Parliament calls to annul summary courts-martials during Franco regime

October 19, 2016 06:44 PM | ACN

The Catalan Parliament passed this Wednesday a bill aimed at annulling all the express judicial sentences of the Franco regime, known as summary court-martials. 78,000 people were condemned between 1939 and 1975, 20,000 of them through these judicial procedures, among which was the Catalan President Lluís Companys, who was executed in 1940, and the anarchist activist Salvador Puig Antich, who was one of the last victims of the Francoist garrotte executions for political reasons. Now, 41 years after Franco’s death, the victims and relatives of the victims is seeing the Parliament take action so as that all the verdicts can be declared null and void. This proposal of judicial reparation for the “dignity” of the victims was driven by the cross-party pro-independence coalition ‘Junts pel Sí’, the radical-left CUP and the alternative left-coalition ‘Catalunya Sí que es Pot' (CSQP).

Catalonia and Valencia urge Spain to complete the Mediterranean Corridor within a “credible timeframe”

September 19, 2016 07:43 PM | ACN

The Catalan and Valencian governments, together with social and economic representatives, have created a common front to push for the execution of the plan for the Mediterranean Corridor Railway. On Monday, they urged the Spanish Government to change its attitude and undertake pending investments within a “credible timeframe”. In a document presented after the bilateral summit celebrated at Valencia’s Generalitat Palace, the representatives demanded the realisation of the Corridor’s technical configuration and the designation of a Technical Coordinator in order to build a piece of infrastructure that should have a “high capacity” and be “efficient”. The delays in the construction of the infrastructure are affecting private investment: in Catalonia and Valencia pending investments are worth €300 million, according to the Catalan Minister for Planning and Sustainability, Josep Rull.

Modernist castle ‘Casa de les Punxes’ opens to public after 100 years

August 5, 2016 06:06 PM | ACN

The so-called ‘Casa de les Punxes’ (‘House of Spikes’) has opened its doors to the public after being closed for a century. Standing in the middle of Barcelona’s Avinguda Diagonal, this modernist building in the shape of a Gothic castle was completed in 1905 and designed by architect Josep Puig i Cadafalch, who was together with Antoni Gaudi one of the most outstanding figures of the modernist art movement. Officially called ‘Casa Terradas’ the building catches the eye of the visitor to the Catalan capital because of its triangular structure, embracing three different streets in Barcelona’s city centre, and also for its conical roofs ending in spikes, which explains its nickname ‘House of Spikes’. Visits to the castle will be organised around three main areas: the building itself, the figure of its architect and the legend of Sant Jordi, Catalonia’s patron Saint. 

Catalan Minister for Business and Labour denies companies are leaving Catalonia

November 27, 2015 08:31 PM | ACN / Sara Prim

Catalan Minister for Business and Labour, Felip Puig has denied that companies are withdrawing from Catalonia or moving their tax base to other parts of Spain due to the Catalan political process. On the contrary, Puig pointed out, more companies are leaving Madrid to set up their tax base in other Autonomous Communities. He went on to claim that "an orchestrated campaign with distorted data" has been carried out to induce "fear" in companies, investors and the whole of the Catalan citizenry. Puig also emphasised that some of the companies which have changed their tax base have kept the business and the production within Catalonia and noted the 281% rise in foreign investment in Catalonia. 

Strategic gas pipeline Midcat will be ready by 2020

October 5, 2015 03:26 PM | ACN / Sara Prim

“The EU expects that the Midcat will be built by 2020”, stated EU Commissioner for Energy and Climate Action, Miguel Arias Cañete. He made this statement this Monday during theNatural gas and the energy security of Europe’ seminar, organised by Gas Natural Fenosa. The Midcat pipeline is set to be built through the Catalan Pyrenees, linking the Iberian Peninsula with French and Central European networks and aims to reduce Europe's dependency on Russian gas by 40%. According to Cañete the project has a budget of 470 million euros, from which 170 million will have to be paid by Spain. Catalan Minister for Business and Employment, Felip Puig “lamented” the delay in this strategic infrastructure and attributed it to “the lack of enthusiasm” of the French government.

Foreign investment in Catalonia sets new record

September 22, 2015 04:10 PM | ACN

During the second trimester of 2015, foreign investment in Catalonia grew by some 422%, reaching €1,302 million. “We have grown more than ever and we have become a point of reference in Europe” stated Catalan Minister for Business and Employment, Felip Puig. “These results show the world how diversified and solid our economy is” he added. During the first trimester this year, Catalonia was the leading region in Continental Western Europe in terms of investment, both in total amount of investments attracted and in the amount of jobs generated. This growth is much higher than the Spanish average; foreign investment in Spain in the second trimester of 2015 was only 73% higher than that recorded during the same period last year. 

