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What will happen in Catalonia in 2019?

Let’s take a look at what the country can expect from now on in politics, economy or culture


31 December 2018 10:35 AM


ACN | Barcelona

What will happen in Catalonia in 2019? After a year with number of highlights, including the withdrawal of extradition requests to some Catalan leaders, the largest feminist demonstration in Catalonia's history, the death of Montserrat Caballé or the meteoric rise of Rosalía, let’s take a look at what the country can expect from now on.

Trial against Catalan leaders, budgets, and elections

Nothing will have greater consequences for the turbulent relationship between Catalonia and Spain than the upcoming trial against pro-independence leaders and its verdict. In all, 18 leaders will be tried for organizing a referendum and declaring independence despite Spain’s opposition. With some having spent more than a year in pre-trial jail, anything other than their acquittal and release is likely to spark outrage and an uncertain response by the Catalan government.

The case against Catalan leaders and its outcome is set to influence the fragile alliance between the Spanish government and pro-independence parties. Governments in Catalonia and Spain are in need of supports to pass their budgets, but tensions are running high and their relationship could break at any moment—but the fear of seeing the far-right rise just like it did in Andalusia could help keep stay together. At least three different elections will be held in May—local, European, and regional—with the race in Barcelona set to be extremely competitive.

Unemployment rate likely to be under 10%

In 2019, the Catalan economy will continue to grow –while in 2018 the country's GDP will be up between 2.5% to 3%, the government forecasts a 2.5% increase in 2019.

Unemployment is set to be under 10%, as it continued to go down in 2018 (10.6% after the third quarter.)

2019 is also expected to be yet another record-breaking year for Catalan exports, and for the number of passengers at Barcelona airport, but the impact of Brexit is still unknown.

In any case professional fairs will continue in full swing, with Mobile World Congress (February 25 to 28), Comic Fair (April 4 to 7), Gamelab (June 26 to 28), FiraTàrrega (September 5 to 9) and IoT World Congress (October 29 to 31) as examples of the 484 such events to be held.

Feminism, refugees and sustainable mobility, challenges for 2019

The 2019 local elections will be an excuse to talk about the daily life challenges in all towns. For instance, the refugee and migrant debate will be in the agenda, as well as sustainable mobility.

In November 2018, electric scooters caused the first fatal victim in the country, and from January 2019, bicycles are banned in most of Barcelona's sidewalks.

Feminism will also give much to talk about again –2018 saw the largest feminist rally in Catalonia and a general strike, no doubts that the movement will grow more and will be especially visible in March 8.

Will Rosalía top out?  

In 2018, the Catalan artist Rosalía, mixing flamenco and trap, experienced a meteoric rise, even winning two Latin Grammys. She will for sure continue growing in 2019, but will she top out? Unlikely, say her fans.

This year she will perform at Primavera Sound festival (May 30 to June 1), but other world-class artist will play in Catalonia, including the likes of Passenger (April 3) Kylie Minogue (Cruïlla, July 5-6), Michael Bublé (September 27), The Smashing Pumpkins (July 11), Alejandro Sanz (June 8), and Rammstein (June 1).

Metallica (May 5) will also wow its vintage heavy metal fans, and Ed Sheeran (June 7) will also be in the house, as well as Madness (Vida festival, July 4-7).


  • Jailed Catalan leaders (by Òmnium Cultural)

  • Jailed Catalan leaders (by Òmnium Cultural)