• A Catalan independence flag in last year's 1.5 million strong demonstration supporting Catalonia's independence from Spain (by ACN)

    ANC wants 27-S pro-independence lists to have a "common brand"

    The Catalan National Assembly (ANC) has defined a proposal on how parties should collaborate for the 27-S elections. The ANC wants to present as few pro-independence lists as possible, opening the door so that they can be formed and led, if necessary, by people from civil society. It also proposed that these lists be identifiable by a "common brand" and have a shared electoral programme and joint campaign events. Finally, the ANC wants a clear commitment on the governability of Catalonia after the 27-S. According to the organisation, voting "yes" to the internal consultation on 3 and 4 July endorses this proposal and signifies unity of action.

The Catalan Showcase at the GDIF, in London (by ACN)

FiraTàrrega and Catalan performing arts back to "inspire" British programmers in London
FiraTàrrega, an international event for the performing arts held in Lleida, and the Catalan performing arts scene in general are considered "very inspiring" by British art professionals. On Sunday, they were both back at the Greenwich and Docklands International Festival (GDIF) in London, the UK capital’s leading event of free outdoor performing arts. In particular, five Catalan performing art companies and Mike Ribalta (FiraTàrrega's Head of professionals dept.) participated in the GDIF 2015 Showcase, a meeting of international programmers, in order to present their new projects and seek partnerships. This year, the British festival also has two Catalan productions in its programme: Toc de fusta and Brodas Bros.

Viver i Pi-Sunyer (right) presenting the CATN report in Brussels' International Press Centre next to Royo (left) (by A. Segura)

Spanish Government to bring Commissioner for National Transition before Constitutional Court
The Spanish Council of Ministers agreed on Friday to bring before Spain’s Constitutional Court (TC) the 16/2015 decree approved by the Catalan Government. The decree – adopted last February – established the Commissioner for National Transition, a position bestowed upon Catalan Jurist Carles Viver Pi-Sunyer. The Spanish Government's legal action also targets the Executive Plans for the creation of state structures and the plan for strategic infrastructure that the Commissioner is in charge of developing, in addition to "all the arrangements and actions linked to this decree and these plans, or in line with their purpose". The Spanish Executive has also filed an appeal to the TC in order to automatically suspend both the decree and the plans, according to Article 161.2 of the Spanish Constitution.

The installation 'Air, Water, Void', by Jaume Plensa (by ACN)

Plensa exhibition in Ceret contemplates relationship between body, soul and language
The Barcelona sculptor Jaume Plensa, one of the most internationally renowned Catalan artists, will have an exhibition from 27 June until 15 November at the Ceret Modern Art Museum in Northern Catalonia. The display, 'The Silence of Thought' ('El silenci del pensament'), is a selection of works that speak "of the body, the soul and the word", and one that will serve as an overview of his work. The sculptor is particularly famous for his sculptures of giant heads and people sitting in the foetal position. Plensa encourages visitors to "enjoy and have fun" because, thanks to the "intimate spaces and cosy human scale" of the museum and the use of light and shadows, they can fully understand his sculptural universe. The exhibition consists of three creative installations, each with their own room, and five monumental faces of alabaster and bronze.

The director of the Institut Ramon Llull, Alex Susanna, and the Catalan Minister for Culture, Ferran Mascarell (by ACN)

Institut Ramon Llull optimistic about future collaboration with Balearic Islands and Valencia
The Institut Ramon Llull (IRL) is a public body in charge of promoting Catalan culture and language abroad. On Thursday, "it expressed optimism for the first time" about a collaboration with the new Governments of Valencia and the Balearic Islands, both led by left-wing coalitions. The Director of the institute, Àlex Susanna, said that, following the May 2015 elections, "positive signs" are emerging but still could not confirm any conclusive agreement. According to him, the new political landscape opens a "great opportunity" to promote the international mobility of artists and intellectuals from Catalan-speaking territories. Asked about the new Head of Barcelona City Council – part of the consortium constituting the institute – Susanna said that he foresees "continuity" with the work of previous local Executives.
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  • The concert by Oques Grasses in Barcelona (by ACN)

