• Jordi Pujol and Marta Ferrussola leaving the Court house on Tuesday (by P. Solà)

    Former Catalan President Jordi Pujol, his wife and 3 of their children testify before judge for fiscal fraud

    After confessing that his family had kept a fortune in Andorra without informing tax authorities for 34 years, the President of the Catalan Government between 1980 and 2003 and founder of the centre-right Catalan nationalist coalition CiU, Jordi Pujol, his wife Marta Ferrussola and 3 of their 7 children (Marta, Mireia and Pere) testified before the judge investigating the case. They are indicted for alleged fiscal fraud and money laundering. During more than 2 hours, Pujol (aged 84) answered the judge’s and the anti-corruption public prosecutor’s questions. He insisted that his father had left a hand-written letter with instructions about 140 million pesetas secretly left in Andorra in 1980 for his wife and children, but not him, coming from his “illegal” activities selling currencies during the dictatorship. However, the defence has not yet presented any supporting documents. Besides this, 3 of Pujol’s other sons are indicted for other fiscal fraud and corruption cases.

CiU and ERC MPs discussing the agreement's final document (by R. Garrido)

Agreement on Catalan Government’s 2015 budget after increasing social spending by €100 million

The governing centre-right pro-Catalan State coalition CiU and the left-wing Catalan independence party ERC have reached an agreement to approve the Catalan Government’s budget for the current year. After the President of the Catalan Government and CiU leader, Artur Mas, and the ERC’s President, Oriol Junqueras, reached an agreement on holding early elections on 27 September as a plebiscite on Catalonia’s independence, both parties reopened the budget talks. After 10 days of negotiations, they have reached a definitive agreement, which includes a €100 million fund that will bring more resources for social programmes. They have also agreed to stop paying some allowances to senior officials. Furthermore, they will add €10 million to the development of Catalonia’s own tax administration and they will also create the Agency of Social Protection, which is to manage Catalonia’s Social Security system.

MPs voting on Artur Mas' testimony before the parliamentary committee on Jordi Pujol's fiscal fraud confession (by ACN)

Catalan President to testify before parliamentary committee investigating Pujol’s fraud confession

The current President of the Catalan Government and leader of the centre-right pro-Catalan State coalition CiU, Artur Mas, will have to testify as a witness before the Catalan Parliament’s committee investigating the alleged fiscal fraud and possible corruption committed by the former Catalan President and CiU’s leader until 2003, Jordi Pujol. Artur Mas is Pujol’s political heir and was the ‘number 2’ in his last cabinet. Pujol, who uninterruptedly chaired the Catalan Executive between 1980 and 2003, confessed last July that his family had kept a fortune in Andorra for the last 34 years without informing tax authorities. The confession shocked Catalan society, since the historical leader of the conservative Catalan nationalists was a crucial figure in the fight against Franco’s dictatorship, the transition to democracy and the recovery of Catalonia’s self-government. Now, Pujol, his wife and 6 of their 7 children are being investigated by the judiciary for alleged fiscal fraud and several corruption scandals. 

Ryanair aircrafts in Girona Costa Brava Airport, a few years ago (by ACN)

2.1 million passengers passed through Girona Costa Brava Airport in 2014, 21% less than in 2013

2,160,646 passengers passed through Girona Costa Brava Airport in 2014, a 21.1% decrease over 2013. This figure, according to Aena, the Spanish Airport Authority, is the lowest since the low-cost Irish airline, Ryanair, began operating at the airport in 2004. From the record breaking 5.5 million passengers in 2008, the infrastructure has suffered six consecutive years of decline, coinciding with Ryanair’s arrival at Barcelona El Prat and the increase of its operation from Catalonia’s main airport.However, the 2014 data report from Aena showed that 90,364 tonnes of air freight were transported from Girona airport, an increase of 97.3% over the previous year.

