Westminster to debate on a democratic solution for Catalonia

April 19, 2017 11:59 AM | ACN / Sara Prim

The All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Catalonia, created at Westminster this past March, will hold its first official event this Wednesday. After being inaugurated by Catalan Minister for Foreign Affairs, Raül Romeva, on the 14th of March, the APPG will debate ‘A democratic solution for Catalonia’, with the aim of discussing both the right to discuss self-determination in the Catalan Parliament and the Spanish judiciary cases against democratically-elected Catalan officials. SNP MP George Kerevan, who chairs the group, will take part in the debate, together with Plaid Cymru MP, Hywel Williams, Former Consul General in Barcelona for Great Britain, Geoff Cowling, Daily Mirror´s Head of Politics, Jason Beattie, and former Catalan government official and Lecturer in Sociolinguistics, Michael Strubell, among others.

British MPs defend Catalonia’s democratic right to call a referendum

March 16, 2017 06:07 PM | ACN / Sara Prim

An ‘Early Day Motion’ on Catalonia’s right to hold a referendum has been presented this Thursday to the House of Commons. Titled ‘Democracy in Catalonia’ the petition calls on the British Government “to declare its adherence” to the right of “democratically elected parliamentarians to hold a referendum” in accordance with “the needs and wishes of their people”. Moreover, the petition reports that former Catalan President, Artur Mas, former Vice President, Joana Ortega and former Catalan Minister for Education, Irene Rigau have been “levied heavy fines” and banned from public office for allowing the 9-N symbolic vote on independence in 2014.  The signers, SNP MP George Kerevan, Northern Ireland SNDP MP Mark Durkan, and Plaid Cymru’s Hwyel Williams also note that 85% of Catalans, and 83 of the 135 Members of the Parliament of Catalonia support the option to vote democratically on Catalonia's constitutional future”.

Romeva at Westminster: “There is more interest in discussing the Catalan question here than in Spain”

March 15, 2017 12:32 PM | ACN / Sara Prim

The All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) created in the British Parliament was officially inaugurated this Tuesday by the Catalan Minister for Foreign Affairs, Raül Romeva.  “This is what we would like other parliaments, such as the Spanish, to do,” Romeva told the press before entering the Committee Room. “Sometimes, there is more interest in discussing the Catalan question here than in Spain,” he added. SNP MP and Chairman of the APPG on Catalonia, George Kerevan admitted being “surprised” by the “large amount of people” who attended the presentation, including not only MPs and Peers but also “academics and many representatives from different sectors in the United Kingdom”. He lamented that the Catalan process hasn’t even “reached the negotiations table” and gave credit to the UK, which allowed the Scottish referendum “as a good example of dialogue”.

Westminster to create All-Party Parliamentary Group on Catalonia

March 8, 2017 06:20 PM | ACN

The British Parliament has registered an All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) to discuss the political situation in Catalonia. The initiative will be made official on the 14th of March in London and includes 20 MPs from the main British parties, from Conservatives to Labour, all the way up to the Scottish National Party (SNP) and the Welsh Plaid Cymru. Indeed, SNP MP George Kerevan was one of the main promoters of the group. Kerevan repeatedly expressed in favour of Catalonia’s right to decide its political future and criticised the prosecution of the Parliament’s President, Carme Forcadell, for allowing a debate on Catalonia’s independence in the Catalan chamber. The group is due to meet at least twice per year and will be open for other MPs to join.

British MPs report Forcadell’s “prosecution” to the Parliament and warn it may set “a dangerous precedent”

December 8, 2016 06:06 PM | ACN / Sara Prim

15 British MPs from different political parties presented an ‘Early Day Motion’ this Thursday to the House of Commons to express their “concern” about the prosecution of the Parliament’s President, Carme Forcadell. The document, promoted by Scottish National Party (SNP) MP, George Kerevan, warns that Forcadell “could be subject to debarment from public office” for “allowing a parliamentary debate” and believes that “regardless of the constitutional legalities involved” the situation is not only “regrettable” but also “sets a dangerous precedent”. Therefore, the signers urge the Spanish Government “to reconsider the prosecution” and find “a resolution to its disagreement with the Catalan Parliament through mutual dialogue”. In a press statement, Kerevan also describes the controversy as “a clear case of free speech” and feels that the trial “would only create ill-feeling in Catalonia”.

