• The Director of the Edinburgh-based Centre on Constitutional Change, Michael Keating (by S.Prim)

    “Catalans need Scotland because it provides a precedent for having a referendum on independence”

    Michael Keating, Director of the Edinburgh-based Centre on Constitutional Change, said in an interview with CNA that “Catalans need Scotland more than Scotland needs Catalonia”, because the Scots “have in recent years been doing much better than the Catalan independence people: they got a referendum, they got the right to self-determination and they got more powers”. The President of the SNP-Friends of Catalonia group, David McDonald, said that he sees similarities between Catalonia and Scotland but warned that the Scottish people “wouldn’t have accepted the kind of censorship or approach” from the UK that Spain takes with Catalonia.

The Catalan President, Carles Puigdemont, and the Mayor of Barcelona, Ada Colau (by ACN)

Puigdemont accuses Spain of being “suspicious” towards Catalonia’s efforts to aid in the refugee crisis
On the 3rd of May, the President of Catalonia, Carles Puigdemont, and the Mayor of Barcelona, Ada Colau, spoke at the inauguration of the International Forum on the Reception and Integration of Refugees in the EU. The forum centred on what was described as “the biggest humanitarian crisis since WWII”, focusing on its long-term and short-term solutions as well as its “challenges and opportunities”, according to DIPLOCAT, the organising entity. Barcelona’s “willingness” to accept 4,500 asylum seekers, 1,800 of which could be helped immediately, was spoken of by both Colau and Puigdemont. Puigdemont accused the Spanish Government of “ineffectiveness”, having not yet carried out its compromise of accepting 17,000 refugees, while Ada Colau stated that it “isn’t right” that Barcelona doesn’t have more power in deciding its own immigration policies.

The president of 'Plataforma per la Llengua' Òscar Escuder, and the director, Neus Mestres, during the presentation of the report (by ACN)

Use of the Catalan language in courts “going backwards”
The NGO ‘Plataforma per la Llengua’, which aims to promote the use of Catalan as a tool for social cohesion, warned on Tuesday that the language is “going backwards” in the field of Justice. Only 3% of trials in Catalonia are in Catalan and up to 75% of lawyers that use it have been asked to use Spanish instead on at least one occasion, regretted the president of the NGO, Òscar Escuder. A new report from the organisation, however, also includes some positive figures: Catalan is now spoken by more than 10 million people, and up to 13.4 million understand it. Outside Catalonia, it is in the Balearic Islands where Catalan is most widely spoken: up to 80.5% of citizens there know the language. In French-Catalonia, however, only 35.5% of inhabitants speak the language.

The summit with the Government, the local authorities and political parties and associations to discuss the social emergency law (by ACN)

Catalonia to pass new legislation to protect social emergency measures suspended by Spain
The Catalan President Carles Puigdemont announced that the Government will prepare new legislation to protect the core policies of the social emergency law suspended by the Spanish Constitutional Court (TC). The new law will include “practical tools with legal security” that will “reformulate” the suspended articles of the legislation but “keep its spirit”. Drafting a new law was the main compromise of the social emergency summit organised on Tuesday by the Catalan Government, the local authorities and the main political parties in Catalonia following the Spanish Government’s legal challenge against the social emergency law. Puigdemont described the negotiations as “long, intense and very useful” and said that the new law is needed “to restore everything the Constitutional Court has suspended”. The meeting, he said, “wasn’t about political discrepancies but about showing that this issue concerns us all”.

Image of Current Spanish Prime Minister, Mariano Rajoy during an appearance before the media (by ACN)

It’s official: Spanish election to be held on 26th of June
The Spanish King has signed this Tuesday the decree calling an early election in Spain. The main political parties have been unable to reach an agreement to form a stable government and so for the first time since the restoration of democracy, the Spanish Congress will be dissolved only five months after a general election. The calling of early elections has been an open secret since last week, when the King already said that he was not going to offer the leader of any political party the task of trying to form a government. Neither conservative Mariano Rajoy nor socialist Pedro Sánchez have the necessary support to win an investiture debate. Sánchez tried to achieve the support of Congress for a government led by him and C’s but was defeated. Rajoy, the current president, did not even try.
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  • Tourists in Sant Pere de Rodes, in the north of Catalonia (by ACN)

    Tourists spend almost 2.5 billion euros in the first quarter, 6.7% more than in 2015

    Tourists spent 2.467 billion euros in Catalonia in the first quarter of 2016. This sum is equal to 6.7% more than the same period last year, according to the Tourist Expenditure Survey (Egatur) published by the Spanish Statistics Institute (INE). In March alone, the amount that foreigners spent in Catalonia was 922 million euros, a decrease of 5.6% compared with March of last year. On a country-wide scale, foreigners spent 12.255 billion euros in all of Spain in the first quarter of 2016, 7.4% more than last year. These figures indicate that Catalonia absorbed 20.1% of foreigners’ expenditure in Spain in the first three months of the year.
  • The exhibition 'Variants from Dalí’s moustache', in Figueres (by B.Fuentes)

