• The Spanish Deputy PM, Soraya Saénz de Santamaría, announcing the appeal (by R. Pi de Cabanyes)

    Rajoy finally takes Catalonia's alternative and non-binding vote on independence to Constitutional Court

    Early afternoon on Friday, the Spanish Government filed the appeal to the Constitutional Court against the alternative participatory process that the Catalan Government is organising for the 9th of November. According to the Spanish Deputy Prime Minister, Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría, the appeal's objective is to avoid "an abuse of the legal framework" and "to protect democracy" from the "perversion" represented by the Catalan participatory process. In addition, the appeal also aims "to protect civil servants", emphasised the Deputy PM. Furthermore, she considered that the President of the Catalan Government, Artur Mas, "is taking another step outside of the Constitution" and that he "wants to violate the rights of citizens". This time, the Constitutional Court has not rushed to accept the Spanish Government's appeal, as it did on the 29th of September, and it is likely to do so on Tuesday 4th of November, in its next scheduled plenary. If the Court accepts the appeal, as it is expected, the participatory process would be automatically suspended, awaiting the final decision, which can take months or years.

The Mayor of Barcelona, Xavier Trias, in the City Council's plenary, just after showing UBS' certificate (by ACN)

Swiss UBS guarantees that Mayor of Barcelona doesn't have any account, rejecting 'El Mundo' accusations

On Friday, the Swiss bank UBS issued a certificate stating that Xavier Trias, Mayor of Barcelona, does not and has never had any account with them, contradicting the accusations launched at him by Spanish nationalist newspaper 'El Mundo' on Monday which mentioned sources from the Spanish Home Affairs Ministry. Trias, who supports Catalan independence from Spain, strongly rejected the accusations of having €12.9 million in a secret bank account in Switzerland on the very first day they were published and he cautioned against dirty tricks from the Spanish Government. In addition, the Mayor also announced a judicial complaint against the newspaper and he said he would ask for such a certificate. On Tuesday, 'El Mundo' insisted on the accusations and it even published the UBS bank account number on its front page, while Trias filed the judicial complaint. Now, after UBS guaranteed that he has never had and does not have a bank account with them, Trias is asking for the resignation of the Spanish Home Affair Minister.

Jordi Savall in a recent concert (by R. Segura)

Jordi Savall rejects the Spanish Government’s National Music Prize for its cultural policies

The internationally-recognised Early Music expert, Catalan Jordi Savall, rejected on Thursday Spain’s National Music Prize, which is awarded by the Spanish Government each year. Savall has not accepted the Prize, which was announced on Wednesday and comes with €30,000, because he wants to show his rejection of the Spanish Government’s cultural policies, particularly that towards musicians. Savall is probably the world’s top interpreter of viola da gamba and the main expert in Early and Renaissance music. In 2012 he received the Leonie Sonning Music Foundation Prize, considered to be the ‘Nobel Prize of Music’. In a letter addressed to the Spanish Culture Minister, José Ignacio Wert, Savall blames the Spanish Government for “the dramatic lack of interest and the great incompetence in defending and promoting arts and its creators”. Furthermore he “deplores the Spanish Government’s downplaying policy towards the vast majority of musicians”. Besides, Savall has been publicly advocating for Catalonia’s right to self-determination in the last few months.

Abertis' presentation in London (by L. Pous)

Barcelona-based Abertis to list its telecom division on the Stock Exchange in 2015

Abertis, the international group which manages transport and telecommunications infrastructures, has announced it will list its telecom exchange business on the Stock Exchange in 2015. The Catalan company presented its new Strategic Plan for 2015-2017 to investors in London this week. The main objectives of the decision were to develop its business strategy, increase returns for shareholders and boost growth. The company currently owns 8,000 radio, television and mobile signal towers. Besides, Abertis presented its numbers for the first nine months of 2014 to the Spanish Stock Exchange Authority (CNMV), including a net profit of €560 million, an increase of 4.6%. The new Strategic Plan also envisages a dividend increase of 10% for its shareholders every year until 2017.  

