Catalan President asks the Socialists not to run away from self-determination

November 19, 2013 04:46 PM | ACN

The parties supporting Catalonia’s right to self-determination regret the Catalan Socialist Party (PSC)’s decision to step down from giving active support to this political process. Last week the PSC’s leadership decided not to back any initiative in favour of a self-determination vote that has not been agreed in advance with the Spanish Government, which totally rejects the idea and even refuses to talk about it. The President of the Catalan Government and leader of the Centre-Right Catalan Nationalist Coalition (CiU), Artur Mas, asked the PSC “not to get off the train”, stressing the party’s tradition of defending Catalan language, culture, identity and self-government. The Left-Wing Catalan Independence Party (ERC) and the Catalan Green Socialist and Communist Coalition (ICV-EUiA) consider the PSC is now against a self-determination vote.

Catalan Parliament rejects a “unilateral” self-determination referendum

November 7, 2013 10:02 PM | ACN

The Parliament of Catalonia rejected a proposal to call for a “unilateral” self-determination referendum in the event that the Spanish State “blocked” the possibility of organising a vote by agreement. The motion was rejected with the votes of the Centre-Right Catalan Nationalist Coalition (CiU) – which runs the Catalan Government – and the three parties defending the unity of Spain: the Catalan Socialist Party (PSC), the People’s Party (PP) – which runs the Spanish Government, and the anti-Catalan nationalism and populist party Ciutadans (C’s). The motion supporting the idea of calling for a self-determination referendum in “a unilateral way” had been presented by the radical left-wing and independence party CUP, which has only 3 MPs in the 135-seat chamber. However it was also backed by the second-largest group, the Left-Wing Catalan Independence Party (ERC) and some of the MPs from the Catalan Green Socialist and Communist Coalition (ICV-EUiA).

Catalan Government’s budget for 2014 to have a 1% deficit, more social spending and further privatisations

November 5, 2013 11:40 PM | ACN / Gaspar Pericay Coll

The Catalan Government has presented its budget proposal for 2014, which posts a 1% deficit, representing a 35.5% annual reduction and amounting to €1.98 billion, in line with the 2014 deficit targets imposed by the Spanish Government. The budget prioritises healthcare, education and social policies, which represent 71% of the total non-financial spending. Non-financial spending grows by 0.2% and reaches €20.30 billion, while the total spending amounts to €29.31 billion. The Catalan Finance Minister stressed that spending had not been reduced this year since in the last 3 years it had already dropped by 22%. Budget cuts “have reached their limit”, as otherwise “social cohesion” and “the Welfare State” would “be at risk” he said. In 2014 the Catalan Executive will spend the same per inhabitant as it was doing in 2004 taking into account inflation (€1,901).The adjustment for 2014 focuses on increasing revenue by €3.2 billion, mostly through new taxes (€910 million) and the sales of assets and privatisations (€2.32 billion). On top of this, the Catalan Government forecasts a 0.9% economic growth for 2014, leaving behind the recession of 2012 (-1.2%) and 2013 (-1.1%).

The Constitutional Court upholds ruling that Balearic Islands’ civil servants are no longer required to know Catalan

October 2, 2013 10:38 PM | ACN

On the same day, the Court re-affirmed its decision to keep its current Chairman in position despite his anti-Catalan public stance and having been a member of the governing People’s Party (PP) until 2011. On top of this, Catalan and Basque Members of the European Parliament from five different parties formally asked the European Commission to intervene against the politicisation of the Spanish Constitutional Court, stressing that EU democracies should have an independent judiciary. The Constitutional Court is the highest interpreter of Spain’s legislation, has to guarantee the respect of fundamental rights and acts as a referee between the different government levels and political actors. In this capacity, it ruled against the appeal presented by the Spanish Socialist Party (PSOE) against the law that abolished the requirement to know Catalan for working as a public servant in Majorca, Minorca, Ibiza and Formentera, despite it being the local language.

