The EP approves a new regulation which would grant Barcelona Port newfound autonomy

March 10, 2016 11:09 AM | ACN

The European Parliament has approved a new Port Services Regulation (PSR) which grants each port the legislative power to regulate its own rates and internal structure. This new regulation could end the “hypercentralism” of the Puertos del Estado, the government-run sector which controls the ports in Spain. As the Port of Barcelona has seen more and more traffic in the last few years, this could allow for it to truly ¨thrive”, by allowing it to lower its rates to more competitive prices, and opening it to becoming a European port for international commerce. The conservative People’s Party (PP), the Spanish Socialist Party (PSOE), and Unionist Ciutadans all voted against the legislation. 

Pedro Sánchez rejected again by the Spanish Parliament

March 4, 2016 09:36 PM | ACN

Spanish Socialist leader Pedro Sánchez was rejected again this Friday by the Spanish Parliament. The Spanish Socialist Party (PSOE)’s candidate to form a new government in Spain got only 131 votes in favour, from the 350-seat Spanish Parliament. As opposed to in the first round of the investiture debate, the MP from the Canarian Coalition (CC) voted in favour of Sánchez rather than abstaining. The other parties in the Spanish Parliament, the current governing party, the conservative People’s Party (PP), alternative left Podemos and Catalan pro-independence parties ERC and ‘Democràcia i Llibertat’ voted against his investiture, totalling 219 votes. Now it will be time for Spain’s King, Philip VII, to decide the further steps to be taken. 

Spanish Parliament says ‘no’ to Pedro Sánchez’s investiture

March 2, 2016 07:27 PM | ACN / Sara Prim

Spanish Socialist leader Pedro Sánchez has failed in his effort to be invested in the first round of the Spanish Investiture debate. He only obtained the support 130 MPs in the 350-seats Spanish Parliament. The 90 MPs from Sánchez’s own party, Spanish Socialist Party (PSOE) and the 40 from Unionist Ciutadans voted in favour, the MP from Canary Coalition (CC) abstained from voting and all the other parties, including the current governing party, conservative People’s Party, alternative left Podemos and Catalan pro-independence parties ERC and ‘Democràcia i Llibertat’ voted against his investiture. The next round in voting will take place on Friday. During the investiture debate, Sánchez invited PP and Podemos to join his alliance with Ciutadans and assured that he will “never” accept a referendum in Catalonia as it would be “the worst way” to break Spain apart. For his part, Catalan President Carles Puigdemont stated that Sánchez’s failure confirms that there is no alternatSive for Catalonia other than to push for independence.

Pedro Sánchez calls for “a majoritarian agreement” in the first round of the Spanish investiture debate

March 1, 2016 08:10 PM | ACN

Spanish Socialist Party (PSOE) leader Pedro Sánchez opened this Tuesday the first round of the investiture debate to instate a new Spanish President. During his speech, Sánchez assured that to make “the change” possible it is necessary to reach “a majoritarian agreement” and “leave Mr. Rajoy’s and the People’s Party’s politics behind”. The candidate to form government also stressed that PSOE “doesn’t aim to impose anything and has no red lines” in reference to alternative left Podemos, which has refused to support the agreement reached by PSOE and anti-Catalan nationalism Ciutadans. Sánchez is far from the 176 votes required to be invested on Wednesday, as he has only secured the 90 votes of his own party, 40 from Ciutadans and 1 from the Canary Coalition (CC).

Spain’s king requests Socialist leader Pedro Sánchez to form government

February 3, 2016 10:44 AM | ACN

This Wednesday, Spain’s king Philip VI requested Spanish Socialist Party (PSOE) leader Pedro Sánchez to start the negotiations with the other groups in the Spanish Parliament so that the first investiture debate can take place. Sánchez assured that he is “aware of the difficulties” but expressed his will to “unblock the current situation” in Spain. PSOE obtained 90 seats from the 350 in the Spanish Parliament and would therefore need the support of both alternative left ‘Podemos’ (68 seats) and anti-Catalan nationalism Ciutadans (40 seats) to reach the absolute majority. However, Podemos has openly expressed its support for holding a referendum in Spain, while both PSOE and Ciutadans have repeatedly rejected the possibility of holding such a poll. The Conservative People’s Party (PP), the party currently governing Spain, obtained 123 MPs in the 20th of December Spanish elections. 

