• The PP's 'number 2', María Dolores de Cospedal, in Barcelona on Friday (by R. Garrido)

    Rajoy’s PP meets in Barcelona and strongly criticizes independence plans

    The People’s Party (PP), which runs the Spanish Government but is only the 4th largest group at the Catalan Parliament, has organized two days of debate in Barcelona on local governments and good governance. The main leaders of the party are coming to Catalonia, including the Spanish Prime Minister, Mariano Rajoy, who will close the debate on Saturday. Rajoy’s speech has been greatly publicised as he will visit Catalonia for the first time after November 9’s symbolic vote on independence. Rajoy himself has raised expectations, as he said “he will talk to Catalans” in this restrictive party meeting. In fact, on Friday, the PP insisted on representing “all the Catalans who did no vote on November 9”, therefore excluding the citizens who voted. The PP’s ‘number 2’, Maria Dolores de Cospedal, accused the President of the Catalan Government of being a “ pre-made myth” and insisted that her party “loves Catalonia”, and will continue to “help Catalans” despite “the independence challenge”.

Meindert Fennema interviewed by the CNA (by A. Casino)

"Catalan process is not populist", states Meindert Fennema, expert in European populism

The Emeritus Professor at the University of Amsterdam and political scientist, Meindert Fennema, spoke with the CNA about the Catalan independence process. According to this recognised expert in populism throughout Europe, the "Catalan process is not populist". Fennema emphasised that the origins of European populism and the Catalan independence movement are rooted in different historical contexts, and pointed out that the two have indisputable differences. One great contrast is that "populism started as an anti-immigrant movement", while "for historical reasons, Catalans have always embraced their immigrants". Moreover, the Catalan attitude towards government and the European Union integration is totally different than those adopted in populist stances, he highlighted. Furthermore he asserted that the claims that the Catalan independence process is a populist movement are false.

The building in the UPC's Castelldefels that will host the start-ups (by ACN)

European Space Agency opens its tenth Business Incubation Centre, located in Greater Barcelona

The European Space Agency (ESA) has opened in Catalonia an incubator for businesses working on space technologies, the first of its kind in Spain. It is located in the campus that the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya (UPC) has in Castelldelfels, a coastal town next to Barcelona El Prat Airport. The incubator is located in the RDIT building of UPC, in what is known as the Energy Campus, and will take up 1,000m2 of space. There are currently four companies installed in the centre, whose operations are centred on "drones" and satellite communication. The project expects to host some 40 companies from now on until 2018. This is the tenth "Business Incubation Centre" that the ESA has opened in Europe so far.

The metro station at Barcelona El Prat Airport's Terminal 2 (by J. R. Torné)

Metro connection with Barcelona El Prat Airport begins trials towards full operation by February 2016

Barcelona’s main airport should be finally connected by underground railway by February 2016, after years of accumulated delays due to the economic crisis. Works in the stretch of the Line 9 that will connect Barcelona El Prat Airport with the rest of the metro network were completed months ago and now trains have started to circulate to run functioning trials. According to the announced schedule, passengers should be able to use this service as of February 2016, in time for the Mobile World Congress, which is the main event of the mobile phone industry at world level, which takes place each year in Barcelona. The Catalan Minister for Territory and Sustainability, Santi Vila, also announced that passengers travelling to and from the airport by metro will have an additional fee on top of the regular underground tariff. However the fee’s amount has not been announced yet. 

Roman Polanski directing 'Venus in Furs' (by Wanda / ACN)

'Two days, one night,' 'The great beauty,' 'Nymphomaniac' and 'La isla mínima' nominated for Gaudí Best European Film

The Catalan Film Academy has announced the 10 European films to be candidates for the 7th Gaudí Awards, the main cinema competition in Catalonia. Among others, these include: 'Deux jours, une nuit' ('Two days, one night'), written and directed by Jean-Pierre Dardenne and Luc Dardenne; 'La grande belleza' ('The great beauty'), directed by Paolo Sorrentino; 'La Vénus à fourrure' ('Venus in Furs'), by Roman Polanski; 'Nymphomaniac: Vol. I and Vol. II', written and directed by Lars von Trier; and, the Spanish 'La isla mínima', directed by Alberto Rodríguez. The award ceremony will take place in Barcelona at the end of January. The nominations were selected by a committee appointed by the Board of the Catalan Film Academy.

