• Barcelona City Council's building (by ACN)

    Barcelona and 700 other municipalities approve motions supporting 9 November's independence vote

    The City Council of Barcelona as well as 300 other town halls throughout Catalonia approved on Monday a motion supporting the self-determination consultation vote, scheduled for the 9th of November. Some 400 other municipalities have confirmed they will do the same in the current week and more could join in the coming days. With this action, Catalan municipalities want to back the parliamentary agreement to carry out such a vote, which is being unilaterally blocked by the Spanish Government.  The motions will be sent to the Catalan Government, the Spanish Authorities, the European Union institutions and the United Nations. Town Halls throughout Catalonia are approving the same motion, which has been proposed by the Association of pro-Independence Municipalities (AMI) and the Catalan Association of Municipalities (ACM).

The Catalan Parliament welcomes the new Law on Consultation Votes (by ACN)

Catalan Parliament approves law to be used for self-determination consultation vote with 80% support

The Law on Consultation Votes, which will be used to call the non-binding consultation vote on independence scheduled for the 9th of November, has been approved by 79% of the Catalan Parliament, with the only opposition being from Spanish nationalists People's Party (PP) and Ciutadans (C's). This bill was already foreseen in the 2006 Statute of Autonomy, Catalonia's main law after the Constitution, but it had not been approved yet. Now, once the law is published on Catalonia's Official Journal (DOGC), the Catalan President will immediately sign the Decree calling November's vote. The Spanish Government announced last week it already had two appeals ready to be filed to the Constitutional Court – even though the definitive law had not been approved yet. If the Constitutional Court accepts the appeals, it will immediately suspend the Catalan Law and the Decree for a 5-month temporary period, which could be extended until it reaches a final decision.

The Catalan President, Artur Mas, addressing the press after Scotland's referendum (by P. Mateos)

Catalonia's self-determination is "strengthened" by UK's "democracy lesson", states Catalan President

A few hours after the Scottish people decided to remain within the United Kingdom through a referendum, the Catalan President and the Spanish Prime Minister congratulated the Scots, although they sent completely different messages. Through a recorded video message, Spain's PM, Mariano Rajoy, stated that Scotland has rejected the "severe consequences" of "splitting up from the UK and the EU". Rajoy stressed that Scots have chosen "between security and true risks" and that the vote "has strictly respected legality". In a press conference, the Catalan President, Artur Mas, stated that the UK has given the world "a democracy lesson". Mas stated that Catalonia's self-determination process is "strengthened" by the Scottish referendum. He insisted that his main priority is not independence but allowing the Catalan people to vote on their future.

Ana Sofía Cardenal, Professor at the Open University of Catalonia (UOC) in the MediaTIC building (by Rebecca Lock)

The Internet has strengthened the Catalan independence movement

"Without a doubt the independence movement would never have been so successful without Web 2.0 technologies" says Scottish academic Kathryn Crameri. In the last few years support for independence in Catalonia has grown considerably, with around 50% of the Catalan population supporting the movement in 2014, compared to some 15% 10 years ago. In his new book, 'Sobirania.Cat', prominent Catalan journalist Saül Gordillo explains how this can be intrinsically linked to the steady rise of online activity in Catalonia, saying that the growth in the movement would be "unthinkable" without the Internet. Albert Royo, Secretary General of Catalonia's Public Diplomacy Council, explained why pro-independence activists are so reliant on the Internet. "The diplomatic channels of communication are being controlled by the Spanish Government", he said, and alternative channels had to be found.

Leo Messi and Neymar in the recent match against APOEL of Nicosia (by FC Barcelona)

FC Barcelona aims to get nine points in seven days

This is going to be a key week for FC Barcelona as they will have three Spanish League matches in seven days. From Sunday 21st September through Saturday 27th, Luis Enrique's squad will have nine points in play, the same number of points that were on the table through the entire first month of the season. Barça is set to visit Levante (Sunday 21), Malaga (Wednesday 24), and then host Granada (Saturday 27). FC Barcelona won't have to play three Liga matches in one week again until the month of April, when they will have to do it not once but twice. From now until then Barça's midweek schedule is loaded with other competitions, namely the group stage of the Champions League and the Spanish Cup.

