Pictures of Catalonia’s National Day morning ceremonies

September 11, 2013 02:57 PM | ACN

CNA offers a selection of pictures from the flower offering to Rafael Casanova’s monument and the institutional ceremony at the Park de la Ciutadella. The first event took place at 9am near Barcelona’s Urquinaona Square. It is the most traditional celebration, with institutions, political parties, civil society organisations and even sports clubs bringing flowers to the statue of the leader of Barcelona’s resistance on the 11th September 1714. The second event started minutes after 12pm at the Ciutadella Park, where the Catalan Parliament is located. It is the main institutional ceremony of Catalonia’s National Day, formed by symbolic artistic performances and the raising of the Catalan flag. This year, the ceremony honoured the 20th century poet Salvador Espriu, the Medieval author Bernat Metge and the Catalan flamenco dancer Carmen Amaya.

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%.

Catalan President in the New York Times: “In Europe conflicts are resolved democratically, and that is all we ask”

September 10, 2013 10:03 PM | ACN

This Tuesday, ‘The New York Times’ published an opinion article by the President of the Catalan Government, Artur Mas, in which he shed light on the reasons for carrying out a self-determination vote that would ask Catalans if they want to become independent from Spain. “We have been willing to pay more than our fair share to the central government to support poorer regions of Spain, but it has gone too far” Mas stated. “We want to be Spain’s brother, as equal partners” he added. Wednesday is the National Day of Catalonia and independence supporters have organised a human chain that will link 400 kilometres of Catalonia from north to south, building on the 1.5 million strong demonstration from a year ago.

The Spanish Government states it “will never accept an agreed” self-determination referendum

September 10, 2013 10:00 PM | ACN

The day before the National Day of Catalonia and the ‘Catalan Way towards independence’ human chain, Spain’s Foreign Affairs Minister, José Manuel García Margallo, stated that the Spanish Government “will never accept an agreed” self-determination referendum with Catalonia. The statement comes a few days after it was revealed that the Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy and the Catalan President Artur Mas have been negotiating to find an agreed way to solve the current situation. He also stated that “any independence process would have to come from a unilateral declaration of independence”, which would have “catastrophic consequences” for Spain and “particularly for Catalonia”. However, Margallo added that a new territorial model and financial scheme should be negotiated to stop “the detachment” from Spain that exists in Catalonia.

The Spanish Government bans the Catalan Way towards independence in Valencia for “security reasons”

September 9, 2013 09:48 PM | ACN

The Spanish Government had initially authorised the demonstration in the Valencian Country (also called Valencian Community). However, on Monday, two days before the peaceful event, the Sub-Delegation of the Spanish Executive in the Province of Castelló, decided to ban the human chain in its territory for “security reasons”. The ‘Catalan Way towards independence’ is a peaceful human chain that calls for Catalonia’s independence from Spain, and is inspired by the ‘Baltic Way’. It will cross Catalonia from north to south, a distance of 400 kilometres. In other Catalan-speaking territories, which were many years ago under Catalan rule such as the Valencian Country or the French Catalonia, human chains will also be organised by local organisations.

The Catalan President: “The referendum will happen”

September 6, 2013 05:10 PM | ACN

The President of the Catalan Government, Artur Mas, said on Friday he will do all that is in his power to hold a referendum on independence in 2014. “The referendum will happen. There has been not one step back, nor any slow down in the plans”, he stated. Mas caused political turmoil in Catalonia yesterday when he said he would wait until 2016 to celebrate “plebiscite-style” elections if the Spanish government does not authorise a referendum on independence next year. This Friday, Mas met with the leader of the opposition and his ally on the referendum issue, Oriol Junqueras (ERC), who avoided commenting on the controversy of the 2016 election.

“Plebiscite” election in 2016 if Spain refuses to allow a referendum in Catalonia

September 5, 2013 05:07 PM | ACN

This Thursday, Catalan President, Artur Mas, said he would call a “plebiscite” style election in 2016 if the Spanish government does not allow Catalonia to carry out a referendum on independence next year. In an interview with Catalan radio, Mas rejected calling early elections even if Madrid refuses his proposal for a referendum. Instead, he would ask Catalans to vote in the 2016 election considering which parties are in favour or against independence, thus showing the overall support for the creation of a new Catalan state.

