francesc homs

Spanish Deputy Minister for the EU told Commissioner Reding “what is going on in this country”

February 26, 2014 08:56 PM | ACN

The Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy disclosed on Tuesday evening that the Spanish Deputy Minister for EU Affairs, Iñigo Méndez de Vigo had travelled to Barcelona on Sunday “to talk with” Viviane Reding and tell her “what is going on in this country”. Méndez de Vigo’s trip was decided after the European Commission Vice President had publicly called on Catalan and Spanish authorities to negotiate “without red-lines” to solve the conflict. Rajoy also said that he had spoken about Catalonia with the European Commission President, José Manuel Barroso, “and many other political leaders”. The Catalan Government’s Spokesperson, Francesc Homs, ironically stated that  the Spanish Foreign Affairs Ministry is putting “so much pressure […] for us not to be received anywhere [to talk about self-determination] that in the end [this attitude] opens doors for us”.

“The Europe of integration” would end if the EU expels an independent Catalonia, states the Catalan Government

February 25, 2014 03:01 PM | ACN

The Catalan Minister for the Presidency and Spokesperson for the Executive, Francesc Homs, warned that “if a political solution cannot be reached” to keep Catalonia within the EU if it becomes independent from Spain, it would be “the end of Europe as a model for democratic and peaceful integration of the different peoples that form it”. On Monday, in a debate on ‘Catalonia’s political process’ held at the University of Lisbon’s Faculty of Law, Homs highlighted the fact that if EU Treaties had been interpreted “literally”, the financial bailouts for Spain, Portugal, Ireland and Greece would not have been possible. However, in this case, the EU reacted “with common sense” and for “the general interest”. Therefore, “since the EU is a project of peace and democracy, a political solution [for Catalonia] will be found, as the EU has ever done in all situations”, he stated.

Extreme right organisation files a criminal complaint against Catalan President for sedition and rebellion

February 20, 2014 10:36 PM | ACN

Manos Limpias, a Spanish extreme right-wing organisation, presented on Wednesday before Catalonia’ Hight Court (TSJC) a criminal complaint against the President of the Catalan Government, Artur Mas, for the charges of perverting the course of justice, disobeying judicial authority, rebellion and sedition. According to the plaintiffs, the Catalan President is using all means available to achieve Catalonia’s independence. The far-right union mentions the creation of new ‘state structures’, disobeying the Constitutional Court by giving statements that point towards holding a self-determination vote and violating the Spanish Constitution. In the complaint, Manos Limpias is demanding Mas to be interrogated as a suspect while several Catalan politicians would be witnesses.

“The Catalan Government is older than the Spanish Constitution”, Mas replies to García-Margallo

February 13, 2014 10:01 PM | ACN

The Catalan Executive, chaired by Artur Mas, has published a 50-page memorandum in reply to the report issued by the Spanish Foreign Affairs Minister, José Manuel García-Margallo, in late December against Catalan independence. Margallo’s document claimed that independence was “immoral” and “not a democratic option”. The 200-page report was distributed to all Spain’s embassies as a list of arguments to be used to lobby against Catalan independence at international level. The memo was written in a condescending tone and included many judgemental opinions, half-truths, partial quotes and even lies. One of them was that Catalonia recovered its self-government institutions thanks to the Constitution, which is false. The Catalan Government has replied with its own memo and has asked the Spanish Foreign Affairs Ministry to distribute it to all the embassies as well.

German employers warn against Catalan independence’s “dreadful consequences”

February 11, 2014 09:27 PM | ACN

Around 60 German businesspeople working in Catalonia have issued a manifesto against independence from Spain. They warn against “the dreadful consequences” that independence would bring for the Catalan economy. The manifesto signers, who work in companies that invested millions in Catalonia and in the rest of Spain, state that independence would represent the automatic expulsion from the European Union. They also add that “it is doubtful” it could still use the Euro. Furthermore, they “warn about the dangers of a nationalist fervour, which in the last century, has brought immeasurable suffering to Europe and which will neither bring anything good to Catalonia”. Besides, on the same day, the President of Spain’s main employer association, Juan Rosell, stated that independence would be “disastrous” for human relations. The Catalan Government respects their opinion but has refused to comment on the manifesto.

