• Juli Soler (left) next to Ferran Adrià (right) (by T. Tàpia)

    El Bulli director Juli Soler dies at 66

    Partner and director of El Bulli restaurant for over 30 years, Juli Soler, died Monday morning, Ferran Adrià confirmed with ACN. He was 66. Soler suffered from a neurodegenerative disease for over two years that forced him to abandon the BulliFoundation project to focus on his recovery. Doctors diagnosed the disease in October 2012. Soler was the person who hired the chef Ferran Adrià in the early '80s before El Bulli became the best restaurant in the world. Both always worked closely together and shared the executive direction of BulliFoundation from its inception.

An unemployment office in Barcelona (by O. Campuzano)

Catalonia leads unemployment reduction in Spain
Catalonia was last month again the Spanish Autonomous Community with the most intense monthly and annual decline in registered unemployment, official data released on Thursday show. According to the Spanish Ministry of Employment and Social Security, by the end of June 2015 there were 20,952 fewer people registered with the Catalan Public Employment Service (SOC) in comparison to May 2015, leaving the total number of registered unemployed individuals at 510,947. This drop is, in absolute terms, the lowest recorded for the month of June in the last 3 years. However, in relative terms, registered unemployment fell by -3.94%, the biggest decline for the month of June in 19 years. Compared to a year ago, the number of jobseekers decreased by 59,267 (-10.39%), thus marking a two-year period of consecutive annual decline in registered unemployment.

Artur Mas (left) and Oriol Junqueras (right) (by O. Campuzano)

Mas and Junqueras open to civil society list
The President of the Catalan Government, Artur Mas, said Wednesday that his June proposal for civil society groups to lead a unitary electoral list "does not at all break" the pact made in January between the CDC and ERC to run separately in the 27-S elections. The leader of the centre-right CDC argued that if civil society groups accept his proposal, civil society "won´t just invite the CDC and Mr. Mas" but "whomever they want" because the list would be "transversal". After Mas made these comments, the President of the centre-left ERC said if civil society groups drafted an electoral list excluding politicians altogether, the ERC would be the "first to accept" their proposal, as long as other independence parties also decide not to run for election. "We will never be an obstacle", Junqueras remarked.

The Catalan Showcase at the GDIF, in London (by ACN)

FiraTàrrega and Catalan performing arts back to "inspire" British programmers in London
FiraTàrrega, an international event for the performing arts held in Lleida, and the Catalan performing arts scene in general are considered "very inspiring" by British art professionals. On Sunday, they were both back at the Greenwich and Docklands International Festival (GDIF) in London, the UK capital’s leading event of free outdoor performing arts. In particular, five Catalan performing art companies and Mike Ribalta (FiraTàrrega's Head of professionals dept.) participated in the GDIF 2015 Showcase, a meeting of international programmers, in order to present their new projects and seek partnerships. This year, the British festival also has two Catalan productions in its programme: Toc de fusta and Brodas Bros.

The concert by Obeses at 'El Grec' (by ACN)

Festival Grec starts in Barcelona with two free concerts by local artists and the city's Municipal Band
Barcelona's summer Festival Grec is the city’s main yearly event for stage arts, taking place from the 1st to the 31st of July. On Tuesday, its unofficial opening took place with two free outdoor concerts by local artists, while on Wednesday the official opening ceremony on, with a new dance show by Catalan company 'La Veronal'. This year, during the 'unofficial inauguration' of the festival, the Catalan pop-rock band Obeses performed, presenting its new album 'Monsters and princesses' accompanied by the Barcelona Municipal Band. The concert was followed by Oques Grasses' show, a local band very popular among young audiences and winner by popular vote of the Enderrock 2014 award for best group revelation of 2013.
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  • Jordi Sánchez, President of the ANC (by ACN)

    Catalan National Assembly says 'Yes' to negotiations on transversal electoral list for 27-S elections