Barça won the first edition of Catalonia's Super Cup (by FC Barcelona)

FC Barcelona win Catalan Super Cup against RCD Espanyol (1-1, 4-2 on pens)

FC Barcelona won the first ever edition of the Catalan Super Cup at the Estadi Montilivi in Girona this Wednesday evening after the game with RCD Espanyol ended 1-1 after 90 minutes. Luis Enrique’s side dominated from start to finish but were unable to add to a Gerard Piqué header after 15 minutes. Espanyol pulled back through Arbilla shortly after the break, and with no further scoring the game went to penalties. The shootout went Barça’s way, as it also had against the same side in the last two finals of the Copa Catalunya.

  • The President of the Catalan Government, Artur Mas, reacting to the Spanish Executive's appeal (by R. Garrido)

    Catalan President accuses Spanish Government of "abuse of power and abuse of legal process"

    The President of the Catalan Government, Artur Mas, reacted on Friday evening to the Spanish Executive's appeal against November 9's alternative consultation vote on independence. Mas guaranteed that the vote will take place because "it cannot be stopped" as it is run by volunteers. In addition, he has accused the Spanish Government of "abuse of power and abuse of legal process", since "it is using the Constitutional Court to solve its problems" and is using "the appeal to hide its lack of political capacity". Furthermore, he emphasised that the Spanish Executive had at first been "downplaying" and "mocking about" the alternative vote, but "two weeks later" it considers it to be a great threat to democracy and it appeals against it. By doing this, the Spanish Government "has crossed the line of becoming ridiculous", he added.

  • The two-part question on a ballot box ready for November 9's alternative vote (by N. Julià)

    49.4% of Catalans would vote for independence and 32.3% would vote against it, according to Catalan Government's poll

    According to a poll by the Centre of Opinion Studies (CEO), run by the Catalan Government, 49.4% of Catalans would vote "yes" to both parts of the question "Do you want Catalonia to become a State? If yes, do you want to become an independent State?" In addition, 12.6% would vote "yes" to the first part and "no" to the second, meaning they would back a Catalan State within a federal or confederated Spain. Finally, 19.7% would vote "no", meaning they back the current 'status quo' or they want recentralisation. Therefore, 32.3% of citizens would be against independence. However, such a poll cannot be used to predict results for November 9's alternative consultation vote, stated the CEO, since the census is not the same and many people from the "no" side are expected not to vote in the alternative participatory process.

  • Two attendees of Barcelona's Manga Fair 2014 (by P. Francesch)

    Pokémon style 20th edition of the Manga Fair opens its doors in Barcelona

    The 20th edition of the Manga Fair is taking place between Thursday 30th October and Sunday 2nd November at the Fira de Barcelona's Montjuic exhibition space. The Manga Fair is an annual event that celebrates the popular Japanese anime, bringing together fans from all around the world, through a series of exhibitions and activities in Barcelona. This year, the space has increased to 50,000m2, and the opening times will be extended. There will be a variety of special guests attending, including the author Kengo Hanazawa, artist Takeshi Obata from Japan, and Ken Niimura, a Spanish author of Japanese descent. There will also be a number of musicians participating, such as the Japanese pop group Loverin Tamburin. The programme features various exhibitions on Japanese authors and illustrators. On the catering side, the event will feature Michelin-star chefs including Ricardo Sanz and Jordi Roca.

Highlights

  • The Spanish PM, Mariano Rajoy, this week at the Spanish Parliament (by La Moncloa / ACN)

    30.10.14 - 20:45

    Catalonia’s majority is ready to carry on with alternative vote despite Rajoy being ready to appeal it

    On Thursday, the Spanish Government’s main advisory body – the State Council – has issued a non-binding report upon the request of Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy against the alternative consultation vote that the Catalan Executive is organising for November 9. This body has unanimously recommended taking Catalonia’s participatory process to the Constitutional Court and requesting its suspension. Now, Rajoy has the...

  • Potential buyers meeting with real estate companies at the 2014 Barcelona Meeting Point (by J. Molina)

    29.10.14 - 21:25

    Barcelona Meeting Point 2014 prepares for a ''mass influx'' of international funds ''ready to buy''

    The 18th Edition of the Barcelona Meeting Point will take place between 29 October and 2 November in Fira de Barcelona's Montjuic venue. The trade fair is a real estate exhibition that brings together buyers and sellers to network and learn about the latest industry trends. This year there will be 265 participating companies from 23 countries. According to the show’s President, Enric Lacalle, it will be the first edition to...