The Catalan Parliament approves requesting the Spanish Parliament to authorise a self-determination vote

September 27, 2013 10:08 PM | ACN

In addition, the Catalan Chamber has also approved setting up the exact date, question and legal process for the self-determination vote before the end of the year. The resolution was approved with 65% of the Catalan Parliament’s members voting in favour. However, the Catalan Socialist Party (PSC) – which is part of the Spanish Socialist Party (PSOE) – finally decided to vote against the text. The request was approved with the votes of the Centre-Right Catalan Nationalist Coalition (CiU) – which runs the Catalan Government, the Left-Wing Catalan Independence Party (ERC), the Catalan Green Socialist and Communist Coalition (ICV-EUiA) and the radical left wing and independence party CUP. The PSC, the People’s Party (PP) – which runs the Spanish Government – and the anti-Catalan nationalist and populist party Ciutadans (C’s) voted against.

A self-determination vote without a ‘third way’ and a more social budget for 2014

September 26, 2013 11:46 PM | ACN

The President of the Catalan Government and leader of the Centre-Right Catalan Nationalist Coalition (CiU), Artur Mas, and the Left-Wing Catalan Independence Party (ERC) agreed on speeding up the process of building “state structures” and drafting the “most social budget” in Catalonia’s recent history. In addition, Mas criticised the ‘third way’ between independence from Spain and the current situation proposed by the Catalan Socialist Party (PSC) and CiU’s ‘number 2’, saying that Catalans “have been trying” this way “for the last 100 years” and “it has never worked”. Spanish nationalist People’s Party (PP) and Ciutadans (C’s) called on Mas to stop the self-determination process. However, the main Catalan parties, from left to right and representing 77% of the parliamentary seats, presented a common text supporting Catalonia’s right to self-determination through a legal vote.

The majority of Catalan parties propose an independence vote in 2014 the day after the human chain

September 12, 2013 10:19 PM | ACN

The day after Catalonia’s National Day and the 1.6 million strong human chain supporting independence from Spain, Catalan parties reacted to the massive demonstration. The President of the Catalan Government and leader of the governing Centre-Right Catalan Nationalist Coalition (CiU), Artur Mas, re-affirmed yesterday his “commitment” to organising a referendum on self-determination for 2014. The Left-Wing Catalan Independence Party (ERC) declared its intention to work with other parties and civil society organisations on having the question and exact date for the vote ready within the next two months in order to call it in 2014. The Catalan Socialist Party (PSC) asked the other parties to put forward their projects for the day after the referendum.

52% of Catalans support independence from Spain, according to a Madrid-based media

September 11, 2013 02:30 PM | ACN

Cadena Ser, Spain’s main radio station, has published an opinion poll on Catalonia’s National Day which points out that 52.3% of Catalans would vote “yes” in an independence referendum, while 24.1% would vote against it. It also reveals that 80.5% of Catalans want to hold a self-determination referendum. Furthermore, 59.7% of Catalans would still cast their vote even if the referendum was declared illegal. The opinion poll also indicates that 46.8% of Catalans would continue to support independence even if the Spanish Government agreed to grant Catalonia a fiscal scheme similar to that of the Basque Country, guaranteeing more financial resources. In this hypothesis, 27% would be against independence. Finally, the poll also indicated that, if elections were to be held in Catalonia, the Left-Wing Catalan Independence Party (ERC) would win with 22.1% of the votes, while the current governing Centre-Right Catalan Nationalist Coalition (CiU) would come second with 20.7%.

The Catalan Government extends the 2012 budget for the whole of 2013 due to the low deficit target

August 6, 2013 09:27 PM | ACN

The President of the Catalan Government, Artur Mas, officially announced on Tuesday that last year’s budget will be extended for the whole of 2013, since the 1.58% deficit target imposed by the Spanish Executive is too low and arrives too late. However, he explained that the budget extension guidelines will meet the 1.58% deficit target, because otherwise they would not have the money to pay for the additional spending. Furthermore, Mas announced they will take the “unfair and illegal split” of the deficit targets among the different government levels to court, since they consider the Spanish Government has not done it “in a proportional way”, since it keeps most of the deficit allowed for Spain’s total public sector for itself. Some opposition parties have strongly criticised the Catalan Government for extending the budget.

