generalitat de catalunya

Sant Jordi 2014: sun shines on Catalan festival of books and roses

April 24, 2014 03:35 PM | Simão Chambel

Perhaps the most famous holiday in Catalonia, Sant Jordi combines culture with romance as books and roses are exchanged. As we all know by now, the legend of Saint George is a celebration of love epitomized by the brave knight who saved a princess from a terrible dragon thus harvesting a beautiful rose from its blood. So how did that become a day for buying and promoting books? Back in 1928, some Catalan booksellers decided to promote the holiday by setting some bookstalls all over the city to celebrate the anniversary of the death of two of the biggest names in literature, Miguel de Cervantes and William Shakespeare. Catalan Book Day was born and it would be declared World Book Day by UNESCO in 1995. The day after the Easter break combined with great weather resulted in a 3% increase in book sales. Swedish author Jonas Jonasson, Spanish authors Almudena Grandes and Pilar Urbano and Catalan writer and athlete Kilian Jornet were the bestsellers for 2014.

The external audit on the previous Catalan Government finances confirms a deficit previously predicted of 4.2% for 2010

September 21, 2011 01:48 AM | CNA

The current Catalan Government, which took office last Christmas, hired an external auditor to better understand the state of the public finances. Deloitte has increased the Government’s deficit for 2010, from 3.86% to 4.2%, in line with the last data known and internally audited. The Catalan Minister for the Economy, Andreu Mas-Colell, explained that “one out of every three euros spent [in 2010] was not covered by tax revenues”. The main opposition party, which formed part of the previous Government and was in charge of finances, stated that their management cannot be made responsible for the deficit increase, as the deficit calculation criteria has changed.

The Spanish Government argues once again against language diversity

September 19, 2011 11:47 PM | CNA

The Spanish Constitutional Court has accepted to make a decision on the Spanish Government’s appeal against the Catalan law promoting the Occitan language in the Val d’Aran County, in the Pyrenees. The Val d’Aran has autonomy status within Catalonia, considering its historic links with the Occitan culture. It is the only place where Occitan has the status of preferred co-official language. Now, this status has been cancelled because of the Spanish Government’s appeal. The Catalan Minister for Culture considers the appeal “an attack against language diversity”.

The Catalan Government is preparing the release of 3,800 million euros in retail bonds

September 15, 2011 11:25 PM | CNA

As carried out on two other occasions in the last year, the Catalan Government is preparing to release of 3,800 retail bonds to get cash. Financial sources informed ACN about the operation, which has not been confirmed by the Catalan Ministry of Economy. The bonds would be offered before November 21st, the day that the bonds issued by the former Catalan Government in autumn 2010 expire.

The Catalan Supreme Court halts the two month deadline to include Spanish as a school language of instruction

September 15, 2011 11:19 PM | CNA

The Catalan Government appealed the order of the Catalan Supreme Court, which insisted that the Catalan school system should be modified in order to comply with the Spanish Supreme Court’s sentence from last December to include Spanish as language of instruction. With the Government’s appeal, the Court’s deadline is automatically suspended, until the Court decides on the appeal. The appeal is based on two sentences from the Spanish Constitutional Court validating the Catalan school model, as well as on the linguistic immersion principle which guarantees social cohesion and equal opportunities.

Fitch lowers Catalonia’s debt rating despite recognising the efforts to reduce the public deficit

September 14, 2011 11:37 PM | CNA / Gaspar Pericay Coll

The rating agency Fitch reduced Catalonia’s long term debt’s appreciation, going from A to A- because of the expected weak economic growth. Nevertheless, Fitch recognised the efforts to reduce the public deficit carried out by the Catalan Government. Fitch has lowered the debt rating of five Spanish Autonomous Communities and given others a negative perspective for the future. The Catalan Ministry of Finance thought that the reduction is due to “the international situation” and stressed that efforts are already made.

Catalan President: “Catalonia and Spain will be more separated” if Catalan demands on the Constitutional amendment are not heard

September 2, 2011 12:06 AM | CNA / Gaspar Pericay Coll

“It means that we are not wanted, we are excluded, we are ignored” stated Artur Mas, President of the Catalan Government and leader of the Centre-Right Catalan Nationalist Coalition (CiU). It was the first time he has spoken on the Constitutional amendment limiting the public deficit that has been agreed on only between the PSOE and the PP. The CiU has protested against reforming the Constitution solely on the basis of the agreement of only two parties. Members of the PP and the PSOE have been trying to convince the CiU to support what both parties had previously agreed, and PM Zapatero (from the PSOE) asked the CiU to show some “moderation”.

The Catalan Government’s decision to modify the payment of a social grant creates problems for the poorest and generates a political storm

August 19, 2011 10:48 PM | CNA / Gaspar Pericay Coll

A grant allocated to the poorest, which is supposed to be their only income, was not paid regularly on August 1st as the Catalan Government changed the payment method. The official explanation is that the change was taken to avoid fraud and be able to ensure the sustainability of this grant system. From now on, the 37,000 beneficiaries will have to personally go the bank with a pay check that will be sent to them. In mid-August, most of the beneficiaries had already received the money. The opposition has heavily criticised the Government, which has recognised errors but stressed that many people were getting money without meeting the conditions. 500 beneficiaries and social workers protested on Thursday in Barcelona.