The Lucy Mansion hotel in PortAventura (by PortAventura)

PortAventura theme park to get its first five-star hotel

‘Lucy’s Mansion’, an independent building inside the Gold River Hotel at the amusement park PortAventura in Tarragona, will be adapted into a five-star hotel.  PortAventura will be twenty years old this season and the theme park wants to celebrate it by moving into the highest level.  The new hotel will be inaugurated on 2nd April  with twenty-eight deluxe rooms and two suites. At the same time, PortAventura will build a new building inside the Gold River Hotel named ‘Callaghan’. This new four-star hotel will be the biggest establishment of the park with seventy-eight rooms and will be inaugurated on 1st June. The development of the hotel complex confirms the strategy of PortAventura to consolidate its position as the best familiar leisure destination in Europe.

  • Sergio Busquets during Barça's last USA tour (by FC Barcelona)

    FC Barcelona to tour the USA and Mexico in the summer

    FC Barcelona will go on a tour of the United States of America and Mexico in the summer four years after their last pre-season tour of the continent. Despite dates not yet being confirmed, the Catalan club has made official the news that the blaugranes will be returning to American soil for the fifth time in the last twelve years (2003, 2006, 2009 and 2011).In 2012 the team took part in various pre-season games across Europe and in 2013 they toured the Asian continent. In 2014 with Luis Enrique installed as coach, the squad enjoyed a pre-season training camp in Birmingham in the United Kingdom before playing in three friendly matches in Nice in France, Geneva in Switzerland and Helsinki in Finland.

  • One of Roberlo's factories (by Roberlo SA)

    Girona chemical company Roberlo buys British Chemfix

    The multinational company Roberlo, based in the Girona Province, has acquired the British enterprise Chemfix. Roberlo, which manufactures chemicals for the construction and automobile industries, expects to increase its profits by 30% this year with this transaction, reaching 65 million euros. 85% of the Catalan company’s turnover moves into foreign markets, so this purchase contributes to its internationalisation. The aim of the Girona-based company is to be one of the top three European producers which use chemical docking, an industrial technology.The business has two factories in Girona, one in Brazil, one in Russia and now, one in the UK. The Catalan group has ten subsidiaries and employs 400 people, 200 of which are located abroad.

  • Part of the Empúries archeological site, next to the Mediterranean Sea (by Ajuntament de L'Escala)

    Empúries ancient Greek ruins on the Costa Brava to be upgraded

    A site known as the home of the best ancient Greek ruins outside of Greece is to be upgraded to improve access for visitors. The ruins were originally built in 575BC and work to develop the site has been ongoing for more than 20 years. The 2,500-year-old Empúries site on the Costa Brava will now host parking and leisure facilities after a deal was struck between the Catalan Ministry of Culture and L’Escala’s Town Hall. Cars will now be removed from the site and facilitated at a new 532 space carpark with more efficient traffic management. The new agreement also allows for the construction of a new recreational area and a drop-off point for buses and coaches. 

Highlights

  • A caption from 'Nobody wants the night' (by Leandro Betancor)

    26.01.15 - 12:31

    Isabel Coixet to open 65th Berlin Film Festival with 'Nobody Wants the Night'

    The Catalan film director Isabel Coixet, most known for her internationally proclaimed films ‘My Life Without You’ (2003) and ‘The Secret Life of Words’ (2005), has been selected to open this year’s upcoming Berlin International Film Festival with her newest work ‘Nobody Wants the Night’. The film, inspired by true events, has been and adapted to the screen by writer Miguel Barros. It is set in...

  • Barça players scored 6 goals against Elche (by FC Barcelona)

    25.01.15 - 15:37

    Elche vs FC Barcelona: Barça score six! (0-6)

    Elche fans are no doubt grateful that their team won’t have to play Barça again this season, or indeed this month, as Luis Enrique’s side ran riot at the Manuel Martínez Valero Stadium to chalk up six goals - that’s 15 in the three January games against Fran Escribá’s team. Gerard Piqué opened the scoring in the first half, with Messi and Neymar getting a brace each after the break before...

