• Puigdemont to call a referendum next September if Spain doesn’t allow Catalans to vote

    Catalan President, Carles Puigdemont, insisted on the Government’s will “to collaborate with a Spanish State which would allow Catalans to vote”, but warned that the offer to hold a binding referendum on Catalonia’s independence “doesn’t expire, but [it] won’t paralyse us either”.“It’s either a referendum or a referendum”, he stated before the Parliament during the first phase of the vote of confidence and forecast that the vote will take place “in the second half of September”. The Catalan President called on MPs to start “a chain of confidence which will not end tomorrow [when the vote of confidence will take place] but continue until Catalonia becomes an independent country”. In this sense, he warned those who won’t support the budget for 2017 not to support him on Thursday and “avoid further wasting of time”. Although Puigdemont assured that he was “not afraid” of the vote of confidence result, he also insisted that he will call new elections if he doesn’t obtain enough votes.

MPs voting in the Parliament's session the conclusions of the Committee to Study the Constitutive Process

27-S elections look back: A year of pro-independence majority in the Parliament

This Thursday is the first anniversary of the Catalan Elections of the 27th of September 2015, which led to the first pro-independence majority in the Parliament. Cross-party list ‘Junts Pel Sí’, which gathered together representatives from civil society and politicians such as left wing ERC’s leader, Oriol Junqueras, former MEP Raül Romeva and former President Mas, amongst others, won the elections, obtaining 62 MPs in the 135-seat Catalan Chamber. However, they didn’t obtain an absolute majority and negotiated with radical left pro-independence CUP, who got 10 MPs, in order to have a majority in favour of independence in the Catalan Chamber. After Mas failed twice to be invested as President, since CUP repeatedly refused to support him, former Mayor of Girona and President of the Association of Municipalities for Independence (AMI), Carles Puigdemont, emerged as the candidate of consensus. Then, a term of office defined as ‘exceptional’ started, with the aim of launching a pro-independence roadmap and putting in place the basis for the future Catalan Republic.

Group of tourists on holidays in Lloret de Mar, Girona (by ACN)

Barcelona struggles to achieve balance between benefits of tourism and complaints about illegal apartments

Barcelona’s battle against illegal apartment rentals has recently taken a new turn.The European Holiday Home Association (EHHA) filed last Thursday a formal complaint with the European Commission against the “restrictions” on the renting of apartments for tourists in Barcelona. The city launchedlast July an action plan against illegal tourist accommodations. Residents consider them to be the main cause for the presence of tourists in quiet neighbourhoods and the disruption of neighbours’ tranquillity. Up to 30 million people visit Barcelona each year. Although tourism represents a significant revenue stream, the increasing number of reported incidents of noise, public urination and nudity in some spots is too much to handle. Barcelona’s action plan aims at detecting illegal sublets as well as denouncing platforms such as Airbnb and HomeAway for offering them on their platforms. The City Council has threatened to fine the websites €600,000 each, despite Airbnb contributing €740 million to Barcelona´s revenue in 2015. 

The General Coordinator of the Catalan Democratic Party (PDC), Marta Pascal, during a press conference (by ACN)

PDC urges CUP to show "a sense of loyalty" and renew confidence in Puigdemont

The Catalan President, Carles Puigdemont, will face a vote of confidence this Wednesday to decide whether the Parliament renews the confidence in the current Government or new elections are called. Although radical left pro-independence CUP has already announced that they will support Puigdemont, former liberal party ‘Convergència’ now the Catalan Democratic Party (PDC) warned that the call for a unilateral referendum cannot be a red line to renew the confidence in the President. Moreover, the party asked the CUP to show "a sense of state, loyalty and unity" to complete the process towards independence. On the contrary, the Catalan Socialist Party (PSC) warned the PDC that if the vote is orientated towards the pro-independence roadmap, they will not renew their confidence in Puigdemont.

