• The Catalan President, Carles Puigdemont, the Vice President and Minister of Economy, Oriol Junqueras, and the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Raül Romeva, with the Catalan Parliament President Carme Forcadell (by ACN)

    Puigdemont to explain the Catalan Referendum in the European Parliament

    The Catalan President, Carles Puigdemont, the Vice President and Minister of Economy, Oriol Junqueras, and the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Raül Romeva, will visit Brussels on the 24th of January to defend the Government plans to hold an independence referendum in 2017, the CNA has learnt. Puigdemont and his two more senior ministers, both of them former MEPs, will defend in the European Parliament Catalonia’s seeking of an agreement with the Spanish government to hold a legally binding referendum. However, they will point out that Madrid has repeatedly ruled out any discussion on the issue, arguing that a vote on independence is legally impossible. The Catalan President, the Vice President and the Foreign Affairs Minister will stress that Catalonia will celebrate the referendum even if Spain continues to refuse to engage in negotiation.

Iniesta, Suárez and Messi celebrate as FC Barcelona score against Athletic Club (by FCB)

FC Barcelona 3-1 Athletic Club (4-3 on aggregate): The trident strikes again

Goals from Suárez, Neymar and Messi secure an action-packed victory that keeps alive the quest for a third consecutive Copa del Rey trophy. Manager was delighted with his team's performance in winning a place in Friday's Copa del Rey quarter final draw - and can't help singling out Leo Messi for special praise. "From what we could see from the two legs, our qualification was the fairest outcome”, said Luis Enrique. "Leo Messi was as decisive as ever. I hope he stays here for many more years”, he added. After two setbacks, the first victory of 2017 is in the bag and Barça will be one of the eight names featuring in Friday’s draw.

Airbus A380 about to take off at Barcelona's El Prat airport (by ACN)

New record for El Prat Airport: Over 44 million passengers in 2016

The number of passengers whom passed through Barcelona El Prat Airport in 2016 grew by 11.2% in comparison to the previous year and set a record 44.1 million passengers. According to the Spanish Airport Authority (AENA) there were 307,864 operations registered in 2016, 6.6% more than in 2015 and both national (+11.4%) and international flights (+11.2%) grew in comparison to 2015. Cargo transportations also grew in 2016, increasing by 13.3% and totalling 135,754 tonnes. The busiest month was August, when 4.7 million passengers passed through El Prat Airport while February registered the highest growth; 2.7 million passengers used El Prat airport facilities that month, representing a 20.4% increase in comparison to the same month in 2015.

Former Catalan President, Artur Mas, together with Catalan Government's Spokeswoman, Neus Munté and other representatives joined Francesc Homs on his way to the Court, last September in Madrid (by ACN)

Spanish Prosecutor demands 9-year ban from public office for Homs for allowing 9-N symbolic vote

The Spanish Supreme Court’s Prosecutor is calling for the suspension of Catalan Minister and Catalan European Democratic Party (PDCeCAT) spokesperson in the Spanish Parliament, Francesc Homs, from holding public office for a 9-year period. Homs was accused of disobedience and perversion of justice for co-organising the 9-N symbolic vote on independence in 2014. This Wednesday, the Prosecutor’s temporary conclusions stated that former Catalan President, Artur Mas’ right-hand man “didn’t suspend any of the articles which allowed the consultation” and that he was “absolutely aware” that “by doing so he violated the mandatory compliance of the Spanish Constitutional Court’s decisions”.

The Prime Minister of Latvia, Valdis Dombrovskis, interviewed by the CNA (by A. Segura)

Latvia’s Anti-fraud Office denies Dombrovskis was bribed to back Catalan independence

Latvia’s Anti-fraud Office couldn’t find any evidence to prove that former Latvian Prime Minister, Valdis Dombrovskis, was bribed to back Catalonia’s pro-independence aspirations. In an exclusive interview with the CNA in 2013, Dombrovskis, who was still Latvia’s Prime Minister at the time, defended the possibility of his government recognising Catalonia’s independence as long as the process was “legitimate”. Soon afterwards, Spanish magazine ‘Interviu’, citing a Spanish police report, accused Dombrovskis of allegedly receiving 6 MEUR in exchange for expressing his support for Catalonia’s political aspirations. According to Latvia’s Anti-fraud Office spokeswoman, Laura Dusa, there are “no reasons to open a judicial process” because “there is no proof of a bribe”.