  • A volunteer working on Friday at the 'Gran Recapte' (by P. Solà)

    4,000 tonnes of food are expected to be collected in Catalonia this weekend for those in need

    Early on Friday morning, the "Gran Recapte" ("The Great Collection") - a campaign to collect food donations in order to redistribute it to people in need – began across Catalonia, and will be underway until late on Saturday evening. Organised by Catalonia’s main food bank, El Banc dels Aliments, it collects donations of non-perishable food products such as milk, flour, oil, beans and pasta from organisations and individuals, with the cooperation of many markets and supermarkets. With the help of 20,000 volunteers, this food will then be shared out among up to 250,000 people in the coming weeks. The new President of the Food Bank, Eduard Arruga, believes this year people are more aware of the campaign than ever. In Barcelona, it began at 9.30am and, in the neighbourhood Sants, attendance was already high. 

  • The European Commission has asked for "corrective measures" against the Autonomous Communities (by A. Casino)

    Catalan Finance Minister accuses Rajoy of discrediting Spain’s regional governments

    The European Commission has warned Spain about its budget for 2015 and the possibility of meeting the global deficit target of 4.2%. It has asked the Spanish Government to adopt the necessary measures to guarantee that the 2015 budget will respect the Stability and Growth Pact. The Spanish Minister for the Economy answered back and affirmed that no additional measures will be adopted since the planned budget and the forecast economic growth “are enough”. The Commission also demanded that the Spanish Government put “more pressure” on the Autonomous Communities that will not meet their deficit target for 2014, which is likely the case of Catalonia. Brussels directly asked for the implementation of “corrective measures” in these cases. However, the Commission did not make any comment on whether such deficit targets unilaterally imposed by Madrid are fair or realistic. In fact, the Catalan Finance Minister accused the Spanish Government of putting the blame on the Autonomous Communities and “discrediting” them, in order to recentralise powers. 

  • Luís de Guindos (left) talking with Artur Mas (right) on Friday evening (by ACN)

    Catalan President: Spain will negotiate if “the open conflict” generates “concerns” at international level

    The President of the Catalan Government, Artur Mas, confirmed that Spain and Catalonia are already now in a situation of “open conflict”, after the criminal prosecution launched against him and two other members of his Cabinet. However, Mas asked the Spanish Government to end its “angry” attitude and start negotiating, proposing ways out of the current situation. The Catalan President added that the international community will ask the Spanish Government to sit and talk if the current open conflict finally generates “concerns” at an international level. Mas was addressing an economic forum with the main representatives of Catalonia’s business community. The Spanish Minister for the Economy, Luís de Guindos, was also present and they were in friendly conversation for a little while. De Guindos emphasized that the Spanish Government has issued “bailouts for Catalonia in difficult moments”.

Highlights

  • The Catalan Parliament voting bills on Wednesday (by R. Garrido)

    26.11.14 - 21:54

    Catalonia approves a tax on Internet providers and an external relations law

    On Wednesday the Catalan Parliament passed two important bills. With 74% support, it has approved the Law of External Action and Relations with the EU. Only two parties voted against it, the Spanish nationalist People’s Party (PP) – which runs the Spanish Government – and Ciutadans (C’s). A third party, the alternative left and radical independence party CUP, abstained because it considered that the law was not...

  • Oriol Junqueras (centre) looks at the Catalan President (talking) on Wednesday (by R. Garrido)

    26.11.14 - 21:14

    Not all pro-independence parties are willing to join Catalan President’s shared electoral list

    Parties supporting the self-determination process have expressed their first reactions to the Catalan President’s offer to run in early elections by sharing the same electoral list and negotiating independence from Spain in a maximum of 18 months, if they obtain an absolute majority. The two-party centre-right pro-Catalan State coalition (CiU), headed by the President of the Catalan Government, Artur Mas, is divided: Mas’...