    Festival Grec starts in Barcelona with two free concerts by local artists and the city's Municipal Band

    Barcelona's summer Festival Grec is the city’s main yearly event for stage arts, taking place from the 1st to the 31st of July. On Tuesday, its unofficial opening took place with two free outdoor concerts by local artists, while on Wednesday the official opening ceremony on, with a new dance show by Catalan company 'La Veronal'. This year, during the 'unofficial inauguration' of the festival, the Catalan pop-rock band Obeses performed, presenting its new album 'Monsters and princesses' accompanied by the Barcelona Municipal Band. The concert was followed by Oques Grasses' show, a local band very popular among young audiences and winner by popular vote of the Enderrock 2014 award for best group revelation of 2013.
  • The Catalan fashion brand Mango opened the 16th edition of the 080 Barcelona Fashion Week (by ACN)

    080 Barcelona Fashion Week kicks off with Mango opening the show

    On Monday evening, the Catalan fashion brand Mango opened the 16th edition of the 080 Barcelona Fashion Week, showcasing its new autumn/winter collections for men and women. Catalan Business and Employment Minister, Felip Puig, took part in the opening ceremony of the event, which will run from 29 June to 3 July at the Olympic Stadium Lluís Companys. In total, 22 designers and 15 brands are participating, in a combination of young talent, world renowned artists and international labels. As this year's show takes place within the walls that hosted the Olympics in 1992, Puig expressed his hopes for the fashion event to recover "all its openness to the outside world, its fair play, its ability to welcome visitors and, at the same time, the commitment to talent and ambition".
  • Foreign tourists spent €8.15 billion in Catalonia between January and July last year (by ACN)

    Summer tourist accommodations projected to be nearly full on Catalan coast; around 60% full inland

    The Catalan tourism sector expects a good season this summer in regard to occupancy of tourist accommodations, as reported to ACN by unions and employers in the country. Catalonia has attracted more tourists than any other region in Spain since the start of 2015, according to the Survey of Tourist Movements at Borders (Frontur), released by the Ministry of Industry, Energy and Tourism. Barcelona, with apartment occupancy around 85% and coastal regions of Girona – which is on the cusp of being full during August – are the areas that will attract the highest demand for tourist accommodations. The interior of Lleida expects occupancy to exceed 65%, while the Pyrenean part will be full the whole week of 15 August. As for Central Catalonia, occupation can swing between 60% and 80%, and in Tarragona it will depend on last-minute reservations.

Highlights

  • The President of the ANC, Jordi Sánchez, during the 'Moment Zero' event (by ACN)

    25.06.15 - 20:29

    Sánchez confident ANC will "never" abandon cooperation between parties; unsure about Mas' 27-S proposal

    The president of the Catalan National Assembly (ANC), Jordi Sánchez, guaranteed Thursday that the Assembly will "never" abandon its cross-platform cooperation, nor will it put any portion of its sovereignty to the side. "The day that the ANC defends one side will be the end of the ANC", he said during a press conference at the Born Cultural Centre. Sánchez, however, has asked that his words not be interpreted as a response to the proposal...
  • The Catalan President, Artur Mas, interviewed by Mònica Terribas (by Rubén Moreno)

    23.06.15 - 19:58

    Self-determination process needs

    The President of the Catalan Government, Artur Mas, warned on Monday that the self-determination process needs "enthusiasm", defining his proposal of a shared list with civil society organisations as a "spark" to retrieve it. In an interview with TV3, the President called for "personal and corporate agendas" not to overcome the country's interests, announcing that if grassroots organisations refuse his proposal, he will run in the next...
  • Bonfires are common during the night