  • Junqueras (left), Mas (centre, first row) and Iceta (standing up) on Wednesday at the Catalan Parliament (by R. Garrido)

    29.10.14 - 20:11

    Catalan Government to bring 2015 budget proposal to Parliament hoping for last minute support from ERC or PSC

    While the alternative consultation vote on independence scheduled on the 9th of November approaches, the Catalan Government has additional priorities on its plate, starting with the approval of its budget for 2015. However, right now the governing centre-right pro-Catalan State coalition CiU does not have enough parliamentary support to approve it. Its parliamentary ally, the left-wing independence party ERC, is reluctant to back...

  • Luis Suárez might play against RCD Espanyol in Girona (by FC Barcelona)

    29.10.14 - 17:58

    FC Barcelona vs RCD Espanyol: Derby night in Catalonia's Super Cup

    FC Barcelona and RCD Espanyol meet in the first ever edition of the Catalan Super Cup (9.30pm CET) in the Estadi Montilivi in Girona (north-eastern Catalonia). The tournament has been created as a complement to the Copa Catalunya and features Catalonia’s two top flight clubs, while lower division teams will continue to battle for the former trophy (along with the Barça and Espanyol reserve teams). The meeting between the two...

  • The Catalan Government's Spokesperson and Minister for the Presidency, Francesc Homs, on Tuesday (by P. Mateos)

    28.10.14 - 20:51

    Catalan Government is confident there will be ballot boxes on November 9 despite Rajoy's appeal

    The Spanish Government, chaired by Mariano Rajoy, has activated the machinery to suspend the alternative non-binding participatory process that the Catalan Executive is organising on the 9th of November, which replaces the original consultation vote. On Monday evening, Rajoy asked the State Council – his main advisory body – for a non-binding report on the Catalonia's new vote; it did so on the same day that a broad...

  • From left to right: Macherano, Neymar, Messi and Iniesta (by FC Barcelona)

    28.10.14 - 15:58

    Messi, Neymar, Iniesta and Mascherano candidates for FIFA Ballon d'Or 2014

    Four Barça players have been shortlisted for the FIFA Ballon d’Or 2014. They are Leo Messi, Neymar Jr, Andrés Iniesta and Javier Mascherano. FIFA and France Football magazine announced on Tuesday morning those players nominated for the award, which is given to the best player of the calendar year. The final decision will be taken by the coaches and captains from every single national team around the world as well as by...

  • The President of the Barcelona Chamber of Commerce, Miquel Valls (left), presenting the economic forecast for 2014 and 2015 (by J. R. Torné)

    27.10.14 - 20:11

    Economic growth forecast for Catalonia: 1.6% in 2014 and 2.1% in 2015

    Figures released by the Barcelona Chamber of Commerce on Monday showed that the economy of Catalonia is set to grow by 1.6% in 2014 and 2.1% in 2015. The Chamber also predicted that by 2015, there will be a 2% rise in Spain’s GDP and 1.4% in that of the Eurozone countries average. According to the President of the Chamber, Miquel Valls, the recovery of Catalan and Spanish economies is "solid", but he stressed that the "austerity in...

  • The Barcelona Supercomputing Centre's Mare Nostrum computer (by ACN)

    27.10.14 - 19:55

    Genetic alterations in cancer patients, identified by new computational method developed in Barcelona

    A new computational method allows the detection, within just a few hours, of the genetic alterations responsible for the formation and progression of cancer tumours. This new method manages to accurately identify almost all types of genetic changes of cancer cells in a simple, quick and precise way. It is also able to identify large-scale chromosome rearrangements, which had been difficult to be detect until this breakthrough. The new...

  • CaixaBank, based in the Catalan capital, posted a 9.3% ratio in the worst-case scenario and leads Spain's banking market (by ACN)

    27.10.14 - 19:37

    All Catalan banks pass European Banking Authority stress test with a wide margin

    The Catalan banking system boasts a strong image after the publication on Sunday of the 2014 EU-wide stress test results, issued by the European Banking Authority (EBA). All the financial entities based in Catalonia have sailed through the EBA stress test, showing they could face the most adverse economic developments with only their own resources. In the most difficult scenario, Barcelona-based CaixaBank – which is the largest bank...