The Spanish Government may impugn Puigdemont’s taking office

January 13, 2016 05:08 PM | ACN

Current Spanish Prime Minister, Mariano Rajoy insisted that the Spanish Government’s legal services will “write a report” to evaluate the procedure used in new Catalan President, Carles Puigdemont’s, take office. During the ceremony, Puigdemont didn’t mention Spain’s King nor the Spanish Constitution. “According to this report we will make the appropriate decisions, following the current legislation and the general interests of all the Spanish citizens” he warned. Despite petitions from he other groups in Spanish Parliament, Rajoy admitted that “so far” he “doesn’t intend” to meet with Puigdemont. 

PSOE won’t negotiate “Spain’s territorial integrity”

December 28, 2015 02:44 PM | ACN / Sara Prim

The Spanish Socialist Party, PSOE, will “tackle its legitimate responsibility” to offer an alternative government to the ruling People’s Party but not “at any price”. “We won’t dialogue on questions such as territorial integrity” warned PSOE’s leader Pedro Sánchez. “The coexistence crisis in Catalonia will only be solved with a constitutional reform and not with a referendum on breaking Spain apart” as this would be “the start of new breakdowns”, he stated. In relation to this, Sánchez assured that PSOE won’t reach any agreement with any party which supports a referendum, referring to alternative left Podemos. “We are for the right to decide but for all Spanish citizens”, he stated and assured that the “brightest pages in Spain’s history” have been written through dialogue. 

The PP wins the Spanish Elections but loses its absolute majority

December 21, 2015 12:32 AM | ACN / Sara Prim

The party led by Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has obtained 123 MPs from the 350 in the Spanish Parliament, which represents a decline of 63 seats in comparison to the last Spanish Elections. The Spanish Socialist Party, PSOE, has obtained 90 seats, 20 less than in 2011 and the two new parties running for the Spanish Elections for the first time, alternative left Podemos and anti-Catalan nationalism Ciutadans, got 68 and 40 seats respectively. In Catalonia, alternative left coalition En Comú Podem has won the elections, obtaining 12 MPs. Pro-independence left wing ERC has obtained 9 MPs, three times more than in the 2011 elections. Democràcia i Llibertat got 8 MPs and Catalan Socialist Party 7 MPs, half of what they obtained in 2011. Ciutadans have secured 5 representatives in their first time running for the Spanish Elections, the same number of seats as the Catalan People’s Party (PPC). The overall turnout in the whole of Spain was 73.22%.

20-D Spanish Elections: Catalonia and the end of the two-party system on the spotlight

December 19, 2015 04:09 PM | Sara Prim

This Sunday, more than 35 million Spanish citizens are entitled to elect the 350 MPs in the Spanish Parliament and the 208 members of the Senate. Election Day will take place less than three months after the 27-S Catalan elections, which saw the victory of pro-independence forces – a fact that has definitely focused the electoral campaign and the main parties’ programmes. The 20-D Spanish Elections are also set to be crucial as they may mark the end of the two-party system in Spain comprised of the Conservative People’s Party, PP, and the Spanish Socialist Party, PSOE, which have alternated in the Spanish government since 1982. Two new parties are set to burst into the Spanish Parliament and may have a key role in the post-electoral agreements: anti-Catalan nationalism ‘Ciutadans’ and alternative left ‘Podemos’. They have both shown their force and popular support in the past European, regional and local elections.

Party Review: En Comú Podem, the Catalan alternative left coalition

December 10, 2015 02:57 PM | Sara Prim

The alternative left in Catalonia is gathered around En Comú Podem, a coalition which is running for the Spanish elections with members from Catalan Green-Socialist party ICV, alternative left-wing Podem, which is the Catalan branch of the Spanish party Podemos, and representatives from the 'En Comú' candidacies, which won significant mayoralties in the last local elections, for example that of Barcelona, with social activist and now Barcelona mayor Ada Colau as its strongest asset. En Comú Podem's programme focuses on social measures to beat the crisis which "is still lashing Spain" and improving the situation "of those who are suffering its consequences", stated its top member, Xavier Domènech. Regarding Catalonia's push for independence, Domènech defended the celebration of a "binding referendum" with "a clear question which can be answered with yes or no", he stated.

