• Marta Rovira and Oriol Junqueras, from the ERC, together with Joan Mena (right), from the ICV-EUiA (by A. Moldes)

    Main left-wing parties supporting previous consultation vote meet and ask for early elections

    After the civil society demonstration that took place on Sunday asking for the rebuilding of the unity of action and calling early elections, there has been some confusion regarding the Catalan Government's announcement of a "pre-agreement" on "a technical" unity for the alternative participatory process on the 9th of November. In the morning the Catalan Government's Spokesperson, Francesc Homs, announced such a pre-agreement with the alternative left and radical independence CUP and was hoping the other parties would join it. The CUP refused such a pre-agreement. In addition, the left-wing Catalan independence party ERC and the Catalan green socialist and post-communist coalition ICV-EUiA met after knowing this announcement and asked for early elections. In addition, they said they will keep working for a shared proposal to strengthen the democratic guarantees for the new November 9.

The ERC's President, Oriol Junqueras, on Tuesday at the Catalan Parliament's press conference room (by ACN)

Deal on 2015 Catalan Government's budget is uncertain because of self-determination agenda

The Catalan Government is currently preparing its budget for the next year. However, it is uncertain whether a new budget will be approved or the current one will have to be extended. The Government's parliamentary supports are uncertain because of self-determination and the prospect of early elections on the horizon of to be transformed into a plebiscite on independence. The governing centre-right pro-Catalan State coalition CiU does not have a majority in the Parliament. Its ally over the last two years, the left-wing Catalan independence party ERC, is reluctant to reach a deal because the original self-determination consultation vote was cancelled by the Government. Meanwhile, CiU's anti-independence sectors are trying to reach a deal with the Catalan Socialist Party (PSC) and the Spanish Government is trying to promote an anti-independence alliance between these last two.

The Catalan President, Artur Mas (standing up), addressing the ERC's leader, Oriol Junqueras, at the Catalan Parliament on Wednesday (by R. Garrido)

Potential pro-independence coalition after Catalan elections turned into independence plebiscite

After the cancellation of the original consultation vote scheduled for the 9th of November, parties are preparing for hypothetical early elections, transformed into a de facto referendum on independence. The parliamentary stability alliance between the governing centre-right pro-Catalan State coalition CiU and the opposition left-wing Catalan independence party ERC is seriously damaged. This affects the approval of the Catalan Government's budget for 2015 and a potential electoral alliance in such a plebiscite on independence. CiU, formed by the Liberal CDC and the Christian-Democrat UDC, and social-democrat ERC were the three main parties within the pact for the consultation vote scheduled. As preparations for the 9th of November would have required breaking Spanish law, tensions between them were raised. After the pact was broken, there have been efforts to work together again on different fronts, while UDC is looking for new allies.

Pilar Eyre and Jorge Zepeda on Wednesday evening, at the Planeta Prize ceremony (by P. Francesch)

Mexican Jorge Zepeda Patterson scoops 63rd Planeta Prize with novel 'Milena o el fémur más bello del mundo'

On Wednesday evening, at an award ceremony in Barcelona, the Mexican author won the prestigious literary award the Planeta Prize, with his novel 'Milena o el fémur más bello del mundo' ('Milena, or the most beautiful femur in the world'). The Planeta Prize, now in its 63rd edition, is an award bestowed on unpublished books in Spanish that are submitted under pseudonyms, and with false titles, in theory to avoid judges being biased by author’s reputations. In the case of the winner, the work was presented under the pseudonym Eduardo Nevado, with the fake title 'Los crímenes del cromosoma XY ('XY chromosome crimes­'). A finalist to the prize, was Barcelona journalist Pilar Eyre, who submitted her work 'Mi color favorito es verte' ('Seeing you is my favourite colour'), under the alias Coral Teide and title 'Se llamaba Sébastien' ('His name was Sébastien').