  • The Agbar Tower in Barcelona (by ACN)

    26.11.14 - 21:11

    Barcelona ranks in the world’s top 10 of best reputation cities

    Barcelona ranks 9th in the list of the cities with the best reputation in the world, according to a study presented by the prestigious ESADE Business School. The Catalan capital stands out especially in areas of tourism, sport and culture. The City RepTrak 2014 study was presented on Tuesday at ESADE, which has its headquarters at the Catalan capital. The report measures the reputation of 100 cities around the world, and the 5...

  • Leo Messi scored another hat-trick against APOEL and broke another record (by FC Barcelona)

    26.11.14 - 00:00

    Apoel v FC Barcelona (0-4): Messi leads Barça’s victory

    FC Barcelona rolled to a dominating 4-0 victory over Apoel Nicosia on Tuesday night at the GSP Stadium. Besides, the Argentinian has his second straight three-goal performance while breaking the all-time Champions League scoring record. The Argentinian attacker surpassed previous record holder Raúl Gonzalez. It was the second record for Messi this week after breaking Telmo Zarra’s all-time La Liga scoring record on Saturday...

  • The President of the Catalan Government, Artur Mas, addressing Barcelona's Fòrum Auditorium (by R. Garrido)

    25.11.14 - 23:57

    Catalan President ready to call early elections to achieve independence from Spain in 18 months

    The President of the Catalan Government, Artur Mas, proposed the next steps in Catalonia’s self-determination process: early elections to the Catalan Parliament and, if a single pro-independence list get an absolute majority, negotiations to reach full independence in 18 months. Such a list should be formed by independent personalities and recognised professionals, who should commit to only run once, with traditional parties adopting...

  • The Spanish PM, Mariano Rajoy, arriving at the Senate on Tuesday (by R. Pi de Cabanyes)

    25.11.14 - 23:27

    Rajoy denies having ordered Catalan President’s prosecution over symbolic independence vote

    The Spanish Prime Minister, Mariano Rajoy, confirmed before the Senate that he had “not given any instruction to the Public Prosecution Office” to press charges against the President of the Catalan Government, Artur Mas, for having authorised and organised November 9’s symbolic vote on independence. Rajoy was answering a question from Mas’ party, the centre-right pro-Catalan State Coalition CiU, which had accused the...

  • Juan Goytisolo, author from Barcelona, scoops prestigious Cervantes Prize 2014 (by ACN)

    24.11.14 - 22:01

    Juan Goytisolo, author from Barcelona, scoops prestigious Cervantes Prize 2014

    Juan Goytisolo (born 1931 in Barcelona) is the latest winner of the Cervantes Prize, which is considered to be the Nobel Prize for literature in Spanish. On Monday at noon, the jury’s verdict was read by Spain’s Minister for Culture, José Ignacio Wert, and it emphasised the author’s "ability to delve into language", his "complex stylistic proposals" and "his desire to bring together" different cultures. Goytisolo,...

  • Josep Antoni Duran i Lleida next to the Catalan Vice President, Joana Ortega (by ACN)

    24.11.14 - 21:57

    Christian-Democrat leader introduces new initiative to promote a Catalan State within Spain

    After months of speculation, Josep Antoni Duran i Lleida, the leader of the Christian-Democrat party UDC – which is the smallest force within the governing  two-party centre-right pro-Catalan State coalition CiU – presented his new political initiative to build an alternative option between the current territorial model and independence from Spain. Duran has been advocating for the creation of a confederated Catalan State...

  • Leo Messi celebrating his record as La Liga's all-time top scorer (by FC Barcelona)

    23.11.14 - 12:36

    Leo Messi is now the all-time Spanish League scoring leader

    The FC Barcelona's forward surpassed the previous record of 251 goals held by Telmo Zarra since 1955. On Saturday evening, Leo Messi scored 3 goals against Sevilla at Camp Nou, giving him a total of 253 in only 289 Spanish league matches (0.87 per game). It's been almost a decade since Messi's first goal against Albacete in May 2005. His best year saw him get 50 targets in La Liga. Telmo Zarraonaindía played for Athletic Bilbao from...