  • Many citizens are outraged about the Castor project (by A. Mayor)

    23.01.15 - 17:45

    Taxpayers outrage at €1.35 billion bailout of failed Castor Project on Ebro Delta coast

    Indignation at the Castor Project has increased due to the €1.35 billion payment issued by the Spanish Government to Escal UGS, the company behind the controversial offshore gas platform. The amount will be charged through gas bills to consumers over the next 30 years, starting on April 2016, making individual citizens pay the private-business bailout, partially funded through €1.4 billion worth of bonds from the European Union....

  • Dolors Camats and Joan Josep Nuet a few days ago (by B. Fuentes)

    23.01.15 - 17:27

    European Alternative left-wing parties meet in Barcelona at the 1st Southern Europe Forum

    Barcelona plays host this weekend to the 1st Southern Europe Forum, under the slogan '#southrEUvolution'. Politicians from the European Alternative Left-wing parties and the leaders of the main social movements will meet in Catalonia to broaden political alliances. The main objective of the meeting is to create alternative policies for the south of Europe, different to the austerity measures promoted by the Troika. The forum has...

  • The Constitutional Court, based in Madrid (by ACN)

    22.01.15 - 21:56

    Spanish authorities ban Catalan tax on overall bank deposits, which brought in €680 million in 2014

    The Constitutional Court has accepted to debate the Spanish Government's last appeal against the Catalan Executive's tax on bank deposits, which has to be paid by financial entities. Such a decision represents the automatic cancellation of the tax for an initial period of 5 months. Catalonia approved such a measure in December 2012 and two weeks later, the Spanish Government approved its own tax with a 0% rate, so it was 'de facto'...

  • Alexis Tsipras participated in an ICV-EUiA rally in the last Catalan elections, held in November 2012 (by N. Julià)

    22.01.15 - 21:43

    Catalan Green Socialist ICV-EUiA backs Greek party Syriza ahead of Sunday elections

    The Catalan Green Socialist and post-Communist coalition ICV-EUiA has presented the manifesto 'Catalonia with Tsipras' supporting Syriza, the Alternative Left Party that according to the polls could win the upcoming Greek General Election. More than 2,500 people have already signed the document through Change.org. The manifesto states that a clear win for the Alexis Tsipras party would be best for Europeans, in order to "initiate a...

  • 2014 ended with 83,000 less unemployed people in Catalonia than a year ago (by ACN)

    22.01.15 - 20:59

    Unemployment in Catalonia ends 2014 with a 19.88% rate and 83,000 less jobseekers than in 2013

    Catalonia posted a 19.88% unemployment rate at the end of 2014, almost 4 percentage points lower than the rate for the whole of Spain, which was 23.70%. On 31 December 2014, there were 756,500 unemployed people in Catalonia, which represents 83,000 less jobseekers than a year ago, according to the Spanish Statistics Institute (INE). Despite the positive annual results, unemployment increased by 30,500 people in quarterly terms, compared to...

  • Leo Messi scored Barça's only goal against Atlético Madrid (by FC Barcelona)

    22.01.15 - 01:32

    FC Barcelona vs Atlético Madrid: Messi breaks the deadlock (1-0)

    The Argentinean’s 83rd minute goal finally got the better of Atlético’s rock solid defence. Ten days before this Spanish Cup quarter final first leg, Barça danced around Atlético to win 3-1 in La Liga. But Wednesday night’s fixture was more reminiscent of the six meetings between the sides last season. For 83 minutes, the two teams were locked in an intense battle, with their defences shining more than...

  • Catalan Government may post a 2.2% deficit for 2014 (by ACN)

    22.01.15 - 00:20

    Catalonia predicts 2.2% deficit for 2014, while Spanish Government imposed a 1% target

    The Catalan Government is expecting to post a 2.2% deficit for the whole of 2014, corresponding to some €4.41 billion. However, the definitive figure will not be known until March. This is more than  double the 1% deficit target that the Spanish Government unilaterally imposed on the Catalan Executive. Over the last few years, the two governments have quarrelled about deficit targets, since the Spanish Executive is imposing much...

