• PP's candidate for Catalan elections, Xavier Garcia Albiol, presented a reform to be able to suspend Mas from office

    The PP to urgently reform the law to be able to suspend Mas from office

    The candidate for the conservative Peoples’ Party (PP) in the upcoming Catalan elections, Xavier García Albiol, presented on Tuesday a proposal to reform the Spanish Constitutional Court (TC) Law and make sure that its rulings are adhered to by civil servants and politicians. García Albiol admitted that the plan is especially designed to stop Catalan President Artur Mas’ push for independence, which unionists say is unconstitutional. “It’s a clear message to those who want to break Catalonia away from the rest of Spain: the joke is over”, he warned. The reform will be passed urgently by the Spanish Parliament this month, and will set in place the mechanisms and resources needed to take action against those who don’t obey the Constitutional Court’s decisions. Civil servants or politicians that ignore rulings may face fines or even suspension from office. The Catalan Government spokeswoman described the TC’s reform plan as a decision taken because of the election on the 27th of September, and regretted that it only adds more “repression, threats and fear” to the political debate.

Thousands attended the first big event of 'Junts pel Sí' (by ACN)

Thousands attend rally in support of pro-independence coalition ‘Junts pel Sí’
“Catalonia is not divided and it won’t be”, said Catalan President Artur Mas during the first big event of the cross-party coalition ‘Junts pel Sí’ (Together for Yes), which brings together members of the civil society and politicians from both right and left that favour independence. In a rally attended by 40,000 people, Mas defended that ‘Junts pel Sí’ is an example of the determination of the Catalan people, which have put ideological differences aside to achieve independence from Spain. The event in Barcelona was the official presentation of the candidates of the ‘Junts pel Sí’ ticket. The cross-party coalition led by former Green MEP Raül Romeva has already achieved support from up to 57.000 citizens that have signed up as symbolic “candidates” for the 27-S election. The poll is considered by many as a ‘de facto’ referendum on independence.

The Vicepresident of the Spanish Government, Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría (by ACN)

The PP rejects constitutional reform to solve the Catalan situation
The Vicepresident of the Spanish Government, Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría, confirmed on Friday that the People’s Party won’t include constitutional reform in its electoral manifesto. Her words shut down a debate started by her own Minister of Justice, Rafael Catalá, who suggested that Constitutional Reform could be studied. Sáenz de Santamaría said that the PP will not present any initiative to reform the Constitution because that would require a “clear objective” and “consensus” amongst political parties. The Spanish Vicepresident also warned that no constitutional reform would ever satisfy the demands of pro-independence parties in Catalonia. “It is very difficult to satisfy someone who is not willing to be satisfied”, she warned.

Police officers in front of the CatDem foundation (by ACN)

The Guardia Civil searches CDC headquarters, its foundation and four local councils
Spanish officers have searched the headquarters of the Catalan President’s Liberal Party CDC and those of the party’s foundation, CatDem. Investigators have also searched the local councils of Figueres, Lloret de Mar, Sant Celoni and Sant Cugat del Vallès, all towns in which the party is currently or has previously been in power. The searches are part of an ongoing investigation into alleged irregular financing of the party. The general coordinator of CDC, Josep Rull, denied the accusation of irregular financing, saying that all donations to the foundation CatDem have always been “legal and public”. In a press conference in Barcelona, Rull accused the Spanish government of trying to “influence” the electoral campaign. Catalonia is going to the polls on the 27th of September in what many consider a ‘de facto’ plebiscite on independence from Spain.

