The French Government delays the construction of the High-Speed Train between Montpellier and Barcelona

June 28, 2013 01:12 AM | CNA / Gaspar Pericay Coll

France will not allow High-Speed Trains from Barcelona to Central and Northern Europe to run at their maximum velocity since it refuses to build the 156 kilometre high-speed railway stretch between Perpignan and Montpellier. This infrastructure has been declared to be one of the European Union’s strategic transport priorities, since it connects the Iberian Peninsula with the rest of the continent via the Mediterranean Railway Corridor. Many years ago, the French Government promised to build this stretch before 2020, an engagement reconfirmed by Sarkozy’s executive. However, the current Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault has paused work on the project and delayed it until after 2030.

The Catalan President to formally ask Madrid for a vote after the first meeting of the Self-Determination Pact

June 27, 2013 12:24 AM | CNA

The participants to the so-called National Alliance for the Self-Determination Right have met for the first time, bringing together almost 50 entities, including political parties, business associations, trade unions, social organisations and cultural institutions. This transversal initiative gathering together a wide part of Catalan society aims to reach an internal consensus on how to proceed in order to allow Catalans to vote on their collective future. Attendees agreed to ask the former President of the Catalan Parliament, Joan Rigol, to draft a text expressing the “common denominators” of the participants. In addition, the President of the Catalan Government, Artur Mas, will send a letter to the Spanish Prime Minister, Mariano Rajoy, making a formal petition for the organisation of a self-determination vote in Catalonia.

The Catalan Government sells 13 buildings to AXA Real Estate for €172 million to reduce public deficit

June 26, 2013 01:15 AM | CNA

The Catalan Government will continue to occupy the facilities as a tenant, annually paying €16.2 million in rent over the next 20 years. The decision to sell Catalan Government properties had been taken to ease the difficult financial situation and obtain liquidity. The initiative is part of the austerity measures adopted to reduce the public deficit and increase revenue. Taking this last sale into account, the Catalan Government will have sold 17 properties for a total of €266 million since 2012. The Catalan Minister for the Presidency, Francesc Homs, emphasised that the revenue generated by these sales will allow the Government to undertake fewer budget cuts.

The political summit for Catalonia's right to self-determination decided to include civil society

May 7, 2013 02:28 AM | CNA

However, the participating political parties could not agree on a plan to organise a self-determination vote: some would like to combine the organisation of the vote with the creation of state structures while others ask for neutrality and refuse to identify self-determination as a solution to Catalonia’s economic crisis. The President of the Catalan Government and leader of the Centre-Right Catalan Nationalist Coalition (CiU), Artur Mas, called for a summit to discuss ways to obtain the right to self-determination and be able to organise a referendum on this issue. All the parties supporting self-determination, including the Catalan Socialist Party (PSC), participated in the meeting, as well as the Catalan Government, the four Provincial Councils and representatives from town halls.

Barcelona is the fourth European city with the most tourists after London, Paris and Rome

April 12, 2013 01:16 AM | CNA

The number of tourists in Barcelona hotels grew by 0.7% in 2012 compared to the previous year. In total, Barcelona hosted 7.44 million tourists in the city’s hotels. A study by the Barcelona Tourism board revealed that the significant increase in foreign tourists compensated for the 6.8% drop in Spanish visitors. The number of tourists from Russia and Eastern Europe increased by 32%, those from the United Kingdom grew by 12%, those from the United States grew by 4.7% and those from Germany increased by 4.3%. Spanish visitors continue to be the largest group of guests to Barcelona hotels, with 1.62 million people.

FC Barcelona's Assistant Manager: "Only victory guarantees us a spot in the semi-finals"

April 9, 2013 11:08 PM | Aleix Santacana

Barça’s Assistant Manager, Jordi Roura says that Barça will be ambitious against PSG on Wednesday’s second leg game. Roura, who take care of Barça during Tito Vilanova’s absence, notes that only victory would guarantee a spot in the semi-finals of the Champions League. On Messi, Adriano and Pedro's fitness, Barça's assistant manager says that “we have to wait and see how they feel and we especially have to see the results from their latest medical tests”. Nevertheless, Messi trained on Tuesday with the rest of his team-mates, although he has not received the medical all-clear yet.

