The reasons behind Barcelona’s massive demonstration for Catalonia’s independence

September 11, 2012 06:29 PM | CNA / Gaspar Pericay Coll

Catalan nationalism has changed over the years. Most Catalan nationalists have now concluded that Spain will never accept a plurinational state, will not fully respect Catalan language and culture, will continue threatening Catalonia’s self-government, and will not accept a reduction in Catalonia’s fiscal contribution to the rest of Spain, which annually represents between 6.4% and 8.7% of the Catalan GDP. Catalan nationalists are now tired of negotiating these issues and have come to the conclusion that Spain will never accept a comfortable place for Catalonia within the Spanish state. Now, 51% of Catalans citizens would vote for the independence in a hypothetical referendum.

Spanish PM says he will study the proposal of a new economic agreement between Catalonia and Spain

August 27, 2012 11:35 PM | CNA / Gaspar Pericay Coll

Answering a letter from the Catalan President, the Spanish Prime Minister, Mariano Rajoy, stated he would study the proposal voted by the Catalan Parliament which aims to reduce the solidarity contribution from Catalonia to the rest of Spain and have all taxes raised by a Catalan-run agency. However, Rajoy had previously stated this issue was out of discussion, especially in the current economic context. A vast majority of the Catalan Parliament considers that it is precisely due to the financial stress provoked by the crisis that it is urgent to debate the excessive transfer of revenues from Catalonia to the rest of Spain. The Spanish PM also stated he has agreed to meet with the Catalan President to discuss this proposal, but he expects to talk about many other issues.

The Catalan President asks citizens for “explicit statements” supporting a new fiscal agreement with Spain

August 9, 2012 11:28 PM | CNA / Gaspar Pericay Coll

The President of the Catalan Government, Artur Mas, also talked about the delays of August payments to social care organisations, and he “hoped to be in a better situation” next month. However Mas could not give “a total guarantee” as it depends on whether the Spanish Government activates the Liquidity Fund for the Autonomies. In fact, Mas urged the Spanish Government to do so at the end of this month and said it is “illogical” to make a grand announcement about the measure and then not implement it.

Catalan parties meet to discuss a new fiscal agreement with Spain

May 31, 2012 01:59 AM | CNA / Gaspar Pericay Coll

The President of the Catalan Government has organised a summit with all the parties at the Catalan Parliament to discuss a new fiscal scheme for Catalonia. According to official studies, Catalonia gives 8.5% of its GDP each year to pay for investments and services in the rest of Spain, an amount that represents more than €17 billion per year. Some parties state that the current model is unsustainable for Catalonia and represents a plundering of its finances. Others have a more moderate opinion. Nonetheless, all political parties in Catalonia now believe that this amount is excessive and that the fiscal scheme between Catalonia and the rest of Spain should be reviewed. However, they significantly disagree on the formula and the timing.

The main Catalan nationalist party points towards Catalonia’s independence

March 27, 2012 12:35 AM | CNA / Gaspar Pericay Coll

‘Convergència Democràtica de Catalunya’ (CDC), the Liberal force within the two-party Centre-Right Catalan Nationalist Coalition ‘Convergència i Unió’ (CiU), held its party congress over the weekend. For the first time in its history, CDC has claimed for Catalonia to have its “own state” in order “to avoid being erased off the map of cultures, languages, and world nations” as “Spain threatens Catalonia” and is no longer a “project that can be shared”. The current President of the Catalan Government and until last weekend the CDC Secretary General, Artur Mas, has now become the party Chairman. Oriol Pujol, son of the former Catalan president Jordi Pujol and Mas' close collaborator, has been elected the new Secretary General with 97.8% of the votes.

Catalonia has transferred 8% of its GDP every year since 1986 for services and investments in the rest of Spain

March 13, 2012 09:57 PM | CNA / Gaspar Pericay Coll

In 2009, Catalonia financed € 16.41 billion of services and investments in the rest of Spain, which represents 8.4% of Catalonia’s GDP. According to the Catalan Finance Minister, Andreu Mas-Colell, out of every euro paid by Catalan citizens with their taxes, 43 cent is invested outside of Catalonia. The Catalan Government released the latest data regarding the fiscal relationship between Catalonia and Spain, corresponding to the 2006-2009 period, known as “the fiscal balances”. Mas-Colell underlined the “fiscal deficit” Catalonia suffers from, which is “unsustainable” and harms Catalan citizens and the country’s economy.

Mas meets with Rajoy to build a relationship “based on trust” and offers cooperation

February 2, 2012 01:32 PM | CNA / Patricia Mateos / Gaspar Pericay Coll

The President of the Catalan Government, Artur Mas, has offered Spain’s Prime Minister, Mariano Rajoy; cooperation regards Spain’s structural reforms, such as the Labour Market reform. Mas has not put prior conditions on the table, but only wants to “be able to talk about a new fiscal agreement between Catalonia and Spain”. He said he understands that this is not an “urgent priority for Rajoy”, but it is a “crucial issue” for Catalonia and “an opportunity” for Spain. Mas stressed that his cooperation would not be indefinite, and would have to be renewed in the future. The Catalan President told FAZ about a possible “federation” or “confederation” between Catalonia and Spain.