Spain's electoral campaign starts with Catalonia's independence in the spotlight

December 4, 2015 12:28 PM | Sara Prim

The campaign for the upcoming Spanish elections has begun. On the 20th of December Spaniards will elect 558 of the 616 seats in Spanish bicameral Parliament: 350 for the Spanish Parliament and 208 for the Senate. The strategy regarding Catalonia and its push for independence is set to be a crucial battlefield - many parties have expressed their support or open opposition to Catalonia's aspirations and the reform of the Spanish Constitution to improve Spain's current territorial organisation has also been the focus of the main parties' programmes. Besides this debate, the upcoming elections are set to mark the end of the two-party system, represented by People's Party (PP) and Spanish Socialist Party (PSOE), which have alternated in the Spanish government since 1982. Anti-Catalan nationalism ‘Ciutadans’ and alternative left ‘Podemos’ have already shown their force and popular support in the past European, Regional and Local elections and are likely to burst into the Spanish Parliament, forcing the main parties to reach agreements. 

Spanish alternative left Podemos openly support a referendum in Catalonia

November 25, 2015 07:37 PM | ACN / Sara Prim

In order to outline their support for the celebration of a referendum in Catalonia, Spanish alternative left Podemos added a paragraph to its political programme for the upcoming 20-D Spanish elections. Initially, the text didn’t mention the word “referendum”and just referred to “the rights of the autonomic governments to hold consultations amongst the citizens regarding the territorial fitting”. This is still stated in the programme but they have now made clear their commitment to “promote the celebration of a referendum with legal guarantees in Catalonia so that the citizens could choose the kind of territorial relationship that they would like to establish with Spain”. The programme also outlines the party’s will to evaluate and debate the experiences of the UK and Scotland and Canada and Quebec.

Catalonia’s independence the focus of Spain’s electoral campaign

November 2, 2015 03:08 PM | Sara Prim

Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has started his round of meetings with Spanish socialist party PSOE, Anti-Catalan nationalism ‘Ciutadans’, alternative left ‘Podemos’ and Spanish left IU, the main political forces running in the 20-D Spanish elections. The aim of these meetings was to set a common programme to deal with Catalonia’s push for independence, which is outstanding as the centre of the electoral campaign. “I take responsibility for leading the answer to this defiance”stated Rajoy and added that the Spanish State “has by far enough mechanisms to successfully face this situation”. Rajoy assured that during these meetings with the other political parties he asked his interlocutors to “trust”these mechanisms and avoid “unproductive debates”on such matters, referring to the possible application of article 155 of the Spanish Constitution, suggested by Ciutadans’leader Albert Rivera, which would imply the suspension of Catalonia’s autonomy. 

Spanish King to the European Parliament: “I’m European because I’m Spanish”

October 7, 2015 03:46 PM | ACN / Sara Prim

Philip VI, the Spanish Monarch, defended this Wednesday “a united Spain” at Strasbourg’s plenary. “Europe has been built on the basis of adding rather than deducting, of uniting rather than dividing and the ability to share and be supportive” he stated. The EU can count “on a united Spain, which is proud of its diversity” and “respectful of the rule of law”, he emphasised. The Spanish King praised the Constitution and described it as “the great agreement” which “protects the regions in Spain in the exercising of their diverse cultures and traditions, languages, and institutions”. Spanish alternative-left Podemos MEP Pablo Iglesias criticised Philip VI’s role regarding Catalonia’s push for independence and stated that “the king shouldn’t interfere in issues that have to be democratically solved by the citizens”.  

Merkel says it is necessary to “respect EU treaties” regarding Catalonia’s independence process

September 1, 2015 08:05 PM | ACN / Shobha Prabhu-Naik

The German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, has assured that her position on the process of sovereignty in Catalonia is "very similar" to that of the Spanish Prime Minister, Mariano Rajoy, addressing the issue at a bilateral summit held on Monday and Tuesday. In a joint press conference, Merkel emphasised the necessity to "respect" EU treaties that "guarantee the sovereignty and territorial integrity of each state". "It is very important that international law is respected. Here there is no difference", she said in response to journalists' questions. For his part, Rajoy guaranteed that whilst he is Prime Minister, there will be "no split" between Catalonia and Spain.