    The Catalan National Assembly (ANC) has overwhelmingly voted 'yes' to the internal consultation on its participation in the negotiations aimed at shaping a highly transversal electoral proposal for the 27-S elections. On Monday, the President of the ANC, Jordi Sànchez said that in the coming days his organisation will talk with all the stakeholders involved in trying to reach the best agreement for Catalan independence, remaining open to different options. However, if a deal is not reached by 20 July, the ANC will leave the negotiation process that – according to Sànchez – will have to be completely public. In January, Mas' original proposal was to have a single list with political parties and civil society organisations but parties such as ERC rejected the idea, arguing for the need to have both right-wing and left-wing pro-independence options. In June, Mas' second proposal was to have a unitary list led by pro-independence organisations that – according to their will – could invite politicians on board.
  • The ballot paper of the 9-N consultation on independence in Catalonia (by ACN)

    Independence opposition has 7-point lead over supporters, according to latest poll

    A "no" vote is favoured by 50% of the population, according to the latest barometer by the Centre for Opinion Studies (CEO), which was made public Friday. The unionist option grew 2 points compared to March, the same amount the "yes" option lost, which stands at 42.9%. "The distance between the two options is considerable", said the director of the CEO, Jordi Argelaguet. Until now, they had stayed "neck and neck" in the most recent barometers; although for months the "no" vote maintained an upward trend. When the options were expanded beyond the plebiscite, an independent state was the top choice (37.6%), ahead of becoming an autonomous region (29.3%) and a federal state (24%).
  • The Catalan Minister of Economy and Knowledge, Andreu Mas-Colell, and the Chairman of CCB's board of supervisors, Guo You (by ACN)

    1st China Construction Bank branch in Spain opens in Barcelona; trade deal with Fujian signed

    The month of July started with the strengthening of Catalonia's business and economic relations with China. On Wednesday, China Construction Bank Corporation (CCB) - the second largest bank in the world by market capitalisation (207.9 billion U.S. dollars) - opened its first Spanish branch in the Catalan capital with an official ceremony at the Palace of Pedralbes. The same day, the Catalan Government signed an agreement with the Chinese Province of Fujian, aimed at expanding export opportunities for Catalan agricultural products and promoting the exchange of market and legal information between the two partners.

Highlights

  • The Catalan fashion brand Mango opened the 16th edition of the 080 Barcelona Fashion Week (by ACN)

    01.07.15 - 09:53

    080 Barcelona Fashion Week kicks off with Mango opening the show

    On Monday evening, the Catalan fashion brand Mango opened the 16th edition of the 080 Barcelona Fashion Week, showcasing its new autumn/winter collections for men and women. Catalan Business and Employment Minister, Felip Puig, took part in the opening ceremony of the event, which will run from 29 June to 3 July at the Olympic Stadium Lluís Companys. In total, 22 designers and 15 brands are participating, in a combination of young talent,...
  • A Catalan independence flag in last year's 1.5 million strong demonstration supporting Catalonia's independence from Spain (by ACN)

    30.06.15 - 18:54

    ANC wants 27-S pro-independence lists to have "a common brand"

    The Catalan National Assembly (ANC) has defined a proposal on how parties should collaborate for the 27-S elections. The ANC wants to present as few pro-independence lists as possible, opening the door so that they can be formed and led, if necessary, by people from civil society. It also proposed that these lists be identifiable by a "common brand" and have a shared electoral programme and joint campaign events. Finally, the ANC wants a clear...
  • Foreign tourists spent €8.15 billion in Catalonia between January and July last year (by ACN)

    29.06.15 - 22:00

    Summer tourist accommodations projected to be nearly full on Catalan coast; around 60% full inland

    The Catalan tourism sector expects a good season this summer in regard to occupancy of tourist accommodations, as reported to ACN by unions and employers in the country. Catalonia has attracted more tourists than any other region in Spain since the start of 2015, according to the Survey of Tourist Movements at Borders (Frontur), released by the Ministry of Industry, Energy and Tourism. Barcelona, with apartment occupancy around 85% and coastal...
  • Viver i Pi-Sunyer (right) presenting the CATN report in Brussels' International Press Centre next to Royo (left) (by A. Segura)

