• Carles Puigdemont with Carme Forcadell and Jordi Sánchez at the ANC conference (by Núria Julià)

    Puigdemont to send “last” referendum proposal to Spain

    The President of the Catalan Government, Carles Puigdemont, has announced that in the coming weeks the Spanish government will receive a proposal for dialogue and negotiation over the referendum from the Catalan government. The president said this during his closing speech at the Catalan National Assembly’s annual meeting on Saturday in Granollers. In comments to the CNA, government sources confirmed this will be the last proposal from the Catalans to Spain. In his speech the Catalan president urged the Spanish government to set aside their prejudices and to assume part of the responsibility, which is necessary to solve the problem. “We assume our part and to whatever extent necessary,” he added.

A group of tourists walking along Portal de l'Angel in Barcelona (by ACN)

Nearly 3 million foreign tourists visited Catalonia between January and March

The number of international tourists which visited Catalonia during the first trimester of 2017 grew by 4% in comparison to the same period last year, totaling 2,988,238. Thus, Catalonia continues to be the second most popular destination for international tourists which visit Spain, after the Canary Islands, which welcomed 3,661,246 visitors during the first three months of 2017. Indeed, one out of four international tourists in Spain went to Catalonia. In March alone, 1,151,664 visitors from across the globe travelled to Catalonia, 7% more than in the same month in 2016. Most of them (22%) came from France whereas 14% came from other countries in Europe.

The Ombudsman of Catalonia, Rafael Ribó, presented his report to the President of the Catalan Parliament, Carme Forcadell (by ACN)

Catalan Ombudsman warns separation of powers in Spain is “deteriorating”
The Ombudsman of Catalonia, Rafael Ribó, presented on Friday the report “Regression of human rights: freedom of speech of elected representatives and separation of power in the Spanish Kingdom” to the President of the Catalan Parliament, Carme Forcadell, which warns of a “deterioration of the principle of separation of power in Spain”. Ribó criticized the suppression of “freedom of speech of elected representatives” and their “criminal prosecution”, which infringes “European law”. The Ombudsman denounced the criminal prosecution of elected representatives “at many different levels”, from local representatives to members of Parliament, and highlighted the case against Carme Forcadell and four members of her Bureau for allowing a debate in the plenary about an independence resolution.

The CSQP spokesperson, Joan Coscubiela, in Parliament (by Bernat Vilaró)

Left-wing coalition CSQP agrees to internationally endorsed unilateral referendum
CSQP (Catalonia Yes We Can), a left-wing coalition in favor of holding a referendum but not necessarily independence, says it will support a unilateral referendum if it has international guarantees. CSQP’s spokesperson, Joan Coscubiela, said that the Venice Commission, the Council of Europe's institution in charge of these kind of processes, has to endorse the referendum before his party can support it. Governing cross-party pro-independence coalition Junts Pel Sí celebrated this stance, saying the group “has taken a step forward” by joining those that consider the celebration of a referendum in Catalonia even if it is “without Spain’s permission”.

Plaid Cymru MP Hywel Williams, one of the promoters of the APPG on Catalonia in the House of Commons, being interviewed by the CNA in London (by ACN)

Spanish diplomats uneasy with Catalan debate group at Westminster
The creation of the debate group on Catalonia in the House of Commons is a thorn in the side of Spanish diplomats. The CNA has received confirmation that a Spanish diplomat met with at least two founders of the group, the Scottish National Party MP, George Kerevan, and the Plaid Cymru MP, Hywel Williams, in order to “explain his point of view” to them on the Catalan issue. In comments to the CNA, Williams said that “it is not up to Spain's diplomatic service” to “advise” members of parliament on the “activities” of the chamber. Even though Williams described the meeting's atmosphere as “extremely cordial, as these things are”, he admitted the diplomat was “clearly against” some of the motions on Catalonia that he had promoted recently.
  • Catalan President, Carles Puigdemont, and Flemish Minister-President, Geert Bourgeois (by Laura Pous)