    Tribute to Dalí's iconic moustache

    Centering on the artist’s iconic image, the Dalí Theatre-Museum hosts a temporary exhibition of 23 portraits of Salvador Dalí by photographer Philippe Halsman. Showing a less known selection of Dalí’s moustache editorial project, Halsman’s photography can be seen from April 18th to December 31st in the Loggias Room of the museum. The exhibition titled Variants from Dalí’s moustache shows how the artist´s moustache is a key part of the unmistakable image of the genius of surrealism. Presented by Monste Aguer, the Museum’s director, it is the first time that Dalí becomes part of the museum through its own portrait. Now the Dalí Theatre-Museum's collection allows the visitors to capture the artistic journey of Salvador Dalí (1904-1989) through a spectrum of works and at the end of the tour see Dalí himself with different pictures. Latvian photographer Philippe Halsman, did not hesitate to immortalize Dali’s presence in the cultural center by this selection of 23 photographs, included in the book ‘Dalí´s Moustache’ released in 1954 with the help of New York publisher Simon and Shuster.
  • Bernat Villa and Adrian Sallés have designed and built a low cost wheelchair for people in developing countries (by UPC)

    Two Catalan students design low cost wheelchair for developing countries

    The students at the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya have designed and built a low cost wheelchair for people in developing countries. The chair is made from bicycle wheels, a supermarket trolley and PVC pipes and can be made in fifteen minutes. The cost is approximately 70 euros, half the conventional cost. The two students made the wheelchair as an NGO in project and they also made a video of how to make it. The NGO is going to spread the tutorial to people in developing countries who need a wheelchair and are not able to afford one.

Highlights

  • The Catalan President, Carles Puigdemont, with the Mayor of Santa Coloma de Gramenet, Núria Parlón (by ACN)

    02.05.16 - 19:36

    United front to defend the Catalan Social Emergency Law

    The Catalan President, Carles Puigdemont, the mayors of Barcelona and other major cities in the country and local associations will meet this Tuesday to discuss a united response to the legal attack against the Catalan Social Emergency Law. The Spanish Government has asked the Constitutional Court (TC) to suspend parts of Law 25/2015, one of the more important legislative initiatives in Catalonia, which aims to protect the most vulnerable...
  • Tourist at Sagrada Familia's entrance (by ACN)

    29.04.16 - 17:26

    Sagrada Familia opens sacristy for public

    Visitors can finally see the sacristy on the west side of Gaudí’s cathedral, the Sagrada Familia. The construction of Barcelona’s most iconic building began in 1882 and aims to be finished in 2026. Recently architects removed the framework and scaffolding from the sacristy where visitors can see symbols on the obelisks on the corner of two famous streets in Barcelona, Provença and Sardenya. The sacristy contains...

  • Current Spanish Government Vice President Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría (by ACN)

    29.04.16 - 17:22

    Spain takes part of the energy poverty Catalan law before the Constitutional Court

    Less than 24 hours after meeting with her Catalan counterpart, current Spanish Vice President Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría announced that some articles of the Catalan law against energy poverty will be taken before the Constitutional Court (TC). Thus, Catalan Vice President Oriol Junqueras’ demands for the Spanish executive to “reconsider” this procedure haven’t been listened to. However,...

  • Former Catalan President, Artur Mas, walking down Barcelona's 'La Rambla' on Sant Jordi's Day (by ACN)

    29.04.16 - 14:41

    Mas willing to lead a joint candidature for the Spanish elections “if necessary”

    The creation of a joint pro-independence candidature in Catalonia to run for the upcoming Spanish elections on the 26th of June would show that “sovereignism has won in the world’s eyes”. This is what former Catalan President, Artur Mas, stated in an interview with 8TV. He also admitted to being “willing” to do “whatever it takes” including leading this potential list, as “an act of...

  • Close up of a rose with Gaudí's 'La Pedrera' on the background (by ACN)

    28.04.16 - 18:29

    Sant Jordi’s Festival could be recognised as UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage

    After the 2016 celebrations for Sant Jordi’s festival came to a close, Catalan Minister of Culture Santi Vila announced that the Catalan Government will offer its full support to an initiative to recognise the feast day as UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH). As opposed to UNESCO World Heritage, ICH safeguarding works to promote and protect traditions, practices, and other living expressions of culture beyond physical sites,...

  • Catalan Vice President, Oriol Junqueras met this Thursday with his Spanish homolog, Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría (by ACN)

    28.04.16 - 18:27

    Catalan and Spanish vice presidents meet amid controversy over the recent suspension of several Catalan laws

    Catalan Vice President, Oriol Junqueras met this Thursday with his Spanish counterpart Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría in what Junqueras described as a “very cordial but very difficult” encounter. One of the main subjects laid on the table revolved around the recent suspension of several Catalan laws by the Spanish Constitutional Court (TC). In reference to this, Junqueras accused the TC of acting according to...

  • Image of a job centre in Catalonia (by ACN)

    28.04.16 - 11:33

    Occupation grew by 25,700 people during the first trimester of 2016

    Unemployment in Catalonia at the end of the first trimester of 2016 totalled 660,000 people, 98,100 fewer than in the same period last year. Thus, the unemployment rate was 17.42%, the lowest since the third trimestre of 2010, according to the latest Active Population Survey (EPA). Between January and March 2016, 25,700 joined the labour market and occupation grew in the industry sector. However, it decreased in the services, construction...