    27.06.15 - 12:08

    Spanish Government to bring Commissioner for National Transition before Constitutional Court

    The Spanish Council of Ministers agreed on Friday to bring before Spain’s Constitutional Court (TC) the 16/2015 decree approved by the Catalan Government. The decree – adopted last February – established the Commissioner for National Transition, a position bestowed upon Catalan Jurist Carles Viver Pi-Sunyer. The Spanish Government's legal action also targets the Executive Plans for the creation of state structures and the plan for...
  • The director of the Institut Ramon Llull, Alex Susanna, and the Catalan Minister for Culture, Ferran Mascarell (by ACN)

    25.06.15 - 21:03

    Institut Ramon Llull optimistic about future collaboration with Balearic Islands and Valencia

    The Institut Ramon Llull (IRL) is a public body in charge of promoting Catalan culture and language abroad. On Thursday, "it expressed optimism for the first time" about a collaboration with the new Governments of Valencia and the Balearic Islands, both led by left-wing coalitions. The Director of the institute, Àlex Susanna, said that, following the May 2015 elections, "positive signs" are emerging but still could not confirm any conclusive...
  • The President of the ANC, Jordi Sánchez, during the 'Moment Zero' event (by ACN)

    25.06.15 - 20:29

    Sánchez confident ANC will "never" abandon cooperation between parties; unsure about Mas' 27-S proposal

    The president of the Catalan National Assembly (ANC), Jordi Sánchez, guaranteed Thursday that the Assembly will "never" abandon its cross-platform cooperation, nor will it put any portion of its sovereignty to the side. "The day that the ANC defends one side will be the end of the ANC", he said during a press conference at the Born Cultural Centre. Sánchez, however, has asked that his words not be interpreted as a response to the proposal...
  • The Catalan President, Artur Mas, interviewed by Mònica Terribas (by Rubén Moreno)

    23.06.15 - 19:58

    Self-determination process needs

    The President of the Catalan Government, Artur Mas, warned on Monday that the self-determination process needs "enthusiasm", defining his proposal of a shared list with civil society organisations as a "spark" to retrieve it. In an interview with TV3, the President called for "personal and corporate agendas" not to overcome the country's interests, announcing that if grassroots organisations refuse his proposal, he will run in the next...
  • Bonfires are common during the night

    23.06.15 - 19:48

    Sant Joan's Eve sets Barcelona ablaze with energy

    Every year the sounds of fireworks popping and crackling perforate the air in Catalonia in the days leading up to Sant Joan's Eve (Nit de Sant Joan). The yearly festival culminates in a massive party on the night of 23 June, when locals celebrate the holiday by setting off mass amounts of fireworks and igniting bonfires, known in Catalan as 'fogueres'. At midnight, there is a spectacular fireworks display, marking the climax of the...
  • The Catalan President, Artur Mas, with the new ministers: Jordi Jané, Neus Munté, Meritxell Borràs and Jordi Ciuraneta (by ACN)

    22.06.15 - 21:31

    New Catalan Ministers sworn in, creating “100% cohesive” government

    A brief swearing-in ceremony was held on Monday in the Generalitat Palace (the seat of the Catalan Government) when – after the Cabinet reshuffle – four new Catalan Ministers officially took office. During the event, the President of the Catalan Government, Artur Mas, stated that the new Executive is "100% cohesive" in defending the full independence of Catalonia. This statement comes after the "painful" but "inevitable" separation between...
  • Josep Rull and Mercè Conesa on Thursday, annoucing the CiU is splitting up (by A. Moldes)

    18.06.15 - 22:39

    Governing centre-right coalition CiU breaks up over independence stance, after 37 years swaying Catalan politics

    After running together in every election since 1978, Convergència Democràtica de Catalunya (CDC) and Unió Democràtica de Catalunya (UDC) are splitting apart. The Liberal party CDC, which is the larger force within the centre-right pro-Catalan State coalition CiU (running the Catalan Government since 2010), supports full independence from Spain while the Christian-Democrat UDC does not have a clear stance on the...