Catalonia, the third most important destination for British investment in Spain

November 30, 2016 07:51 PM | ACN

There has been a recent turn in British investment in Catalonia. While Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) from the United Kingdom in the region was on a downward trend between 2013 and last June, the situation has reversed and Catalonia currently accounts for 4,4% of British FDI in Spain. Indeed, Catalonia is the third territory of Spain in terms of volume of British FDI. Ahead of Catalonia, stand only Madrid and the Basque Country, which received, respectively, €3,258 and €828 million from the UK between 2013 and last June. In the same period, Catalonia received a gross flow of €546 million, according to the Barometer on the Climate and Perspectives for British Investment in Spain and Catalonia, a report that analyses the evolution of direct investment from British companies in Spain.

ECR's leader in the Eurochamber warns that without a referendum in Catalonia “problems will continue”

October 25, 2016 03:07 PM | ACN

British Member of the European Parliament and leader of the European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR) group, Syed Kamall, stated that a referendum on independence is “a good way” to resolve the situation in Catalonia. Furthermore, the politician believes that without it “problems will continue and never really be solved". In an interview with the Catalan News Agency, the politician said that “democracy is a good way of resolving these issues" and stressed that the right to decide is “a very good principle”. "I believe in self-determination and I was very proud when David Cameron offered the people of Scotland a referendumto vote on whether they wanted to be an independent nation or remain part of the United Kingdom”, the MEP stressed.  

Barcelona offers to host British start-ups after Brexit

August 3, 2016 06:32 PM | ACN

The Catalan Government and Barcelona’s City Hall will join efforts to house those companies which want to leave the UK due to Brexit. “We will specifically address entrepreneurs, start-ups and ICT companies”, explained Catalan Ministry for Business and Knowledge Jordi Baiget.“We to want tell British entrepreneurs and multinational companies that Barcelona and Catalonia are a great destination”, added Barcelona’s deputy Mayor, Jaume Collboni. More than 2,000 Catalan companies regularly export to the UK and 22.4% of Spanish exports to the state are from Catalonia. Regarding imports, the Barcelona area received 2.2 billion euros from UK-based companies in 2015, 5.8% more than the previous year. In June the Catalan Government also offered to host the headquarters of the European Medicines Agency, which is currently in London.

The British Museum and ‘La Caixa’ Bank Foundation sign an agreement to organise four major exhibitions

September 1, 2015 04:28 PM | ACN

The collaboration will bring to Catalonia some of the masterpieces of the great civilisations that are currently on display in the British Museum. Most of them are pieces that are rarely loaned to other museums and that will be seen in Spain for the first time ever. The four projects will focus on Medieval Europe, Ancient Greece, the Pharaohs of Egypt and the Phoenicians. Between 2016 and 2020, the exhibitions will be displayed in Barcelona, Girona, Tarragona, Lleida, Palma and three other ‘CaixaForum’, the centres that normally host the exhibitions promoted and organised by ‘La Caixa’ Bank Foundation. The Bank Foundation of ‘La Caixa’, which is the biggest bank in Catalonia, is the section of the bank that focuses on welfare projects committed to society, education, science, the arts and culture.

Avoiding extreme climate change demands clean energy, but Catalonia has limited powers to act

August 4, 2015 06:31 PM | Kyle Brown

The Catalan Government was one of 14 regional executives to sign the 'Under 2 Memorandum of Understanding' in May 2015 as part of a pact to reduce CO2 emissions by 80-95% by 2050 among the signing territories. This goal is an effort to mitigate the worst effects of climate change coming from greenhouse gas emissions. In recent years, the Catalan Government has been working toward improving energy efficiency and developing a greater supply of renewable energy through various initiatives and action plans. However, the biggest changes necessary for Catalonia to adopt the renewable, low-emissions energy model it desires cannot be implemented by the Catalan Government, but would have to come from the Spanish Government instead. Overall, the biggest challenge facing the adoption of renewable energy is being able to produce it at prices competitive with conventional sources of power.