  • A Desigual shop in New York's 5th Avenue (by Desigual)

    21.11.14 - 21:00

    Barcelona-based Desigual launches its own stores in Mexico and Canada

    The Catalan fashion multinational Desigual will be strengthening its presence in the Americas over the coming months. In 2015 it will be entering new markets, with the opening of its first three stores in Mexico and three in Montreal, Canada. Its entry into the Aztec country will be made through a franchise, alongside the company El Palacio del Hierro (the Iron Palace) which owns luxury boutiques in Mexico, a market considered a...

  • The presentation of the 2014 Huddersfield Festival in Barcelona (by R. Vidal)

    21.11.14 - 20:53

    Catalan musicians return to Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival

    On Friday, the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival opens in Yorkshire, England, and once again the line-up features many Catalan musicians and composers. This is thanks to an agreement with the Ramon Llull Institute (IRL); the public body promoting Catalan culture abroad. The festival is internationally renowned in the fields of contemporary and experimental music, and aims to create exchanges between artists from different countries....

  • Representatives of the 6 parties supporting the self-determination process and the Catalan President (talking) a few weeks ago (by ACN)

    21.11.14 - 20:15

    Self-determination parties plead guilty in independence vote after Catalan President’s prosecution

    On Friday, Spain’s Public Prosecution Office filed the criminal complaint against the President of the Catalan Government, Artur Mas; the Vice President, Joana Ortega; and the Education Minister, Irene Rigau. They are being prosecuted for the symbolic vote on independence that took place on November 9. Such a complaint has come with great controversy, as the Spanish Government and the People’s Party (PP) have been accused of...

  • The President of the Catalan Government, Artur Mas, on the Universal Children's Day (by ACN)

    20.11.14 - 23:30

    Catalan President: it is “disappointing” that Spain’s reaction to November 9 is based on “courts and prosecutors”

    The President of the Catalan Government, Artur Mas, reacted on Thursday to the announcement that the Director of Spain’s Public Prosecutor Office will press charges against him and 2 other members of his cabinet for having authorised November 9’s symbolic vote on independence. Mas stated that “it is disappointing and pitiful” that the Spanish authorities’ reaction to the peaceful mobilisation of 2.3 million...

  • The BBVA's headquarters in Barcelona (by R. Pagano)

    20.11.14 - 23:18

    BBVA forecasts better growth perspectives for Catalonia and 140,000 new jobs in 2014 and 2015

    The Catalan economy’s indicators are posting positive figures and the research department of the BBVA bank has reviewed its growth forecast for Catalonia for the current and the next years. According to the report issued on Thursday by the BBVA, the Catalan economy will grow by 1.3% in 2014 and by 1.8% in 2015, which are higher rates than those initially predicted. On top of this, 140,000 new jobs will be created in those two years,...

  • The new European Commissionner for Competition, Margrethe Vestager (by A. Casino)

    20.11.14 - 22:53

    European Commission on Catalonia: it’s “always beneficial” to “listen to people”

    “There is one thing that I always find beneficial […] and that is to listen to people; not necessarily because you agree but, without listening, you will never get any wiser yourself”, stated Margrethe Vestager, the new European Commissioner for Competition, when she was asked about Catalonia’s self-determination process. However, Vestager, who used to be Denmark’s Deputy Prime Minister, also added that...

  • Alícia Sanchez-Camacho in Madrid on Wednesday in Madrid (by PP)

    20.11.14 - 10:25

    People’s Party (PP) rejects the Catalan President’s offer to meet with Rajoy in Barcelona

    The Spanish Prime Minister, Mariano Rajoy, is rejecting the offer sent by the President of Catalonia, Artur Mas, to meet in Barcelona to coincide with the former’s trip to the Catalan capital on November 29. According to Alícia Sánchez-Camacho, the leader of Rajoy’s party in Catalonia, “it is not the time” for such a meeting. In addition, she also said that making the offer in a press conference through...