The Catalan Government presents its third austerity plan based on further budget cuts “obliged” by Madrid and Brussels

May 16, 2012 12:59 AM | CNA / Gaspar Pericay Coll

The third plan represents an additional budget cut of €1.5 billion, in order to meet the 1.5% deficit target for this year. The President of the Catalan Government, Artur Mas, said that the plan “guarantees essential services”. He also stated that if the Spanish Government had paid what it owed last year, the current reduction would be halved. The plan decreases budget allocations for public companies, reduces public employee salaries once again, decreases the amount allocated for subsidies, delays investments, privatises some public companies, sells public buildings, and implements the measures decided by the Spanish Government regarding health and education. The opposition criticised the plan for not being concrete and effective enough.

The ‘Spanish revolution’ returns with greater support and more organised demands

May 15, 2012 01:55 AM | CNA

The 15-M Movement, also known as ‘The Indignados’, ‘The Outraged’, or ‘the Spanish Revolution’, which occupied squares throughout Spain in May and June 2011, celebrates its first anniversary. Last summer protesters abandoned the squares and the movement was kept alive in neighbourhood assemblies. One year after the first square occupation, the movement has taken to the streets and squares once again. After a massive demonstration on Saturday May 12th, protesters set up a camp in Catalunya Square in Barcelona, which they will leave on Tuesday. Also in other Catalan squares. They will organise assemblies and debates to gather further support for their programme that aims to change the current system.

Mario Draghi “recognises” Spain’s “significant effort” but asks for “perseverance”

May 4, 2012 12:32 AM | CNA

The President of the European Central Bank, whose Governing Council met in Barcelona on May 3rd, praised the Spanish Government’s “significant effort” made in a “very short period of time” to approve structural reforms. However, Mario Draghi, asked Spain “to persevere” in the strategy based on austerity and accomplish further reforms. The ECB’s President emphasised Europe’s need to adopt measures strengthening economic growth but without abandoning the principles of austerity. Draghi recommended continuing to reduce public spending in order to control the deficit. As expected, the ECB is maintaining the interest rate at 1%.

CatalunyaBanc is put up for auction

April 12, 2012 10:53 PM | CNA

The bank created from Catalan savings bank CatalunyaCaixa is expected to be sold within the next two months. CatalunyaCaixa was intervened by the Bank of Spain last September 30th, as it could not reach the required core capital. The Spanish Fund for Orderly Bank Restructuring (FROB), owned by the Spanish State, currently owns 89.74% of CatalunyaBanc. The FROB has decided to disinvest in the Catalan bank, which starts a competition process that will sell 100% of CatalunyaBanc’s shares.

CatalunyaCaixa to be put up for auction after Easter, announces the Spanish Economy Minister

April 5, 2012 07:52 PM | CNA

The Spanish Minister for the Economy, Luís de Guindos, wants to speed up the process and have the entire Spanish banking system restructured before the summer. The Spanish Minister also said that he is expecting further concentration processes of other financial entities to be announced in the coming weeks. CatalunyaCaixa’s banking business had a profit of €304 million, although the €1.5 billion provisions for the real estate business caused a €1.34 billion loss in 2011.

The Catalan economy grew by 0.7% in 2011 but contracted by 0.4% in the last quarter

February 16, 2012 10:53 PM | CNA

The Spanish Economy grew by 0.7% last year, however decreased by 0.3% in the last quarter, because of the “contraction in domestic demand”. The Catalan Finance Minister, Andreu Mas-Colell, said he would review the 0.8% growth prediction for 2012, since the latest data points to an economic slowdown. Besides, the Spanish Deputy Minister for the Economy, Fernando Jiménez Latorre, stated that data for the first term of 2012 “will be similar” to that of the last quarter of 2011 “or a bit worse”; if confirmed, it would mean a recession.

Josep Borrell asks the European Central Bank and Member State governments “to do the opposite to what they are doing” to save the euro

November 30, 2011 07:10 PM | CNA

The former President of the European Parliament, Josep Borrell, believes that the European Central Bank must buy sovereign debt and that governments need to implement budget cuts at a slower rate in order to avoid a drop in economic growth. Borrell also stressed that “the worst is possible”, and that they must act quickly. However, he added that “the euro will not disappear” but if some countries were left out, “it would be a problem for everybody” as “it would cause a big mess”.

The Catalan Minister of Finance meets with City investors and the Financial Times

October 14, 2011 11:23 PM | CNA / Laura Pous

Andreu Mas-Colell, former Harvard Professor and the current Catalan Finance Minister, travelled to London to meet with financial representatives. The objective is to explain, first-hand, the Catalan Government’s austerity plans and its efforts to reduce the deficit and to foster the economic recovery. Mas-Colell met with City investors, banks and media, such as the ‘Financial Times’.

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.

Catalan farmers offer pears and apples at the French border to protest against the fruit boycott

August 18, 2011 11:31 PM | CNA / Tania Tapia

French farmers have been protesting against their difficulties by destroying fruit and vegetables from Spain once they entered France to supply European markets. After last weeks angriness and frustration, Catalan farmers decide to answer back by offering, for one hour, their apples and pears for free to all the cars coming from France and explaining in four different languages the reason for their action.

Square protesters try to besiege the Catalan Parliament

June 15, 2011 11:55 PM | CNA / Gaspar Pericay Coll

The Catalan Parliament was under siege by the “indignats” protesters, who have been camping on Catalunya Square for the last month. They tried to impede MPs' access to the park where the Parliament is located. Some MPs arrived on foot and were insulted, pushed or sprayed. Others, including the Catalan President and the Parliament’s President, had to arrive via helicopter or inside police vans. The ‘indignats’ movement condemned “the isolated violent episodes”, but said they have the right to block the Parliament. Today the first voting on the budget was held, which reduces public spending by 10%. Despite the protests, the parliamentary debate took place.

Opposition criticises the Catalan Government’s budget and the Spanish Government warns of not meeting the deficit objective

June 1, 2011 12:03 AM | CNA / Gaspar Pericay Coll

After the presentation of the Catalan Government’s budget proposal at the Catalan Parliament, opposition parties criticised its content and the lack of debate on the subject. The Catalan Government needs support from opposition MPs or at least their abstention to approve the budget, which foresees a 2.66% deficit for 2011. The Spanish Vice President for Economy Elena Salgado insists that the mechanisms of deficit control “will be strictly implemented”.