  • Easyjet's press conference in Barcelona El Prat Airport (by L. Vilaró)

    18.06.15 - 21:56

    EasyJet to open operational base at Barcelona-El Prat Airport in early 2016

    EasyJet, the second-largest low-cost carrier in Europe, will open a new operational base at Barcelona-El Prat Airport in February 2016. In doing so, the British low-cost airline will permanently base aircraft and crew at the Catalan airport, upgrading their presence in Barcelona. In particular, the company's hub will create 120 new local jobs – mainly for pilots and cabin crew – and will entail the allocation of three A320...

  • Joana Ortega, Ramon Espadaler and Josep Maria Pelegrí, from UDC, have quit the Catalan government (by ACN)

    17.06.15 - 20:56

    UDC ministers quit Catalan government over independence row

    Tensions over the issue of independence between the two parties forming the CiU coalition have caused a government crisis in Catalonia. Three ministers from the Christian-Democrat party UDC, the smaller party within the CiU, have left government after their allies of 37 years, CDC, presented them with an “ultimatum”. The governing council of UDC decided on Wednesday, with 16 votes in favour, 10 against and 2 abstentions, that...
  • The Exective Board of UDC, on Monday (by P. Mateos)

    15.06.15 - 22:11

    Governing CiU may split up after Christian-Democrat party UDC's consultation on Catalan independence

    The centre-right pro-Catalan State two-party coalition CiU, which runs the Catalan Government, may be on the verge of splitting up after three-and-a-half decades, and having run together in all the elections. The smaller force within the CiU, the Christian-Democrat party UDC, is going through serious internal tension over Catalonia's independence debate. The party leadership does not support independence, while a significant part of its...

  • Works by Eduardo Chillida, on display in Barcelona (by P. Cortina)

    15.06.15 - 21:35

    Chillida gets own exhibition in Barcelona for first time in 11 years

    For the first time in 11 years, the internationally-renowned Basque artist Eduardo Chillida has an exclusive exhibit on display in Barcelona. Since 20 April, the Mayoral Gallery has hosted the Chillida exhibition, 'Awakening' ('Despertar'). The exhibition is comprised of a carefully curated selection of sculptures, drawings and prints, as well as supplementary material for his monumental works photographs and the video 'Art and Dreams' ('El...

  • Felip Puig, Catalan Minister for Business and Employment, announcing the opening of the 5 new Trade and Investment offices (by ACN)

    15.06.15 - 21:29

    New Trade and Investment offices to be opened by Catalan Government in Belgrade, Tehran, Accra, Lima and Tel Aviv

    "Between 2015 and 2016 the Catalan Government will open new Trade & Investment offices in Belgrade, Tehran, Accra, Tel Aviv and Lima and enlarge its San Francisco-based one", Catalan Business Minister, Felip Puig, announced on Monday. Similarly, the Catalan Executive recently launched a new 'technological antenna' in Boston (Massachusetts) and will soon do the same in Panama, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Senegal and Angola, enlarging its network...

  • Ada Colau in her first visit to a neighborhoud as the Mayor of Barcelona (by A. Moldes)

    15.06.15 - 16:04

    Alternative left and green activist Ada Colau becomes first woman Mayor of Barcelona

    Ada Colau is the new Mayor of Barcelona. It is the first time that the Catalan capital has a woman as Mayor. Colau, who led the alternative left and green coalition Barcelona en Comú, won the last municipal elections – held on 24 May. However, she lacked support to reach the absolute majority in the City Council and be elected Mayor. During the last 3 weeks, she has been negotiating with the other leftist parties over forming a...