• Current Spanish Government Vice President Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría (by ACN)

    Spain takes part of the energy poverty Catalan law before the Constitutional Court

    Less than 24 hours after meeting with her Catalan counterpart, current Spanish Vice President Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría announced that some articles of the Catalan law against energy poverty will be taken before the Constitutional Court (TC). Thus, Catalan Vice President Oriol Junqueras’ demands for the Spanish executive to “reconsider” this procedure haven’t been listened to. However, Santamaría nuanced that those precepts which are in relation to guaranteeing the energy supply to those who may be at social risk are not affected by the suspension. On the other hand, some measures oriented toward avoiding evictions have been suspended. Catalan President, Carles Puigdemont, responded by saying that this measure leaves “in the open” the most vulnerable families.  

Image of a job centre in Catalonia (by ACN)

Occupation grew by 25,700 people during the first trimester of 2016

Unemployment in Catalonia at the end of the first trimester of 2016 totalled 660,000 people, 98,100 fewer than in the same period last year. Thus, the unemployment rate was 17.42%, the lowest since the third trimestre of 2010, according to the latest Active Population Survey (EPA). Between January and March 2016, 25,700 joined the labour market and occupation grew in the industry sector. However, it decreased in the services, construction and agricultural sector. In the whole of Spain, unemployment rose by 0.25% this past trimester, setting the unemployment rate at 21% and totalling 4,791,400 people without a job. 

Close up of a rose with Gaudí's 'La Pedrera' on the background (by ACN)

Sant Jordi’s Festival could be recognised as UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage

After the 2016 celebrations for Sant Jordi’s festival came to a close, Catalan Minister of Culture Santi Vila announced that the Catalan Government will offer its full support to an initiative to recognise the feast day as UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH). As opposed to UNESCO World Heritage, ICH safeguarding works to promote and protect traditions, practices, and other living expressions of culture beyond physical sites, objects, and monuments. Until now, the Catalan Booksellers Guild and the Catalan Publishers Guild have discussed the initiative with the House of Books — the same institute that worked to have the 23rd of April recognised as UNESCO World Book Day. 

European People’s Party MEP Pál Csáky during his visit at Ebro's Delta (by ACN)

MEPs call for “constructive dialogue” with Spanish government after Ebro Water Plan assessment

Since a delegation of MEPs visited the Ebro Delta, in the south of Catalonia on the 8th of February, the delegation has drafted their report of the current ecological flow of the Ebro Water Plan (PHE). In the draft of the report, the European Parliament questions whether European standards and community laws are being met, and recommends conducting an “in-depth study” on ecological flow of “protected areas”. In addition, the MEPs urge the European Commission to closely monitor the area, and call on the Spanish government to have “constructive dialogue” with the Catalan Government, NGOs, and civil society about how to meet more ecological objectives and existing water demands. 

Image of an unpublished diary by Salvador Dalí, to be auctioned in Paris (by ACN)

Unpublished Dalí diary auctioned for 91,800 euros

Sotheby’s Paris has auctioned an unpublished diary from Catalan painter Salvador Dalí for the price of 91.800 euros. Sold on the 26th of April, the leather-bound, handwritten journal was used by the surrealist artist between 1930 and 1935, and is valued at between 40,000 and 60,000 euros. The notebook not only includes original drawings and sketches, but also literary texts, artistic criticism, and even an account of the artist´s daily spending. "It is an extremely sought-after and very moving item”, noted vice president and head of Sotheby's books and manuscripts Anne Heilbronn. 495 additional items were in the collection that was auctioned alongside the journal, comprising the most complete collection dedicated to Dadaism and Surrealism. This set contains collaborations by Breton, Magritte, Penrose, Ernst, Miró, Man Ray, Dominguez, Éluard and Picasso.

  • Former Catalan President, Artur Mas, walking down Barcelona's 'La Rambla' on Sant Jordi's Day (by ACN)

    Mas willing to lead a joint candidature for the Spanish elections “if necessary”

    The creation of a joint pro-independence candidature in Catalonia to run for the upcoming Spanish elections on the 26th of June would show that “sovereignism has won in the world’s eyes”. This is what former Catalan President, Artur Mas, stated in an interview with 8TV. He also admitted to being “willing” to do “whatever it takes” including leading this potential list, as “an act of service”. However, the Catalan pro-independence parties in the Spanish Parliament have different opinions regarding the possibility of running together on the 26-J. While former CDC ‘Democràcia i Llibertat’ consider the joint candidature as “the best formula”, left wing pro-independence ERC have insisted that “ideological diversity gets better results”.

  • Tourist at Sagrada Familia's entrance (by ACN)

    Sagrada Familia opens sacristy for public

    Visitors can finally see the sacristy on the west side of Gaudí’s cathedral, the Sagrada Familia. The construction of Barcelona’s most iconic building began in 1882 and aims to be finished in 2026. Recently architects removed the framework and scaffolding from the sacristy where visitors can see symbols on the obelisks on the corner of two famous streets in Barcelona, Provença and Sardenya. The sacristy contains several items for the celebration of liturgical acts, some of which are original designs and others are reproductions of the famous Catalan architect. In two years’ time, the six central towers will already be visible and by 2023 they will be complete, making it the tallest religious building in Europe.

