The Mediterranean railway corridor, linking Algeciras with Stockholm, must be a European priority

CNA / Raquel Correa

Politicians and businessmen from Catalonia, Valencia, Murcia and Andalucía participated today in an event pushing for the so called Mediterranean Railway Corridor for freight and passengers. They push the European Union to declare it a European priority, an axe that would vertebrate Europe, from Gibraltar to the Baltic Sea. However, participants criticised that the Spanish Government has yet to show its commitment to building freight railway with European-standard width that would connect Andalucía, Valencia and Barcelona to Central Europe. Besides goods, the corridor should also count with a high-speed train connection for passengers.

January 12, 2011 11:06 PM

The next Catalan Government’s budget for 2011 will be “clearly smaller” than last year’s

CNA / P. Francesch / G. Pericay Coll

The new Catalan Government announced today that the budget for 2011 (currently the 2010 has been extended) will be ready within the next 4 months and approved before the summer break. The Government’s Spokesperson, Francesc Homs, said that for the first time, the budget will be “clearly smaller” than the previous year’s. In addition, the new Government asked for an external audit on the Catalan public administration’s finances.

January 11, 2011 10:35 PM

Spain will recognise South Sudan’s independence, but not Kosovo's

CNA / Raquel Correa

If South Sudan citizens finally vote for independence, the Spanish Government will respect it and recognise their independence. However, the Spanish Minister for Foreign Affairs, Trinidad Jiménez, announced that Spain would not review its stance on Kosovo. The Balkan country declared its independence from Serbia in 2008 but Spain is one of the 5 EU Member States that still refuses to recognise it.

January 11, 2011 10:21 PM

ETA declares a “permanent” ceasefire, in “general terms” and internationally “verifiable”

CNA / P. Francesch / G. Pericay Coll

The Spanish Government states “it’s good news but not THE news” it was waiting for. The Socialist Party, the People’s Party and most of the Spanish opinion leaders insist that ETA’s only way out is through its own total disarmament and dissolution. The President of the Basque Government affirmed that he “would not allow ETA to dictate Basque Country’s future”. However, he underlined that ETA’s statement means that the terrorist group acknowledges the inevitability of its demise. CiU and other Catalan parties are optimistic but prudent.

January 10, 2011 11:01 PM

Francesc Homs: from the party’s ‘bone’ to the Government’s ‘bone’


Francesc Homs is Artur Mas’ right-hand man in the CiU leadership and the director of the last elections’ programme. Homs is the CiU’s policy developer and now he will coordinate the new Catalan Government. Homs will continue being Mas’ closest collaborator. He will assist him in defining the Government’s main policies and he will push for action. In addition, he will directly control sensitive areas and will be the Government’s spokesperson.

December 31, 2010 03:16 PM

Germà Gordó: the right-hand man in the shadow


The new Secretary of the Government was the party’s CFO and one of Artur Mas’ most trusted collaborators. As his duties were internal, Gordó was not a well-known figure. However, his role in the party was essential, as it will in the new Government. Gordó will remain somewhat in the shadows, as his new responsibility is to ensure the Government’s functionality. He will be in charge of preparing Government meetings and ensuring that decisions are implemented. He will also directly manage some concrete services, such as the Government’s offices across Catalonia and abroad.

December 31, 2010 03:02 PM

Josep Lluís Cleries: from managing scouts and volunteers to Social Welfare and Family policies


The new Catalan Minister for Social Welfare and Family was the CiU’s representative in the Catalan Parliament for this portfolio for the seven years in which the CiU was in the opposition. He comes from the scout and volunteering world, in which he has been very active over the last 40 years. He also worked with the Catalan Government in secondary positions in Jordi Pujol’s times.

December 30, 2010 11:24 PM

Irene Rigau: a veteran politician and teacher in charge of Education


The new Catalan Minister for Education was the CiU’s manager of this portfolio for seven years, while the party was not in power. She has experience, both as a primary school and university teacher. Over the last 30 years, she has held several positions in politics, mainly working on education issues, with the exception of the period in which she was the Catalan Minister for Social Welfare and Family (1999-2003).

December 30, 2010 11:00 PM

Ferran Mascarell: Socialist returns to the Ministry he headed 4 years ago

CNA / Júlia Pérez

Artur Mas hired one of his former political adversaries for the top position at the Ministry of Culture. Ferran Mascarell also held this position in 2006, in the left-wing government coalition. Now, he comes back with a centre-right executive. Mascarell has extensive experience in cultural management, in the public and private sectors. He had a successful career in the Barcelona City Council and he was recently on the board of the RBA Editorial House, in charge of audiovisual products.

December 30, 2010 10:51 PM

Josep Maria Pelegrí: the Secretary General of the Christian Democrats now in charge of Agriculture, Fishing and Biodiversity


Pelegrí has already been a Minister of the Catalan Government, but for Public Administration (2002-2003). Now, Pelegrí becomes the new Catalan Minister for Agriculture, Stockbreeding, Fishing and Environment. In his early years in politics, in the 1990s, he worked on environmental issues. He is discrete and loyal to the Christian Democrat leader, Josep Antoni Duran i Lleida.

December 30, 2010 10:38 PM

Francesc Xavier Mena: ESADE professor now driving Catalan Businesses & Employment

CNA / Pere Francesch

The new Minister for Business and Employment is an independent, expert in Managerial Economics and austerity measures. He was the Director of ESADE Business School’s Economics Department (1992-2000), where he was teaching until now. He has a PhD in Economics and a Bachelors degree in Law. Mena has experience in the private sector consultancy and banking, especially in the area of Tourism and Analysis, as well in international markets, particularly in emerging economies.

December 29, 2010 11:23 PM