• Sant Joan's bonfire in Castelló d'Empúries, Girona (by ACN)

    Midsummer's Eve in Catalonia: one of the most magical nights of the year… but caution!

    Firecrackers, bonfires, packed beaches, a torch relay from the mountains to the cities, and happy children. These are only some of the elements converging in one of the most magical and brightest nights of the year in Catalonia, Midsummer's Eve (also known as Saint John's Eve, June 23). Dating back some hundreds of years as part of the summer solstice celebration, tradition has it that fire purifies and dispels the imaginary beings that wander around the country during the night. And despite having entered into the 21st century and the information society, Catalonia still celebrates this ancient pagan belief. In style.

David Alegret during the opera performance in prison (by ACN)

Pioneer project puts opera in prison
The prestigious Gran Teatre del Liceu opera house and the Catalan government began a new joint opera project with Barcelona’s Quatre Camins prison this month. Two opera singers performed such well-known pieces as ‘The Barber of Seville’ and 'Romeo and Juliet” in front of 300 inmates on Thursday. Several workshops in the lead-up to the concert helped to create an open atmosphere of integration among the prisoners, forging connections between the prison workers and the inmates. The aim of this pioneer project is to bring culture to all social sectors and groups, especially those with difficult access to it, while providing inmates with positive life experiences.

Visitors at the exhibition about the Sitges Film Festival (by ACN)

Sitges Film Festival celebrates 50 years
An exhibition commemorating 50 years of the Sitges International Fantastic Film Festival opens on Thursday at the Catalan Film Archive. The exhibit covers the festival’s history, showing how it has evolved with different films and guests summarizing the past five decades. ‘Cinema is Fantastic’ is the title of the retrospective which includes all 50 posters from past editions, together with pictures of the main guests invited to the festival over the years and images from some of the films that have been screened in Sitges. “We are celebrating 50 years of the festival and are at a high point. We wanted to show the entire journey from the 1960s up until now,” said curator, Diego López. The exhibition can be visited in Barcelona until September 17, after which it will be moved to Sitges to coincide with this year’s edition of the festival.

Catalan VP, Oriol Junqueras, Catalan President, Carles Puigdemont and Catalan Minister for Foreign Affairs, Raül Romeva (by

Independence referendum details to be unveiled on July 4

A website with more than 100 questions and answers and more than 200 events to explain the referendum. These are only some of the initiatives that the Catalan government is planning in order to raise awareness about the independence vote. After announcing earlier this month that the referendum will be held on October 1, the Catalan government will unveil its information campaign and all the technical details and legal backing of the plebiscite in an event in Barcelona on July 4, ACN has learned. The Catalan president, Carles Puigdemont, vice president, Oriol Junqueras, and the lawmakers who have written the legislation for the vote will take part in the event, named “Garanties.cat” (guarantees).

Nissan's new electric van being built in Barcelona (by J. Pujolar)

Catalan economy hits 19% of Spanish GDP for first time this century
Catalonia’s economy now makes up more than 19% of the Spanish economy, says a Catalan chambers of commerce report. The 19% figure is the highest percentage this century, finds the study published on Thursday, with an increase from 18.7% to 19.03% since 2011. “The 2016 economic balance was very positive and in 2017 a similar performance by f the Catalan economy is expected, with a growth of about 3%,” stated the report. Furthermore, the chambers of commerce point out that the country is coming out of the crisis “very quickly” and that 2016 GDP exceeded that of 2007 for the first time in this period. The statement also shows that the Catalan economy has been growing faster than the Spanish one since 2013, with a 1.9% average increase in GDP, four decimal points higher.
  • The Spanish President, Mariano Rajoy, and the PSOE leader, Pedro Sánchez (by X.Vallbona)

    Rajoy rejects defining Spain as ‘plurinational’

    Spanish president Mariano Rajoy is deaf to all talk of Spain as a plurinational state. Rejecting the socialist opposition’s acceptance of the term “plurinational” to describe Spain, on Friday Rajoy went only as far as admitting that the State includes "nationalities and regions" and suggested that "it makes no sense to dwell on it." "I am not in favour of the term plurinational; it calls for an explanation of what it means. I favour something encapsulated in the Constitution that is well-understood, in Spain there are nationalities and regions, it is what was agreed at the time," he said.
  • Tourists leaving their hotel in Lloret de Mar, in Girona's region (by ACN)

    Catalonia braces for record number of tourists

    Catalonia is preparing for yet another mass arrival of tourists this summer. The sector is expecting record-breaking occupancy figures, with Barcelona city apartments at nearly a 100% in for the whole summer. Meanwhile, the main coastal towns and resorts expect nearly full occupancy rates in July and August, with inland tourist spots up to 80% in August. Many occupancy rates are expected to set a new post-crisis record, with some figures reaching 2006-2007 levels, often seen as the best years before the recession broke.
  • Laura Urquiu of Red Points at the conference (by ACN)