    23.06.15 - 19:48

    Sant Joan's Eve sets Barcelona ablaze with energy

    Every year the sounds of fireworks popping and crackling perforate the air in Catalonia in the days leading up to Sant Joan's Eve (Nit de Sant Joan). The yearly festival culminates in a massive party on the night of 23 June, when locals celebrate the holiday by setting off mass amounts of fireworks and igniting bonfires, known in Catalan as 'fogueres'. At midnight, there is a spectacular fireworks display, marking the climax of the...
  • The Catalan President, Artur Mas, with the new ministers: Jordi Jané, Neus Munté, Meritxell Borràs and Jordi Ciuraneta (by ACN)

    22.06.15 - 21:31

    New Catalan Ministers sworn in, creating “100% cohesive” government

    A brief swearing-in ceremony was held on Monday in the Generalitat Palace (the seat of the Catalan Government) when – after the Cabinet reshuffle – four new Catalan Ministers officially took office. During the event, the President of the Catalan Government, Artur Mas, stated that the new Executive is "100% cohesive" in defending the full independence of Catalonia. This statement comes after the "painful" but "inevitable" separation between...
  • Josep Rull and Mercè Conesa on Thursday, annoucing the CiU is splitting up (by A. Moldes)

    18.06.15 - 22:39

    Governing centre-right coalition CiU breaks up over independence stance, after 37 years swaying Catalan politics

    After running together in every election since 1978, Convergència Democràtica de Catalunya (CDC) and Unió Democràtica de Catalunya (UDC) are splitting apart. The Liberal party CDC, which is the larger force within the centre-right pro-Catalan State coalition CiU (running the Catalan Government since 2010), supports full independence from Spain while the Christian-Democrat UDC does not have a clear stance on the...

  • Easyjet's press conference in Barcelona El Prat Airport (by L. Vilaró)

    18.06.15 - 21:56

    EasyJet to open operational base at Barcelona-El Prat Airport in early 2016

    EasyJet, the second-largest low-cost carrier in Europe, will open a new operational base at Barcelona-El Prat Airport in February 2016. In doing so, the British low-cost airline will permanently base aircraft and crew at the Catalan airport, upgrading their presence in Barcelona. In particular, the company's hub will create 120 new local jobs – mainly for pilots and cabin crew – and will entail the allocation of three A320...

  • Joana Ortega, Ramon Espadaler and Josep Maria Pelegrí, from UDC, have quit the Catalan government (by ACN)

    17.06.15 - 20:56

    UDC ministers quit Catalan government over independence row

    Tensions over the issue of independence between the two parties forming the CiU coalition have caused a government crisis in Catalonia. Three ministers from the Christian-Democrat party UDC, the smaller party within the CiU, have left government after their allies of 37 years, CDC, presented them with an “ultimatum”. The governing council of UDC decided on Wednesday, with 16 votes in favour, 10 against and 2 abstentions, that...
  • The Exective Board of UDC, on Monday (by P. Mateos)

    15.06.15 - 22:11

    Governing CiU may split up after Christian-Democrat party UDC's consultation on Catalan independence

    The centre-right pro-Catalan State two-party coalition CiU, which runs the Catalan Government, may be on the verge of splitting up after three-and-a-half decades, and having run together in all the elections. The smaller force within the CiU, the Christian-Democrat party UDC, is going through serious internal tension over Catalonia's independence debate. The party leadership does not support independence, while a significant part of its...

  • Works by Eduardo Chillida, on display in Barcelona (by P. Cortina)

    15.06.15 - 21:35

    Chillida gets own exhibition in Barcelona for first time in 11 years

    For the first time in 11 years, the internationally-renowned Basque artist Eduardo Chillida has an exclusive exhibit on display in Barcelona. Since 20 April, the Mayoral Gallery has hosted the Chillida exhibition, 'Awakening' ('Despertar'). The exhibition is comprised of a carefully curated selection of sculptures, drawings and prints, as well as supplementary material for his monumental works photographs and the video 'Art and Dreams' ('El...

