francesc homs

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.

The Constitutional Court halts Catalonia’s drug prescription fee, bank deposit tax and judicial fees

January 16, 2013 12:09 AM | CNA / Gaspar Pericay Coll

The Constitutional Court has accepted the Spanish Government’s appeal against three measures adopted by the Catalan Executive to reduce its deficit, some of them negotiated last spring with the People’s Party (PP). The Spanish Government, which is run by the PP, now believes that these measures invade its own powers, “break market unity” and go against the principle of “equality for all Spaniards”. While accepting the appeal, the Court has temporarily suspended the application of the fees and taxes for a five-month period, which could be extended. The Catalan Government will appeal the decision as it believes the measures to be in line with the Constitution and within its jurisdiction. The drug prescription fee brought in €46 million in its first 6 months and it reduced public spending on medicines.

The Catalan Finance Ministry has been restructured in order to develop Catalonia’s own treasury

January 8, 2013 11:54 PM | CNA

The Catalan Government has created a Treasury Secretariat within its Finance Ministry, which will be in charge of managing revenue, with the objective of developing Catalonia’s own tax office. The creation of a treasury of its own would allow the Catalan Executive to collect all the taxes generated in Catalonia, as Navarra and the Basque Country have been doing for decades. It is one of the electoral promises of the governing Centre-Right Catalan Nationalist Coalition (CiU) and is also part of the parliamentary stability agreement reached with the Left-Wing Catalan Independence Party (ERC). A Catalan tax office collecting all the taxes is an historical claim of a large part of the Catalan society. However the Secretariat created is in line with the CiU’s strategy of creating state structures and it has been criticised by the pro-Spanish unity parties.

Rajoy accepts the Catalan President’s offer to talk but rejects any modification of the 0.7% deficit target for 2013

December 28, 2012 09:49 PM | CNA

The Spanish Prime Minister, Mariano Rajoy, has accepted the offer sent by the new Catalan President to talk about Catalonia’s claims, while keeping them “always within the Constitution”. Furthermore, he has rejected the possibility of modifying the 0.7% deficit target imposed on the Autonomous Communities for 2013. The Catalan Finance Minister, Andreu Mas-Colell, explained that, if the payment of financial interest is excluded, meeting next year’s 0.7% deficit target represents a budget surplus, which “makes no sense from an economic point of view in a context of recession”. Mas-Colell proposed that the Autonomous Communities meet a 1.5% deficit target in 2013, as they represent more than a third of Spain’s total public expenditure and Spain has been authorised a total deficit target of 4.5%.

A more political Catalan Government takes office with half of the ministers to continue in the same position

December 27, 2012 11:04 PM | CNA / Gaspar Pericay Coll

The President of the Catalan Government has formed a new Cabinet with more political weight controlled by some of the people closest to him, such as Francesc Homs and Germà Gordó, who have been promoted. Half of the previous ministers will continue in the same position, such as the Vice-President Joana Ortega and the Finance Minister Andreu Mas-Colell. The new Executive combines a few Social-Democrat figures – as a gesture towards the Left-Wing Catalan Independence Party (ERC) – with members of the Christian-Democrat side of the governing Centre-Right Catalan Nationalist Coalition (CiU), in order to respect the internal equilibrium. The new Government has the objectives of organising the self-determination vote, reducing the public deficit and reactivating the economy.

The European Commission sends contradictory messages regarding hypothetical Catalan independence

October 30, 2012 11:07 PM | CNA / Gaspar Pericay Coll

Commissioners Reding and Almunia have publicly said that, if there were a unilateral declaration of independence, Catalonia would not be automatically expelled from the EU. However, after being put under pressure by the Spanish Government, Reding sent a private letter stating she shared Madrid’s analysis that a unilateral independence would lead to exclusion from the EU and having to re-apply for accession, which would require a unanimous vote among the 27 Member States. After Madrid’s complaints about previous statements, the EC stated that it would not give its opinion on the issue if the Spanish Government does not explicitly ask for it “on the basis of a precise scenario”. The Catalan Government has noted that there is not a precise scenario as yet. None of the main parties propose a unilateral declaration of independence.

The Catalan Government accuses the Spanish Executive of invading competences and duplicating rules and services

October 24, 2012 01:15 AM | CNA

The Spokesperson for the Catalan Government, Francesc Homs, presented a report that analyses the normative and organisation duplicities at Spanish and Catalan level. The study, compiled by a Catalan Government's institute, concludes that the Spanish Government permanently invades Catalonia’s exclusive competences, both at normative and organisational levels. According to Homs, the Spanish Government’s attitude creates “contradictions” and “legal uncertainty”, which harms investments and the economy. Homs accused the Spanish Government of “keeping important administrative structures” despite having decentralised the competence, as is the case with tourism.