Thomas Vermaelen celebrates his goal (by FCB / Víctor Salgado)

FC Barcelona v Málaga: Persistence pays off (1-0)
A goal from Vermaelen enough to give Barça victory in their first home league game of the season on a frustrating evening at Camp Nou. FC Barcelona gave a masterclass in sticking to the task and never giving up with a narrow victory over a dogged Málaga side. Thomas Vermaelen was the hero of the hour, the Belgian’s first ever goal for Barça in the second half enough to maintain the blaugranes’ 100 per cent record at the start of this 2015/16 league season.
  • Elisa Durán, from 'la Caixa' Banking Foundation, and Sir Richard Lambert, from the British Museum (by ACN)

    The British Museum and ‘La Caixa’ Bank Foundation sign an agreement to organise four major exhibitions

    The collaboration will bring to Catalonia some of the masterpieces of the great civilisations that are currently on display in the British Museum. Most of them are pieces that are rarely loaned to other museums and that will be seen in Spain for the first time ever. The four projects will focus on Medieval Europe, Ancient Greece, the Pharaohs of Egypt and the Phoenicians. Between 2016 and 2020, the exhibitions will be displayed in Barcelona, Girona, Tarragona, Lleida, Palma and three other ‘CaixaForum’, the centres that normally host the exhibitions promoted and organised by ‘La Caixa’ Bank Foundation. The Bank Foundation of ‘La Caixa’, which is the biggest bank in Catalonia, is the section of the bank that focuses on welfare projects committed to society, education, science, the arts and culture.

  • The former Spanish President Felipe González (by ACN)

    Former Spanish President’s Letter to the Catalans sparks controversy

    Felipe González said that the situation in Catalonia “resembles the German and Italian ventures of the 1930s”. The former Socialist leader and Spanish President between 1982 and 1996 accused Catalan President Artur Mas of placing “himself in a position above the law” and of “losing democratic legitimacy”. According to González, the coalition ‘Junts pel Sí’ (Together for Yes) “could be the start of a real dead end for Catalonia”. “How can they want to take the Catalan people into isolation, into a kind of 21st-century version of what Albania once was?”, he said in an article published by the El País newspaper on Sunday. His comments outraged independence supporters in Catalonia. Josep Rull, from ruling party CDC, described González attitude as “very sad”, regretting that his only recipe for solving the Catalan issue was to warn of an imminent “apocalypse”.
  • Presentation ceremony of Temporada Alta's programme, at Teatre Municipal de Girona (by ACN)

    Temporada Alta Theatre Festival presents its most ambitious programme yet

    A total of 110 productions, 36 premieres and 25 international performances make up the numbers of this year’s Temporada Alta Theatre Festival in Girona. The performing arts festival will celebrate its 24th edition between the 2nd of October and the 8th of December by presenting one of the most ambitious, international and diverse programme ever. The opening performance will offer audience the opportunity to experience life in the Middle Ages. The Barri Vell of Girona, its old Quarter, will be transformed in a performance in which fire, but not firecrackers, will be prevalent. The idea is to experience Girona as it was before it had electricity, using totally freestyle itineraries.

Highlights

  • Luis Suárez in the game at Camp Nou last season (by German Parga / FCB)

    29.08.15 - 11:35

    Match Preview: FC Barcelona vs Málaga

    The blaugranes face their first league game of the season at Camp Nou against the Andalusians in a game which kicks off at 8.30pm CET. Luis Enrique's side got off to an excellent start to the league campaign last weekend with a 1-0 win against Athletic Club Bilbao, Luis Suárez's goal giving them all three points. Before the game against Málaga, which will be the first since the pitch was recently relaid, captain Andrés Iniesta will present...
  • Bayer Leverkusen, AS Roma and BATE Borisov will be FC Barcelona's opponents in group E (by FCB)

    27.08.15 - 21:11

    Bayer Leverkusen, AS Roma and BATE Borisov group stage opponents

    FC Barcelona will begin the defence of their title in Group E following the draw on Thursday in Monaco. Luis Enrique's team will begin the road to Milan - the venue for this season's final - and their first challenge will be against the sides from Germany, Italy and Belarus in the group stages. Barça have met Bayer three times in the Champions League era. AS Roma was the rival of the Joan Gamper trophy a few weeks ago, while BATE Borisov is...
  • Messi is the UEFA Best Player in Europe (by Miguel Ruiz / FCB)