  • Cesc Gelabert presenting 'Foot ball' at FC Barcelona's press room (by P. Cortina)

    22.01.15 - 00:07

    Dancer and choreographer Cesc Gelabert creates show with best FC Barcelona moves

    Cesc Gelabert, a dancer and choreographer from Barcelona, premieres Foot-Ball on 22 January at the National Theatre of Catalonia. This show features seven dancers including Gelabert who express the way FC Barcelona play on stage. Foot-ball features costume by Lydia Azzopardi and audiovisual creations by Jordi Morató. The choreography will be a dialogue with these audiovisuals that will show the best...

  • The Catalan Parliament celebrating the approval of the Val d'Aran's new status (by P. Mateos)

    21.01.15 - 21:09

    Catalonia approves special status for Occitan Val d’Aran, including its right to self-determination

    The Catalan Parliament approved on Wednesday the Law on the Val d’Aran’s special status within Catalonia, recognising its “Occitan national reality” and its right to self-determination. This small Pyrenean valley, surrounded by high peaks and located in Catalonia’s north-western corner, is the last land where the Occitan language is widely spoken, although it is called Aranese there. The Val d’Aran County...

  • Representatives of the Catalan Government explaining details of BCN World's urban planning (by ACN)

    21.01.15 - 17:55

    BCN World casino, hotel and entertainment resort to have 25-storey towers near PortAventura

    The Catalan Government presented this week a first draft of the urban plan that is developing for the 800 hectares surrounding PortAventura theme park, in the Costa Daurada, near Tarragona. The $6 billion holiday resort BCN World is supposed to be built in this area, which is now being promoted by the Catalan Executive itself after the private investor Veremonte did not meet the final deadline for buying the land in December. The urban plan...

  • Suárez, Messi and Neymar celebrating Barça's second goal after Atlético Madrid at the Spanish League (by FC Barcelona)

    21.01.15 - 17:00

    FC Barcelona face Atlético Madrid in Spanish Cup quarter-final first leg

    Just 10 days after their last meeting at the Camp Nou, Barça and Atlético Madrid face each other once again on Wednesday night at 10.00pm (CET) in the first leg of the Spanish Cup quarter-finals. Lifted by their performance in the 3-1 win last time out, Luis Enrique’s team have hit a good patch of form as they go into the match. However, the boss is well aware of the danger Atlético pose, warning at his pre-match...

  • A citizen participation point set up through an AOC programme last spring in Avià, in Central Catalonia (by L. Busquets)

    21.01.15 - 00:58

    First Digital Government Congress promotes a public administration “closer” to citizens

    The 1st Digital Government Congress organised by the Catalan Government and the Open Administration of Catalonia consortium (AOC) will take place on Wednesday and Thursday at the Palau de Congressos de Fira de Barcelona. The main aim of this summit is to develop through the use of new technologies the public administration into an “open and innovative administration” that will be smarter, more efficient and effective in order to...

  • One of Grimaldi's ferry (by Grimaldi)

    21.01.15 - 00:40

    New ferry connects Barcelona and Savona

    This January, Grimaldi, the multinational logistics group specialised in maritime transport for major vehicle manufacturers’ world suppliers, has launched a new ferry called the “Florencia” to connect the Catalan capital and Savona, an Italian port located about 50km west of Genoa. This investment allows the company to double the frequency between the two harbours. The brand new “Florencia” is 186m long and...

  • The Spanish Finance Minister, Cristóbal Montoro, a few weeks ago at the Spanish Parliament (by ACN)

    20.01.15 - 23:53

    Catalonia requests €9.46 billion in loans from Spanish Government’s Liquidity Fund for 2015

    The Catalan Government has formally requested €9.46 billion in loans from the Liquidity Fund for the Autonomous Communities (FLA), run by the Spanish Finance Ministry, to face debt payments and other obligations during 2015. This is the only way that the Spanish Government authorises the Catalan Executive to request liquidity as it has banned Catalonia’s access to financial markets to obtain additional funds, as many governments...