• 70% of Spanish exports are made through Catalonia (by ACN)

    Catalonia represents over 25% of Spanish exports

    In the first two months of 2014 exports by Catalan companies increased by 2.2% on the same period last year, according to figures released on Wednesday by the Spanish Ministry for the Economy and Competitiveness. In fact, Catalan companies were behind 25.3% of all exports from Spain. Spain's exports in January and February reached €37.76 billion, a 4% increase on figures from the same period last year. In addition, the amount reached in the first two months of 2014 represents an historical record. The main industries behind those numbers are food, drinks, and tobacco, as well as manufacturing and automation.  The main markets for Spanish products were the UK, Portugal, the United States and Germany.

Containers at the Port of Barcelona a few months ago (by ACN)

Barcelona Port increases goods traffic by 9% in the first quarter of 2014

The Port of Barcelona handled 10.7 million tons of goods during the first 3 months of 2014, which represents a 9% increase on the same period last year. Between January and March, all the types of transported goods posted a significant growth, and the same trend applies to the traffic of passengers, which grew by 9%. In the first quarter of the year, the number of vehicles transported grew by 5%, as did the number of containers, which reached 428,720 TEU. Container imports increased by 7% and exports by 3%. Container exports grew particularly to countries such as China (+31%), the United States (+17%), Morocco (+35%) and Mexico (+87%). The traffic of bulk liquids increased by 24%, particularly diesel and other fuel, as well as chemical products.

The Catalan Government's Advisory Council for the National Transition met this Monday (by P. Mateos)

Catalan Government's Advisory Council: an independent Catalonia would not be excluded from the EU

An independent Catalonia would benefit from transition measures that would guarantee the continuity of European Union agreements, thus staying within the Schengen Area and the Euro Zone. This is the most likely scenario in the event of independence, according to the Catalan Government's Advisory Council for the National Transition (CATN), which is a body formed of independent and prestigious academics. The CATN is issuing a series of reports on different aspects related to a hypothetical independent Catalan state. This expert group emphasises that there is "no legal basis" to conclude that Catalonia would be automatically expelled from the EU the moment it became independent, or to state that it would automatically join the Union as a new Member State. There is no provision in the Treaties and there are no precedents. The report concludes that Catalonia's EU membership will be decided in a negotiation process where political and economic interests will be at play.

The Spanish Deputy PM on Friday (by La Moncloa)

The Spanish Government rejects a Constitution reform once again "because there is no consensus"

The Spanish Deputy Prime Minister, Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría, has asked the President of the Catalan Government, Artur Mas, to abandon his demands to organise a self-determination vote in order to start a dialogue. She was answering Mas' request to PM Mariano Rajoy "to set a day and time" to start talking. Sáenz de Santamaría stated "there was already a day and a time, which was last Tuesday at 4 pm", when the Spanish Parliament rejected the Catalan Parliament's petition to exceptionally transfer the power to organise a non-binding referendum in Catalonia. In addition, the Spanish Deputy Prime Minister referred to Mas's statement that, if a referendum or a consultation vote on Catalonia's independence from Spain is banned, he might call for plebiscite elections. De Santamaría warned that "a referendum cannot be held whatever the formula". On top of this, she rejected a Constitution reform once again "because there is no consensus".

Messi and Neymar in the last win to Real Madrid (by FC Barcelona)

FC Barcelona vs Real Madrid: The classic Spanish Cup final

This Wednesday evening Valencia's Mestalla hosts the Spanish Cup Final and the Catalans face old rivals Real Madrid. It’s 63 days since FC Barcelona beat Real Sociedad in the semi-finals. It’ll be a peculiar final. There is no clear favourite, both sides are missing important players to injury, and for the first time in several years, these two teams are not the runaway leaders in La Liga. Barça come into the game following a disappointing week in which they were knocked out of the Champions League and suffered a serious setback in their quest to win La Liga. Real Madrid would appear to be heading in the opposite direction.