‘Els Minyons de Terrassa’ achieved the first human tower of 10 levels with three people on each ever seen in the city (by J.Pérez)

1.2 million people attended Barcelona festival La Mercè
Great success at this year’s edition of La Mercè Festival Barcelona. The festival was closed on Sunday with a Pyromusical performance in which fireworks, light and music were synchronised. Around 90,000 people gathered to see the show, which honoured Paris, the guest city of the 2016 celebration, and David Bowie and Prince, who passed away in January and April, respectively. The festival had a French and international accent and included performances of French artists like the street and circus art cooperative 2r2 and the prestigious theatre group Company Théâtre Silvia Monfort. However, during the celebration there were also several Catalan traditional activities such as human towers.
  • Catalan President, Carles Puigdemont, during the executive's meeting (by ACN)

    Puigdemont to defend holding an agreed referendum on vote of confidence

    Catalan President, Carles Puigdemont, will face this Wednesday the first phase of a vote of confidence. First he will hold a speech during which he is expected to call for an agreed referendum in order to culminate Catalonia’s pro-independence process. On Thursday, the different groups in the Catalan Chamber will decide whether to renew their support in the President or not. For Puigdemont to pass the vote he needs a simple majority, that is to say more ‘yeses’ than ‘noes’.  Puigdemont announced in June that he will submit to a vote of confidence this September, after CUP’s veto of the budget for 2016. He considered then that the Government, led by pro-independence cross-party list ‘Junts Pel Sí’ with the support of CUP, didn’t have “guaranteed stability” and therefore couldn’t rule.

  • 'Castellers de Vilafranca' performed several towers in various Shanghai's iconic spots (by ACN)

    The Castells Competition is back, and it’s more international than ever

    More than 120 media outlets will cover the 26th edition of the Castells Competition, taking place this weekend at the Tàrraco Arena Place, an old bullring located in Tarragona, southern Catalonia. This year’s edition will become an international window for Catalan culture as 380 journalists from China, Australia, United Kingdom, America and all around the globe have been accredited and will witness the event. 32 human tower groups (‘colles’) will perform, one of them from China: the Children of Hangzhou. Tarragona’s Mayor, Josep Fèlix Ballesteros, stated that this international media presence proves that the impact of castells “goes beyond our territory and is global”. More than 25,000 people will attend the competition this weekend, in an edition that is expected to be the most international and historic one, due to the high level of the human tower groups. 

  • Silhouette of Columbus statue, in Barcelona (by ACN)

    CUP wants Columbus statue in Barcelona to be removed

    The representatives of pro-independence radical left CUP in Barcelona’s City Hall, CUP-Capgirem Barcelona, will ask for the removal of the iconic statue of Christopher Columbus, located at the end of the Rambla street, close to Barcelona’s port. They feel that the 60-metre-high monument, which was installed in the Catalan capital in 1888 to coincide with the Universal Exposition, “praises the conquest of America”. The three representatives from CUP-Capgirem Barcelona will suggest changing the Columbus monument for a memorial to the indigenous peoples of the Americas and the slaves brought to that continent, and their resistance in the face of “imperialism, oppression and segregation”. Liberal ‘Convergència’ have already opposed the removal of the monument and left wing pro-independence ERC said they will study CUP-Capgirem’s proposal, which will be discussed during a plenary session this Friday.

Highlights

  • Neymar Jr and Suárez hug each other during the Sporting much (by M. Ruiz)

    26.09.16 - 15:31

    Sporting Gijón v FC Barcelona (0-5): Barça prove a handful at El Molinón

    FC Barcelona overcame the absence of Leo Mesi and secured the win at Sporting Gijón on Saturday. The Argentine is going to be out for three weeks but was not missed, as the Barça team scored five away from home for the second week in a row. Luis Suárez, Rafinha, Neymar (2) and Arda Turan were the scorers of the goals that allowed FC Barcelona to achieve victory, three of them coming in the last 10 minutes. After the midweek draw with...
  • Image of an appearance of Catalan President, Carles Puigdemont (ACN)

    23.09.16 - 15:12

    PSOE’s leader will not offer a referendum in exchange for his investiture, says Puigdemont

    The leader of the Spanish Socialist Party (PSOE), Pedro Sánchez, will not offer the Catalan Government a referendum on independence in exchange for his investiture, said the Catalan President, Carles Puigdemont. The politician stressed during an interview on Thursday that PSOE backbenchers are already warning Sánchez against this possibility, despite the leader having not made any move in that direction. The General Coordinator of the...
  • The sociologist, economist and political advisor Jeremy Rifkin with Catalan President Carles Puigdemont (by ACN)