Catalonia approves 3 green taxes expected to raise €50 million per year

February 11, 2014 07:41 PM | ACN

The Catalan Government has approved 3 new environmental taxes on the air pollution emissions of commercial flights, industrial gas and particle emission, and the nuclear production of electric energy. €50 million are expected to be raised per year once the law will be enforced, which is scheduled for mid-year. The Spokesperson for the Catalan Government, Francesc Homs, has admitted that flights at Barcelona’s El Prat Airport would likely be affected. However, he ensured that none of these 3 new taxes would have a negative impact on the consumers. The law specifies that the tax cannot affect pricing, neither for plane tickets nor for electricity, pointed out Homs. He then put in contrast the €98 million fees an airline can have to pay to the Spanish Airport Authority (AENA) with the €1 million in taxes that may be levied by the Catalan Government.

Spain’s Constitution reform referendum would not invalidate a previous Catalan self-determination vote

February 7, 2014 07:53 PM | ACN

The Catalan Government’s Spokesperson and Minister for the Presidency, Francesc Homs, has highlighted that the results of a self-determination vote in Catalonia would not be invalidated by a secondary vote held at Spanish level. “This is not about putting the Catalan people’s decision-making capacity in somebody else’s hands”, stated Homs on Friday. The previous day, Homs had proposed to hold such a referendum at Spanish level since he was foreseeing the need to adopt Constitutional changes based on the results of the Catalan self-determination vote. He stated that firstly “the opinion of Catalans” had to be known; secondly, a negotiation based on this vote’s results should be held between Catalan and Spanish authorities; and, thirdly, since it is likely that Constitutional changes will be needed, a referendum at Spanish level should be held.

Catalan Government foresees second referendum among all Spaniards to modify Constitution

February 6, 2014 03:28 PM | ACN

The Spokesperson of the Catalan Government and Minister for the Presidency, Francesc Homs, stated that the opinion of the Catalan citizens, in the first place, had to be known through a consultation vote. After having achieved this and according to its outcome, negotiations between Catalan and Spanish authorities should take place in order to change the current status quo. The results of such negotiations, which would very likely lead to a reform of Spain’s Constitution, would then have to be voted by all Spaniards through a second referendum, according to Homs’ hypothesis. In an interview with the Spanish nationalist radio station COPE, owned by the Spanish Catholic Church, Homs wondered if “an Autonomous Community has the capacity to propose the start of a Constitution reform-process?”

‘Sciences Po’ Professor: “transition” solution needed so “Catalans are not excluded from the EU”

January 31, 2014 07:49 PM | ACN

A Professor at the prestigious Paris Institute of Political Studies (Science Po), Jean-Bernard Auby, has advocated for a temporary solution to keep Catalonia within the European Union if it reaches independence from Spain. This agreement should guarantee that Catalonia will not be excluded from the EU even if it does not immediately become a full-member. During a conference in Sciences Po Toulouse organised alongside the Public Diplomacy Council of Catalonia (Diplocat), Auby insisted that “Catalonia and the Catalans are part of the EU” and for this reason, if they become independent “one shouldn’t, in a mechanical way, impose on them to go through the procedures we impose on those who are complete outsiders”. The conference ‘The right to self-determination of Catalonia. Legality and democratic legitimacy’ is part of a series of debates on the right to self-determination, organised by the Diplocat and scheduled in prestigious universities throughout Europe.

Catalan businesspeople annoyed with Spanish Government for not issuing fiscal balances

January 28, 2014 01:43 PM | ACN / Gaspar Pericay Coll

The Catalan business community is deeply annoyed with the Spanish Government for not publishing transparent data on Catalonia’s fiscal contribution to the rest of Spain and therefore not recognising the fiscal deficit. The Spanish Finance Minister, Cristóbal Montoro, was supposed to issue the so-called fiscal balances last December but their publication was inexplicably delayed. Last Friday, in late January, Montoro announced the fiscal balances would no longer be calculated and published in the present form; instead, he would publish in March the “regionalised public figures” stating the costs of public services per citizen because the fiscal balances were “incomplete and incoherent”. However, on Tuesday, the Minister recognised that they were “correct” but “wrongly used” to support Catalan independence claims.

