The Catalan tourism sector expects a good season this summer in regard to occupancy of tourist accommodations, as reported to ACN by unions and employers in the country. Catalonia has attracted more tourists than any other region in Spain since the start of 2015, according to the Survey of Tourist Movements at Borders (Frontur), released by the Ministry of Industry, Energy and Tourism. Barcelona, with apartment occupancy around 85% and coastal regions of Girona – which is on the cusp of being full during August – are the areas that will attract the highest demand for tourist accommodations. The interior of Lleida expects occupancy to exceed 65%, while the Pyrenean part will be full the whole week of 15 August. As for Central Catalonia, occupation can swing between 60% and 80%, and in Tarragona it will depend on last-minute reservations.
The Institut Ramon Llull (IRL) is a public body in charge of promoting Catalan culture and language abroad. On Thursday, "it expressed optimism for the first time" about a collaboration with the new Governments of Valencia and the Balearic Islands, both led by left-wing coalitions. The Director of the institute, Àlex Susanna, said that, following the May 2015 elections, "positive signs" are emerging but still could not confirm any conclusive agreement. According to him, the new political landscape opens a "great opportunity" to promote the international mobility of artists and intellectuals from Catalan-speaking territories. Asked about the new Head of Barcelona City Council – part of the consortium constituting the institute – Susanna said that he foresees "continuity" with the work of previous local Executives.
The president of the Catalan National Assembly (ANC), Jordi Sánchez, guaranteed Thursday that the Assembly will "never" abandon its cross-platform cooperation, nor will it put any portion of its sovereignty to the side. "The day that the ANC defends one side will be the end of the ANC", he said during a press conference at the Born Cultural Centre. Sánchez, however, has asked that his words not be interpreted as a response to the proposal President Artur Mas launched this past Saturday. Mas called for a single, unitary list in favour of Catalan self-determination for the 27-S elections that included civil society organisations. Sánchez did warn that it is "difficult" to accept because there are widely divergent opinions in the internal debate. The Assembly will decide in the coming week how to respond to Artur Mas, and Sánchez pointed out that between "yes" and "no", they will seek other variants.
A brief swearing-in ceremony was held on Monday in the Generalitat Palace (the seat of the Catalan Government) when – after the Cabinet reshuffle – four new Catalan Ministers officially took office. During the event, the President of the Catalan Government, Artur Mas, stated that the new Executive is "100% cohesive" in defending the full independence of Catalonia. This statement comes after the "painful" but "inevitable" separation between his party, Convergència Democràtica de Catalunya (CDC) and its historical ally, Unió Democràtica de Catalunya (UDC); a long-awaited split mostly due to disagreement over Catalonia's independence debate. During the ceremony, Mas also thanked the three outgoing Ministers.
The President of the Catalan Government, Artur Mas, warned on Monday that the self-determination process needs "enthusiasm", defining his proposal of a shared list with civil society organisations as a "spark" to retrieve it. In an interview with TV3, the President called for "personal and corporate agendas" not to overcome the country's interests, announcing that if grassroots organisations refuse his proposal, he will run in the next elections with his party, or an "enlarged" version of it. Mas - who met on Monday with the 3 grassroots organisations that organised the pro-independence demonstrations of 2012, 2013 and 2014 - pointed out that this is his last attempt to form a shared list "after the one with the political parties failed".
FiraTàrrega, an international event for the performing arts held in Lleida, and the Catalan performing arts scene in general are considered "very inspiring" by British art professionals. On Sunday, they were both back at the Greenwich and Docklands International Festival (GDIF) in London, the UK capital’s leading event of free outdoor performing arts. In particular, five Catalan performing art companies and Mike Ribalta (FiraTàrrega's Head of professionals dept.) participated in the GDIF 2015 Showcase, a meeting of international programmers, in order to present their new projects and seek partnerships. This year, the British festival also has two Catalan productions in its programme: Toc de fusta and Brodas Bros.
The Spanish Council of Ministers agreed on Friday to bring before Spain’s Constitutional Court (TC) the 16/2015 decree approved by the Catalan Government. The decree – adopted last February – established the Commissioner for National Transition, a position bestowed upon Catalan Jurist Carles Viver Pi-Sunyer. The Spanish Government's legal action also targets the Executive Plans for the creation of state structures and the plan for strategic infrastructure that the Commissioner is in charge of developing, in addition to "all the arrangements and actions linked to this decree and these plans, or in line with their purpose". The Spanish Executive has also filed an appeal to the TC in order to automatically suspend both the decree and the plans, according to Article 161.2 of the Spanish Constitution.
The Barcelona sculptor Jaume Plensa, one of the most internationally renowned Catalan artists, will have an exhibition from 27 June until 15 November at the Ceret Modern Art Museum in Northern Catalonia. The display, 'The Silence of Thought' ('El silenci del pensament'), is a selection of works that speak "of the body, the soul and the word", and one that will serve as an overview of his work. The sculptor is particularly famous for his sculptures of giant heads and people sitting in the foetal position. Plensa encourages visitors to "enjoy and have fun" because, thanks to the "intimate spaces and cosy human scale" of the museum and the use of light and shadows, they can fully understand his sculptural universe. The exhibition consists of three creative installations, each with their own room, and five monumental faces of alabaster and bronze.