    Catalonia and Flanders cancel joint trip to Morocco due to Spanish pressure

    The Catalan and Flemish governments have decided to suspend a joint commercial mission to Morocco they were due to start on May 7. The trip, which was to be led by Catalan President, Carles Puigdemont, and Flemish Minister-President, Geert Bourgeois, was cancelled after the Moroccan government “unilaterally” decided that no political leader from the country would meet with the two presidents. Sources from the Catalan Government said to the CNA that Spanish diplomats urged Rabat to avoid political meetings with the Catalan government during the trip. Pugidemont and Bourgeois regretted the decision in a joint press release, warning that it will negatively affect “more than 30 Catalan and Flemish companies” that aimed to improve their commercial relationship with Morocco.
  • One of 'Jet2' planes at Reus airport (by ACN)

    Jet2 launches two new routes between Reus and the UK

    The British airline Jet2 launched a new connection this Friday between Reus Airport, located about 100 kilometers from Barcelona, and London-Stansted. In addition, starting Saturday, Birmingham will be added to their routes from Reus. The new connection with London-Stansted will operate on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Sundays whereas the flights between Reus and Birmingham will be available on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. They will offer 228,000 seats and expect to grow by 65% in comparison with last summer. Jet2 already offers seven routes from Reus to Belfast, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Manchester, Leeds, East Midlands, and Newcastle and will offer 30 weekly flights, 10 more than last year.

  • The Foreign Affairs Minister of Catalonia, Raül Romeva, during an event for the 80th anniversary of the beginning of the Spanish Civil War (by Marta Lluvich)

    UN critical about Spain’s inactivity on historical memory, sees progress in Catalonia

    The upcoming report from the UN Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances reaffirms the lack of progress in Spain when it comes to historical memory, justice, search and identification of Spanish Civil war and Francoist dictatorship victims. The text, which is to be approved at the next group meeting between May 8 and May 17 in Geneva and officially published in September, confirms that a vast majority of the United Nations’ demands presented to Spain in 2013 “are still pending”. “Regretfully, there have not been any changes,” said the head of the mission to Spain, Ariel Dulitzky, in an interview with CNA. Indeed, the only improvements the UN experts have observed are at the regional level. “In Catalonia we have already seen some advancements, which have continued after our visit. When taking into account the Spanish government’s inactivity, the initiatives at an autonomic level are even more relevant,” underlined Dulitzky in the interview with the Catalan News Agency. Over the last several months, the Generalitat has launched a program of identification and opening of mass graves, and another program on genetic identification of the remains, aimed at helping families find their loved ones.

Highlights

  • Javier Mascherano scored against Osasuna his first goal with the 'blaugranes' (by FCB)

    27.04.17 - 14:17

    MATCH REPORT: FC Barcelona v Osasuna: Seven heaven (7-1)

    Braces for Gomes, Messi and Alcácer, and a first ever Barça goal for Mascherano, earn the points up in style. FC Barcelona cruised to a 7-1 win over Osasuna at the Camp Nou on Wednesday night, with braces for André Gomes, Leo Messi and Paco Alcácer, plus a first ever Barça goal for Javier Mascherano from the spot. All the talk in the build-up to the game was about Messi...

  • Taxi drivers demonstrated in Barcelona on Wednesday (by Josep Molina)

    27.04.17 - 13:02

    Taxi drivers in Catalonia mobilize against Uber and Cabify

    The increasing number of licenses for “rental cars with chauffeur” caused strikes and demonstrations by hundreds of officially-licensed taxi drivers in several Catalan cities on Wednesday. According to representatives of the taxi transport sector, these licenses, also known as VTC, open a legal loophole for the unregulated activity of transport services through mobile apps like Uber or Cabify. In Barcelona almost a thousand taxi drivers...
  • Roger Heredia, from the DNA Bank, during his speech in the European Parliament (by Laura Pous)

    27.04.17 - 10:01

    Spain’s ‘systematic’ failure to address historical memory denounced at EU-Parliament