  • Image of an unpublished diary by Salvador Dalí, to be auctioned in Paris (by ACN)

    28.04.16 - 10:54

    Unpublished Dalí diary auctioned for 91,800 euros

    Sotheby’s Paris has auctioned an unpublished diary from Catalan painter Salvador Dalí for the price of 91.800 euros. Sold on the 26th of April, the leather-bound, handwritten journal was used by the surrealist artist between 1930 and 1935, and is valued at between 40,000 and 60,000 euros. The notebook not only includes original drawings and sketches, but also literary texts, artistic criticism, and even an account of...

  • Former Catalan President Artur Mas during his conference at Paris' HEC business School (by ACN)

    26.04.16 - 23:30

    Mas regrets lack of leadership in Spain and sees new elections as an “opportunity for Catalonia”

    Former Catalan President Artur Mas considers a “disaster” the failure of the negotiations to form a new government in Spain as it proves the lack of “strong leadership” which would be able to act “with generosity, responsibility and a sense of state”. Regarding the possibility of calling for new elections in Spain on the 26th of June, Mas assured that it “would be a great opportunity for...

  • Alimentaria trade fair at Barcelona's Gran Via Fira (by ACN)

    25.04.16 - 19:14

    More than 4,000 companies and 140,000 visitors to attend Alimentaria trade fair

    From the 25th to the 28th of April, Barcelona Gran Via will host a new edition of Alimentaria, one of the most important trade fairs in the world focusing on food and drinks and the second most important in the Catalan capital after the Mobile World Congress. Amongst the newest trends to be featured in 2016 are superfoods, local food and organics. The event is also celebrating its 40th anniversary with several novelties, the most...

  • Spanish Constitutional Court's building, in Madrid (by ACN)

    25.04.16 - 19:02

    Two more Catalan laws taken before the Spanish Constitutional Court

    The Spanish Constitutional Court (TC) has partially admitted an appeal made by the Spanish government which considered unconstitutional the Catalan law which bans ‘fracking’ in Catalonia and the regulation against building department stores of more than 800 m2 in urban areas. Regarding the prohibition of ‘fracking’, the Catalan law foresaw the prohibition of this well-simulation technique in which...

  • Screenshot of 'Game of Thrones' Season 6 where the stairway of Girona's cathedral is perfectly recognizable (by ACN)

    25.04.16 - 08:53

    The romance between Girona and ‘Game of Thrones’ series

    In just minutes, tickets to the free screening of HBO’s ‘Game of Thrones’ season 6 premiere on the 25th of April sold out in Girona. Just 40 km away from Barcelona, the walled medieval city of Girona set the scene for some of this season’s episodes based on George R. R. Martin’s internationally acclaimed novels. Some Girona...

  • Close up of a rose with 'Castellers of London' on the background (by ACN)

    24.04.16 - 21:09

    Catalan and British culture mix in London in Sant Jordi celebrations

    Sant Jordi is not only both Catalonia’s and England’s patron saint but also one of the Catalans’ most beloved traditions, which has been exported internationally and coincides with UNESCO World Book Day on the 23rd of April. As happened in the last 5 years, London’s Borough Market was the epicentre of Sant Jordi’s celebrations in the British capital, which included stalls selling books and...

  • Carles Puigdemont during his speech on the occasion of Sant Jordi (by J. Bedmar)

    23.04.16 - 09:35

    Puigdemont: “Sant Jordi serves to vindicate the Catalan language and culture”

    The Catalan President said during his speech on the occasion of Sant Jordi that the festivity is an opportunity to have the voices of the Catalans “heard and respected”, and he urged to achieve this through “arguments, proposals, dialogue and understanding”. Carles Puigdemont described Sant Jordi as “one of the most anticipated days of the year in Catalonia and one of the most beautiful and enjoyable to experience” and invited...
  • Rafael Catalá, Spanish minister of Justice and Fátima Bañez, minister of Work (by ACN)

    22.04.16 - 17:52

    Madrid challenges three more Catalan laws in the Constitutional Court

    The Spanish government has decided to take the Catalan Law on Empty Houses, the Catalan Law for Local Government and the Catalan Law on Equality between Men and Women to the Constitutional Court. The executive in Madrid has announced this only two days after a meeting between Spanish President Mariano Rajoy and Catalan President Carles Puigdemont in which both leaders agreed on trying to reduce the number of litigious cases between the...
  • Image of Catalan wine and a local dish made with rice (by ACN)

    21.04.16 - 19:01

    Catalan gastronomy and wine will be present at California’s World of Flavors

    In Napa Valley, California, 8 companies, 7 wineries, and 2 chefs from Catalonia will participate in the World of Flavors conference on the 22nd of April. The event is renowned as the leading conference in the field of gastronomy in the United States. This year, 800 restaurant chains, hotels, chefs, and operators will attend the conference to check out the...