  • Spanish Government Vice President and Minister for Territorial Administrations, Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría (by ACN)

    Spanish Government sees referendum as 'democratic abnormality' and vows to fight it 'firmly'

    Spanish Vice President, Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría, considers Catalonia’s push for a referendum a “democratic abnormality” since it is not allowed by the Spanish Constitution. In this vein, she warned that the Spanish executive has “many mechanisms” to fight the eventual referendum on independence and that it will be done “with dialogue and proportionality” but “firmly”. In an interview with Spanish Public Television (TVE) this Monday, Saénz de Santamaría also referred to the Conference of Autonomic Presidents, which will take place on Tuesday and which Catalan President, Carles Puigdemont, has refused to attend. In this vein, the Spanish Vice President assured that the executive’s goal is to “defend and respect the equality amongst all Spaniards” and assured that the conference will discuss those topics which really matter to the citizens.

  • Visitors queuing at Picasso Museum's main entrance (by ACN)

    Picasso Museum in Barcelona to expand its exhibition space this 2017

    Barcelona’s Picasso Museum will add 1,150 m2 for exhibitions this 2017. This new area will be located on the second floor of the ‘Palau de les Finestres’, one of the five buildings composing the museum, which has been undergoing refurbishment. The Picasso Museum currently occupies five large town houses on Montcada street, in Barcelona’s old town, dating from between the 13th and the 15th century. During the presentation of the museum’s programme for this year, the Picasso Museum’s new director, Emmanuel Guigon, also announced that this year’s major exhibition will be ‘Picasso Portraits’, co-produced with London’s National Portrait Gallery, which will be displayed from March until June. There will also be three smaller exhibitions this 2017, some of them to be hosted in the restored area at the ‘Palau de les Finestres’.

  • Catalan President, Carles Puigdemont, during an interview with Catalunya Radio (by ACN)

    Government “can’t continue” without passing the budget, Puigdemont warns

    Catalan President, Carles Puigdemont, insisted this Thursday on the importance of passing the budget for 2017. If the bill, which will be put to vote in February, doesn’t receive the required support in the Catalan Chamber, “the Government can’t continue, for reasons of dignity and democratic coherence”, Puigdemont stated. Thus, he called for pro-independence radical left CUP, the main partner of cross-party list ‘Junts Pel Sí’ in the Government to have “courage” and allow the bill to be passed. CUP already vetoed the previous budget last summer, forcing the extension of the 2015 budget, after considering it “too autonomic” and not proper of a state which aims to be independent.

Highlights

  • Catalan Minister for Foreign Affairs, Raül Romeva, attended former Portugal's President, Mário Soares' funeral at Lisbon (by ACN)

    10.01.17 - 18:37

    Romeva on Mario Soares: “He understood the singularity of Catalonia’s democratic demands”

    Former Portugal President, Socialist Mario Soares “is and will always be an example for democracy, Europeanism and social democracy”, stated Catalan Minister for Foreign Affairs, Raül Romeva. After attending Soares’ funeral this Tuesday at Lisbon’s ‘Monasterio de los Jerónimos’ on behalf of the Catalan Government, Romeva praised the Portuguese leader’s ability for “building...

  • U2' leader 'Bono' in Barcelona, during '360º' World Tour, in 2009 (by ACN)

    09.01.17 - 18:24

    Barcelona only Spanish date on U2 ‘Joshua Tree’ 30th anniversary tour

     

    U2 will play at Barcelona’s Estadi Olimpic on the 18th of July, as part of their world tour to commemorate the 30th anniversary of their acclaimed album ‘The Joshua Tree’. This will be the only concert of the Irish band in Spain, which will perform the entire album at each of the 25 shows they have confirmed. “I've sung some of these songs a lot - but never all of them”, U2...

