Catalan Government to take Ebro Hydrologic Plan to Brussels as it endangers the Delta’s survival

March 4, 2014 09:45 PM | ACN

The Catalan Executive announced it will take the Spanish Government’s Hydrologic Plan for the Ebro River (Plan Hidrológico del Ebro) to the European Commission, as it will damage the river’s delta, which is a unique environment and one of UNESCO’s Biosphere Reserves. The European Commission replied that it will need “weeks or even months” to analyse the plan, which only guarantees that around 30% of the river’s volume of flow will reach the delta. According to scientific studies, such a volume of water is absolutely insufficient to preserve the Delta, which is a reserve for wildlife as well as a tourist and agricultural centre. The project foresees allocating almost 11,000 cubic hectometres of water per year upstream to irrigate 1.41 million hectares of fields, a third of them newly-created. Brussels is still waiting for Madrid’s documentation but the Commission warned that it will look at the plan “from all the possible angles”.

Five thousand march in Barcelona in support of Spanish unity

December 6, 2013 06:58 PM | ACN

The People’s Party (PP) – running the Spanish Government, the anti-Catalan nationalism party Ciutadans (C’s) and the Spanish-nationalist party UPyD – with no MPs in Catalonia – participated in a march to support the current Constitution and the unity of Spain. The demonstration was organised by the alliance ‘Som Catalunya, Somos España’ (We are Catalonia [in Catalan], we are Spain [in Spanish]), chaired by the former C’s MP José Domingo. It aimed to be a massive march, as an answer to the demonstrations in favour of Catalan independence that gathered around 1.5 million people each. It was also the second part of the demonstration organised for Spain’s National Day, almost two months ago. Back then, 30,000 people demonstrated for Spanish unity while this Friday there were 5,000 demonstrators according to Barcelona Local Police.

Demonstration in Barcelona against austerity and “antisocial” policies

November 25, 2013 05:37 PM | ACN

Thousands of people – 12,000 according to Barcelona’s local police and 200,000 according to the organisers – demonstrated on Sunday in the streets of Barcelona to protest against the Spanish and Catalan Governments’ austerity measures and “antisocial” budgets. Led by the platform ‘Prou Retallades’ (“Stop Budget Cuts”) , the UGT and CCOO trade-unions, as well as political parties and associations, citizens voiced their disapproval of the new pension reform, working fragility and the latest austerity measures. They also specifically protested against the Catalan and Spanish Governments’ budgets for 2014, which they consider “antisocial”. The demonstration organisers criticised the “blind obedience” of the Catalan and Spanish Executives to the European Commission and the Troika.

The use of rubber bullets by Catalan Police is being discussed in Parliament

March 25, 2013 06:58 PM | CNA / Laia Ros

The use of rubber bullets by the Catalan Police is at the centre of a fierce social and political debate. The Catalan Parliament has recently decided to create a commission in order to discuss the methods used by riot police, which is expected to take place at the beginning of April. This kind of ammunition in Catalonia has allegedly caused the loss of an eye and sight loss to 8 people over the last three years and heart necrosis to a man. All sides in this conflict will be consulted in the parliamentary debate and a quick process is expected in order to respond to increasing public concern regarding this method.

The Catalan Public TV & Radio Broadcaster’s budget drops from €348 million to €296 million - 17% less

March 20, 2013 09:46 PM | CNA

The Catalan Government’s grant will be reduced by 14% and revenue from advertising is expected to decrease by 10%. The budget reduction has been approved with loud protests from the workers, since it will mostly affect labour costs, which may plummet by 18%. Since 2010, the production and investment budget has dropped by 50%. The Catalan Public Television Broadcaster’s main station, TV3, has been clearly leading audience rankings in Catalonia for most of the years since its creation in 1983. The majority of the political parties and citizens in Catalonia support strong public television and radio stations. The idea of reducing the TV3 budget has been constantly presented by Spanish nationalists as the way to reduce Catalonia’s public deficit despite the €225 million public grant only representing 5% of the total budget adjustment to be accomplished in 2013.

Transport workers strike coinciding with the Mobile World Congress is cancelled

February 22, 2013 08:33 PM | CNA / Rosa Soto

The Spanish Drivers and Railway Assistant Workers Trade Union, which had called for the strike, has reached an agreement with the Catalan Government’s trains operating company and has cancelled the protest, scheduled for the 25th-28th of February. The strike had been planned to coincide and affect the Mobile World Congress, the main international event of the cell-phone-related industry, to be held in Barcelona next week.