  • Tourists enjoying rafting at the Noguera-Pallaresa river, in the Catalan Pyrenees (by ACN)

    Catalonia continues to lead foreign tourism, with a 7.5% increase in August

    Tourism booms in Spain, with 9 million international visitors in August 2014, up by 8.8% since last year. Official data shows record breaking numbers, with August being the busiest month. In the first seven months of this year, tourists spent over €34.5 billion, the highest number in history. Catalonia is the most popular destination, attracting over 2.4 million tourists in August alone, a 7.5% increase from last year. Following Catalonia, the best results were seen in the Balearic Islands and Andalucía, all of which showed significant increases in recorded visitors for this year. August has been the busiest month on record, with tourists mainly coming from France and Italy, while over the whole year, the most frequent visitor continues to be British.

  • The Magic Horse that will be displayed in China (by Institut Ramon Llull)

    Beijing Design Week focuses on Barcelona with manifold exhibitions, conferences and activities

    This year, Barcelona will be the focus of the Beijing Design Week (BJDW), to be held between the 26th of September and the 3rd of October in the Chinese Capital. The international exhibition will dedicate 8 spaces to Barcelona, the biggest being 79 Tank, a 3,500 square metre pavilion housed in an old gas tank. The BJDW will devote a total of 5 exhibitions, 17 conferences and more than 20 activities to the design made in Barcelona. In addition, alternative design will also be present during this week-long event that brings together the capitals of China and Catalonia: 3 small projects will to take place in District Dashilar, one of the oldest neighbourhoods of Beijing. The BJDW event that last year attracted 5 million people, previous invites have included London (2011), Milan (2012) and Amsterdam (2013), making Barcelona the 4th largest city to be chosen.

  • Leo Messi and Ivan Rakitic celebrate Barça's second goal against Llevant (by FC Barcelona)

    Llevant UD v FC Barcelona: Barça's five goal feast maintains 100% record

    Barça put five past Levante in Valencia on Sunday evening, with Neymar, Rakitic, Sandro, Pedro and Messi all on target. FC Barcelona has obtained 12 points from 12, 11 goals scored and none conceded for Luis Enrique’s team, who’ve made an impressive start to their three game week, with Malaga and Granada next up. Barça beat Llevant to continue both their unbeaten record and keep yet another clean sheet, which Luis Enrique feels “goes to show even more our idea of playing as team … Rather than singling anyone out in particular, I’ll just say that I was happy with all of them.”

Highlights

  • Containers at the Port of Tarragona (by R. Segura)

    18.09.14 - 21:09

    Catalan exports growing faster than ever, with the 6.9% in July marking an all-time record

    Last July, Catalonia broke its export record ever achieved in a single month, reaching €5.67 billion. This marked a 6.9% growth from the same month in 2013. Furthermore, Catalan sales abroad reached another record high in the period between January and July of 2014, at €35.44 billion, an increase of 2.6% from last year's same period. Meanwhile, exports have increased throughout the rest of Spain by 1.3% between January and July in...

  • Gerard Piqué being hugged by Messi, Bartra, Sergi Roberto and Samper (by FC Barcelona)

    18.09.14 - 10:37

    FC Barcelona vs APOEL FC: Winning start (1-0)

    Luis Enrique was able to celebrate his managerial debut in the Champions League with three points, but just as he had warned beforehand, the APOEL Nicosia presented a far tougher challenge than many had predicted. Despite dominating almost of the play, Barça only found the net once, a Gerard Piqué header after 27 minutes. Ter Stegen pulled on the goalkeeper’s jersey for the first time in an official match, and the night...