  • Close-up of the Catalan President, Carles Puigdemont (by ACN)

    09.01.17 - 18:22

    Puigdemont won’t stand for president in next Catalan elections

    Catalan President, Carles Puigdemont, has ruled out running again in the next Catalan elections. He had already stated this last January, when he took office, and he confirmed his intention during a radio interview on Thursday. “In a year from now I won’t be President”, stated Puigdemont and insisted that the Government’s plan was to launch an 18-month long term of office which will expire next summer. “We...

  • Aerial shot of Valls' industrial park 'Palau del Reig', 15 kilometres north of Tarragona (by ACN)

    04.01.17 - 18:32

    IKEA to build new distribution centre for online purchases in Catalonia

    Swedish multinational company IKEA will set up its distribution centre for online purchases in Valls, 15 kilometres north of Tarragona. The centre will not only supply the whole of the Spanish State but also Portugal and the South of France. Ikea aims to buy a 50,000 m2 smallholding located next to the ‘DC 1 – Distribution centre’ which the company already has in the same industrial park. Thus, the two Ikea...

  • Pro-independence MPs celebrate the passing of the proposal to call a referendum in September 2017 (by ACN)

    30.12.16 - 20:33

    New government in Spain, same old deadlock for Catalonia?

    On the 29th of October, Conservative People’s Party leader, Mariano Rajoy, was invested again as Spanish President after 300 days of an acting government and two elections in six months. ‘Catalonia’s file’, that is to say, the aspirations of a vast majority of the Catalan citizens to decide their own future through the ballot boxes, not only centred the investiture debate but also the previous negotiations to form...

  • Plate of the Spanish Constitutional Court's building, in Madrid (by ACN)

    23.12.16 - 19:27

    Spanish Court allows Catalonia to carry out foreign action but not establish bilateral relations

    The Spanish Constitutional Court (TC) has backed the Catalan Government’s right to carry out foreign action but has dismissed the possibility of Catalonia establishing bilateral relations with other countries. The TC stated this Friday that the Autonomous Communities “can carry out activities related to foreign action” as far as they “respect the state’s exclusive competence regarding international...

  • Catalan President, Carles Puigdemont and Catalan Vice President, Oriol Junqueras, signing the TC's notice which suspends the Government's plan to call a referendum in September 2017 (by ACN)

    21.12.16 - 18:30

    Catalan Government receives Spanish Constitutional Court warning on penal consequences of holding a referendum

    The Spanish Constitutional Court (TC) carried out this Wednesday its usual procedure and hand delivered the resolution notice which warns the Catalan executive of the criminal liability of launching the referendum plan. The document emphasised the magistrates’ duty to “impede or block” any initiative aimed at ignoring the TC suspension of the Government’s plan to call a referendum in Catalonia in September 2017. The...

  • Catalan Vice President and Minister for Economy, Oriol Junqueras, presenting the Budget for 2017 to the Parliament (by ACN)

    20.12.16 - 18:49

    Budget for 2017 passes first hurdle but gets little support from CUP

    The support of 2 MPs from radical left pro-independence CUP, the main partner of governing cross party 'Junts Pel Sï', allowed the budget for 2017 to overcome the appeals presented by the oppoistion groups in the Parliament. Catalan Vice President and Minister for Economy and Tax Office, Oriol Junqueras, defended this Tuesday the budget for 2017. According to Junqueras, the draft especially focuses on...

  • Students of the High School Lluís Vives in Barcelona doing a test (by ACN)

    20.12.16 - 18:48

    Spain announces a “national Erasmus” to “foster territorial cohesion”

    The Spanish Minister for Health, Social Services and Equality, Dolors Montserrat, proposed this Tuesday during her appearance before the Commission of Health of the Spanish Parliament the creation of “Erasmus scholarships at a national level”. The programme will be named Cervantes, in commemoration of the fourth centenary of the death of the writer, and seeks to “promote territorial cohesion in addition to favouring the...