The Catalan President denies playing any part in the ‘Palau’ corruption case before a parliamentary committee

July 31, 2013 10:40 PM | ACN

Artur Mas, the President of the Catalan Government, challenged the opposition parties to present a vote of no-confidence if they want him to step down. Mas, who leads the Centre-Right Catalan Nationalist Coalition (CiU) and the Liberal party CDC, emphasised that CDC has been investigated “until the last millimetre” and the judge has not indicted any party leader or member of the Catalan Executive. He explained that the party’s finance management team and its political leadership have been separated since the late 1990s. The Catalan President insisted he believes in the word given by the party treasurer, who has been indicted by the judge. However, he guaranteed that, if the trial proves that CDC received any illegal money, the party “will return up to the last cent” and will take full responsibility for it. The opposition considered the explanations to be insufficient and demanded resignations if the corruption case is finally proven.

The Catalan President hopes the Spanish Prime Minister will answer the letter to organise a self-determination vote

July 29, 2013 08:55 PM | ACN

The President of the Catalan Government, Artur Mas, is expecting an answer from the Spanish Prime Minister, Mariano Rajoy, to the letter sent on Friday which formally asked for a self-determination vote to take place in Catalonia. “I think Rajoy will answer the letter, but we will see when and how he does so”, stated Mas on Monday. The letter was sent in order to formalise in an explicit manner the willingness of the majority of the Catalan people to hold a self-determination referendum to decide on Catalonia’s collective future and its hypothetical independence from Spain. The formal request was part of the parliamentary stability agreement between the governing Centre-Right Catalan Nationalist Coalition (CiU) and the Left-Wing Catalan Independence Party (ERC).

The Catalan Parliament debates on measures to fight youth unemployment

July 24, 2013 10:00 PM | ACN / Gaspar Pericay Coll

The Catalan Parliament has devoted a two-day plenary session to debate the youth unemployment problem and how it could be reduced. According to the latest Active Population Survey (EPA), the youth unemployment rate in Catalonia reached 52.7%. This means that 1 out of 2 youngsters between 16 and 24 years old who want to work cannot find a job. Around 151,000 youngsters are unemployed in Catalonia; 64% of them worked in the service sector and 17% have never worked. The Catalan President, Artur Mas, asked to manage the proportional share of the European Union’s funds allocated to fight youth unemployment in Spain, since the Catalan Executive holds the competences.

The Catalan President and CDC leader, Artur Mas, guarantees he will react if the party’s corruption scandal is proved

July 17, 2013 09:37 PM | ACN

The day after the judge ended his investigation and stated he believed the governing party Convergència Democràtica de Catalunya (CDC) had earned 5.1 million in an influence peddling case, the party’s leader and President of the Catalan Government, Artur Mas, talked in front of the Catalan Parliament. Mas stated that the judge’s suspicions about CDC were “not proved” and he underlined the trial had not started yet. The Catalan President said he believed in the word of the party members involved in the scandal. However, he also stated that, if at the end the suspicions are backed up with proofs, he “will be the first one to act” as the party leader. The opposition parties asked Mas for further explanations.

The Spanish Constitutional Court maintains the suspension of the Catalan Declaration of Sovereignty

July 12, 2013 01:02 AM | CNA

The Constitutional Court rejected the allegations presented by the Catalan Parliament against the decision to temporarily suspend the Declaration of Sovereignty. This text was approved in January by two thirds of the Catalan Parliament and it stated that the people of Catalonia are sovereign to decide on their collective future. The Spanish Government took the Declaration to the Constitutional Court, which accepted the appeal and temporarily suspended the text until it reached a final decision – which might take years. The Catalan President stated he was counting on the Court’s decision to maintain the suspension and he emphasised that Catalonia’s self-determination process keeps moving forward. The majority of Catalan parties accused the Constitutional Court of being politicised while Spanish nationalist parties celebrated the decision.

The Catalan Parliament establishes the committee for self-determination with 80% support

July 5, 2013 12:44 AM | CNA

On Thursday, the Parliament of Catalonia set up the parliamentary committee for the right to self-determination with the support of all parties except the Spanish nationalists People’s Party – which runs the Spanish Government – and the anti-Catalan nationalism Ciutadans. 80% of MPs support the creation of this commission, which will study legal ways to organise a self-determination vote in Catalonia. The Speaker of the Catalan Parliament, Núria de Gispert, will chair the committee due to its importance. De Gispert has guaranteed she will play the “neutral” role of “moderator”. On the same day, the youth of the parties supporting the creation of this committee signed a manifesto backing up Catalonia’s right to self-determination.