    27.08.15 - 21:04

    Leo Messi UEFA Best Player in Europe

    The Argentine received a total of 49 votes, beating Luis Suárez (3) and Cristiano Ronaldo (2) to the award. The recognition is deserved after an exceptional season for the Barça number 10 in which he scored 58 goals in 57 competitive matches in 2015/16. He scored in the Vicente Calderón against Atlético to hand the blaugranes the league title and he found the net twice in the Copa del Rey final win over Athletic Club. Messi was exceptional...
  • The Catalan Secretary of Foreign Affairs, Roger Albinyana (by ACN)

    27.08.15 - 20:38

    Catalan Foreign Affairs Secretary appears before Uruguayan Parliament amid “pressure” from Spain

    Roger Albinyana was invited to attend a meeting of the Commission of International Affairs of the Latin American country to discuss the independence process in Catalonia, the reasons behind it and what could happen after the 27th of September election. The Catalan Foreign Affairs Secretary appeared before the Commission, despite reported “pressure” from Spanish diplomats to cancel the event. The spokesperson for Liberal CDC in the Spanish...
  • The actress Ingrid Bergman in 'Intermezzo' (by Filmoteca)

    26.08.15 - 20:28

    Ingrid Bergman season at the Filmoteca de Catalunya

    The Catalan Film Archive presents this September a season celebrating the career of acclaimed Swedish actress Ingrid Bergman, born 100 years ago this year. The ‘Ingrid Bergman Centenary’ will include the projection of 17 of her films, including some from her first years in the acting business in her native Sweden, the successful ‘Casablanca’ and her last movie, also Swedish, ‘Höstsonaten’. Remembered as one of the great stars of...
  • The Catalan President, Artur Mas, in a recent picture with Government spokeswoman Neus Munté (by ACN)

    26.08.15 - 20:23

    Mas’ appearance before Parliament over 27-S election causes row with opposition

    Opposition parties have accused the Catalan President of trying to use the chamber for “electoral purposes”, and the PPC has already rejected attending the debate. Artur Mas will address Parliament “probably” on the 2nd of September, just one week before the electoral campaign kicks off, according to the President of the Catalan Chamber, Nuria de Gispert. His aim is to explain why he called early elections for the 27th of September,...
  • The Catalan government spokeswoman, Neus Munté, during the press conference (by ACN)

    25.08.15 - 18:45

    Spanish budget proposal is “disappointing”, says Catalan Government

    The proportion of investment earmarked for Catalonia in next year’s Spanish budget will be 10.7% of the total, a figure that the Catalan government spokeswoman, Neus Munté, considers totally insufficient. “It is far from the 19.8% Catalan contribution to the Spanish GDP or from the 16% that citizens living in Catalonia represent”, she said on Tuesday after the Spanish government defended the figures in the Spanish Parliament in Madrid....
  • Emin Capital wants to open a Hyatt hotel at the Torre Agbar (by ACN)

    25.08.15 - 15:52

    Barcelona still a hot luxury hotel destination despite ban on new accommodation

    The Catalan capital attracts the interest of some of the most prestigious hotel chains in the world, and has more 5 star establishments than London or Paris. Up to 13% of tourist accommodation in Barcelona is provided by luxury or 5 star establishments, a percentage that is 10% in the British capital and 7.5% in the French one. The new mayor of Barcelona, Ada Colau, introduced in July a one-year moratorium on new tourist accommodation to...
  • 'Top manta' in the coastal town of Sitges (by ACN)

    24.08.15 - 17:37

    Tourist towns urge Catalan and Spanish governments to help them fight ‘top manta’

    Illegal street trading, known in Catalonia as ‘top manta’, is an old and complex problem in many tourist towns in Catalonia. But councils feel alone and powerless when they try to deal with it. The recent death of Senegalese citizen Mor Sylla in Salou during a police operation against illegal vending has raised the alarms about a phenomenon that has economic, social and security implications. The mayors of Barcelona, Roses, Sitges and El...
  • Vijazz Penedès is an initiative to promote wine and jazz music (by ACN)

