The European Free Alliance would welcome PDC “to the nationalist family” in the European Parliament

October 11, 2016 08:55 PM | ACN

European Free Alliance (EFA) director, Günther Dauwen, would approve if the Catalan Democratic Party (PDC), the new name for former liberal ‘Convergència’, were to leave the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE) and join the EFA in the European Parliament instead. “The family of regionalist nationalists would be more homogeneous and consistent and that could help to reinforce our message”, Dauwen told the CNA. Although he admitted that there hasn’t yet been any official request, if joining the EFA “could help to promote and make progress” for the Catalan cause “a positive decision could be expected”. Dauwen also noted that left wing pro-independence ERC, which together with other 44 groups belongs to the EFA, wouldn’t oppose welcoming the PDC to the family. PDC MEP, Ramon Tremosa has repeatedly said he was “not comfortable” within the ALDE because they voted “following instructions from Spanish Unionist ‘Ciutadans’, a private brand of the Conservative People’s Party”.

Council of Europe warns Spain over violation of its recommendations on judicial independence

October 10, 2016 02:33 PM | ACN

Spain is failing in transparency and judicial independence. According to the Group of States against Corruption of the Council of Europe (Greco), the Spanish Government has not satisfactorily applied any of the eleven recommendations made by the Council of Europe (CoE) in 2013, which aimed at promoting the fight against corruption and guaranteeing judicial independence. In a report published this Monday, Greco states that it is “key” to increase “transparency of communication between the Prosecutor General and the Government”. Moreover, it warns that it is “crucial” that the General Council of the Judiciary (CGPJ) in Spain is “not only free, but also seen to be free from political influence”. The text also stresses that “political authorities should not be involved, at any stage, in the selection process of judicial staff".

London Stock Exchange selects 13 Catalan SMEs among 1,000 most inspiring in Europe

June 15, 2016 08:16 PM | ACN

13 Catalan SMEs have been selected by the London Stock Exchange among the 1,000 most inspiring in Europe. This 1,000-component list is comprised of small and medium companies that “have a more pronounced growth in the EU”, explained the Director of Government Relations at the London Stock Exchange, Xavier Solano. The report was presented in Brussels, and the event was attended by two of the selected Catalan SMEs, KpSport and Liquats Vegetals. This project should help small and medium companies receive funding, which has “always been a little difficult”, according to Director of Operations at KpSport, David Pons. Solano spoke about the importance of giving these SMEs “visibility and support” so that they can continue to create jobs, also recognising the importance of presenting the report to the European Parliament. Additionally, liberal CDC MEP Ramon Tremosa emphasises “the importance of promoting the initiative on a European level.”

Spain’s lack of response to Catalonia’s push for independence concerns the international community

April 1, 2016 02:45 PM | ACN

Spain’s executive position in relation to Catalonia’s push for independence and its “refusal to budge” concerns the international community. Catalan Minister for Foreign Affairs, former MEP Raül Romeva, explained this Friday that none of the diplomats he has talked to so far understand why “there is no one at the other end of the table”to discuss the situation in Catalonia. According to him, the international community rejects Spain’s executive campaign to confront both “politically and judicially”and tackle the situation in Catalonia through the court. Romeva also added that the perception that Catalonia’s push for independence and its future relationship with Spain is an internal matter is changing, and the international community is becoming aware that it is a topic which may also affect them.


Europe warns Spain of the “shortcomings” in the postal voting system

February 29, 2016 07:20 PM | ACN

The Spanish authorities “should address the shortcomings of the postal voting system”, especially for those living abroad. This is one of the main conclusions of the report written by the Organisation for Security and Co-Operation in Europe (OSCE) and the Office for Democratic and International Human Rights (ODIHR), after observing the 20-D Spanish elections. The report also warns of the “political pressures” on Spanish public radio and television, as well as the coverage of the electoral campaign, which was “highly regulated according to some stakeholders” rather than following informative criteria. According to the report, only 8.57% of the 1.8 million Spanish living abroad registered to vote for the last Spanish elections and less than 89,000 could ultimately do so.

