Want to reside in Catalonia as non-EU investor? All you need to know about Golden Visa
Visa residence permit promoted by Barcelona city council to attract international talent
Visa residence permit promoted by Barcelona city council to attract international talent
Ten Kurdish people from Iran were found this morning hidden in a lorry in Lliçà d’Amunt, a village 30 kilometres from Barcelona, during a delivery route. According to the Catalan Secretary for Equality, Migration and Citizenship, Oriol Amorós, they are four minors, an adult woman and five adult men who had probably paid somebody to take them to England. Although Amorós said that “there are still doubts” about when they entered the lorry and what exactly their route was, the Government “will do everything in its power” to “give them asylum, regardless of their situation”. Moreover, bearing in mind that the migrants come from Iran, belong to the Kurdish minority and that “their human rights were being threatened”, they could have “recourse to the right of asylum and Catalonia would be able to take them in”.
Catalan President, Carles Puigdemont expressed Catalonia’s willingness to accommodate 4,500 refugees and provide “a solution for those millions of people running away from war”. In a letter to the EU Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship, Dimitris Avramopoulos, Catalan President Carles Puigdemont stated that the Catalan government and institutions are “working to accommodate around 4,500 refugees” and assured that Catalonia is “ready to receive up to 1,800 refugees” right now, “600 of which would be hosted directly by the Catalan government”. On the other hand, the Spanish executive responded to Puigdemont’s action and accused him of acting “unilaterally” and “adding more problems” to the existing situation. “A region in Europe wants to be the solution to the problem, this is impossible”, stated current Spanish vice president, Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría.
International experts have participated in a day of debate over the hypothetical scenarios and the possible consequences regarding membership or expulsion from the European Union of an independent Catalonia. The panellists ruled out automatic expulsion, as well as automatic membership, in any scenario. Graham Avery, Senior Adviser of the Brussels-based think tank European Policy Centre (EPC), underlined that "the most important" element in deciding what would happen to an independent Catalonia would be "the process" through which it achieves this independence. If it was carried out with the agreement of the Spanish Government, the transition towards full EU membership would be quite fast and smooth. If it was done unilaterally, then a wide range of scenarios are possible, with risks and costs rising. However, a majority of experts have stated that even in the worst case scenario, the costs would not be as high as the Spanish Government is saying. In addition, they affirmed that the EU is likely to adopt a pragmatic approach and that a transition regime is likely to be set up, with basic policies and freedoms not being interrupted.
The 1st Digital Government Congress organised by the Catalan Government and the Open Administration of Catalonia consortium (AOC) will take place on Wednesday and Thursday at the Palau de Congressos de Fira de Barcelona. The main aim of this summit is to develop through the use of new technologies the public administration into an “open and innovative administration” that will be smarter, more efficient and effective in order to give “real answers to the demands and expectations of society”, according to Àlex Pèlach, the Managing Director of the AOC consortium.
The document will be sent to the United Nations, the European Parliament, the European Commission, the Council of Europe and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE). The Spanish Government “violates the Catalan people’s right to decide its own political future and bans the exercise of democracy through a referendum or an internationally standardised consultation vote”, reads the complaint, signed by 1,386,628 citizens and 3,703 elected representatives such as mayors and MPs. They complain about the “Spanish Government’s anti-democratic attitude”, which ignored an electoral mandate from 2012 to hold a legal and binding self-determination vote in Catalonia, among other facts. The signatures were collected during the symbolic vote on independence held on 9 November by the civil society organisations Catalan National Assembly (ANC) and Òmnium Cultural, as well as by the Association of Municipalities for Independence (AMI).
Catalonia’s Supreme Court (TSJC) has stated that there are “signs” that the President of the Catalan Government, Artur Mas; the Vice President, Joana Ortega; and the Education Minister, Irene Rigau, “did not obey” the Constitutional Court’s ban on the symbolic independence vote, which took place on 9 November. On Thursday, 3 weeks after it accepted all the criminal complaints filed against Mas, Ortega and Rigau for having authorised and co-organised the non-binding vote, the TSJC issued the notifications justifying its decision. The Court considers there to be evidence suggesting they may have committed disobedience, perversion of the legal process and embezzlement offenses. Therefore, the high judicial body is launching a corresponding investigation, which will focus on the vote’s preparation between the Constitutional Court’s ban and the day of the vote itself.