Neymar, Xavi and Messi scored Barça's 3 goals against Eibar (by FC Barcelona)

FC Barcelona v SD Eibar (3-0): Second half firepower sees off Eibar

Barça saw off a brave Eibar at the Camp Nou, with second half goals from Xavi, Neymar and Messi to confirm their top spot in the Spanish League and give the fans plenty of optimism a week before the trip to the Bernabeu to play against Real Madrid. With Ratikic and Busquets in the stands, Luis Enrique pushed Macherano into midfield alongside Xavi and Sergio Roberto, making his first league start, with Mathieu partnering Piqué in the heart of defence. Up front, Messi was accompanied by Pedro and Neymar , with Sandro and Munir coming on late in the second half. There were no surprises in the way the teams set about the game though, with Barça dominating possession and constantly probing the disciplined Basque defence.

  • Barça face a crucial game on Tuesday evening against Ajax (by FC Barcelona)

    FC Barcelona vs AFC Ajax: Three vital points to stay in contention for top spot

    It’s no final, but Tuesday night’s game with Ajax is still of crucial importance for FC Barcelona following the 3-2 defeat in Paris a fortnight ago. Barça need three points at the Camp Nou to stay in contention for top spot in Group F of the Champions League. And there is the dangerous distraction of the visit to the Santiago Bernabéu for Saturday’s Liga match against Real Madrid, although Luis Enrique insisted in his pre-match conference that “right now the only important game is the one with Ajax.” There will be four days to think about Real Madrid after that, but the Champions League is the main priority for the moment.

  • The entrance of a high-school in Banyoles, in Catalonia (by L. Casademont)

    High-schools will host ballot boxes on November 9 and 26,000 volunteers have already signed up

    The Catalan Government is disclosing further organisation details of the alternative participatory process that will take place on the 9th of November, which is replacing the original consultation vote that was banned by Spanish authorities. The Catalan Minister for the Presidency, Francesc Homs, announced that 26,372 volunteers had already signed up on Monday afternoon to help in the organisation of the 9th of November's vote. 20,000 were initially required, but Homs announced that registration would remain open because "the greater amount of resources we have, the better". In addition, high-schools will be the 700 Catalan Government's venues that will host the 6,000 voting booths. In the small rural towns and villages without high-schools, the Catalan Government is talking with municipalities to find alternatives.

  • An image from Sunday's demonstration in Barcelona's Catalunya Square (by N. Julià)

    Pro-independence civil society organisations back November's alternative consultation but demand early elections

    The Catalan National Assembly (ANC) and Òmnium Cultural, which are the civil society associations that organised the massive pro-independence demonstrations in 2012, 2013 and 2014, have given their support to the alternative consultation vote proposed by the Catalan Government but on the condition of early elections taking place within the next three months. On Sunday, the ANC and Òmnium gathered 110,000 people (according to Barcelona local police) in Catalunya Square, three times more than the pro-Spanish-unity demonstration that took place in the same place a week earlier. In front of a pro-independence crowd, the two civil society organisations demanded unity of action from the parties supporting self-determination. They called for "a massive mobilisation" in the alternative participatory process of the 9th of November, being "the first round" of the early elections, which should become a 'de facto' referendum on independence.

Highlights

  • Barça's Manager, Luís Enrique, in the press conference held before the Spanish League game against Eibar (by FC Barcelona)

    17.10.14 - 20:29

    Luis Enrique: Barça won't sit back in the game against Eibar

    The Barça coach warned his squad about sitting back against Saturday's rival. He said Pedro will start but that the rest depends on the circumstances. "I'm only worried about the next opponent, Eibar, and their potential. They're playing well and could create problems," assured Luis Enrique in Friday's press conference, rather certain that the international stoppage won't have any affect on his players, any imminent records, or next...

  • A caption from the Catalan Government's website for the 9th of November's participatory process (by Generalitat de Catalunya)

    16.10.14 - 21:07

    Preparations for alternative independence vote kick off while Madrid hesitates to act against it

    The Catalan Government is gradually disclosing details and starting preparations for the alternative consultation process on independence that will take place on the 9th of November, which replaces the consultation vote also scheduled on that day. Meanwhile, the Spanish Prime Minister, Mariano Rajoy, celebrates "the excellent news" about the Catalan Government abandoning the previous consultation vote, which had been temporarily...