    On the 80th anniversary of the Guernica Bombing, Spain’s denial of historical justice or reparation of its civil war victims was the focus of a conference at the European Parliament. NGO’s, relatives of Spanish Civil War victims and the Francoist dictatorship, and MEPs called on the European Parliament to help promote “truth, justice, and reparation”. Roger Heredia, co-founder of the DNA bank for civil war victim identification in...
  • Official poster of the 65th edition of the Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell Conde de Godó (by Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell)

    26.04.17 - 19:48

    Barcelona Conde de Godó attracts world number one singles and doubles players

    The 65th edition of the Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell -commonly called the Conde de Godó tournament- has begun this weekend and runs through until the 30th April. The tournament goes back a long way as it was held for the first time in 1953. The competition is organized by the Barcelona Royal Tennis Club (RCTB) and has a big impact on the city of Barcelona and the European clay court circuit given the presence each year of club member...

  • Outside Codorniu (by Codorniu)

    26.04.17 - 18:10

    Codorniu stops producing white label cava for foreign brands

    The Catalan cava producer Codorniu announced that they will stop producing for foreign brands and will instead focus on their own Premium and Prestige products. The company explained that white label production (producing for third parties) is no longer profitable and thus must be stopped. The company said that production for third parties, basically in the United Kingdom, represents 5% of sales. According to the Catalan cava company,...
  • The correspondent of the 'Libération', Jean Quatremer, and the former Catalan President, Artur Mas during the event in Brussels on April 25 (By Laura Pous)

    26.04.17 - 10:51

    Spanish diplomats warned French journalist against moderating an event about Catalonia

    Spanish diplomats tried to pressure the moderator of an event with former Catalan president, Artur Mas, in Brussels. The correspondent from the French newspaper Libération, Jean Quatremer, admitted on Tuesday that when he agreed to present the event with the former Catalan president, he received some “news from Madrid”. “They called to ask me why I had accepted, and if I was sure about what I was getting into, and obviously I was,”...
  • Mossos d'Esquadra arresting a man over this Tuesday's anti-jihadist operation (by ACN)

    25.04.17 - 17:42

    Nine arrested in counter-terrorism operation in Catalonia

    Early this morning, the Catalan police force (Mossos d’Esquadra) carried out an important anti-jihadist operation in six Catalan municipalities. There were 9 arrests in 12 major raids in Barcelona and the surrounding municipalities of L'Hospitalet de Llobregat, Cornellà, Santa Coloma de Gramenet, Ripollet, and Masquefa. The Catalan Minister of Home Affairs, Jordi Jané, announced that some of the “arrests made today...

  • Parliament's President, Carme Forcadell, together with the members of the Parliament's Bureau (by ACN)

    25.04.17 - 13:23

    Catalan Parliament President to face court on May 8 for allowing debate on independence

    Carme Forcadell, the President of the Catalan Parliament, will testify before the High Court of Catalonia (TSJC) for allowing a debate in the plenary about an independence resolution. She is accused of disobedience for not stopping the discussion, which was suspended by the Constitutional Court after a Spanish government complaint. The High Court has also asked four members of the Catalan Parliament Bureau to testify: Anna Simó, Lluís...
  • Torre Glòries, also known as Torre Agbar, a landmark on the Barcelona skyline (Arxiu ACN)

    24.04.17 - 22:42

    Barcelona offers 'Torre Agbar' for new European Medicines Agency headquarters

    The Torre de Glòries, an emblematic modern tower widely known as the “Torre Agbar”, with its 33.000 square meters and distinguished design by Jean Novel, is Barcelona's candidate for the new location for the European Medicines Agency (EMA) headquarters. The decision was made last Friday by the representatives of the City of Barcelona, the Government of Catalonia, and the Spanish government. The Mayoress of Barcelona, Ada Colau, the...
  • Bookstand on Sant Jordi, 23rd April / Sílvia Jardí

