia Nacional'. Judge Pablo Ruz is investigating the tax fraud confessed by Pujol senior in late July, which shocked the whole of Catalan society, as well as alleged money laundering, influence peddling and corruption offenses that might have been committed by some of Pujol's sons. This Monday, the oldest son denied having earned any illegal commission and stressed that the tenders in which he worked as an advisor were all carried out at least 2 years after his father left the Catalan Government. He also criticised the annual report drafted by the Spanish Police for being vague and inexact.

  • Sketches for Les Rambles' design (by N. Sinkeviciute)

    'From Miró to Barcelona' exhibition traces the Catalan artist's legacy to his hometown

    The Joan Miró Foundation, a museum of modern art devoted to the famous Catalan artist, hosts the exhibition 'De Miró a Barcelona' ('From Miró to Barcelona'). The display focuses on 4 art works that Miró wanted to donate to the city of Barcelona: the Airport Mural, the Mosaic at the Pla de l’Os in Les Rambles, a sculpture for the Parc de Cervantes (which ended up in Chicago), and the Joan Miró Foundation. It is a collection of sketches, drawings, photographs and videos made in preparation for these works. Curated by the Director of the Foundation, Rosa Maria Malet, the exhibition is taking place from the 9th of May to the 2nd of November 2014. In accordance with Joan Miró’s will, the exhibition is free of charge.

Highlights

  • The anti-independence demonstration in Tarragona, which gathered 7,000 according to local police (by R. Segura)

    11.09.14 - 22:23

    7,000 pro-Spanish unity supporters gather in Tarragona, former capital of the Roman province

    On Catalonia's National Day, the Spanish unity association Societat Civil Catalana (Catalan Civil Society, in English), organised a demonstration to protest against the self-determination process in Tarragona. It was a demonstration organised weeks ago as an answer to the massive pro-independence rally organised on the same day in Barcelona. The Tarragona demonstration gathered 7,000 people according to the local police and 3,500 according...

  • The Catalan President, Artur Mas, in the morning's ceremony on Catalonia's National Day (by P. Mateos)

    11.09.14 - 20:08

    Catalonia has "everything ready" for November's self-determination vote

    On Catalonia's National Day, the President of the Catalan Government, Artur Mas, stated that "everything is ready" to hold the self-determination consultation vote, scheduled for the 9th of November by a two third majority of the Catalan Parliament. In a speech at an institutional ceremony held in the morning, a few hours before the massive pro-independence rally, Mas stated that "all the efforts are focused on the 9th...

  • The girl, who will turn 16 on November 9, casting a symbolic vote (by L. Vilaró)

    11.09.14 - 18:53

    1.8 million Catalans form an 11km-long flag mosaic supporting November's independence vote

    On Catalonia's National Day, the 11th of September, as in 2012 and 2013, pro-independence supporters have once again created a colossal demonstration, which is unique at a European level. According to Barcelona local police, 1.8 million participants of all ages and social origins formed a V-shaped mosaic displaying the Catalan flag along the city's two main avenues to show support for the 9th of November consultation...

  • 300 cellos playing in the 300th anniversary of the 1714 defeat (by P. Mateos)

    11.09.14 - 14:27

    Music, poetry and flowers to commemorate the 300 years since Catalonia's loss of its self-government

    In 1714, Catalonia was defeated and loss its sovereignty, its self-government, its Constitution and its freedoms to an absolute king who imposed a harsh political, economic, social and cultural repression that was prolonged until the 1970s, only interrupted during a few isolated and short periods. Barcelona was one of the last cities to fall, but it was ultimately defeated on the 11th of September 1714, after a 14-month military...

  • Felip Puig, presenting the new plan to combat youth unemployment (by J. R. Torné)

    11.09.14 - 00:23

    The Catalan Government to allocate €240 million until 2020 to help 300,000 young people find jobs

    The Catalan Government will invest €240 million until 2020 in a project to help 300,000 young people find work.  The aim of the programme is to provide a work placement, professional training or an internship for all young people aged between 16 and 24 who have not worked or received any training in the last 30 days, nor participated in any education program in the last 90 days. The programme will also target those under 30 who...

  • The Catalan President, together with the Mayor of Barcelona and the President of the Catalan Parliament, paying tribute to those who died defending Barcelona in 1713 and 1714 (by P. Francesch)

    10.09.14 - 23:54

    Catalan President asks Spain to "listen to" Catalonia's "peaceful and democratic claim"

    In the institutional speech that the President of the Catalan Government makes each year the evening before Catalonia's National Day, Artur Mas asked the Spanish authorities to "listen to the peaceful and democratic claim" represented by Thursday's massive pro-independence rally. "Silencing the voice of a people that want to speak out is a mistake; denying the vote to those who see ballot boxes as the solution and not the problem is a...

  • The Spanish PM a few weeks ago in La Moncloa (by ACN)

    10.09.14 - 23:52

    Spanish PM believes that a self-determination vote could create "difficulties in the markets"

    The day before the massive pro-independence demonstration in Barcelona, the Spanish Prime Minister, Mariano Rajoy, once again rejected Catalonia's right to self-determination. Furthemore, Rajoy stated that a self-determination consultation vote or a unilateral declaration of independence would generate "a political problem and difficulties in the markets". Rajoy was answering to an MP from the centre-right pro-Catalan State coalition CiU,...