  • Catalan Vice President, Oriol Junqueras met this Thursday with his Spanish homolog, Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría (by ACN)

    Catalan and Spanish vice presidents meet amid controversy over the recent suspension of several Catalan laws

    Catalan Vice President, Oriol Junqueras met this Thursday with his Spanish counterpart Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría in what Junqueras described as a “very cordial but very difficult” encounter. One of the main subjects laid on the table revolved around the recent suspension of several Catalan laws by the Spanish Constitutional Court (TC). In reference to this, Junqueras accused the TC of acting according to “political interests” rather than considering those of the citizens and asked Sáenz de Santamaría to reconsider the suspension of the Catalan law against energy poverty, as they announced a few weeks ago. Junqueras regretted that the Spanish executive is only temporary “when it is in their interest”. Junqueras, who is also Catalan Minister for Economy and Tax Office, also referred to Catalonia’s deficit target set by the Spanish government and described it as “unfair, arbitrary and far from what citizens deserve”.

Highlights

  • Former Catalan President Artur Mas during his conference at Paris' HEC business School (by ACN)

    26.04.16 - 23:30

    Mas regrets lack of leadership in Spain and sees new elections as an “opportunity for Catalonia”

    Former Catalan President Artur Mas considers a “disaster” the failure of the negotiations to form a new government in Spain as it proves the lack of “strong leadership” which would be able to act “with generosity, responsibility and a sense of state”. Regarding the possibility of calling for new elections in Spain on the 26th of June, Mas assured that it “would be a great opportunity for...

  • Alimentaria trade fair at Barcelona's Gran Via Fira (by ACN)

    25.04.16 - 19:14

    More than 4,000 companies and 140,000 visitors to attend Alimentaria trade fair

    From the 25th to the 28th of April, Barcelona Gran Via will host a new edition of Alimentaria, one of the most important trade fairs in the world focusing on food and drinks and the second most important in the Catalan capital after the Mobile World Congress. Amongst the newest trends to be featured in 2016 are superfoods, local food and organics. The event is also celebrating its 40th anniversary with several novelties, the most...

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

    25.04.16 - 19:02

    Two more Catalan laws taken before the Spanish Constitutional Court

    The Spanish Constitutional Court (TC) has partially admitted an appeal made by the Spanish government which considered unconstitutional the Catalan law which bans ‘fracking’ in Catalonia and the regulation against building department stores of more than 800 m2 in urban areas. Regarding the prohibition of ‘fracking’, the Catalan law foresaw the prohibition of this well-simulation technique in which...

  • Screenshot of 'Game of Thrones' Season 6 where the stairway of Girona's cathedral is perfectly recognizable (by ACN)

    25.04.16 - 08:53

    The romance between Girona and ‘Game of Thrones’ series

    In just minutes, tickets to the free screening of HBO’s ‘Game of Thrones’ season 6 premiere on the 25th of April sold out in Girona. Just 40 km away from Barcelona, the walled medieval city of Girona set the scene for some of this season’s episodes based on George R. R. Martin’s internationally acclaimed novels. Some Girona...

  • Close up of a rose with 'Castellers of London' on the background (by ACN)

    24.04.16 - 21:09

    Catalan and British culture mix in London in Sant Jordi celebrations

    Sant Jordi is not only both Catalonia’s and England’s patron saint but also one of the Catalans’ most beloved traditions, which has been exported internationally and coincides with UNESCO World Book Day on the 23rd of April. As happened in the last 5 years, London’s Borough Market was the epicentre of Sant Jordi’s celebrations in the British capital, which included stalls selling books and...

  • Carles Puigdemont during his speech on the occasion of Sant Jordi (by J. Bedmar)

    23.04.16 - 09:35

    Puigdemont: “Sant Jordi serves to vindicate the Catalan language and culture”

    The Catalan President said during his speech on the occasion of Sant Jordi that the festivity is an opportunity to have the voices of the Catalans “heard and respected”, and he urged to achieve this through “arguments, proposals, dialogue and understanding”. Carles Puigdemont described Sant Jordi as “one of the most anticipated days of the year in Catalonia and one of the most beautiful and enjoyable to experience” and invited...
  • Rafael Catalá, Spanish minister of Justice and Fátima Bañez, minister of Work (by ACN)

    22.04.16 - 17:52

    Madrid challenges three more Catalan laws in the Constitutional Court

    The Spanish government has decided to take the Catalan Law on Empty Houses, the Catalan Law for Local Government and the Catalan Law on Equality between Men and Women to the Constitutional Court. The executive in Madrid has announced this only two days after a meeting between Spanish President Mariano Rajoy and Catalan President Carles Puigdemont in which both leaders agreed on trying to reduce the number of litigious cases between the...
  • Image of Catalan wine and a local dish made with rice (by ACN)

    21.04.16 - 19:01

    Catalan gastronomy and wine will be present at California’s World of Flavors

    In Napa Valley, California, 8 companies, 7 wineries, and 2 chefs from Catalonia will participate in the World of Flavors conference on the 22nd of April. The event is renowned as the leading conference in the field of gastronomy in the United States. This year, 800 restaurant chains, hotels, chefs, and operators will attend the conference to check out the...