    24.04.17 - 19:39

    Catalonia celebrates St Jordi's Day with books, roses and signatures for the referendum

    Every year on 23rd April, the UNESCO World Book Day, Catalans celebrate their patron saint, Sant Jordi's Day (Saint George). It is one of the Catalans’ most cherished national days, when people give books and red roses to friends and loved ones in celebration of love and literature. Traditionally men used to give a red rose to women and women gave men books in return. But the tradition has evolved and nowadays men and women both give and...
  • Agglomeration at Diagonal Metro station this morning at 7:30  (by Josep Molina)

    24.04.17 - 17:34

    Barcelona Metro offers minimum service during Monday strike

    The Barcelona Metro is on strike today, Monday, which means that service is reduced to a minimum between 7 and 9 am, 4 and 6 pm, and from 8:30 to 10:30 pm. The Barcelona Metro strike began this morning after the negotiation of the collective bargaining agreement between the unions and the Metro board. The first visible signs of the conflict were the crowds on the metro platforms and in the metro trains, which increased from 7 o’clock on. The...
  • Leo Messi picked the best time and place to score his 500th goal for the club (by Miguel Ruiz, FCB)

    24.04.17 - 10:07

    Real Madrid vs FC Barcelona (2-3): Epic late win reignites title race

    FC Barcelona left it as late as they possibly could but it was worth every gruelling second as Leo Messi popped up deep into injury time to seal an epic 3-2 Clásico victory to move level on points with Real Madrid at the top of the table. Ahead of the game, Luis Enrique described it as “a final” for his men, and the scenes after Messi’s strike resembled a trophy-winning moment. The team dug deep to breathe new life and optimism into the...
  • Roses are one of Sant Jordi's key elements (by ACN)

    23.04.17 - 19:55

    Catalan culture fills London’s Borough Market on Sant Jordi

    London’s Borough Market hosted the celebration of Sant Jordi’s Day in the British capital. Like all over Catalonia, stalls selling books and roses colored one of the most iconic spots in the city, complete with Catalan food tasting, storytelling, traditional human towers (Castellers) and a mix of both Catalan and English folklore. The Delegation of the Catalan Government to the UK and Ireland, together with the Catalan community...

  • Book stall at Barcelona's Rambla de Catalunya (by ACN)

    23.04.17 - 10:13

    Thousands flock to the streets to celebrate love and literature on Sant Jordi’s Day

    Catalonia’s Patron Saint Day, on the 23rd of April, gathers together love and literature in one of the Catalans’ most beloved traditions. It is the Catalan equivalent to Sant Valentin’s Day and, originally, lovers exchanged books and roses to show their love. However, this tradition has been progressively adopted by friends, relatives, workmates and is also welcome amongst those amazed visitors which experience Sant Jordi...

  • Catalan President, Carles Puigdemont shaking hands with Catalan VP, Oriol Junqueras during the event to emphasize the Government's commitment to call a referendum (by ACN)

    21.04.17 - 13:10

    Government to call the referendum and apply its results, despite Spain’s threats

    The entire Executive, led by Catalan President, Carles Puigdemont, and Catalan VP, Oriol Junqueras, reiterated its commitment to “organize, call, and celebrate” a referendum on Catalonia’s independence and apply its results, despite Spain’s “threats and attempts to limit Catalonia’s self-government,” said Puigdemont. In a symbolic event held in the iconic ‘Pati dels Tarongers’ courtyard,...

  • Roses and books to celebrate Sant Jordi's Day at London's Borough Market (by ACN)

    21.04.17 - 10:48

    Sant Jordi to be celebrated in 50 countries worldwide

    One of Catalonia’s most beloved festivals, Sant Jordi, will be celebrated in a record 50 countries worldwide this year. Although Catalonia’s Patron Saint Day is on the 23rd of April, there are activities related to books and roses—the main protagonists of the day—scheduled over the course of a few weeks in New York, Bogotá, London, Melbourne, Johannesburg, and many others. The Delegations of...