  • Barça players after the defeat against Real Madrid at Spain's Cup Final (by FC Barcelona)

    FC Barcelona vs Real Madrid: The Spanish Cup slips away from Barça’s hands (1-2)

    Gareth Bale's goal five minutes from the end clinched the Spanish Cup for Real Madrid. Neymar almost sent the game into extra time in the final minute, but his shot hit the post. The 2014 Spanish Cup goes to Real Madrid after goals from Di María and Bale at the start and end of the match tipped the balance in their favour in this evening’s final. It was a cruel blow for FC Barcelona, who equalised with a Bartra in the second half. Barça are still the ‘king of cups’ with 26 titles, but this season the only major title they can still win is the domestic league.

  • The Spanish Foreign Affairs Minister, José Manuel García-Margallo, on Wednesday (by J. Soler)

    Spanish Foreign Affairs Minister accuses the Catalan Government of lying about independent Catalonia's EU membership

    The Spanish Foreign Affairs Minister, José Manuel García-Margallo, has accused the Catalan Government of "not telling the whole truth" regarding the EU membership of an independent Catalonia. García-Margallo stated a month ago that an independent Catalonia would "roam across space" and would be "excluded from the European Union for centuries of centuries". On Wednesday he referred to an expert report issued this week by the Catalan Government's Advisory Council for the National Transition (CATN), formed of prestigious academics. The CATN stated that EU Treaties do not include provisions for automatic expulsion nor for automatic admission. Therefore, the final decision would be reached in a negotiation with political and economic interests at play. For them, the most likely scenario is one with transition measures to guarantee the continuity of EU Law, the Schengen Area and the Euro, while waiting for the official admission of Catalonia to be accepted.

  • The Catalan Minister for the Presidency, Francesc Homs, reacting to the European Commission's comments (by P. Mateos)

    Brussels repeats that EU Treaties would no longer apply in a seceded region but opens the door for nuances

    A Spokesperson for the European Commission was asked on Tuesday about the report issued on Monday by the Catalan Government's Advisory Council for National Transition, which stated that EU Treaties did not include any provision regarding the secession of a Member State and therefore the final decision would be a political one, following economic interests. They stated that the most likely scenario would be setting up transition measures guaranteeing the continuity of EU Law, Schengen and the Euro, while Catalonia's definitive EU membership was being negotiated. The European Commission - which acknowledged it only knew the report from the press – repeated that it will only give an analysis "upon the request of a Member State" and "on the basis of a detailed scenario". However, it also stated that "if a part territory of a Member State secedes", "EU Treaties no longer apply from the day of its independence" as it becomes "a third country". The Commission did not state the procedure, nor whether transition measures could guarantee the continuity of EU agreements.

Highlights

  • Barça players could not score any goal against Granada (by FC Barcelona)

    13.04.14 - 11:25

    Granada CF vs FC Barcelona: Barça's destiny in La Liga is out of their hands (1-0)

    FC Barcelona suffered their fifth defeat of the season away to Granada, losing by the only goal of the match. It was one of those games in which the ball just simply didn’t want to go in. The visitors shot no fewer than 29 times, but not one of those was enough to neutralise Brahimi’s opener. This was a very different game to the ones in San Sebastian and Valladolid. At the Nuevo Los Cármenes, Barça created threat...

  • One of the buildings of HP in Sant Cugat del Vallès (by ACN)

    12.04.14 - 13:58

    HP to set up its world centre for 3D printing in its Greater Barcelona offices

    Hewlett-Packard has announced that it will locate its world centre to develop 3D printing business in its facilities at Sant Cugat del Vallès, in Greater Barcelona, where it has already developed part of this technology. In fact, HP's Catalan offices are one of the multinational's main R&D centres at world level. HP also develops the technology for large-format printing in Greater Barcelona, employing some 350 engineers. In...