    22.09.16 - 19:30

    Catalonia has the potential to lead the Third Industrial Revolution, says American economist Rifkin

    Catalonia has the “cultural capital” and the “knowledge” to promote a new model of production, more sustainable than the “obsolete” one. This is the main conclusion of a lecture given at the conference “A new Economic Paradigm for a Sustainable Catalonia’ by economist Jeremy Rifkin organized on Wednesday in Sant Cugat, a city near Barcelona, by the Public Diplomacy Council of Catalonia (Diplocat). According to the sociologist...
  • La Mercè's 'Piromusical', a show in which music and fireworks are synchronised (by ACN)

    21.09.16 - 19:46

    Barcelona festival La Mercè is back with a French accent

    Paris, the city of light, is the guest at this year’s edition of ‘La Mercè’, the festival of Barcelona’s patron saint. From the 22nd to the 25th of September many French artists will perform at Ciutadella Park. “Our desire is to keep the spirit of an open and cosmopolitan city in contact with other capitals, in this case, Paris", said Jaume Collboni, Barcelona’s Deputy Mayor for Culture. Popular activities such as...
  • Tourist at Sagrada Familia's entrance (by ACN)

    21.09.16 - 19:43

    Barcelona could introduce a tourist tax from 2017

    Visitors coming to Barcelona in 2017 may be levied with a tourist tax. This would be added to the fee Catalonia already applies to people staying in Catalan hotels, camping sites and tourist cottages. The Municipal Commission of Economy and Finance passed on Tuesday a proposal presented by liberal ‘Convergència i Unió’ (CiU) in which the political party asks the local government to consider the application of a tourist tax, fee or public...
  • The 6th International Wine Business Meeting is taking place in Lleida (by ACN)

    20.09.16 - 19:59

    Catalan wineries look to win over Russian importers

    Catalonia is a land of wine and cava, therefore Catalan wineries want to expand their market beyond the Catalan borders. This week the 6th International Wine Business Meeting is taking place in Lleida, in eastern Catalonia. In this edition the guest country is Russia. The aim of this event is to promote Catalan exports and find new trade opportunities. Up to 20 Catalan wineries are participating at the meeting and considering whether to...
  • Pau Casals and his wife Marta Casals (by Fundació Pau Casals)

    20.09.16 - 16:27

    Catalonia to commemorate 140th anniversary of Pau Casals’ birth with a month of activities

    El Vendrell, a coastal town near Tarragona in southern Catalonia, will hold from the 29th of September to the 30th of October some 20 activities to commemorate the 140th anniversary of Pau Casals’ birth. The programme for ‘Pau Casals Month’ includes conferences, concerts and exhibitions which aim to pay tribute to the prominent cellist. The two principal activities will be the talks given by Casals’s widow and the Abbot of Montserrat,...
  • The Catalan President, Carles Puigdemont, and the Valencian President, Ximo Puig (by Generalitat Valenciana)

    19.09.16 - 19:43

    Catalonia and Valencia urge Spain to complete the Mediterranean Corridor within a “credible timeframe”

    The Catalan and Valencian governments, together with social and economic representatives, have created a common front to push for the execution of the plan for the Mediterranean Corridor Railway. On Monday, they urged the Spanish Government to change its attitude and undertake pending investments within a “credible timeframe”. In a document presented after the bilateral summit celebrated at Valencia’s Generalitat Palace, the...
  • The Catalan President, Carles Puigdemont, with the Foreign Affairs Minister Raül Romeva and the permanent representative to the EU, Amadeu Altafaj, in the port of Ghent (by ACN)

    19.09.16 - 18:34

    Amadeu Altafaj to continue representing Catalan Government to the EU despite “absurd” court decision

    Catalonia’s Supreme Court said that Altafaj, head of the Catalan Government Delegation in Brussels, cannot use the title of Permanent Representative to the European Union. The judicial decision came after a complaint by the Spanish Government, which considers that such a title can only be used by member state diplomats. “There is nothing against the Catalan Government having a representative to the European Union or my current role”,...
  • Francesc Homs during a press conference after his statement in the Supreme Court (by ACN)