  • The Catalan President (right) welcomes the motion approved by a two-third majority of the Catalan Parliament votes (by R. Garrido)

    17.09.14 - 21:59

    Two-third majority of Catalan Parliament reaffirms its commitment with November 9 independence vote

    A two-third majority of the Catalan parliament has approved a motion supporting the self-determination consultation vote, scheduled on the 9th of November, which has to take place "with all the possible democratic and participation guarantees". With this resolution, parties have reaffirmed their commitment to carry out this vote, which will very likely be banned by the Spanish authorities in the coming days. The parliamentary...

  • The poster of the 'Now it's the time' campaign (by A. Moldes)

    17.09.14 - 21:37

    Independence supporters to mobilise 100,000 volunteers in a door-to-door campaign throughout Catalonia

    The cross-cutting campaign that intends to visit each home in Catalonia will be launched on the same day that the Spanish authorities are expected to ban the self-determination consultation vote. The two civil society associations that organised the 3 peaceful and massive pro-independence rallies in 2012, 2013 and 2014 (which gathered more than 1.5 million people each), Catalonia's National Assembly (ANC) and Òmnium Cultural, are...

  • The Oasis of the Seas in the Port of Barcelona this last weekend (by J. Pérez)

    17.09.14 - 20:17

    Barcelona is hosting the main event of the world's cruise ship industry, focused on the Mediterranean

    This week, the Port of Barcelona has become the world cruise capital, hosting the Seatrade Med 3000, an international conference bringing together 3,000 professionals from the all around the world. It is the leading conference in the field of Mediterranean cruise and is taking place between the 16th and 18th of September. This adds to Barcelona’s existing reputation as the European and Mediterranean cruise...

  • Neymar and Messi, wearing Barça's Catalan flag shirt, this last weekend against Bilbao (by FC Barcelona)

    17.09.14 - 14:49

    FC Barcelona vs APOEL FC: Champions League kicks off!

    Barça are about to get their 2014/15 Champions League bid under way against APOEL of Nicosia at the Camp Nou. Top of the Liga table with three wins out of three and no goals conceded, they’re in a buoyant mood at the moment, and now’s the time to carry that excellent form across into Europe against the Cypriot champions, the first game in a group that also includes Ajax and Paris Saint-Germain. Luis Enrique has called on...

  • Oriol Junqueras, leader of the ERC, addressing the Catalan Parliament on Tuesday (by P. Mateos)

    16.09.14 - 21:37

    Left-wing independence party ERC requests to join Catalan Government to protect self-determination vote

    The left-wing independence party ERC asked the Catalan President to join the Government "in order to protect the [self-determination] consultation vote" scheduled on the 9th of November. The Catalan President, Artur Mas, stated that they will talk about it in the coming days to strengthen the unity around November's vote. In addition, the Catalan Socialist party (PSC) also asked Mas to talk to them if the Constitutional Court...

  • The Spanish Foreign Affairs Minister, José Manuel García-Margallo, at the Spanish Parliament (by ACN)

    16.09.14 - 21:14

    Spanish Government threatens to suspend Catalonia's self-rule to stop independence vote

    Catalonia's self-government might be suspended in the coming weeks if the Catalan authorities organise the self-determination consultation vote on the 9th of November, suggested the Spanish Minister for Foreign Affairs, José Manuel García-Margallo. The week after 1.8 million Catalans formed an 11km-long mosaic to support November's non-binding vote, García-Margallo stated that the Spanish Executive will use...

  • Sketches for Les Rambles' design (by N. Sinkeviciute)

    15.09.14 - 21:48

    'From Miró to Barcelona' exhibition traces the Catalan artist's legacy to his hometown

    The Joan Miró Foundation, a museum of modern art devoted to the famous Catalan artist, hosts the exhibition 'De Miró a Barcelona' ('From Miró to Barcelona'). The display focuses on 4 art works that Miró wanted to donate to the city of Barcelona: the Airport Mural, the Mosaic at the Pla de l’Os in Les Rambles, a sculpture for the Parc de Cervantes (which ended up in Chicago), and the Joan Miró...