ALDE’s leaders visit President Puigdemont and the Catalan Minister for Foreign Affairs

February 29, 2016 03:29 PM | ACN

The Catalan President, Carles Puigdemont, received a representation from the Association of Liberal and Democrats of Europe (ALDE) group amid the controversy surrounding the recent suspension of the Catalan Ministry for Foreign Affairs by the Spanish Constitutional Court (TC). ALDE President and MEP Hans Van Baalen, who has repeatedly defended Catalonia’s right to decide its political future, was joined by ALDE’s general secretary, Jacob Moroza-Rasmussen and political adviser, Laura Laussade. They met President Puigdemont and the Catalan Minister for Foreign Affairs, former MEP Raül Romeva. Liberal party CDC’s spokeswoman and ALDE vice president, Marta Pascal, also attended the meeting, together with Spanish Parliament MP and the President of the Catalan foundation ‘Llibertat i Democràcia’, Jordi Xuclà.



Council of Europe highlights the difficulty of using Catalan in the administration of justice

January 21, 2016 06:44 PM | ACN

The European body expressed its concerns regarding the use of Catalan and the Spanish State’s other “regional languages” in the administration of justice and in the health service. The Council of Europe called on the Spanish State to “modify the legal frame” and “guarantee that an appropriate proportion of the administration of justice’s workers” has a “practical knowledge” of the Catalan language. The European body, composed by 47 European countries, approved this Thursday “six recommendations” to solve “some important problems” and make sure that the Spanish State respects the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages.This is the fourth report of this kind, after similar ones were written in 2005, 2008 and 2012. It states that the situation “has improved considerably” in the last four years, especially due to the Autonomous Communities’ efforts.

Banning Catalonia from the EU would be "nonsense", European experts say

November 27, 2015 03:12 PM | ACN / Sara Prim

The Public Diplomacy Council of Catalonia (DIPLOCAT) organised a debate in Edinburgh with outstanding European figures from the academic, legal and economic fields to discuss the challenges and opportunities of Catalonia's independence. "It is nonsense to imagine that part of a Member State could be directly expelled from the EU if it becomes independent" stated University of Edinburgh professor and former judge at the Court of Justice of the European Communities Sir David Edward. "Scotland had the chance to freely and legally pronounce on their political future and this is still the shared wish of the majority of Catalans" stated Secretary-General of Diplocat, Albert Royo. The director of the Centre on Constitutional Change, Michael Keating, and the Catalan Government’s delegateto the United Kingdom and Ireland, Josep Suàrez, also attended the event.

Council of Europe receives 1.5 million signatures supporting Catalonia’s independence

November 6, 2015 08:58 PM | ACN / Sara Prim

The main pro-independences civil associations, the Catalan National Assembly (ANC), Òmnium Cultural and the Association of Municipalities for Independence (AMI) handed over 1.5 million signatures supporting Catalonia’s independence to the Council of Europe. The signatures were gathered during the non-binding referendum that took place on the 9th of November 2014. The pro-independence civil associations’representatives travelled to Strasbourg to denounce “the lack of democratic will of the Spanish State”and they reported on Catalonia’s situation to a delegation of the Council of Europe’s Parliamentary Assembly. The delivery of these signatures is the first international diplomatic action promoted by the ANC, Òmnium and the AMI. “The Catalan case is present in the European agenda”stated the ANC’s president, Jordi Sànchez, and added that “giving first-hand information from civil society is very important”. 

European People's Party won't recognise the legality of secessionist processes

October 22, 2015 06:35 PM | ACN / Sara Prim

The Spanish People's Party promoted a resolution this Wednesday during the European People's Party (EPP) Statutory Congress in Madrid to guarantee that the party won't recognise the legality of secessionist processes in EU. "Any self-proclaimed sovereignty process aimed at unilaterally declaring the secession of territories forming part of Member States is beyond the realms of legality and, therefore, will not be recognized as legal by the other Member States" reads the text. The resolution was approved by simple majority and all 16 MEPs from Bavaria's Christian Social Union (CSU) voted against the resolution. "We support a position which is balanced between autonomies' rights and territories' integrity" stated CSU's spokesman at the EPP meeting, Reinhold Bocklet. "We don't like to be involved in Spain's internal problems" he concluded. Other groups also voted against the resolutions and there were many abstentions, in a Statutory Congress that was attended by 14 Heads of Member States.    