    19.09.16 - 16:20

    Homs claims his sentence for organising the 9-N vote “has already been dictated”

    The former Catalan Minister and Catalan Democratic Party (PDC) spokesman in the Spanish Parliament, Francesc Homs, testified on Monday before the Spanish Supreme Court. The politician is being investigated for co-organising the 9-N symbolic vote on independence in 2014. During his testimony the former Mminister stated that the consultation was “legal” because it “corresponded to the Catalan Parliament mandate”. Moreover, Homs claimed...
  • Francesc Homs with former Catalan President Artur Mas and other politicians arriving at the Supreme Court (by ACN)

    19.09.16 - 12:05

    Former Catalan Minister Homs facing trial “for listening to people’s demands”, says Puigdemont

    The former Catalan Minister and Catalan Democratic Party (PDC) spokesperson in the Spanish Parliament, Francesc Homs, is testifying this Monday in the Supreme Court for co-organising the 9th of November 2014 informal consultation on independence. The politician arrived at the Court accompanied by former Catalan President, Artur Mas, who, together with other Catalan Ministers, is also facing trial on charges of disobedience and perversion of...
  • Parliament's President, Carme Forcadell, giving a speech this Thursday 8th of September in Reus (by ACN)

    16.09.16 - 21:24

    Spanish government won’t file criminal complaint against Catalan Parliament President - for now

    The Spanish Government won’t file a criminal complaint against the Catalan Parliament’s President, Carme Forcadell, at least until Spain’s Constitutional Court decides on her suspension from office. After a reform passed by the People’s Party (PP) in 2015, the Court has the competency to dismiss public representatives and impose fines on them if they disobey a resolution. The Spanish Government filed a complaint against Forcadell over...
  • Train transporting goods in the south of Barcelona (by ACN)

    16.09.16 - 15:59

    Lack of Spanish investment in the Mediterranean Corridor linked to TP Ferro’s failure, says Catalan minister

    The Catalan Minister for Planning and Sustainability, Josep Rull, has pointed to Spain’s lack of investment in the Mediterranean Corridor as the main cause for the collapse of TP Ferro, the concessionaire for the new high-speed (HS) railway between Spain and France. The number of trains circulating on the railway in 2015 was lower than expected. The estimations were 19,000 trains per year, but in fact only 800 trains used the infrastructure....
  • Former Catalan President, Artur Mas, rallied around by thousands of citizens on his way to Catalonia's Supreme Court last October (by ACN)

    15.09.16 - 19:09

    Supreme Court rejects Mas and Catalan Ministers' 9N appeals

    Catalonia’s Supreme Court (TSJC) has dismissed this Thursday the appeals filed by former Catalan President Artur Mas, former Vice-President Joana Ortega and former Catalan Minister of Education Irene Rigau against their prosecution for alleged crimes of disobedience and administrative prevarication when organising the 9-N symbolic vote on independence. The Court magistrates believe that it is necessary to go on with the prosecution of...

  • Catalan President, Carles Puigdemont and Catalan Vice President Oriol Junqueras, met with Former Catalan Minister for Presidency, Francesc Homs, ahead of his statement before Madrid's Supreme Court (by ACN)

    15.09.16 - 18:42

    Puigdemont “will do the same” as previous Government regarding the 9-N consultation

    Catalan President, Carles Puigdemont, stated this Thursday that he “will do the same” as the previous Government did regarding the 9-N symbolic vote on independence, which took place in 2014. “If the Government has to make decisions in a comparable situation, we will do exactly the same and assume responsibility before those who believe that the Rule of Law is not reinforced by participation but through the Court”,...

  • Government's Secretary for Universities and Research, Arcadi Navarro (by ACN)

    14.09.16 - 18:57

    Catalonia aims to host the largest higher education meeting in Europe in 2020

    The Catalan Secretary of Universities and Research, Arcadi Navarro, and the President of the European Association for International Education (EAIE), Laura Howard, have a meeting next Friday September the 16th to discuss the candidacy of Barcelona as the venue for EAIE 2020. This annual event is the largest higher education conference in Europe and its...