• 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.

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

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 text has been approved with the support of 89 MPs of the 133 representatives who voted (since 2 were ill), a 66.9% majority. The resolution has been approved with the votes of the governing centre-right pro-Catalan state coalition CiU (which brings Liberals and Christian-Democrats together), the left-wing Catalan independence party ERC, the Catalan green socialist and post-communist coalition ICV-EUiA and the alternative and radical independence party CUP, as well as with 3 votes from rebel MPs of the Catalan Socialist Party (PSC). The rest of the PSC, the People's Party (PP) and Ciutadans (C's) have opposed the motion.

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

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 behind this initiative. They say that their aim is not to convince citizens but to listen to them and make a survey about what kind of country Catalans want. Furthermore, with this wide campaign they want to support the consultation vote and raise awareness of it. Such a vote should take place on the 9th of November, as it was agreed in December 2013 by two thirds of the Catalan Parliament following the mandate from the 2012 Catalan elections.

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

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 capital, confirmed with the arrival last Saturday of the world’s largest cruise liner, the Oasis of the Seas, whose first stop after leaving the Caribbean was the Catalan city. Home both to the Oasis of the Seas and the international Seatrade Med 3000 means Barcelona is making nautical headlines worldwide.  

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

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 the fans for their support and promised a "spectacular game". This will be the Asturian’s first game in charge of a team in Europe’s premier club competition, for which Dani Alves is included after being declared fully recovered from his knee injury, and fellow Brazilian Douglas has been named in the side for the first time since arriving at FC Barcelona.

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

    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 their 2013 figures. Nowhere is the export growth faster than in Catalonia, which counts for 25.2% of Spain's total.

  • 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.

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

    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 also meant the first starts of the season for Bartra, Adriano, Samper, Xavi and Sergi Roberto. The starting eleven featured no fewer than nine changes with respect to the one that beat Bilbao at the weekend.

Highlights

  • 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...

  • The girl, who will turn 16 on November 9, casting a symbolic vote (by L. Vilaró)

    11.09.14 - 18:53

    1.8 million Catalans form an 11km-long flag mosaic supporting November's independence vote

    On Catalonia's National Day, the 11th of September, as in 2012 and 2013, pro-independence supporters have once again created a colossal demonstration, which is unique at a European level. According to Barcelona local police, 1.8 million participants of all ages and social origins formed a V-shaped mosaic displaying the Catalan flag along the city's two main avenues to show support for the 9th of November consultation...

  • 300 cellos playing in the 300th anniversary of the 1714 defeat (by P. Mateos)

    11.09.14 - 14:27

    Music, poetry and flowers to commemorate the 300 years since Catalonia's loss of its self-government

    In 1714, Catalonia was defeated and loss its sovereignty, its self-government, its Constitution and its freedoms to an absolute king who imposed a harsh political, economic, social and cultural repression that was prolonged until the 1970s, only interrupted during a few isolated and short periods. Barcelona was one of the last cities to fall, but it was ultimately defeated on the 11th of September 1714, after a 14-month military...

  • Felip Puig, presenting the new plan to combat youth unemployment (by J. R. Torné)

    11.09.14 - 00:23

    The Catalan Government to allocate €240 million until 2020 to help 300,000 young people find jobs

    The Catalan Government will invest €240 million until 2020 in a project to help 300,000 young people find work.  The aim of the programme is to provide a work placement, professional training or an internship for all young people aged between 16 and 24 who have not worked or received any training in the last 30 days, nor participated in any education program in the last 90 days. The programme will also target those under 30 who...

  • The Catalan President, together with the Mayor of Barcelona and the President of the Catalan Parliament, paying tribute to those who died defending Barcelona in 1713 and 1714 (by P. Francesch)

    10.09.14 - 23:54

    Catalan President asks Spain to "listen to" Catalonia's "peaceful and democratic claim"

    In the institutional speech that the President of the Catalan Government makes each year the evening before Catalonia's National Day, Artur Mas asked the Spanish authorities to "listen to the peaceful and democratic claim" represented by Thursday's massive pro-independence rally. "Silencing the voice of a people that want to speak out is a mistake; denying the vote to those who see ballot boxes as the solution and not the problem is a...

  • The Spanish PM a few weeks ago in La Moncloa (by ACN)

    10.09.14 - 23:52

    Spanish PM believes that a self-determination vote could create "difficulties in the markets"

    The day before the massive pro-independence demonstration in Barcelona, the Spanish Prime Minister, Mariano Rajoy, once again rejected Catalonia's right to self-determination. Furthemore, Rajoy stated that a self-determination consultation vote or a unilateral declaration of independence would generate "a political problem and difficulties in the markets". Rajoy was answering to an MP from the centre-right pro-Catalan State coalition CiU,...

  • Josep Carreras, singing after receiving the Catalan Parliament's Golden Medal (by P. Mateos)

    10.09.14 - 10:17

    Catalan tenor Josep Carreras: "We are an adult people and we know how to make our own decisions"

    On Tuesday evening the Barcelona-born opera tenor, Josep Carreras received the Golden Medal of the Catalan Parliament for his outstanding and internationally-recognised professional career, but also for his efforts leading a foundation that fights Leukaemia. In his acceptance speech, Carreras defended Catalonia's right to self-determination and the independence vote scheduled for the 9th of November. Carreras, who became a true...