The massive presence of Catalan independence flags at FC Barcelona’s stadium annoys Spanish nationalists

October 9, 2012 12:54 AM | CNA

The Spanish Foreign Affairs Minister, José Manuel García-Margallo, states that the claim for Catalonia’s independence during the last FC Barcelona vs Real Madrid Clásico football game “damages Spain’s brand”. On the contrary, the Catalan President, Artur Mas, praised the demonstration for its peaceful and democratic nature, and for “projecting our identity to the world”. Furthermore, the Spokesperson for the Catalan Government, Francesc Homs, considered García-Margallo’s statements to be “undemocratic” for not accepting “the free and democratic expression of the people at Camp Nou”. Thousands of Catalan independence flags were shown at the match – many more than in any other game ever. Furthermore, on several occasions, a large part of the stadium shouted pro-independence chants.

Spanish King states that “it is not the time [...] to divide forces” and “chase pipe dreams”

September 19, 2012 01:58 AM | CNA / Gaspar Pericay Coll

In a very unusual movement, Juan Carlos I has issued a short but clear letter one week after the massive demonstration for Catalonia’s independence. The King emphasised the need to remain “united” and asked the people to retake the “values” of the “Democratic Transition”, such as “dialogue” and “the sacrifice of particular interests for the general good”. The Catalan Government does not feel “concerned” by the King’s letter. However, it states that Catalonia “offers solutions” and “does not chase pipe dreams”. Spanish nationalists celebrate the King’s words while PM Mariano Rajoy still remains silent. Catalan and Basque nationalists criticise the King for taking sides and not emphasising values such as “pluralism, diversity, tolerance, and respect for discrepancies”.

Catalonia considering financing from the regional liquidity fund, but rejects claims it is seeking a rescue

July 24, 2012 06:58 PM | CNA

Catalonia has not asked for a rescue from Spain, said the spokesman of the Catalan government, Francesc Homs. At a press conference, Homs denied reports that Catalonia is seeking a full bail-out, but admitted the government is considering participating in the Regional Liquidity Fund. “This is a treasury mechanism”, said Homs, who added that by using the fund Catalonia would not have to meet “any new set of conditions”. When presenting the €18bn fund last week, the Spanish government said the aid will be only offered under “strict conditionality”.

The Catalan Government will wait until dialogue expires before bringing Rajoy’s education decree to the Constitutional Court

June 14, 2012 01:20 AM | CNA

On Tuesday the Catalan Council for Constitutional Guarantees (CGE) declared that the Spanish Government decree cutting €3 billion in education does not respect 2 Constitution articles and 5 other articles from Catalonia’s Statute of Autonomy, being thus unconstitutional and going beyond Madrid’s jurisdiction. The Catalan Government following the CGE’s unconstitutionality assessment decided to bring the education decree to the Constitutional Court(TC), as it did last week with Rajoy’s health decree. However, after the Spanish Government threatened to bring approved initiatives from the Catalan Executive to the TC, the Catalan Government decided to modify the decrees through dialogue and bring the decrees to the TC as a last option.

The Catalan Government will bring Rajoy’s health decree to the Constitutional Court

June 6, 2012 12:14 AM | CNA

Following the advice of the Catalan Council for Constitutional Guarantees (CGE), the Catalan Executive will appeal the Spanish Government’s decree to save €7 billion in healthcare this year. However, it will continue implementing the decree until a judicial decision is made. According to the CGE, the decree violates 3 Spanish Constitution articles and 3 others from the Catalan Statute of Autonomy. The decree does not guarantee equality among all citizens, since it limits access to public healthcare. In addition, it invades the Catalan Government’s powers. Left-wing Catalan parties were the first to ask for CGE’s opinion, since they consider the new decree violates basic social rights.

Controversy surrounds Barcelona’s Immigrant Internment Centre after an intern’s death last January

May 25, 2012 01:46 AM | CNA / Alberto Fernández

The death of a Guinean intern in the Immigrant Internment Centre (CIE) in Barcelona last January, plus the recent prohibition by the Spanish Government’s Delegate in Catalonia to allow the Catalan Ombudsman to visit the facilities of the centre, a month ago, has increased the feeling of distrust towards this type of institutions where immigrants without their residence permit are preventively held until they are sent back to their original countries.