  • The entrance to Puig's new headquarters, designed by Rafael Moneo

    11.04.14 - 13:46

    Perfume maker Puig unveils new headquarters designed by Moneo and aims to rank the world's 3rd by 2020

    The Catalan fashion and fragrance multinational Puig, which runs international brands such as Carolina Herrera, Nina Ricci, Paco Rabanne, Jean Paul Gaultier and Prada, has unveiled its new international headquarters, located in L'Hospitalet business district in Greater Barcelona. The tower has been designed by Rafael Moneo, who won the Pritzker Architecture Prize in 1996. The Catalan company has also presented its results for 2013,...

  • The terminal of Lleida-Alguaire Airport (by ACN)

    10.04.14 - 19:54

    Israeli airline Arkia to link Tel Aviv with Lleida-Alguaire, near the Catalan Pyrenees

    The Israeli airline Arkia will offer a total of 20 flights during the summer and 20 more during the winter between Tel Aviv and the Lleida-Alguaire Airport. The new connection will start on the 27th of June and will have a capacity of 110 passengers per flight. Israeli tourists will be better connected to Western Catalonia and the Pyrenees, which host a large range of ski resorts, adventure sports opportunities, impressive...

  • Neymar was not able to score on Thursday against Atlético Madrid (by FC Barcelona)

    10.04.14 - 01:28

    Atlético Madrid vs FC Barcelona: Barça bid farewell to Champions League (1-0)

    An early Koke goal denied Barça the chance of a seventh successive semi final appearance. Barça’s dream of a Lisbon final came to an end at the Vicente Calderon tis Wednesday evening, when a combative Atletico Madrid beat them 1-0. The hosts’ early goal and their whirlwind start really set Barça back, but Martino’s side fought their way back into the game and had their chances to draw level. However,...

  • The Catalan President Artur Mas on Wednesday at the Catalan Parliament (by P. Solà)

    10.04.14 - 01:02

    Catalan President to Spanish PM: "set a day and a time" to talk and present a Constitutional reform

    The day after the Spanish Parliament's debate about Catalonia's self-determination vote, the President of the Catalan Government, Artur Mas, asked the Spanish Prime Minister, Mariano Rajoy, to "set a day and a time" to start talking about the current political situation. Yesterday Catalan representatives explicitly asked for the same thing, stressing their offer "to talk about everything", including the organisation of a self-determination...

  • Josep Maria Subirachs next to one of his sculptures (by Premsa Basilica de la Sagrada Familia)

    09.04.14 - 19:08

    Sagrada Familia's main sculptor Josep Maria Subirachs has died aged 87

    Josep Maria Subirachs died in Barcelona after a neurodegenerative illness aged 87. Subirachs had a long career in several artistic disciplines but he will be mostly remembered at international level for the work he created in the Sagrada Familia basilica designed by the Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí. In 1986, Subirachs was commissioned to create sculpture groups for the church's Passion Façade, picturing Jesus Christ's Via...

  • The Spanish PM Mariano Rajoy answering the Catalan Parliament's petition (by G. Sanz)

    08.04.14 - 23:56

    Rajoy gives another “no” to Catalonia and offers a banned Constitutional reform

    On Tuesday evening the Spanish Parliament rejected a motion to transfer to the Catalan Government the power to organise a specific non-binding self-determination referendum, using Article 150.2 of the Constitution. 86% of all Spanish MPs rejected a motion presented by the Catalan Parliament to this effect, which was backed by some two-thirds of Barcelona’s Chamber. The Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy rejected the petition using...

  • The Spanish Parliament (by ACN)

    07.04.14 - 22:29

    Spanish Parliament to reject one of the legal ways for an agreed self-determination vote in Catalonia

    The Catalan Parliament is formally requesting the Spanish authorities to transfer the power to organise referendums to the Catalan Government, using Article 150.2 of the Constitution in order to organise an agreed self-determination vote in Catalonia. The Spanish Parliament, where the governing People's Party (PP) holds an absolute majority, will reject the petition on Tuesday, closing the door to one of the current legal paths to hold such...