    24.08.15 - 17:28

    Uruguay to learn from Catalan wine expertise

    The Museum of Wine Culture of Catalonia (VINSEUM) is exporting the enotourism model of its Penedès region to the Uruguayan towns of Montevideo and Canelones. The museum is coordinating a collaboration project with these Latin American cities in order to boost their wine industry. The strategy is to mirror the steps taken by cellars in Catalonia’s Penedès region, one of the oldest and most renowned wine-producing regions in the Iberian...
  • FC Barcelona striker Luis Suárez celebrates his second half goal against Athletic Club on Sunday (by Miguel Ruiz, FCB)

    24.08.15 - 11:29

    Athletic Club v FC Barcelona: First game, first three points (0–1)

    Luis Suárez’s textbook left-footed volley nine minutes into the second half was all Barça needed to open their league season with a 1–0 victory over Athletic Club on Sunday afternoon in Bilbao. The bang-bang goal came after an equally impressive cross of the same ilk from the boot of Jordi Alba.A trio of big names — two for Barça, one for Athletic — were forced to abandon the pitch with injuries in a game that had all the features...
  • A Catalan independence flag next to a European Union one, in the last massive demonstration for independence (by A. Moldes)

    21.08.15 - 18:58

    EU would negotiate with an independent Catalonia to avoid “the collapse of the euro”, says Catalan diplomat

    The Secretary General of the Diplocat, Albert Royo, expects the European Union and Spain to embark on discussions about Catalonia’s independence and its membership of the EU and the Eurozone if pro-independence groups win a “democratic mandate” in the next election, to be held on the 27th of September. During a conference at the Catalan Summer University in Prada, Royo warned that “it’s in no one’s interest” for Catalonia to be...
  • Banc Sabadell's main offices in Barcelona (by ACN)

    21.08.15 - 16:16

    Banc Sabadell acquires 100% of TSB shares

    The Catalan bank Sabadell has completed the process of compulsory acquisition of all TSB Banking Group (TSB) shares, thereby taking ownership of 100% of this British entity’s share capital. The move completes the takeover started last spring, when TSB accepted the 1.7bn-pound offer made by Banc Sabadell. Through buying TSB, Banc Sabadell has expanded its international presence, with its percentage of foreign assets growing from 5% to 22%....
  • The number of foreign tourists visiting Catalonia in July rose by 9.12% (by ACN)

    21.08.15 - 16:06

    A record-breaking 2.3 million foreign tourists visit Catalonia in July

    Catalonia is experiencing a very positive tourism season. The number of foreign tourists visiting the country last month rose by 9.12% in comparison to July 2014 and totalled 2,340,299, the highest number since statistics from the Spanish Ministry of Industry, Energy and Tourism started. Gaudí, the magical beaches of the Costa Brava and the rural settings of the Pyrenees are attracting an increasing number of international tourists, whom are...
  • Containers in the Port of Barcelona (by ACN)

    18.08.15 - 20:59

    Catalan exports for first half of 2015 break all records, reaching €32 billion

    Catalan companies sold abroad some €31,899.9 million worth of goods and services between January and June this year, which represents a 7.16% increase on the figures from the first six months of 2014, according to information released on Tuesday by the Spanish Ministry for the Economy and Competitiveness. Catalan exports have never before reached such a high sales volume for a six-month period. Not only this, the level of international...

  • The Japan-themed decorations in Barcelona's Verdi Street (by A. Zamorano)

    18.08.15 - 16:58

    Barcelona’s charming Gràcia neighbourhood hosts its traditional street festival

    By 21 August thousands of people are expected to have attended Gràcia’s local street festival, organised around its Patron Saint’s day. The programme of 'Festes de Gràcia' includes Catalan traditional human towers (called 'castells'), live music, exhibitions, activities for kids and much more. However, one of the most popular traditions in Gràcia during this festival is the street decoration. Indeed, most...