Spanish Government “will appeal against” the self-determination call “the very next minute”

January 14, 2014 09:28 PM | ACN

The Catalan Government accuses Madrid of continued “prejudices” since “appealing against” a measure “the very next minute” after it is announced “does not leave time to fully analyse it” and therefore “does not respect the rule of law”. A majority of Catalan parties is proposing a self-determination vote for the 9th of November in accordance with the legal framework. There are 5 different ways to legally organise such a vote according to Constitutional experts. However, the Spanish Government is insisting that such a vote is illegal. The Spanish Justice Minister, Alberto Ruiz Gallardón stated on Tuesday: “if Mas [the Catalan President] signs a decree calling the consultation vote instead of [only] resigning himself to giving a statement, the very next minute, this decree will be taken to the Constitutional Court”. Furthermore, he added that “there is no doubt” that the vote “will be suspended” by the Court.

Catalan Government: “we must be the most international domestic issue in the wide world”

January 14, 2014 08:17 PM | ACN

The Catalan Government Spokesperson, Francesc Homs, has ironically stated that the situation in Catalonia “must be the most international of political domestic issues in the wide world”, if the Spanish PM Mariano Rajoy is talking about it before the US President. Homs exclaimed: “every time, people say it is an internal issue and that it would be a mistake to treat it internationally, but Rajoy cannot stop talking about it in his public appearances”. Homs praised the international community for their silence on the Catalan issue, as they have likely been “pressured” by Spain to voice their disapproval. However, he did not directly refer to Barack Obama, who had avoided commenting on Catalonia’s potential independence at the White House press conference on Monday evening.

Catalan Government stops cutting off energy supplies to families in need

December 23, 2013 08:16 PM | ACN

The Catalan Government has finally approved a decree protecting families in need from having their household electricity and gas cut off by energy supply companies during the winter months. The measure aims to fight the so-called ‘energy povert’: people who cannot afford to pay for their energy bills because they do not get minimum income. This way, the Catalan Government ensures they can continue having heating and using their cooking devices during the coldest period of the year. Energy companies will not be able to cut off supplies to these families between November and March. Besides, the Catalan Government has also approved a temporary budget extension for the coming weeks, since the People’s  Party (PP) – which runs the Spanish Executive – has blocked the approval of the 2014 budget.

Controversial historical symposium begins by praising Catalonia’s affection towards Spanish society

December 12, 2013 03:16 PM | ACN

An enormous controversy has been raised around the academic symposium ‘Spain against Catalonia: An historical overview (1714-2014)’ that kicks off this Thursday in Barcelona. At the opening session, the Catalan Minister for the Presidency highlighted the “great affection” that Catalan people feel “towards Spanish society and its plurality and richness”, but not towards “the Spanish State and its institutions”. Furthermore he pointed out that the symposium does not aim “to impose anything”, but “to offer arguments” while “knowing that one single truth” does not exist. The event aims to reflect on the political, economic, social and cultural repression that the Spanish State has inflicted on Catalan people and institutions over the last 300 years. Prestigious university experts will give lectures on specific issues. However, the People’s Party, which runs the Spanish Government, and two other Spanish nationalist parties took actions aimed at cancelling the event.

Spanish nationalists want to close an academic history symposium in Catalonia

December 11, 2013 05:33 PM | ACN

With the title ‘Spain against Catalonia: an historical overview (1714-2014)’, this academic symposium aims to discuss the political, economic, social and cultural repression the Spanish State has carried out against Catalan institutions and people throughout the last 300 years. The event will offer more than 20 lectures given by prestigious university chairs. It is organised by Catalonia’s Science and Language Academy (IEC) and by the Centre of Contemporary History of Catalonia, which is linked to the Catalan Government. The symposium has raised controversy with its title. The People’s Party (PP), which runs the Spanish Government, has made cancelling the event a condition for holding a dialogue with the Catalan Executive. Furthermore, the PP, the anti-Catalan nationalism Ciutadans (C’s) and the Spanish nationalist and populist UPyD have filed a complaint against the symposium for “spreading hate”. Paradoxically, UPyD compared the symposium with “Nazism”.