Juncker: "We won't accept divisions in Europe anymore"

October 21, 2015 06:05 PM | ACN / Sara Prim

The President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker assured that he is for a "unified Europe" and against facing "more divisions" in Europe. "We won't accept divisions in Europe anymore. We already suffered a lot during the Second World War, after the war and during the Cold War". Juncker made these statements this morning at an event in Madrid, just before attending the European People's Party meeting that will be held in the Spanish capital and that is set to pass a declaration in defence of the unity of the EU's Member States. Juncker emphasised that "Spain is not a compilation of divisions and compartments, but a coherent set" and took the chance to support Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy's administration as head of the Spanish executive. 

Strategic gas pipeline Midcat will be ready by 2020

October 5, 2015 03:26 PM | ACN / Sara Prim

“The EU expects that the Midcat will be built by 2020”, stated EU Commissioner for Energy and Climate Action, Miguel Arias Cañete. He made this statement this Monday during theNatural gas and the energy security of Europe’ seminar, organised by Gas Natural Fenosa. The Midcat pipeline is set to be built through the Catalan Pyrenees, linking the Iberian Peninsula with French and Central European networks and aims to reduce Europe's dependency on Russian gas by 40%. According to Cañete the project has a budget of 470 million euros, from which 170 million will have to be paid by Spain. Catalan Minister for Business and Employment, Felip Puig “lamented” the delay in this strategic infrastructure and attributed it to “the lack of enthusiasm” of the French government.

European Commission: The 27-S elections are “a domestic issue for Spain”

September 28, 2015 02:52 PM | ACN

“The EC does not comment on regional elections” stated EC spokesperson Margaritis Schinas. He added that the EC won’t express “a position” regarding the 27-S results in Catalonia, which it considers “a domestic issue for Spain”.The EC spokesperson confirmed that EC President Jean-Claude Juncker “was informed” of the election results but that he “didn’t have any immediate contact” to evaluate them with the Spanish nor the Catalan governments. “I have nothing else to say” stated Schinas, who denied any consideration of whether the EU should promote dialogue between Madrid and Barcelona. However, the President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, Anne Brasseur, stated at a press conference that “the vote of the people of Catalonia must be respected” and added that “there must be dialogue from both sides”.


27-S electoral campaign: More than just parties involved

September 25, 2015 06:47 PM | ACN / Sara Prim

Not only parties have taken an active role in this intensive electoral campaign: the banking sector, Spanish diplomacy, the European institutions, international leaders, businesspeople associations and even the sports and scientific fields have had their say. Some have softened their warnings, some have signed joint letters, but all of them have reinforced the historic element of the upcoming 27-S elections. Whatever the situation may be, what is certain is that the moment is exceptional and that the elections are being closely watched internationally.

Four Motors for Europe regional association looks to develop ICT as

June 10, 2015 09:51 PM | ACN

Lombardy, Baden-Württemberg, Rhône-Alpes and Catalonia will work together to develop strategies to foster the Information and Communication Technology sector in both their own territories and at European level, in order to make the continent hold a leading position in this sector at world level. This has been the main conclusion of the main event of the current presidency of the Four Motors for Europe, which is a regional association formed in 1988 by the aforementioned 4 territories in order to develop common projects and lobby at European level. Catalonia currently holds the association's rotating presidency and has made the development of the ICT sector its main objective, particularly focusing on smart city and 4.0 technologies. Lombardy, Baden-Württemberg, Rhône-Alpes and Catalonia signed on Wednesday in Barcelona a shared declaration strengthening their commitment in this field.