  • Felip Puig, Catalan Minister for Business and Employment, announcing the opening of the 5 new Trade and Investment offices (by ACN)

    15.06.15 - 21:29

    New Trade and Investment offices to be opened by Catalan Government in Belgrade, Tehran, Accra, Lima and Tel Aviv

    "Between 2015 and 2016 the Catalan Government will open new Trade & Investment offices in Belgrade, Tehran, Accra, Tel Aviv and Lima and enlarge its San Francisco-based one", Catalan Business Minister, Felip Puig, announced on Monday. Similarly, the Catalan Executive recently launched a new 'technological antenna' in Boston (Massachusetts) and will soon do the same in Panama, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Senegal and Angola, enlarging its network...

  • Ada Colau in her first visit to a neighborhoud as the Mayor of Barcelona (by A. Moldes)

    15.06.15 - 16:04

    Alternative left and green activist Ada Colau becomes first woman Mayor of Barcelona

    Ada Colau is the new Mayor of Barcelona. It is the first time that the Catalan capital has a woman as Mayor. Colau, who led the alternative left and green coalition Barcelona en Comú, won the last municipal elections – held on 24 May. However, she lacked support to reach the absolute majority in the City Council and be elected Mayor. During the last 3 weeks, she has been negotiating with the other leftist parties over forming a...

  • The Chemical Brothers in Barcelona in 2010 (by ACN)

    13.06.15 - 16:28

    Barcelona’s Sónar music festival set to start, with eclectic line-up and ambitious tech event

    The 22nd edition of Barcelona’s Sónar festival – one of Europe's most well-known electronic music events – is about to kick off, taking place between the 18th and 20th of June. This year, Sónar's activities are divided into two main locations: Sónar by Day and Sónar+D (the professional event on digital creative industries) will be held in Fira de Barcelona’s Montjuic venue, with Sónar by Night taking place at the Fira GranVia...
  • Catalan President Artur Mas, during his press conference (by ACN)

    12.06.15 - 20:46

    Mas stresses need for plebiscitary independence elections following Constitutional Court ruling

    The President of the Catalan government, Artur Mas, has told parties favouring the right to self-determination on Thursday to "enhance" the plebiscitary character of the 27-S elections after the Spanish Constitutional Court (TC) ruled the Catalan government's preparations for the 9-N election unconstitutional. The 9-N ballot asked voters whether Catalonia should be independent. According to Mas, the judgment evidences that the Constitution has...
  • The first round table debate of the event (by S. Azad)

    11.06.15 - 21:18

    Automatic expulsion from the EU of an independent Catalonia "unrealistic" say experts

    International experts have participated in a day of debate over the hypothetical scenarios and the possible consequences regarding membership or expulsion from the European Union of an independent Catalonia. The panellists ruled out automatic expulsion, as well as automatic membership, in any scenario. Graham Avery, Senior Adviser of the Brussels-based think tank European Policy Centre (EPC), underlined that "the most important" element in...

  • Catalunya Banc's headquarters, located near Barcelona's Cathedral (by ACN)

    10.06.15 - 22:08

    BBVA proposes closing 400 Catalunya Banc branches and reducing staff by 2,000

    The Spanish banking giant BBVA, which purchased Catalunya Banc last July, is now proposing to shut down 400 branches of the acquired bank and reduce its staff by 2,000 employees (out of a total of 4,400 currently employed), according to trade union sources. At the end of April, the BBVA announced it would close 285 Catalunya Banc branches and reduce the staff by about 1,700 people. However, this Wednesday the Spanish bank has released...

  • A club member voting in the last presidential elections (by FC Barcelona)

    10.06.15 - 22:06

    FC Barcelona to hold presidential elections on 18 July

    In order to stand, candidates must collect a minimum of 2,534 support slips from club members. Ramon Adell, president of the Managing Commission that met on Wednesday, has announced that the FC Barcelona presidential elections will take place on Saturday 18 July, pursuant to the dispositions of articles 35 and 43 of the Club Statutes. “We thought that if we did it this way, with a holiday the day after, that would encourage...