  • Luís Suárez with the Golden Shoe trophy (by FC Barcelona)

    16.10.14 - 17:18

    Barça's player Luis Suárez receives Golden Shoe 2013/14 for the 31 goals he scored at Liverpool

    Luis Suárez is the golden boy. On Wednesday at the Damm Brewery in Barcelona he was presented with the Golden Shoe award that he shares this year with Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo, who both scored 31 goals in the Premiership and La Liga last season, respectively. Kenny Dalglish presented the Uruguayan with the award in recognition of the 31 goals that he scored last season at Liverpool. The new Barça signing was in...

  • A surf simulator, set in the Port of Barcelona for the International Boat Show (by J. Molina)

    15.10.14 - 21:13

    Barcelona International Boat Show opens from 15 to 19 October, anticipated to be its most successful yet

    Barcelona will be hosting the International Boat Show 2014, between the 15th and the 19th of October. The 54th Edition of the Show is expected to be the most successful yet, and organizers are confident it will show that the marine industry has left the crisis behind for the first time in 7 years. The Port of Barcelona is the perfect location for such an event, and is a significant contributor to the Catalan...

  • The CDU MEP, Ingeborg Grässle, in her European Parliament office this week (by A. Segura)

    15.10.14 - 21:02

    Trivialisation of Nazism by Spanish nationalists outrages German CDU and Catalan civil society

    Comparing Catalonia's self-determination process with the Nazi regime has become one of the arguments the Spanish nationalists have used over the last two years, repeated in extreme-right television stations and even at the Spanish Parliament. Such an offensive comparison outrages most of Catalan society, for its total unfairness in describing a democratic process and for trivialising Nazism and the suffering of its victims. Now, the issue...

  • Andrés Iniesta training last season (by FC Barcelona)

    14.10.14 - 21:43

    Andrés Iniesta wins Golden Foot 2014, recognising the world's best active footballer aged over 28 years

    The FC Barcelona midfielder Andres Iniesta has won the Golden Foot 2014. Iniesta collected the award ahead of nine other active footballers aged 28 or over to become the first Barça player to ever win an accolade that has been awarded annually since 2003. He collected the trophy at a gala on Monday evening held in Monaco, where he was joined by FC Barcelona’s Director of Football, Andoni Zubizarreta; his wife, Anna Ortiz; his...

  • The leader of the PP's Catalan branch, Alícia Sánchez-Camacho, this Tuesday in Madrid (by R. Pi de Cabanyes)

    14.10.14 - 20:46

    Madrid is waiting to react to new self-determination plans while parties supporting the previous vote are puzzled

    The new self-determination process announced this Monday by the Catalan President is not shared by the majority of parties supporting the previous consultation vote, although they also said they will not boycott it. The left-wing parties supporting the previous vote are hoping that the Catalan Government will reconsider its new proposal and "come back to the consensus" around the initial plans. In Madrid, the Spanish Government will wait to...

  • Fresh fruit has influenced in September's prices (by ACN)

    14.10.14 - 20:44

    Catalonia shows a 0.1% positive annual inflation rate according to September statistics

    September figures show that prices are recovering in Catalonia, with inflation posting a 0.1% rate in annual terms. According to figures released by the Spanish Institute of Statistics (INE), Catalonia is showing a positive inflation of 0.1%, up from the -0.1% recorded in August, running away from a deflation scenario. While in Spain, there is a negative annual rate of -0.2%, although it improves the August rate of -0.5%. Overall, prices...

  • The Catalan President, Artur Mas, announcing the new "participatory process" to take place on the 9th of November (by ACN)

    14.10.14 - 17:56

    Catalan President announces alternative vote on November 9 although early elections will be "the definitive referendum"

    The President of the Catalan Government, Artur Mas, ruled out the consultation vote already called for the 9th of November and agreed upon among a majority of Catalan parties, in face of the opposition from the Spanish authorities. However, he announced an alternative "participatory process" on that same day, in which 20,000 volunteers throughout Catalonia will run the polling stations, located in Catalan Government venues, and...