  • Scytl's website (by Scytl)

    07.04.14 - 22:12

    Microsoft's co-founder Paul Allen invests $40 million in Catalan e-voting company Scytl

    Paul Allen, who founded Microsoft together with Bill Gates, has invested $40 million in the Barcelona-based Scytl, which is present in 35 countries and is one of the most innovative e-voting companies at world level. Allen will join Scytl's shareholders through his investment fund Vulcan Capital. Vulcan Capital's Manager Abhishek Agrawal will join the Catalan company's Board. Agrawal praised Scytl's "key role" in upgrading electoral...

  • The new Espai Barça (by FC Barcelona)

    06.04.14 - 10:27

    FC Barcelona members vote yes on New Espai Barça proposal

    "Days like today are when the world sees what FC Barcelona is and means," says FC Barcelona President Josep Maria Bartomeu. A total of 27,161 (72.36%) Club members backed the New Espai Barça proposal, which means that the project will move forward. The results of the vote were given by President Bartomeu in a press conference that started shortly after 9:00 PM CET. Bartomeu stated: "The support for the New Espai Barça proposal...

  • Barça players celebrating one of the three goals against Betis (by FC Barcelona)

    06.04.14 - 10:02

    FC Barcelona vs Betis: Voting day victory for Barça (3-1)

    FC Barcelona maintained their title challenge this Saturday in a rollercoaster win against a spirited Betis side fighting to avoid the drop.  The visitors provided plenty of nervous moments for the Camp Nou fans and were even on top times, but two goals from Leo Messi plus a Jordi Figueras own goal were enough to keep pace with  Atlético Madrid at the top of La Liga.  The players can now turn their attentions to the...

  • Víctor Grífols (left) and Artur Mas on Thursday in Parets del Vallès (by L. Vilaró)

    04.04.14 - 00:08

    Ibex 35 pharmaceutical Grífols' President supports the Catalan President's plans

    Víctor Grífols, the President and part owner of the Catalan pharmaceutical company Grífols – which is one of the world leaders for blood-derivate products – has advised the President of the Catalan Government, Artur Mas to "go ahead" and "do not flinch", indirectly referring to Catalonia's self-determination process. At a public event to unveil the enlargement of the multinational's campus in Parets del...

  • Spanish Prime Minister, Mariano Rajoy, on Thursday in Brussels (by European Council)

    04.04.14 - 00:06

    Spanish PM Rajoy in Brussels: Catalans and Spaniards "share the same blood"

    Spain's Prime Minister, Mariano Rajoy, did not want to disclose whether he will participate in the Spanish Parliament's debate on transferring referendum powers to the Catalan Government using Article 150.2 of the Constitution. The debate is scheduled for the 8th of April following a formal petition of the Catalan Parliament, approved with 87 "yes" votes, 43 negative ballots and 3 abstentions. However, Rajoy insisted that the...

  • The main entrance to Barça's training facilities (by FC Barcelona)

    03.04.14 - 18:28

    Hopeful youngsters combine football with studies at the FC Barcelona youth academy

    The FC Barcelona youth academy, called La Masia, is known and respected worldwide for its success with home-grown players such as Pep Guardiola, Leo Messi, Carles Puyol and Andrés Iniesta. The Technical Director of the youth system, former Barça midfielder Guillermo Amor, was also one of the young talents at the academy. A member of Johan Cruyff's Dream Team in the 1990s, Amor knows the place better than anyone. CNA offers an...

  • FC Barcelona's new Masia football academy (by FC Barcelona)

    03.04.14 - 10:44

    FC Barcelona to appeal the sanction imposed by the FIFA banning the club from signing new players

    FC Barcelona has issued an official response to the sanction imposed by the FIFA Disciplinary Commission on the Royal Federation of Spanish Football and the Catalan club for infractions related to the transfer and registration of players under the age of 18. Barça will be presenting an appeal to the FIFA and should it be necessary, it will take the resulting resolution to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS). The FIFA has banned...