Newer forms of tourist accommodations to be regulated under Catalan Government decree

July 15, 2015 09:29 PM | ACN

The Catalan Government has presented a decree, pending approval "in the coming months," that will regulate up to eight types of tourist accommodations, including new types that until now were not contemplated by the law, like motorhome areas, casual Bed & Breakfasts and informal rentals. The decree is an effort to quell the rapid expansion of tourist accommodations in newer platforms – like the Internet service Airbnb – and bring already-existing establishments under control.  The Catalan Minister for Business and Employment, Felip Puig, said all establishments must be registered. For Bed&Breakfasts and Airbnb rentals (or similar platforms) its users must pay a tourist tax of 0.65€ in Barcelona and 0.45€ in the rest of Catalonia. In addition, the City Councils will determine which areas can be used for placement of accommodations.

Catalan economy to reach pre-crisis GDP levels in 2016

July 10, 2015 09:28 PM | ACN

According to 'Memòria Econòmica 2014' (an annual analysis promoted by the Barcelona Chamber of Commerce), last year the Catalan economy registered its best performance since the start of the economic crisis. In particular, for the first time since 2007, positive net results in terms of employment were recorded. However, current GDP is still 6% below 2007 levels and will remain so until 2016. In addition, if growth continues at the current rate, employment will only reach 2007 levels in seven years, which means in 2021. According to the report's estimates, at the end of 2015, Catalonia will record a 3% GDP growth.

New Trade and Investment offices to be opened by Catalan Government in Belgrade, Tehran, Accra, Lima and Tel Aviv

June 15, 2015 09:29 PM | ACN

"Between 2015 and 2016 the Catalan Government will open new Trade & Investment offices in Belgrade, Tehran, Accra, Tel Aviv and Lima and enlarge its San Francisco-based one", Catalan Business Minister, Felip Puig, announced on Monday. Similarly, the Catalan Executive recently launched a new 'technological antenna' in Boston (Massachusetts) and will soon do the same in Panama, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Senegal and Angola, enlarging its network of business promotion offices abroad. The Minister said that in 2014, Catalan companies exported more than 51% of the Catalan Gross Domestic Product and the Executive is set on further enhancing their internationalisation. "Official data seem to confirm that companies with a stronger global presence suffered the economic crisis less and the Government wants to support them", he concluded.

Veremonte quits BCN World but plans for the multibillion casino, hotel and shopping resort go on

June 4, 2015 09:40 PM | ACN

Veremonte has walked out on the BCN World project, the largest holiday resort in Europe based in the Costa Daurada, near Tarragona, as first announced by the Catalan Business Minister, Felip Puig, on Thursday and later confirmed by the company itself. However, Puig has assured that this will not impede the project's continuation as companies such as Melco, Hard Rock, Grup Peralada and Value Retail remain committed to it. Veremonte did not provide any further details about its decision. The investment company was initially leading the initiative and had reached an agreement with La Caixa bank to buy 500 hectares of land in 2012. However, it missed the final deadline last December to do so and the Catalan Government had to jump in to guarantee the project's continuation, reaching an agreement with La Caixa for the land. However, Veremonte was still linked to the initiative through the casino licences' tender, which it bidding for in partnership with Hard Rock and Melco.

Technological innovation in Catalonia boosted as public research centres merge

May 15, 2015 09:54 PM | ACN

A major step forward in Catalonia's public research on technology has been made this month, with the official establishing of Eurecat on 1 May. The new integrated hub is a result of the merger of 5 advanced Catalan technology centres in the first phase. Last Wednesday, it incorporated a further 13 companies onto its Board. Eurecat is aimed at boosting technology research and its business applicability, particularly among private SMEs, which represent most of Catalonia's economy. Conceived as an engine for key technologies, it is a tool for implementing the Strategy for the Smart Specialisation of Catalonia (RIS3CAT). The latter was drafted by the Catalan Government following the EU Commission's decision to make 'smart specialisation' a prerequisite for attracting EU funds during the period 2014-2020. By the end of 2020, the centre is expected to have attracted funding from the EC's Horizon 2020 framework and the RIS3 to the tune of €200m.