16.05.2013 - 11.16 pm
María de los Llanos de Luna, from the People’s Party (PP), gave a diploma to a brotherhood of the ‘Divisón Azul’, a division of Spanish volunteers who fought in the Nazi army during the Second World War. De Luna is the top representative of the Spanish Government in Catalonia and she is known for her Spanish nationalism and anti-Catalan identity stance. The news has outraged the rest of the Catalan political parties, who have asked for her immediate resignation. Furthermore, the 12 members of the brotherhood which received the diploma were wearing the Falange uniform, which was the only party allowed during Franco’s Fascist dictatorship. Neither the PP nor the Spanish Government have commented on the news or the resignation demands.
16.05.2013 - 10.09 pm
Between January and March, the Catalan Government had a budget deficit of €411 million, representing 0.21% of Catalonia’s GDP. The definitive deficit target for 2013 for each Autonomous Community has not been set by the Spanish Government yet. Madrid set a 1.2% target a few weeks ago but everybody assumes it will be raised as negotiations are on-going with the Catalan Government. Rumours indicate that Catalonia’s deficit target may finally be set at around 1.8%. The Autonomous Communities posted a total public deficit of €1.24 billion at the end of the first quarter, corresponding to 0.12% of Spain’s GDP. According to the Spanish Deputy Minister for Budget, the figure represents half the deficit posted in the same period last year.
14.05.2013 - 11.18 pm
As it was announced on Monday, the Catalan Government has adapted its budget extension guidelines to a higher deficit target, while it is waiting to find out the definitive deficit target decided by the Spanish Government. Since the elections were held in November, it was the new Catalan Government’s responsibility to draft the budget for 2013. However, the budget has not been presented since the Catalan Government disagrees with the deficit target imposed by the Spanish Government and it is negotiating for its reduction. Meanwhile, it is operating with an extension of the 2012 guidelines, a procedure run by a series of strict guidelines. The guidelines included the 0.7% deficit target initially allowed for this year, which have obliged the Catalan Government services to implement severe spending limitations in the first months of the year. Most of the opposition criticised not debating the new guidelines.
13.05.2013 - 09.43 pm
During the weekend, the Spanish Finance Minister, Cristóbal Montoro, stated that the Catalan Government’s deficit for 2013 will not be above 2%. The Catalan Government has been asking for a 2.1% deficit target, corresponding to a third of the 6.3% that was announced by the Spanish Government as the figure allowed for Spain’s entire public sector. On Friday, several high-level meetings to discuss the issue were held in Barcelona between members of both executives. On Monday, the Spanish Prime Minister, Mariano Rajoy, stated that in his meeting with the President of the Catalan Government, Artur Mas, they did not discuss specific figures. He also stated that no figure will be decided on until the European Union officially confirms Spain’s 6.3% total deficit target.
10.05.2013 - 10.08 pm
The Spanish and Catalan Governments hold several high-level bilateral meetings in Barcelona on the same day
On the occasion of the kick-off of the 2013 Barcelona International Motor Show, the Spanish Prime Minister, Mariano Rajoy, and 3 ministers (Finance, Economy and Industry) visited Barcelona on Friday. They held several meetings with the President of the Catalan Government, Artur Mas, and the Catalan Finance Minister, Andreu Mas-Colell. Mas and Rajoy talked for 20 minutes about Catalonia’s deficit target for 2013 and the budget for this year. Officially, they have not discussed the self-determination process. In addition, Mas also met with Luís De Guindos, Spain’s Minister for the Economy. Mas-Colell met with De Guindos and Cristóbal Montoro, the Spanish Finance Minister.
09.05.2013 - 10.43 pm
The opposition has denounced “the insult to intelligence” and the “ridiculousness” of changing the official name of the Catalan language in Aragon. Catalan has been spoken in the eastern part of Aragon for almost a thousand years. In addition, the regional parliament has also changed the name of Aragonese, a minority language also spoken for many centuries in Aragon’s Pyrenean valleys. The People’s Party (PP) and a minority regional party called PAR have changed the law ruling Aragon’s official languages. Spanish is now considered the only official language in all Aragon and LAPAO (formerly Catalan) and LAPAPYP (Aragonese) are secondary languages. University experts have strongly criticised this decision which goes against all scientific criteria. From Catalonia, the situation is perceived as another attack on the Catalan language and an attempt to eradicate it from certain areas.
08.05.2013 - 11.47 pm
The Spanish Constitutional Court temporarily suspends the Catalan Parliament's Declaration of Sovereignty
The Catalan Parliament replies by approving the creation of a parliamentary commission on Catalonia’s right to self-determination with 79.3% of yes votes. The commission will study ways to organise a vote on the hypothetical independence from Spain. It is the first time in Spain a court has suspended an entire declaration that has no legal value and has been approved by a parliament. The declaration has no direct legal effect, as it is only a political statement stating that the Catalan people are sovereign to decide on their own collective future. The Spanish Government firstly downplayed the text and later, following the advice of its legal services, decided to appeal against it. By admitting the Spanish Government’s appeal against the text, the Constitutional Court temporarily suspended the Declaration until a sentence is issued.
07.05.2013 - 12.28 am
However, the participating political parties could not agree on a plan to organise a self-determination vote: some would like to combine the organisation of the vote with the creation of state structures while others ask for neutrality and refuse to identify self-determination as a solution to Catalonia’s economic crisis. The President of the Catalan Government and leader of the Centre-Right Catalan Nationalist Coalition (CiU), Artur Mas, called for a summit to discuss ways to obtain the right to self-determination and be able to organise a referendum on this issue. All the parties supporting self-determination, including the Catalan Socialist Party (PSC), participated in the meeting, as well as the Catalan Government, the four Provincial Councils and representatives from town halls.