Barcelona taxi drivers end their protest after reaching an agreement to eliminate the new shifts

January 9, 2013 11:58 PM | CNA

After two days of protests making Barcelona El Prat Airport being without cabs for several hours, taxi union representatives and the Metropolitan Taxi Institute – in charge of managing the sector – have agreed to eliminate the shift system and find another way to reduce the number of taxis on the streets. Taxi drivers have stopped all their protests and they will be using the previous system establishing two days of rest per week. The shift system had been implemented to better pair the availability of taxis to the real demand, which has decreased because of the recession. The system had been approved by Barcelona taxi drivers in a binding referendum. However, one week after its implementation, some of them protested stating that it had reduced their turnover.

Catalan hospital staff members demonstrate to support public healthcare

December 12, 2012 11:33 PM | CNA

Staff members from Catalonia’s main hospitals, including Sant Pau, Vall d’Hebron, Clínic, Parc Taulí and Germans Trias i Pujol, carried out several protests on Wednesday. Some of these protests had already started a few days ago and might last a few days longer, such as spending the night in the hospital lobby. They are demonstrating to criticise the budget cuts affecting health centres and to defend the public healthcare system. Some of these hospitals are recognised at an international level for their top quality clinical and scientific research work.

Schengen to be suspended for the ECB summit in Barcelona and 6,500 policemen to be deployed

April 23, 2012 10:48 PM | CNA / Laura Quintana

The Spanish Government has taken this measure for the European Central Bank (ECB) Governing Council that will be held in Barcelona from May 2nd to 4th. The cancellation of the Schengen Protocol comes after a request by the Catalan Minister for Home Affairs to prevent the arrival of violent protesters and guarantee security during the meeting. This precautionary measure will come into effect from April 28th to May 4th, both included. It will be combined with 6,500 police deployed on the streets of the capital of Catalonia. All these measures will be taken after an evaluation of the risks of trouble during the event.

General Strike: irregular support, massive demonstrations, isolated violence and no changes in the Labour Reform Law

March 30, 2012 04:38 PM | CNA / Gaspar Pericay Coll

The General Strike on March 29th ended without significant changes in the Spanish Government’s Labour Reform, but with a clear acknowledgement that there is growing social anger. The strike was unevenly supported in Catalonia. Unions talked about sector strike participation ranging between 97% and 57% and the Catalan Government about strike participations ranging between 24% and 10%. Minimum services worked as planned, without any significant incidents. Demonstrations took place in the main Catalan cities, with the largest in Barcelona. Isolated violent incidents were the only negative parts of what was a relatively calm day.

Violent protests in downtown Barcelona during Catalonia’s university strike against budget cuts

February 29, 2012 10:53 PM | CNA / María Belmez / Gaspar Pericay Coll

Catalan university staff and students protested against the budget cuts, temporary worker lay offs and an increase in university fees. Peaceful demonstrations with thousands of participants were organised in Barcelona, Tarragona, Girona, and Lleida. However, the Barcelona demonstration did not stick to the schedule and split into different protests. A group of students became violent and broke the glass at a bank branch, threw eggs at the stock exchange, burned three containers and one vehicle, and occupied the rectorate at Barcelona University. 500 students concentrated in front of the Mobile World Congress, which is taking place in Barcelona, and police prevented them from breaking in.

Catalan prisons besieged by public employees protesting over working conditions

January 13, 2012 11:26 PM | CNA

Prison employee unions and the Catalan Government, which manages all prisons in Catalonia, have carried an arm wrestling over the past few weeks. Trade unions have been impeding access to some Catalan prisons on three occasions: in early December and this week. The Government claims these actions are illegal, represent a risk and refuses to negotiate under this threat. Unions are mainly protesting over salary cuts and a lack of human resources.

Budget reduction puts Catalan healthcare in the spotlight

October 4, 2011 03:23 PM | CNA

The Catalan Government is obliged to reduce the public deficit and the public healthcare system is also subsequently affected by the budget cuts. Doctor and nursing unions are mobilised, while salary reduction and temporary lay offs are being discussed. Waiting lists have increased due to some hospital services being partially and temporarily closed, especially during the summer months. Many citizens have been protesting, in different demonstrations. The Catalan Health Ministry announced new maximum waiting times for severe interventions. In addition, some hospitals are reopening some operating rooms.