A website with more than 100 questions and answers and more than 200 events to explain the referendum. These are only some of the initiatives that the Catalan government is planning in order to raise awareness about the independence vote. After announcing earlier this month that the referendum will be held on October 1, the Catalan government will unveil its information campaign and all the technical details and legal backing of the plebiscite in an event in Barcelona on July 4, ACN has learned. The Catalan president, Carles Puigdemont, vice president, Oriol Junqueras, and the lawmakers who have written the legislation for the vote will take part in the event, named “Garanties.cat” (guarantees).
Firecrackers, bonfires, packed beaches, a torch relay from the mountains to the cities, and happy children. These are only some of the elements converging in one of the most magical and brightest nights of the year in Catalonia, Midsummer's Eve (also known as Saint John's Eve, June 23). Dating back some hundreds of years as part of the summer solstice celebration, tradition has it that fire purifies and dispels the imaginary beings that wander around the country during the night. And despite having entered into the 21st century and the information society, Catalonia still celebrates this ancient pagan belief. In style.
The prestigious Gran Teatre del Liceu opera house and the Catalan government began a new joint opera project with Barcelona’s Quatre Camins prison this month. Two opera singers performed such well-known pieces as ‘The Barber of Seville’ and 'Romeo and Juliet” in front of 300 inmates on Thursday. Several workshops in the lead-up to the concert helped to create an open atmosphere of integration among the prisoners, forging connections between the prison workers and the inmates. The aim of this pioneer project is to bring culture to all social sectors and groups, especially those with difficult access to it, while providing inmates with positive life experiences.
An exhibition commemorating 50 years of the Sitges International Fantastic Film Festival opens on Thursday at the Catalan Film Archive. The exhibit covers the festival’s history, showing how it has evolved with different films and guests summarizing the past five decades. ‘Cinema is Fantastic’ is the title of the retrospective which includes all 50 posters from past editions, together with pictures of the main guests invited to the festival over the years and images from some of the films that have been screened in Sitges. “We are celebrating 50 years of the festival and are at a high point. We wanted to show the entire journey from the 1960s up until now,” said curator, Diego López. The exhibition can be visited in Barcelona until September 17, after which it will be moved to Sitges to coincide with this year’s edition of the festival.
Catalonia’s economy now makes up more than 19% of the Spanish economy, says a Catalan chambers of commerce report. The 19% figure is the highest percentage this century, finds the study published on Thursday, with an increase from 18.7% to 19.03% since 2011. “The 2016 economic balance was very positive and in 2017 a similar performance by f the Catalan economy is expected, with a growth of about 3%,” stated the report. Furthermore, the chambers of commerce point out that the country is coming out of the crisis “very quickly” and that 2016 GDP exceeded that of 2007 for the first time in this period. The statement also shows that the Catalan economy has been growing faster than the Spanish one since 2013, with a 1.9% average increase in GDP, four decimal points higher.
Spanish president Mariano Rajoy is deaf to all talk of Spain as a plurinational state. Rejecting the socialist opposition’s acceptance of the term “plurinational” to describe Spain, on Friday Rajoy went only as far as admitting that the State includes "nationalities and regions" and suggested that "it makes no sense to dwell on it." "I am not in favour of the term plurinational; it calls for an explanation of what it means. I favour something encapsulated in the Constitution that is well-understood, in Spain there are nationalities and regions, it is what was agreed at the time," he said.
Catalonia is preparing for yet another mass arrival of tourists this summer. The sector is expecting record-breaking occupancy figures, with Barcelona city apartments at nearly a 100% in for the whole summer. Meanwhile, the main coastal towns and resorts expect nearly full occupancy rates in July and August, with inland tourist spots up to 80% in August. Many occupancy rates are expected to set a new post-crisis record, with some figures reaching 2006-2007 levels, often seen as the best years before the recession broke.
“Diversity in companies is very important because women bring an essential vision to the sector.” With this message, Laura Urquizu, CEO of Red Points summarized the aim of the “Europe Female Founders” conference which took place on Thursday in Barcelona with a special focus on women in tech businesses. More than 100 startup founders exchanged their experiences and discussed the challenges in developing a business in the IT sector. “Barcelona is a great place for IT business, because it attracts a lot of highly qualified talent from all around the world and this diversity is essential for tech companies,” confirmed Portuguese CEO Cristina Fonseca of Talkdesk. “I am especially proud that women are getting into this business, which is far too dominated by men,” said Marc Tluszcz, CEO of Mangrove Capital.