Climate change agreement signed by California, Ontario, Catalonia and 9 other regional governments

May 20, 2015 09:15 PM | ACN

On Tuesday, ahead of the United Nations conference on Climate Change to be held in Paris this autumn, Catalonia signed a 'Memorandum of Understanding' in Sacramento (California), together with 11 other US states, Mexican states, Canadian provinces and regional governments. By taking this step, the Catalan Government and the other signatories commit to cut total greenhouse emissions to 80%-95% below 1990 levels by 2050 or to cut per capita emissions to below 2 metric tons during the same timeframe. The 12 founding signatories to the agreement span seven countries and three continents, with a total population of 100 million people and about $4.5 trillion in combined GDP. Apart from Catalonia, the signatories include: California, Vermont, Oregon and Washington (USA); Acre (Brazil); Baden-Württemberg (Germany); Baja California and Jalisco (Mexico); Ontario and British Columbia (Canada); and Wales (UK). More states, nations and cities are expected to join the agreement in the coming months.

Low turnout expected for British nationals in Spain for UK general elections 2015

May 7, 2015 01:10 AM | Shobha Prabhu-Naik Garaialde

Spain is home to around 300,000 registered British nationals, 20,000 of whom reside in Catalonia and retain the right to vote in the forthcoming general elections in the UK on the 7th of May, according to date from the Spanish Statistics Institute given in 2014. The election this year is especially important as polls suggest that no combination of parties will win a stable majority which could be the end of the road for a strong government. Moreover, the election is more important than usual for British nationals living in Spain as in the rest of Europe as Cameron has promised that a Conservative victory will renegotiate Britain’s relations with the EU and put the result to an in/out referendum on membership by the end of 2017. A British exit from Europe could potentially lead to British nationals abroad facing several difficulties in regards to freedom of movement across Europe. On the other hand, May 7th could also mark the point of no return for the troubled union between England and Scotland, due to a surge in support for the secessionist Scottish National Party (SNP).

Harvard expert Adam Price: Catalonia “would have done better” as an independent state

January 28, 2015 10:37 PM | ACN / Nisse Laiho-Murdoch

Adam Price, the former Member of Westminster Parliament and Harvard University expert, believes it “would be very difficult” to argue that an independent Catalan state would not be prosperous. In fact, he thinks Catalonia “would have done better” without being part of Spain. Price is an acclaimed economist and political expert and the author of a report written for Harvard University on the economic potential of smaller countries. In the report Price examines how smaller European economies have a higher chance of gaining economic success than larger ones. Studying small European nations, Price believes, without a doubt, that an independent Catalonia would have huge potential in the long run. However, he also stresses that “transition cost” are another debate.

Vueling adds 14 new routes from Barcelona El Prat Airport

November 13, 2013 10:33 PM | ACN

Vueling will launch 14 new routes from Barcelona El Prat Airport in the summer of 2014, reaching a total of 117 destinations from Catalonia’s main airport. Starting next summer, the Barcelona-based airline will favour German and Russian destinations. The company has also bought 7 new aircrafts, to make the total number of Vueling planes based in Barcelona El Prat reach 50. The Catalan Minister for Business and Employment, Felip Puig, said these new routes coincided with the Catalan Government’s tourism strategy. Vueling currently holds 34% of the market share of the El Prat Airport and the company wishes to control 50% of this infrastructure’s air traffic within the next 5 years. With a total of 240 routes and 14 million passengers a year, Vueling is expected to become the leading airline in Europe for short- and medium-distance flights.

IAG CEO: Vueling would still be based in Barcelona even if an independent Catalonia was not in the EU

September 25, 2013 08:19 PM | ACN

Willie Walsh, the CEO of IAG – the group formed by British Airways and Iberia, guaranteed that its subsidiary airline Vueling will continue having Barcelona El Prat Airport as its main base if Catalonia becomes an independent country and even if it is forced to abandon the European Union. “We will continue in Barcelona”, he emphasised on Tuesday in a meeting with press reporters from the Chinese city of Chengdu, according to an article published by Barcelona-based newspaper La Vanguardia. Walsh was in China as British Airways was unveiling a new route linking this city with London.