    European conference in Barcelona underscores importance of women in tech

    “Diversity in companies is very important because women bring an essential vision to the sector.” With this message, Laura Urquizu, CEO of Red Points summarized the aim of the “Europe Female Founders” conference which took place on Thursday in Barcelona with a special focus on women in tech businesses. More than 100 startup founders exchanged their experiences and discussed the challenges in developing a business in the IT sector. “Barcelona is a great place for IT business, because it attracts a lot of highly qualified talent from all around the world and this diversity is essential for tech companies,” confirmed Portuguese CEO Cristina Fonseca of Talkdesk. “I am especially proud that women are getting into this business, which is far too dominated by men,” said Marc Tluszcz, CEO of Mangrove Capital.

Highlights

  • Spanish Constitutional Court (by Miquel Codolar)

    21.06.17 - 19:43

    Constitutional Court rules against ‘Foreign Affairs’ designation of Catalan ministry but endorses external action

    The Constitutional Court (TC) nullified the designation 'Foreign Affairs’ for Raül Romeva’s ministry on Wednesday , but endorsed the Catalan government’s activities abroad, as long as they “do not infringe State powers”. By nullifying the designation, which in fact is no longer used, the court upheld only part of the the Spanish government’s appeal against the denomination as well as certain powers of the Catalan foreign affairs...
  • Raül Romeva in the mass grave of Figuerola d’Orcau, in the Catalan Pyrenees (by ACN)

    21.06.17 - 17:26

    First Civil War mass grave exhumed in Catalan government initiative

    Catalan foreign minister, Raül Romeva, visited the first Spanish Civil War common burial site to be exhumed in Catalonia as part of the Catalan government’s 2017-2018 mass grave plan, on Wednesday. The exhumation in the north-western town of Figuerola d’Orcau, in the Catalan Pyrenees, found the remains of 17 bodies that were lined up and buried with military elements, such as uniforms, boots and ammunition belts, which makes experts think...
  • Fira Tàrrega (by Cortes L.)

    21.06.17 - 15:59

    Tàrrega street festival presents art and science from 8 different countries

    The Fira Tàrrega presented the program for the new edition, to be held from September 7 to 10, which includes 54 projects from 8 different countries with 21 premières, on Tuesday. Half of the companies taking part are Catalan, a quarter are from Spain and almost a fifth are international participants. The event will be structured in five sections titled Participate, Complain, Act, Celebrate and Play. As in last year’s edition, theater and...
  • Mossos d'Esquadra officers arresting a suspected terrorist in Sabadell (by J. Pujolar)

    21.06.17 - 10:36

    Catalan police exclusion from Europol 'can compromise' European security, warns Eurocop

    Politicizing security puts citizens at risk. The Catalan police force, the Mossos d'Esquadra, should have access to Europol databases and forums just like any other competent security authority in Europe, said the president of Eurocop, Àngels Bosch, in an interview with the CNA. Following the outrage in Catalonia that the Basque police force, Ertzaitza, was granted access to Europol by the Spanish government while the Mossos were kept out,...
  • Catalan minister, Borràs, recieving the notification (by Rafa Garrido)

    20.06.17 - 19:10

    Court admits case against Catalan minister for ballot box purchase

    A Catalan government minister is to end up in court for buying ballot boxes. Catalonia’s Supreme Court (TSJC) notified the Catalan Minister for Public Administrations Meritxell Borràs that it has admitted the complaint filed against her for the purchase of ballot boxes for use in the October 1 referendum. This is the latest in a series of court cases against pro-independence officials, following the prosecution of the Catalan Parliament...
  • Amazons' logistics centre at Castellbisbal, 30 kilometres from Barcelona (by ACN)

    20.06.17 - 17:27

    Record-breaking €5bn of foreign investment in Catalonia

    Catalonia received more than five billion euros of foreign investment for the first time ever, according to data released by the Spanish ministry of economy earlier today. Investment reached €5.05 billion, a slightly higher figure than in 2015, which already set an all-time record at €4.92 billion. The trend continued in the first quarter of 2017, the best in history at €856.4 million.
  • the Port of Barcelona (by ACN)

    20.06.17 - 15:39

    Catalan exports increase by 9.2% between January and April

    Catalan exports increased by 9.2% in April compared to January and reached 5.5 billion euros, according to data released today by the Spanish ministry of economy, industry and competitiveness, but dropped by 2.7% compared to April 2016. Catalan exports are 25.3% of Spanish exports overall although Catalonia makes up 16% of the population. The first four months of 2017 mark the best ever start of a year with 23.15 billion euros on aggregate.
  • Memorial for the Hipercor attack victims (by Barcelona city hall)

