On Tuesday, Josep Antoni Duran i Lleida, Chairman of the Unió Democràtica de Catalunya (UDC) governing committee, said that the EU finds "a bit odd" the proposal of an electoral list without politicians for the 27-S elections. Speaking to the press from the European Parliament in Strasbourg, he said it is hard to "understand" how Catalonia will be governed."Although the post 27-S Executive's only goal will be Catalan independence, health care and education will need to be managed", he highlighted. UDC Secretary General, Ramon Espadaler, added that "UDC received the support of European Christian Democratic party leaders to run alone in the 27-S elections". In June, due to their differences on Catalonia's independence, UDC split from Artur Mas’ Convergència Democràtica de Catalunya (CDC), after running together in every election since 1978 and having forged a political "federation" between them.
The month of July started with the strengthening of Catalonia's business and economic relations with China. On Wednesday, China Construction Bank Corporation (CCB) - the second largest bank in the world by market capitalisation (207.9 billion U.S. dollars) - opened its first Spanish branch in the Catalan capital with an official ceremony at the Palace of Pedralbes. The same day, the Catalan Government signed an agreement with the Chinese Province of Fujian, aimed at expanding export opportunities for Catalan agricultural products and promoting the exchange of market and legal information between the two partners.
A "no" vote is favoured by 50% of the population, according to the latest barometer by the Centre for Opinion Studies (CEO), which was made public Friday. The unionist option grew 2 points compared to March, the same amount the "yes" option lost, which stands at 42.9%. "The distance between the two options is considerable", said the director of the CEO, Jordi Argelaguet. Until now, they had stayed "neck and neck" in the most recent barometers; although for months the "no" vote maintained an upward trend. When the options were expanded beyond the plebiscite, an independent state was the top choice (37.6%), ahead of becoming an autonomous region (29.3%) and a federal state (24%).
The President of the Catalan Government, Artur Mas, said Wednesday that his June proposal for civil society groups to lead a unitary electoral list "does not at all break" the pact made in January between the CDC and ERC to run separately in the 27-S elections. The leader of the centre-right CDC argued that if civil society groups accept his proposal, civil society "won´t just invite the CDC and Mr. Mas" but "whomever they want" because the list would be "transversal". After Mas made these comments, the President of the centre-left ERC said if civil society groups drafted an electoral list excluding politicians altogether, the ERC would be the "first to accept" their proposal, as long as other independence parties also decide not to run for election. "We will never be an obstacle", Junqueras remarked.
Catalonia was last month again the Spanish Autonomous Community with the most intense monthly and annual decline in registered unemployment, official data released on Thursday show. According to the Spanish Ministry of Employment and Social Security, by the end of June 2015 there were 20,952 fewer people registered with the Catalan Public Employment Service (SOC) in comparison to May 2015, leaving the total number of registered unemployed individuals at 510,947. This drop is, in absolute terms, the lowest recorded for the month of June in the last 3 years. However, in relative terms, registered unemployment fell by -3.94%, the biggest decline for the month of June in 19 years. Compared to a year ago, the number of jobseekers decreased by 59,267 (-10.39%), thus marking a two-year period of consecutive annual decline in registered unemployment.
The Civil Guard arrested an alleged jihadist at El Prat Airport in Barcelona Tuesday morning. The man was wanted by Belgium for alleged membership in the Islamic State, as confirmed by sources close to the investigation. International authorities sought the individual for having fought with the Islamic State in the Syrian conflict. The man had lived in Belgium before leaving to join the Islamic State, and Belgian authorities had put out an order for his search and arrest after he had allegedly committed crimes of terrorism in the Syrian conflict. He was stopping over at El Prat Airport from Algeria en route to going to another European country, according to the Spanish Ministry of the Interior.
Partner and director of El Bulli restaurant for over 30 years, Juli Soler, died Monday morning, Ferran Adrià confirmed with ACN. He was 66. Soler suffered from a neurodegenerative disease for over two years that forced him to abandon the BulliFoundation project to focus on his recovery. Doctors diagnosed the disease in October 2012. Soler was the person who hired the chef Ferran Adrià in the early '80s before El Bulli became the best restaurant in the world. Both always worked closely together and shared the executive direction of BulliFoundation from its inception.
The Catalan National Assembly (ANC) has overwhelmingly voted 'yes' to the internal consultation on its participation in the negotiations aimed at shaping a highly transversal electoral proposal for the 27-S elections. On Monday, the President of the ANC, Jordi Sànchez said that in the coming days his organisation will talk with all the stakeholders involved in trying to reach the best agreement for Catalan independence, remaining open to different options. However, if a deal is not reached by 20 July, the ANC will leave the negotiation process that – according to Sànchez – will have to be completely public. In January, Mas' original proposal was to have a single list with political parties and civil society organisations but parties such as ERC rejected the idea, arguing for the need to have both right-wing and left-wing pro-independence options. In June, Mas' second proposal was to have a unitary list led by pro-independence organisations that – according to their will – could invite politicians on board.