London, Brussels, New York and the Great Wall of China – Catalans around the world hold hands for independence

September 2, 2013 07:48 PM | ACN

Hundreds of Catalans living all over the world are showing their support for independence by organising replicates of the large scale Catalan way that is being prepared in Catalonia for the 11th of September. More than 800 people participated in the Catalan way in London, while hundreds held hands on the Great Wall of China in one of the most amazing demonstrations this weekend. In New York, independence supporters did a human chain in Central Park and assembled shortly afterwards in Times Square with Catalan flags.

Pro-independence supporters prepare a 400 km-long human chain on Catalonia’s National Day

August 23, 2013 09:32 PM | ACN

This coming 11th of September – which is Catalonia’s National Day – pro-independence supporters have organised a gigantic human chain called the ‘Catalan Way Towards Independence’ that will cross Catalonia from North to South stretching 400 km and passing through some of the main cities, such as Barcelona, Girona and Tarragona. After having organised the 1.5 million-strong demonstration of 2012, the civil society platform Catalan National Assembly is preparing a new massive demonstration that calls for independence from Spain. This year’s peculiar demonstration is inspired by the ‘Baltic Way’ of 1989, which gathered 2 million people forming a 670 km-long human chain crossing Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. The ‘Baltic Way’ was organised exactly 24 years ago and issued a manifesto that read “a common European home can only by set up if all European nations are granted a free right to self-determination”.

The Spanish Government imposes a 1.58% deficit target for Catalonia and €2.6 billion of further budget cuts

July 31, 2013 11:38 PM | ACN

The Catalan Finance Minister, Andreu Mas-Colell, accuses the Spanish Government of “asphyxiating” the Autonomous Communities. The 1.58% deficit target imposed to the Catalan Government represents €2.6 billion of further budget adjustment compared to last year’s budget, which ended with a 1.96% deficit. Mas-Colell denounced that the Spanish Executive is “keeping for itself the greatest share of the deficit pie”, while it is only responsible for 50% of Spain’s public spending. The Spanish Government is setting itself a deficit target of 5.2% for 2013 and most of the flexibility allowed by the European Union, which authorised a 6.5% deficit for Spain’s total public sector. Meanwhile, the Autonomous Communities have a deficit target 4 times stricter, although they manage 36% of Spain’s total public spending as well as basic services such as healthcare and education.

The Catalan Government will ask the President of the Constitutional Court to be excluded from issues affecting Catalonia

July 30, 2013 11:11 PM | ACN

The new President of the Spanish Constitutional Court, Francisco Pérez de los Cobos, has turned out to be a member of the People’s Party (PP), which runs the Spanish Government. In addition, the expert in labour law had drafted several reports for the PP on several issues. On top of this, Pérez de los Cobos wrote a book with many sentences against Catalonia and Catalan citizens, amongst other controversial stances. According to the Catalan Government, this person cannot chair an institution that has to act as a referee between the different levels of government in Spain and that has to interpret the Constitution regarding very sensitive issues, such as Catalonia’s self-determination. For this reason, the Catalan Government demanded that Pérez de los Cobos be excluded from all the cases that involve the Catalan Executive.

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).

Former Norway PM Gro H. Brundtland: It would be “very strange” if Catalonia were to leave the EU

July 26, 2013 06:21 PM | ACN / Maria Fernández Noguera

The winner of the 25th Premi Internacional Catalunya, Gro Harlem Brundtland has explained how receiving the award with Pakistani education activist Malala Yousafzai is “special as both are fighting for women’s rights”. The former Prime Minister of Norway and ex Secretary General of the World Health Organisation also stated how it would be “very strange” if Catalonia were to leave the EU in the event of a hypothetical independence from Spain. Brundtland also encourages Catalonia to invest and establish renewable energy systems as well as gender equality quotas in both politics and business.

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 Government will totally modify the "file of endorsements" after the controversy

July 10, 2013 01:07 AM | CNA

The Catalan Executive announced the creation of a website showing the support of social organisations, NGOs and private companies for its policies, named the “file of endorsements”. The Catalan Government’s official aim was to foster participation as well as gather endorsement for its policies. The idea was heavily criticised by some opposition parties and some Madrid-based media. They considered the website to be an anti-democratic measure. According to them, it would split society into two sides: those backing the Government and “being good Catalans” and those going against it and being “bad Catalans”. The Catalan Executive admitted that it was quite shocked with the controversy, since other governments in Spain have published similar lists of supporters. However, it announced that it will totally modify the project.