  • The Vice President of the Catalan Government and one of the leading members of UDC, Joana Ortega, accessing this Monday's meeting (by T. Somoza)

    14.10.14 - 00:21

    Catalan Government rules out consultation vote as such but will propose an alternative for November 9

    Parties supporting the self-determination vote scheduled for the 9th of November have met on Monday in Barcelona to discuss whether to carry on the consultation vote as is currently planned or to launch an alternative, in view of the total opposition from the Spanish authorities. According to two parties present at the meeting, the Catalan Government has ruled out the organisation of the consultation as it has been proposed by...

  • A picture from Gas Natural Fenosa's headquarters, located in Barcelona (by ACN)

    13.10.14 - 20:32

    Barcelona-based Gas Natural Fenosa to make take-over of biggest energy distributor in Chile for €2.6 billion

    The energy company Gas Natural Fenosa announced they have launched a tender offer for 100% of the share capital of the Chilean Compañía General de Electricidad (CGE), which represents a €2.6 billion purchase. The transaction is to be the biggest international  acquisition by the Barcelona-based company. The total size of the operation, including the consolidated debt of CGE and its subsidiaries, is approximately...

  • The main demonstration organised by Spain's unity supporters in Barcelona on October 12 (by J. Ustrell)

    13.10.14 - 16:16

    Unionists organised rally for 3rd consecutive year, but much smaller than pro-independence one

    On Spain's National Day, the 12th of October, the unionist association called Catalan Civil Society (SCC) organised a massive demonstration against Catalonia's self-determination and independence in downtown Barcelona, which was backed by the People's Party (PP) – running the Spanish Government, the anti-Catalan nationalist party Ciutadans (C's) and the Spanish nationalist party UPyD. It is the 3rd consecutive...

  • A gigantic Catalan flag mosaic at Barça's Camp Nou stadium (by FC Barcelona)

    10.10.14 - 20:13

    FC Barcelona publicly supports Catalonia’s self-determination, following leading Catalan sportsmen

    FC Barcelona has joined Catalonia’s National Alliance for Self-Determination, which groups together more than 3,000 organisations, such as chambers of commerce, employers’ associations, trade unions, political parties, NGOs, etc. The world famous sports club therefore backs Catalonia’s self-determination process and will participate in this group that works to push it forward. Furthermore, in the last few weeks leading...

  • The judge Santiago Vidal, a few months ago (by ACN)

    10.10.14 - 20:00

    Judge persecuted for writing draft of Catalan Constitution defends his freedom of expression in his free time

    The Disciplinary Commission of Spain’s Judicial Power Council (CGPJ) will have to decide whether it suspends Santiago Vidal, judge of Barcelona’s High Court, for having worked in his free time on the drafting of a proposal for a future Catalan constitution in the event of independence, together with other law experts. The CGPJ judge in charge of investigating other judges, Antonio Jesús Fonseca-Herrero, recommended...

  • Spain's Constitutional Court, located in Madrid (by ACN)

    09.10.14 - 20:58

    Constitutional Court dismisses request by Catalan Parliament to sideline its 2 members suspected of bias

    Spain’s Constitutional Court has unanimously decided to reject the Catalan Parliament’s requests to sideline 2 of its 12 members from the debate and final verdict on the law and decree regarding Catalonia’s self-determination consultation vote. The Catalan Parliament considered that the Court’s President, Francisco Pérez de los Cobos, and the rapporteur on the appeal against the Catalan Law on Consultation...

  • Kiko Veneno at last year's Mediterranean Fair of Manresa (by ACN)

    09.10.14 - 20:43

    Mediterranean fair, focusing on folk and ethnic music, to attract 100,000 people in Manresa

    The 17th Mediterranean Trade Fair, specialised in folk and world music, will take place from Thursday to Sunday, expected to attract 100,000 people to the city of Manresa, in central Catalonia. The most international fair of its history, it will feature over 300 art activities, host 107 companies and show 35 exhibitions. Highlights of the programme include the popular Portuguese singer Dulce Pontes and the musical duo Toumani...