Hundreds of citizens have pled guilty in solidarity with the President of the Catalan Government, Artur Mas, Vice President, Joana Ortega, and Catalan Minister for Education, Irene Rigau, who are being prosecuted by the Spanish authorities for having authorised and co-organised the symbolic vote on independence that took place on 9 November. On Tuesday morning, citizens queued to plead guilty in front of Catalonia’s Supreme Court. This comes a day after the Court launched a judicial investigation on the criminal complaints against three members of the Catalan Government filed by a few individuals, extreme-right organisations and the Spanish Public Prosecution Office, whose Director is directly appointed by the Spanish Government. The solidarity campaign is organised by the civil society association that organised the largest pro-independence rallies of the last 2 years, the Catalan National Assembly (ANC). Many leading politicians are also pleading guilty and all the parties in Catalonia, except the Spanish nationalist ones, have come out in protest against the penal prosecution of the Catalan Government on account of a political issue.
Spain’s Director of the Public Prosecution Office, Eduardo Torres-Dulce, has announced his resignation “for personal reasons”. However, it is well-known that Torres-Dulce has had several arguments with the Spanish Government, run by the People’s Party (PP) and chaired by Mariano Rajoy. The latest argument was about prosecuting the Catalan President and other members of the Catalan Government for the symbolic vote on independence held on 9 November. Several PP members announced the penal actions before Torres-Dulce had given the instruction to press charges. At that time, Torres-Dulce denied having been pressured by the Spanish Government, but many voices criticised the absence of a separation of powers. On top of this, the main public prosecutors in Catalonia initially rejected the criminal complaint, but Torres-Dulce – appointed by the Spanish Government – obliged them to file it. Furthermore, he has also had many arguments with the PP on account of the numerous corruption scandals being investigated.
In 2013, 80.7% of cardboard, paper and plastic packaging used in Catalan households was recycled. This rate is 2 percentage points lower than that registered in 2012 due to people stealing waste from recycling containers, according to representatives from the industry. Catalonia's overall recycling rate is 38% but the Catalan Government aims to make this 60% by 2020. The level of paper and plastic recycling by Catalan homes is almost 9 percentage points higher than the Spanish average (71.9%), and quite close to the leading countries in Europe such as Belgium, Germany and the Czech Republic, whose households recycle around 85% of these products. Representatives from waste and recycling organizations spoke positively of the efforts made, but stressed the need to reach all the population and economic sectors.
The Catalan Government has released on Monday the definitive turnout figures of the citizen participations process of November 9, in which Catalans were able to cast their ballot until November 25. Finally, 2,344,828 people participated in this non-binding vote on independence, 2,305,290 of whom did so on November 9. After the main voting day, 7 polling stations remained opened throughout Catalonia for those who wanted to participate within the following 15 days. 80,91% of citizens voted for full independence from Spain; 10.2% voted for a Catalan State within a federal or confederated Spain; and 4.49% voted to keep the current Autonomous Community model or for the recentralization of powers. This symbolic vote was carried out despite the total opposition of the Spanish authorities, including criminal prosecution threats. In fact, Spain’s Pubic Prosecution Office, whose Director is directly appointed by the Spanish Government, has pressed criminal charges against the Catalan President, Vice President and Minister for Education for authorising and co-organising such a symbolic consultation process.
Despite Catalonia-based prosecutors having concluded that there is no legal basis for such a complaint, the Director of the Public Prosecution Office, Eduardo Torres-Dulce – directly appointed by the Spanish Government – will finally file it, after 10 days of controversy. All the opposition parties have accused the Spanish Government of pressuring Torres-Dulce and taking a political problem to court. In addition, the Catalan Government accuses Rajoy’s People’s Party (PP) of not respecting the separation of powers. On Monday, the Catalan prosecutors announced they were not backing the complaint, but the Madrid-based Director stated he would carry on anyway. On Wednesday, Torres-Dulce held a long meeting with Spain’s main prosecutors, who backed him but not unanimously. The complaint will be against the Catalan President, Artur Mas, but also against the Vice President, Joana Ortega, and the Education Minister, Irene Rigau.
The Spanish Prime Minister, Mariano Rajoy, downplayed November 9's participatory process and he totally rejected the opportunity to negotiate the organisation of a mutually-agreed self-determination referendum for Catalonia. After 2.3 million citizens gave their opinion on independence on Sunday, on Wednesday Rajoy spoke in public for the first time and said he considered November 9's non-binding vote to be "a deep failure of the pro-independence project", as "2 out of every 3 Catalans did not bother to participate in it", dishonestly ignoring the Spanish Government's threats and obstacles and mixing up figures. Furthermore, he rejected the offer to negotiate sent by the President of the Catalan Government, Artur Mas. Rajoy strongly criticised Mas for pretending to "impose" dialogue about "an illegal defiance". In addition, the Spanish PM did not offer any political solution for Catalonia's situation, except for totally blocking any Constitutional Reform. All parties in Catalonia were extremely disappointed by Rajoy's words, except of course the PP's Catalan branch.