  • Asian tourists decked with 'Estelades' during Barça's Champions League match against Bate Borisov at the Camp Nou on the 4th of November 2015 (by ACN)

    20.12.16 - 13:44

    Barça and UEFA agree to allow pro-independence flags at Camp Nou

    The dispute between Barça and UEFA over the display of Catalan independence flags, ‘estelades’, at the Camp Nou is definitely on track to reach a solution. The international body announced an agreement with FC Barcelona to end this litigation. The pact means that Barça will drop its appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sports (CAS) over the economic sanctions imposed on the club, while UEFA compromises to...

  • Catalan astronomer, Guillem Anglada-Escudé, at his office during an interview with CNA (by ACN)

    19.12.16 - 18:20

    'Nature' includes Catalan astronomer Guillem Anglada-Escudé amongst 10 best scientists of 2016

    ‘Nature’s 10’, the annual list which distinguishes the year’s best scientists according to the journal, has included Catalan astronomer, Guillem Anglada-Escudé amongst its names. The researcher at Queen Mary University of London detected the nearest known planet outside the Solar System which he baptised ‘Proxima b’. He put together a team and got observing time on the High Accuracy Radial velocity...

  • Suárez and Messi climb to the top of the league scoring charts (by FCB)

    19.12.16 - 10:30

    FC Barcelona v RCD Espanyol: Derby delight! (4-1)

    Luis Enrique was thrilled with his team’s performance in the 4-1 win over rivals Espanyol at the Camp Nou. FC Barcelona upped their game in the second half to claim a memorable win, and the manager was quick to highlight his players’ output, saying that the team played “at a very high level”. “We cannot get accustomed to what Leo Messi does. It is something unique and, here at the Camp Nou,...

  • The presidents of the ACM, Miquel Buch; the AMI, Neus Lloveras; Òmnium Cultural, Jordi Cuixart; and the ANC, Jordi Sànchez, accompanying Carme Forcadell to Court (by ACN)

    16.12.16 - 19:03

    Pro-independence civil society organisations emphasise “unity” in support for Forcadell

    Representatives from several pro-independence civil society organisations joined Parliament President, Carme Forcadell, on her way to the Court. Forcadell testified this Friday for having allowed a democratic debate on Catalonia’s independence in the Catalan Chamber on the 27th of July. Pro-independence grass-roots organisations the Catalan National Assembly (ANC), Òmnium Cultural, the Association of Municipalities for...

  • Image of the Swiss Parliament (by Le Conséil Federal)

    16.12.16 - 18:05

    Swiss MPs add to international outcry over Forcadell’s prosecution

    The prosecution carried out by the Spanish justice system against Catalan Parliament President, Carme Forcadell for allegedly violating the law when allowing a debate on independence has aroused international concern. In Switzerland, a group of 15 Swiss MPs from the six parties represented in the Federal Chamber have called for their government to take a stance and express its “concern” over Forcadell’s trial. According to...

  • Parliament's President, Carme Forcadell, addressing the media just after testifying before the Court (by ACN)

    16.12.16 - 17:40

    Forcadell says her trial “puts democracy at risk”

    “What happened today is inconceivable in a truly democratic state”, lamented this Friday the Parliament’s President, Carme Forcadell. In a press conference soon after testifying before Catalonia's Supreme Court for allowing a debate on independence in the Catalan Chamber on the 27th of July, Forcadell said that she considered her trial “another step” towards the Spanish State’s attempt to...

  • Parliament's President, Carme Forcadell, rallied around by the Catalan Government, politicians and civil society on her arrival at Barcelona's Courthouse (by ACN)

    16.12.16 - 11:03

    Forcadell testifies before the court for allowing debate on independence

    The Parliament’s President, Carme Forcadell, testified before the Court this Friday for having allowed a democratic debate on Catalonia’s independence in the Catalan Chamber on the 27th of July. The Spanish Constitutional Court considered illegal her decision to do so and accused her of disobedience and perversion of justice. Forcadell’s prosecution has produced a huge political and civil response not only in Catalonia but...