  • Aerial view of the New Camp Nou (by FCB)

    21.04.16 - 16:07

    New Camp Nou opens to the world

    The Nikken Sekkei Studio (Japan) and the Pascual-Ausió architect firm (Catalonia) teamed up for the winning project for the New Camp Nou, which was presented to the media at the current stadium, in the presence of the first team. The New Camp Nou stadium will play on the current stadium´s signature overhanging roof, and it will hold itself to the highest standards of sustainability, utilising collected rainwater and solar...

  • Suárez celebrates one of his four goals with Neymar Jr and Bartra, who both also get on the scoresheet (by FCB)

    21.04.16 - 10:34

    Deportivo La Coruña v FC Barcelona (0-8): That’s more like it!

    Luis Enrique’s team made their intentions clear right from the kick-off. They wanted goals. And with four goals and three assists, Luis Suárez had a night that Barça fans will be remembering for years to come. the Urguayan now has 49 goals in 48 games this season for the blaugranes. After the win in Galicia, he was only happy to have helped the team: “The most important thing is that the...

  • Catalan President, Carles Puigdemont during his first meeting with Current Spanish President, Mariano Rajoy (by ACN)

    20.04.16 - 20:39

    Puigdemont asks Rajoy to “at least hold a binding referendum” in Catalonia

    Catalan President Carles Puigdemont travelled to Madrid this Wednesday to hold his first meeting with current Spanish President, Mariano Rajoy, 100 days after he took office. The first point of the 46-point document which the Catalan President handed over to Rajoy calls for “at least” holding a “binding referendum” in Catalonia, as it is amongst democrats’ obligations “to find ways of negotiation and...

  • Catalan President, Carles Puigdemont, presented the government's plan for this term in office (by ACN)

    19.04.16 - 14:26

    Puigdemont announces 45 laws to put Catalonia “at the gates” of a new state

    Coinciding with his first 100 days at the head of the government, Catalan President Calres Puigdemont announced 750 measures to be launched in this “exceptional term in office” including 45 laws which will put Catalonia “at the gates” of a new state. Puigdemont divided the government’s plan into three big areas. One is “guaranteeing the welfare state”, by “internal...

  • Catalan President Carles Puigdemont, Catalan Minister for Foreign Affairs, Raül Romeva and the Secretary for Foreign Affairs, Jordi Solé met the delegates of the Catalan government abroad (by ACN)

    18.04.16 - 18:52

    Puigdemont chooses Brussels for his first official trip abroad

    Brussels is the chosen destination for Catalan President Carles Puigdemont’s first official trip abroad. It will be from the 30th of April to the 2nd of May and comes after Puigdemont’s visit to Paris, scheduled for March, had to be cancelled due to the coach accident which killed 13 Erasmus students in Freginals, in the South of Catalonia. Puigdemont made the announcement this Monday during a...

  • Image of EU's migration Commissioner, Dimitris Avramopoulos, at the European Commission (by ACN)

    18.04.16 - 14:36

    Brussels applauds Catalonia’s offer to host refugees and calls for Madrid’s support

    EU Migration Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos stated that “all levels of governance can contribute” to the European Commission’s commitments to tackle the refuges crisis. In a letter addressed to Catalan President Carles Puigdemont, Avramopoulos considered Catalonia’s offer to host 4,500 refugees “a step in the right direction” and called for the offer to become a reality as soon as possible. He also...

  • Spanish Minister for Industry, José Manuel Soria (by ACN)

    15.04.16 - 15:07

    Spanish Minister of Industry resigns over Panama leaks

    The Spanish Minister of Industry, José Manuel Soria, presented this Friday his “irrevocable resignation” after his involvement in U.K. Lines, an offshore firm set up by the Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca. “All political activity should be exemplary, including when it comes to providing explanations”, Soria said in an e-mailed statement this Friday. “When that is not the...

  • Spanish Unionist ‘Ciutadans’ leader, Albert Rivera and Catalan President Carles Puigdemont (by ACN)

    15.04.16 - 14:39

    Rivera to Puigdemont: The way to independence is a “dead end”

    Puigdemont received the visit of Spanish Unionist ‘Ciutadans’ leader this Friday amid the Spanish investiture deadlock. Rivera called for Puigdemont’s “government and his party to take part in the reform process that Spain needs”, especially regarding the negotiation of “a new funding system”. “Catalans can’t remain apart from this” warned Rivera. In response, Puigdemont stressed...