PSG vs. FC Barcelona: Cruel ending for Barça in Paris (2-2)

April 3, 2013 03:29 AM | Roger Bogunyà

A 94th minute goal from Matuidi gave Paris Saint-Germain a draw after Messi and Mascherano had both come off injured. Barça went ahead in the first half thanks to a goal from Messi, who failed to reappear after the break after picking up a hamstring injury, before Ibrahimovic brought the teams level with ten minutes left to play. Xavi then slotted home a penalty on 88 minutes which appeared to have given Barça a win, only for Bartra to get the slightest of ricochets on a Matuidi shot in the dying seconds and help it past Valdes.

Catalan literature on show at the 2013 Paris Book Fair since Barcelona is this year’s guest city

March 22, 2013 11:03 PM | CNA / Violeta Gumà

Classic and contemporary authors from Catalonia, writing in Catalan or in Spanish, are one of the main attractions of this year’s Salon du Livre in Paris, which is one of the main book fairs internationally. Running from Friday the 22nd to Monday the 25th of March in the French capital, this year the book fair has Barcelona as its guest city under the title ‘Barcelona, ville des prodiges’. The Institut Ramon Llull, the public body in charge of promoting Catalan culture abroad, is organising the presence of Catalan literature at the fair. During the first day, the visitors were mainly interested in Eduardo Mendoza, Carlos Ruiz Zafón and Josep Pla, who wrote ‘The Grey Notebook’ which has just been translated into French.

FC Barcelona drawn against Paris Saint Germain at the Champions League quarters

March 15, 2013 08:28 PM | CNA

Barça have been drawn to play PSG in the last eight of the Champions League. The first leg will be played in Paris’s Parc des Princes on the 2nd of April and the return game will be in Barcelona’s Camp Nou on the 10th of April. The Parisian outfit has made it into the quarter finals for the first time in 19 years after spending 240 million euros in two seasons. The other matches are Real Madrid vs Galatasaray, Bayern Munich vs Juventus and Málaga vs Borussia Dortmund.

Éric Abidal declared fit to play after last year’s liver transplant

February 21, 2013 07:19 PM | CNA

FC Barcelona player Éric Abidal is once again available for Barça’s first team selection after recovering from a liver transplant last April. The Frenchman received the wonderful news after Thursday’s training session. In fact, since the 19th December, Abidal has been training with the rest of Barça players. In early October, he went with FC Barcelona physio Emili Ricart to spend several days in the Catalan mountains at the Vall d’Aran County, in the heart of the Pyrenees, to follow a specific training programme.

Catalan multinational Abertis’ recurrent net profit increased by 2% and reached €613 million

February 19, 2013 11:29 PM | CNA

The highway, airport and telecommunication services management company earned a net profit of €1,024 million in 2012, 42% more than in the previous year, mainly thanks to the sales of Eutelsat and Brisa. The net profit without the surplus value reached €613 million, 2% more than in 2011. The Barcelona-based group presented better results in all of its main financials: revenues increased by 3%, recurrent earning before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) by 2%. Abertis emphasised that these results have been reached in a context of economic recession in some of its main markets. However, the traffic increase in the Americas (+4.5%) and Abertis’ efficiency plans compensated for the traffic decrease in southern Europe.

The Spanish Government is considering taking the Catalan declaration of sovereignty to the Constitutional Court

February 8, 2013 11:34 PM | CNA

Following a report by its own legal services, the Spanish Government is considering appealing against the ‘Declaration of sovereignty and the right to self-determination by the people of Catalonia’, approved by the Catalan Parliament two weeks ago. This declaration states that, following the historical rights and the free self-determination of the people, the people of Catalonia are sovereign and therefore able decide on their own future and organise a self-determination vote to decide on Catalonia’s hypothetical independence from Spain. The Catalan President stated that, before the self-determination right of the people, “there are no rules, laws, constitutions or possible interpretations”.

The Catalan Government announces it will increase its external relations action as it is “more needed than ever”

January 29, 2013 11:41 PM | CNA

The Catalan Government criticised the Spanish Executive’s obstacles to Catalonia’s own external relations action, as “in a globalised world” this “is not a caprice”, but essential to be recognised at an international level and to attract foreign investment. The Catalan Minister for the Presidency, in charge of External Relations, Francesc Homs, criticised the Spanish Government’s “old-fashioned” way of understanding diplomacy and gave the example of spending in 2012 “€330,000 on cutlery and table cloths”. Homs emphasised the main commercial focus of Catalonia’s external offices and their “modesty”. The Catalan Government has a total of 5 political representation offices – including for the European Union – and 34 commercial offices.