  • Messi, Neymar and Suárez played together for the first time (by FC Barcelona)

    26.10.14 - 10:58

    Real Madrid vs FC Barcelona: Barça's defeat in the Clasico (3-1)

    Barça fall as Madrid turn game round following an early Neymar score. Despite a dream start, when Neymar swept home an early opener, Barça went down 3-1 in Madrid on Saturday’s first Clasico of the season in a game in which Luis Suarez made his official debut and Claudio Bravo finally conceded. The game could hardly have started better for Barça, when after just 3 minutes, Luís Suárez sent a cross...

  • The Spanish Prime Minister, Mariano Rajoy, addressing the press in Brussels on Friday (by A. Casino)

    24.10.14 - 20:11

    Spanish Government is considering appealing against Catalonia's alternative vote on November 9

    The Spanish Government announced on Friday that it has asked its legal services to analyse all the aspects of Catalonia's alternative vote of the 9th of November, which is replacing the original consultation vote that has already been banned by the Spanish authorities. 16 days before the consultation vote has to take place and 10 days after it was announced by the President of the Catalan Government, Artur Mas, the Spanish...

  • Luis Enrique after his press conference before the Real Madrid vs Barça game (by FC Barcelona)

    24.10.14 - 20:05

    Luis Enrique: “Clasicos should be heated, fun and entertaining”

    Great expectation in the press room at the Ciutat Esportiva just 24 hours before the Clasico in the Santiago Bernabéu. In the traditional pre-game press conference ahead of Madrid-Barça,Luis Enrique revealed his thoughts before his first Clásico as a coach. He revealed that Luis Suárez will appear at some point and Sergio Busquets is fit to take part. Furthermore he is clear about what he wants from his players:...

  • Aircrafts from Ryanair in the Girona Costa Brava Airport (by ACN)

    24.10.14 - 20:02

    Flights from Barcelona El Prat increase by 6.8% for winter season, while Girona shrinks by 20%

    The Spanish Airport Authority (AENA) has announced that this coming winter season over 8.4 million seats will be on offer on flights out of Barcelona El Prat Airport, an increase of 6.8% compared to last year. Seats on intercontinental destinations have increased by 13.6% over last year. The number of flight operations (take-offs and landings) is anticipated to be 47,000: an increase of 4.1% to 2013. In contrast, the airport of Girona Costa...

  • This Friday's meeting of the National Alliance for Self-Determination (by M. Sierra)

    24.10.14 - 19:59

    National Alliance for Self-Determination to work on making alternative consultation vote on November 9's a success

    Catalonia's National Alliance for Self-Determination, which brings together more than 3,000 civil society, business, cultural, sports and political organisations, pledged to make sure that the alternative participatory process scheduled on the 9th of November will be a success, in terms of voter turnout and of other "great mobilisations". Despite the acknowledged limitations of this alternative vote that replaces the original...

  • A worker in a factory located in Lleida Province (by O. Bosch)

    23.10.14 - 22:11

    Third quarter unemployment figures set Catalonia's rate at 19.10% and Spain's at 23.67%

    Spain's unemployment rate at the end of the third quarter stands at 23.67%, according to the latest Active Population Survey (EPA). The unemployment rate for Catalonia has fallen below 20% for the first time in the last 3 years and is set at 19.10%. The number of unemployed people in Catalonia has dropped by 44,400 in the third quarter of 2014, a decrease of 5.76% compared to the previous quarter. This is the biggest reduction since at...

  • The Catalan Government had approved a measure to protect families in need from their household electricity and gas supply being cut off (by ACN)

    23.10.14 - 21:41

    Spanish Government bans Catalan decree that was to help families in need keep energy supply in winter

    The Constitutional Court has accepted the Spanish Government's appeal against the Catalan Executive' decree from December 2013 with which families in need are protected from their household electricity and gas being cut off by energy supply companies during winter months. The Catalan Government's measure aimed to fight the so-called 'energy poverty': people who cannot afford to pay for their energy bills because they do not get minimum...