    20.06.17 - 15:36

    Barcelona pays tribute to the victims of the Hipercor attack

    On June 19, 1987, a car bomb exploded in an Hipercor discount department store in Barcelona leaving 21 dead and 45 injured. It was the most severe terrorist attack perpetrated in Catalonia’s recent history. On Monday, June 19, citizens, city and governmental officials honored the victims in a remembrance ceremony organized by ACVOT, a terrorist victims association group. Barcelona's mayor, Ada Colau, and the Catalan president, Carles...
  • Núria Parlón is the Mayor of Santa Coloma de Gramenet (by ACN)

    20.06.17 - 14:53

    Local Socialist leader says Catalonia 'has no right to self-determination '

    Catalonia is a nation but "has no right to self-determination". That is the opinion of Núria Parlón, a leading figure in the Catalan Socialist Party (PSC), who has just recently been placed in charge of social cohesion and integration policy on the executive council of the affiliated Spanish Socialist Party (PSOE). While recognizing that Catalonia is "undoubtedly" a nation, Parlón rejected an independence referendum during a radio interview...
  • Bjork during her concert at Sónar (by Sónar)

    19.06.17 - 18:57

    Sónar beats record with 123,000 attendees

    The International Festival of Advanced Music and New Media Art, Sónar, received the greatest gift in advance for its 25 anniversary to be celebrated next year. The 2017 edition, celebrated in Barcelona this weekend, registered a record high number of attendees; more than 123,000 people visited the festival during the three days or they participated in some of the other activities programmed at the two fairs of Montjuïc or Gran Via in...
  • Ballot box (by Ferran Garcia Queralt)

    19.06.17 - 18:44

    'Yes' vote ahead in referendum poll with 64% turnout

    Up to 64% of Catalans would vote in the 1 October referendum even if the central government bans it, says a new survey. The ‘Yes’ vote would come out on top with 42.3% of the registered vote compared to 38.9% of ‘No’ votes. The decision to go ahead with the referendum without the permission of the Spanish government has most support among pro-independence voters. However, 62% of Podem voters, 25% of Catalan socialist voters and 30% of...
  • Foreign Affairs Minister Raül Romeva with the consular corps (by Silvia Jardí)

    19.06.17 - 17:53

    Romeva tells consular corps: "It’s impossible until someone does it"

    Minister of Foreign Affairs, Institutional Relations and Transparency Raül Romeva visited the Cartoixa d'Escaladei in Priorat’s Morera de Montsant on Monday, telling the consular corps that innovation and a willingness for reinvention are what distinguish the region. While Romeva made no explicit reference to the independence referendum, he used Priorat’s adoption of terraced vineyards as an example of overcoming what was considered...
  • A Catalan Police car (by ACN)

    19.06.17 - 13:51

    Spain excludes Catalan police from Europol while granting access to Basques

    The Catalan government expressed outcry after the Spanish executive granted the Basque police, Ertzaintza, access to the Europol database while excluding the Catalan police, the Mossos d’Esquadra. Spanish and Basque officials came to an agreement about the matter in a security coordination meeting, which also generated uneasiness in Catalonia, as its executive has called for a similar bilateral meeting for years. The last one between Madrid...
  • Close-up of the Catalan President, Carles Puigdemont (by ACN)

    19.06.17 - 11:37

    Catalan president praises “exemplary” referendum in Swiss canton shift

    The Catalan president, Carles Puigdemont, on Monday praised the “exemplary” reaction from the German-speaking Berna canton to the town of Moutier’s decision to transfer to French-speaking Jura. In a referendum on Sunday, the town voted in favor of joining Jura with 51.7% of the vote. In a press release, the Executive Council of Bern said it “accepted” the decision and invited Jura to start the “negotiations on the specifics of the...
  • Homage to Francesc Boix in Paris (by ACN)

    19.06.17 - 10:26

    Mauthausen photographer Francesc Boix finally buried with other heroes at Père-Lachaise

    Francesc Boix's testimony at the Nuremberg and Dachau trials against the Nazis was crucial. This Catalan, born in Barcelona in 1920, managed to smuggle around 20,000 photographs and negatives out of the Mauthausen camp, where he was kept prisoner during the Holocaust. The images served as crucial evidence of the genocide. However, for decades, his remarkable history was silenced by Franco's dictatorship and basically forgotten in Europe, just...
  • Catalan president, Carles Puigdemont, at the Government headquaters in Barcelona (by Rafa Garrido)

    16.06.17 - 20:36

    Catalan President suggests "necessary" referendum debate in Congress

    The president of Catalonia, Carles Puigdemont, wrote a letter to the president of the Spanish Congress on Friday asking her to hold a debate in the chamber about the independence referendum plans. "I think it's important for all members of Congress to be able to hear from me, as president of Catalonia, the reasons why we are in this situation and why my government asked to negotiate a referendum proposal with the Spanish executive," Puigdemont...