  • The President of the Catalan Government, Artur Mas, addressing the Parliament of Catalonia (by R. Garrido)

    15.09.14 - 21:45

    Catalonia would go for early elections if November's independence vote cannot have "enough democratic guarantees"

    The President of the Catalan Government, Artur Mas, stated that his "full commitment" is to make sure that Catalans can vote on the 9th of November self-determination consultation "with full democratic guarantees". In his opening speech at the Catalan Parliament’s main annual debate, Mas emphasised that his will is to make use of his entire term in office, which ends in November 2016, but only "if it is possible". He hinted...

  • Jordi Pujol Ferrussola, son of the former Catalan President Jordi Pujol, arriving at the Audiencia Nacional (by R. Pi de Cabanyes)

    15.09.14 - 21:31

    Son of former Catalan President Jordi Pujol denies having earned illegal commissions before the judge

    The judicial process for alleged tax fraud against family members of the former President of Catalonia Jordi Pujol (who led centre-right Catalan nationalism from the mid-1970s until 2003) has started this week with the testimony of his oldest son, Jordi Pujol Ferrussola, in front of the Spain's High Court 'Audiencia Nacional'. Judge Pablo Ruz is investigating the tax fraud confessed by Pujol senior in late July, which shocked the whole of...

  • Neymar, wearing the Catalan flag shirt, scored Barça's two goals (by FC Barcelona)

    14.09.14 - 11:36

    FC Barcelona vs Athletic Club: Neymar and Messi brilliance sees off brave Bilbao (2-0)

    Barça played with the Catalan flag shirt, as a way to commemorate Catalonia's National Day, which took place on Thursday.It was a special tribute, in the middle of the self-determination debate and in the 300th anniversary of the year Catalonia lost its sovereignty. Two goals in five minutes late on from Neymar gave Barça a deserved win in an exciting game against Bilbao at the Camp Nou on Saturday afternoon. The Brazilian...

  • The Spanish Deputy Prime Minister on Friday (by R. Pi de Cabanyes)

    12.09.14 - 22:32

    Madrid says 'no' and makes threats with "penal" actions after 1.8 million Catalans asked to vote

    The Spanish Government "cannot change its stance", stated Spanish Deputy PM on the day after Catalonia's independence supporters peacefully formed a colossal rally for the 3rd consecutive year. Furthermore, the Director of Spain's Public Prosecution Office – appointed by the Spanish Government – threatened the Catalan President with "penal" actions if he carries on once the vote has been formally banned. The day...

  • The Catalan President (centre) and the Vice President (red jacket) with the organisers of the massive demonstration (by J. Pujolar)

    11.09.14 - 22:53

    Catalan President asks Madrid "to sit down and talk" after the 3rd massive pro-independence rally

    "Madrid, but also Brussels" should take note that "these people want to vote", stated the President of the Catalan Government, Artur Mas, after the massive pro-independence demonstration, which gathered 1.8 million people according to the local police. Mas met with the civil society associations organising the rally after the event and "congratulated" them. "There is barely any other country or society throughout the world that has this...

  • The anti-independence demonstration in Tarragona, which gathered 7,000 according to local police (by R. Segura)

    11.09.14 - 22:23

    7,000 pro-Spanish unity supporters gather in Tarragona, former capital of the Roman province

    On Catalonia's National Day, the Spanish unity association Societat Civil Catalana (Catalan Civil Society, in English), organised a demonstration to protest against the self-determination process in Tarragona. It was a demonstration organised weeks ago as an answer to the massive pro-independence rally organised on the same day in Barcelona. The Tarragona demonstration gathered 7,000 people according to the local police and 3,500 according...

  • The Catalan President, Artur Mas, in the morning's ceremony on Catalonia's National Day (by P. Mateos)

    11.09.14 - 20:08

    Catalonia has "everything ready" for November's self-determination vote

    On Catalonia's National Day, the President of the Catalan Government, Artur Mas, stated that "everything is ready" to hold the self-determination consultation vote, scheduled for the 9th of November by a two third majority of the Catalan Parliament. In a speech at an institutional ceremony held in the morning, a few hours before the massive pro-independence rally, Mas stated that "all the efforts are focused on the 9th...