  • Josep Carreras, singing after receiving the Catalan Parliament's Golden Medal (by P. Mateos)

    10.09.14 - 10:17

    Catalan tenor Josep Carreras: "We are an adult people and we know how to make our own decisions"

    On Tuesday evening the Barcelona-born opera tenor, Josep Carreras received the Golden Medal of the Catalan Parliament for his outstanding and internationally-recognised professional career, but also for his efforts leading a foundation that fights Leukaemia. In his acceptance speech, Carreras defended Catalonia's right to self-determination and the independence vote scheduled for the 9th of November. Carreras, who became a true...

  • The ERC leader, Oriol Junqueras, on Tuesday (by A. Moldes)

    10.09.14 - 09:28

    Left-wing Catalan independence party ERC backs "civil disobedience" if self-determination vote is banned

    The President of the left-wing Catalan independence party ERC, Oriol Junqueras, stated on Tuesday that "the greatest expression of civil disobedience is voting when they prevent you from voting", referring to the ban that the Spanish Constitutional Court is likely to issue on the self-determination consultation vote scheduled on the 9th of November. Furthermore, Junqueras also stated that he is convinced that the Catalan...

  • Francesc Homs, at the weekly press conference (by P. Mateos)

    09.09.14 - 22:07

    The Catalan Government will restore public employee's full salary in 2015 after a 3-year reduction

    In 2015 the employees of the Catalan Government and related institutions and public companies will receive their full salary once again after having suffered a 7.5% reduction over the last 3 years. The Spokesperson for the Catalan Government and Minister for the Presidency, Francesc Homs, announced the measure on Tuesday, after the weekly Cabinet meeting. Furthermore, the Executive will also stop the 15% reduction of working hours and...

  • The 2013 Catalan Way towards Independence, spanning 400km without interruption (by ACN)

    09.09.14 - 21:53

    Half a million already signed up for Catalonia's massive independence rally, more than in 2013

    Two days before the massive pro-independence demonstration will take place in Barcelona on Catalonia's National Day, more than 500,000 citizens have already signed up for participating in it. This year's pro-independence rally is likely to break all records, even though in last year's event demonstrators managed to form a 400km-long human chain spanning from north to south along all of Catalonia, attracting the world's attention. In 2013,...

  • Barça player Munir making his debut with the Spanish team (by FC Barcelona)

    09.09.14 - 15:44

    Barça player Munir makes his international debut aged 19

    FC Barcelona's young player Munir El Haddadi made his full debut with the Spanish team in Spain's 5-1 win over Macedonia in their opening Euro 2016 qualifier in Valencia on Monday night. The 19-year-old player came on for Koke on 77 minutes of the game. Sergio Busquets scored his first goal for the international team, getting the third goal in first half injury time. Pedro also scored and Jordi Alba and Marc Bartra both played. Besides,...

  • Rajoy (centre) at the PP's Executive Board (by R. Pi de Cabanyes)

    08.09.14 - 22:57

    Spanish PM has "all the measures ready" to stop Catalonia's self-determination vote

    Spain's Prime Minister, Mariano Rajoy, told the Executive Board of the governing People's Party(PP) that he has "all the measures ready" to stop the Catalan self-determination vote from happening. However, Rajoy avoided giving details about such measures and disclosing specific plans. The Spanish PM emphasised that his stance on Catalonia's right to self-determination and the organisation of an independence vote has remained unchangeable...

  • Flats on sale in Catalonia (by ACN)

    08.09.14 - 22:53

    Housing prices in Catalonia increase by 1.6% in the second quarter

    The value of homes in Catalonia increased by 1.6% during the second quarter of this year compared to the same period in 2013, according to the House Price Index of the Spanish Institute of Statistics (INE). In relation to the first quarter of this year, prices registered a 1.8% increase between March and June, whilst cumulatively over this year there was a 1.3% increase in property value in Catalonia. However, the prices of new flats rose...

  • The Secretary General of extreme-right Manos Limpias filing a judicial complaint (by ACN)

    08.09.14 - 22:46

    Court rejects extreme-right complaint against pro-independence grassroots organisation leader

    The judge has not accepted the complaint filed by the extreme-right and Spanish nationalist trade union Manos Limpias against Carme Forcadell, President of the Catalan National Assembly (ANC), the main civil society association supporting independence. Barcelona's first-circuit court number 14 does not see evidence or hints pointing towards any offence and therefore it has decided not to launch a judicial investigation and instead it...

  • Barcelona El Prat airport was Spain's busiest airport in August (by ACN)

    08.09.14 - 22:44

    Barcelona El Prat Airport overtook Madrid Barajas once again in August

    For the second consecutive year, Catalonia's main airport hosted more passengers than its Madrid competitor during the month of August, becoming the busiest airfield in Spain. 4.24 million people travelled through Barcelona El Prat last August, representing an 8.6% increase on the figure from the previous year. Meanwhile, 3.99 million travellers passed through the Adolfo Suárez Madrid-Barajas Airport (a +5% growth). In the last few...