Catalan civil society asks for a new fiscal agreement with Spain

February 1, 2012 08:54 PM | CNA / Josep Ramon Torné

Catalonia gives away between 8% and 9% of its GDP every year. The main actors in Catalan civil society got together to formally push for a new fiscal agreement with Spain, through which Catalonia would continue transferring money to poorer Spanish regions, but not at current levels. The meeting brought together the leaders of the main business-owners association and the two main trade unions, as well as intellectuals from Barcelona’s Athenaeum, business people, and politicians from every political party except those classed as Spanish nationalists. The meeting was similar to the one held 113 years ago.

Mas warns in the FT about a "growing divorce" with Spain if Catalonia is not respected and its needs not attended

January 17, 2012 09:35 PM | CNA

The Financial Times has published an interview with the President of the Catalan Government, Artur Mas. The Financial Times stressed Mas’ request for a new deal between Spain and Catalonia, which would reduce Catalonia’s contributions to the rest of Spain by half. The FT explained that between 8% and 9% of the annual Catalan GDP, which represents between €17 billion and €18 billion per year, goes to the rest of Spain to pay for solidarity funds for poorer regions. The newspaper also praised the “pioneering” austerity measures implemented by the Catalan Government.

“Treating the Autonomies like children or bad students is silly and unfair”, warns the Catalan President

January 3, 2012 11:15 PM | CNA / Gaspar Pericay Coll

Artur Mas, President of the Catalan Government, has reflected on his first year in office. Mas justified the budget cuts his government has made in order to avoid “a collapse” in public services. He also criticised the recent trend of patronising the Autonomous Communities and claiming that they are responsible for Spain’s financial problems. That, he believes, has made them scapegoats. “The Autonomies are a very important part of the State”, “they provide almost all public services to citizens”, he stressed. In addition, Mas insisted that Spain’s debt and deficit is mainly due to the Spanish Government’s overspending over many years and not the fault of the Autonomies or the municipalities.

The Catalan and Spanish Governments dig their heels in regarding Catalonia’s “fiscal agreement”

November 28, 2011 11:51 PM | CNA / Gaspar Pericay Coll

Both governments are currently defining their strategies and building their respective cases in preparation for a discussion on the issue in the coming months. The Spokesperson for the Catalan Government, Francesc Homs, has sent a clear message to the next Spanish Prime Minister: Catalonia will only accept a negotiation on a new fiscal model, which would reduce the financial transfers to Spain’s poorer regions. If the Spanish Government refuses to discuss about it, Catalonia will organise a citizen vote on it. Over the past few days, the People’s Party has hinted that the Catalan Government’s main claim is not a matter for discussion.

The Catalan President announces a tax increase in 2012 and a reduction of public sector salaries to meet the deficit objective

November 22, 2011 11:59 PM | Patricia Mateos / Rafa Garrido / Gaspar Pericay Coll

Artur Mas, the President of the Catalan Government, has announced the main austerity measures to reduce Catalonia’s public deficit and meet the 1.3% objective for 2012. Mas stressed that these measures are to be taken in order to reduce the deficit and not harm social policies. The Catalan People’s Party was satisfied with the plans, while the Left-Wing parties warned that they would harm the middle classes. The Catalan President also sent a warning to the next Spanish Prime Minister: a new “fiscal agreement” for Catalonia might be “one of the few opportunities left” to rebuild relations with the rest of Spain.

42.9% of Catalans would vote for independence and 28.2% against it according to the first official poll on the issue

June 30, 2011 01:29 PM | CNA / Patricia Mateos

However, if the question is open to other options, 33% would prefer a Catalan State within a Federal Spain, 31.8% the current situation as an Autonomous Community and 25.5% want Catalonia to be an independent nation. The poll results also show that 75.5% of Catalans want the Catalan Government to raise all the taxes, while only 18.2% prefer the current system through which the Spanish Government raises the main taxes. The poll was compiled by the Catalan Polling Centre (CEO), which is managed by the Catalan Government.

The PP or the PSOE will only have CiU’s support if a new regional fiscal redistribution model is agreed, affirms Mas

March 29, 2011 12:09 AM | CNA / Gaspar Pericay Coll

The President of the Catalan Government Artur Mas announced in Madrid that in 2012, if the People’s Party (PP) or the Socialist Party (PSOE) want CiU’s support to form a new Spanish Government, Catalonia needs more money and greater control over its own finances. Mas made these comments the same day his Government agreed a 400 million euros loan.

The CiU gives 2 economic conditions for a stable pact with Spanish Government

October 13, 2010 11:38 PM | CNA / Gaspar Pericay Coll

Catalonia must be able to co-manage key infrastructures such as Barcelona’s Airport and receive a special economic agreement like the one the Basque Country and Navarra have. Artur Mas, President of the Centre-Right Catalan Nationalist Party (CiU), explained the main line of his economic programme today. Mas sent a message out to Prime Minister Zapatero (PSOE) and the Conservative People’s Party (PP).