ramon espadaler

Pickpocket theft on Barcelona's metro down by 34% since 2011 as police initiative succeeds

August 4, 2014 08:20 PM | ACN

Xarxa, an initiative launched by Barcelona's City Council and the Catalan Government in July 2011 to combat petty theft on Barcelona's metro, has managed to reduce criminal activity by 34% in 3 years. Between June 2013 and June 2014, 17,156 robberies that took place in the underground rail network were reported by travellers. This represents a significant improvement from the 26,130 reported crimes in 2011, out of 389 million journeys that were taken on the metro that year.  This drop of criminal activity – mostly pickpocketing – has been due to the success of the combined pressure from the Catalan and Barcelonan local police forces, known as the Mossos d'Esquadra and Guàrdia Urbana respectively. Just 100 repeat offenders are responsible for the 4,417 arrests and 3,181 charges from pickpocketing on the Barcelona's metro. 18 of these criminals have been totally banned from entering the underground rail network.

CiU's 'number 2' quits his post within the coalition but continues leading the Christian-Democrats

July 21, 2014 08:59 PM | ACN

Josep Antoni Duran i Lleida, who was the Secretary General of the centre-right pro-Catalan State two-party coalition CiU, quit his post on Monday in the middle of the tensions for the self-determination vote and Catalonia's potential independence from Spain. However, Duran will continue to lead the Christian-Democrat party within the CiU (UDC) and to be the CiU's strong man in Madrid. In addition, one of his closest allies within UDC, Ramon Espadaler, will take his place as Secretary General. Duran is against independence, although he supports building a Catalan State within a Confederated Spain as well as the self-determination vote scheduled on the 9th of November. However, since a wide majority of people within the CiU would vote for independence (including the Catalan President, Artur Mas), internal tensions for Duran's personal stance have increased. Furthermore, there are increasing rumours that the CiU could break up for the first time in more than three decades.

Independent Catalonia “more vulnerable” to terrorism, says Spanish Home Affairs Minister

June 26, 2014 08:06 PM | ACN

The Spanish Minister of Home Affairs, Jorge Fernández Diaz, on Thursday restated his belief that Catalonia would become more “vulnerable” to terrorist attacks, drug trafficking and organised crime if it were to separate from Spain. He argued that "without the protective umbrella” of Spain’s security forces and collaboration with international intelligence agencies, these threats to Catalan security would increase. "United we are stronger than divided," he reiterated. Some have regarded this warning as over-dramatic, with the Catalan Minister of Home Affairs, Ramon Espadaler, describing it as “apocalyptic.”

Catalan Police to be directed by a person associated with the opposition Socialist Party (PSC)

June 10, 2014 08:59 PM | ACN

Albert Batlle, in charge of Catalonia's prison network during the former left-wing Cabinet (2003-2010), has been appointed the new Director General of the Catalan Police Force, called Mossos d'Esquadra. The Catalan Government, run by the Centre-Right pro-Catalan State Coalition (CiU), appointed Batlle on Tuesday, emphasising he is "an independent person", "with experience". Batlle is a former member of the Catalan Socialist Party (PSC), which is part of opposition in the Catalan Parliament. He will have the challenge to direct the Mossos d'Esquadra after years of controversy linked to the police's use of force. The Catalan Minister for Home Affairs, Ramon Espadaler, asked him "to guide police action" and "to introduce a degree of common sense and calm". Batlle earned prestige as a manager of complex issues and he was one of the key people in the organisation of the Barcelona Olympics in 1992.

Director of Catalan Police resigns after series of controversial episodes

May 27, 2014 11:11 PM | ACN

Manel Prat, General Director of the Mossos d’Esquadra – the Catalan police force – resigned on Tuesday evening “for personal reasons”. He took this step the day before the Catalan Green Socialist and post-Communist Coalition (ICV-EUiA) were due to file a request to the Catalan Parliament to hold a debate on his resignation. Prat took office in January 2011 and the Catalan Police has since been involved in a series of controversies related to the excessive use of force, which in some cases may have had grievous consequences, including demonstrators losing eyes from a rubber bullet and the death of individuals in police custody. Legal investigations are still ongoing and therefore formal sentences have not been issued in these cases, but there is much evidence to indicate that the Catalan Police’s actions are likely to have been out of order. On top of this, there have been many shadows cast on the Mossos’ internal investigations and disciplinary processes. However, Prat denied he was resigning because of these episodes.

Catalan Police Mossos d’Esquadra to have an Ethic Committee

February 13, 2014 07:25 PM | ACN

The Catalan Ministry of Home Affairs has constituted an Ethics Committee for the Catalan Police Force, called Mossos d’Esquadra. It will be chaired by Francesc Torralba, Director of Applied Ethics at Barcelona’s Ramon Llull University. The Ethics Committee was firstly created by the former Left-Wing Cabinet, when the Home Affairs Ministry was run by a Green Socialist (ICV-EUiA). However, it was suppressed in 2011 by his successor from the Centre-Right Catalan Nationalist Coalition (CiU). Now, following recent scandals, such as the death of an arrestee, it has been restored. The Ethics Committee is made of ten members who have a non-renewable term of four years: five representatives of the police and home security are joined by five independent university professors in the field of law, ethics and sociology. Their first assignment will be drafting the Catalan Police’s new Code of Ethics.

Different answers to the FT: Madrid rejects negotiation, Barcelona is open to discussion

December 16, 2013 08:06 PM | ACN

The People’s Party (PP) has answered the Financial Times that “Spanish unity” is “not negotiable” while the main Catalan nationalist parties have insisted they are ready to discuss the self-determination vote’s question, date and procedure. The influential British newspaper has published this Monday an editorial asking for “a negotiated solution” to Catalonia’s independence claims, while stating that the “ingredients for the solution” can be found in the self-determination vote question proposed by Catalan parties. The PP’s Secretary General, María Dolores de Cospedal, replied that “Spaniards’ right to decide” their sovereignty and “Catalans’ rights, as Spaniards, are not negotiable”.

Parties supporting the self-determination vote explain the agreement reached

December 12, 2013 07:46 PM | ACN

The Centre-Right Catalan Nationalist Coalition (CiU), led by Mas and running the Catalan Government, emphasised that “today we are writing history”. In addition, the Christian-Democrat force within the two-party coalition CiU, UDC, highlighted that having an “inclusive and clear” question was possible. The Left-Wing Catalan Independence Party (ERC) recognised it was not their preferred question but it is now theirs it directly asks about independence. The Catalan Green Socialist and Communist Coalition (ICV-EUiA) pointed out that the question also suits those defending a Catalan State within a federal Spain. The radical left-wing and independence party CUP accepts the question in order to have the widest possible pact. The parties appeared together before the press to present the pact and answer questions, joined by the President of the Catalan Government, Artur Mas, who announced the question and date.

Concern in the Ebro Delta over a series of small earthquakes allegedly due to a gas offshore platform

October 4, 2013 09:57 PM | ACN

A series of earthquakes measuring between 2 and 4.2 on the Richter scale have been affecting the coast of southernmost Catalonia and northernmost Valencia in the last few weeks but particularly since last weekend. All the evidence suggests that the Castor offshore gas reservoir is behind the earthquakes. In 2009, the Spanish Government approved the building of an underground gas reservoir located under the sea bed, some 20 kilometres offshore from the Ebro Delta and Vinarós, using the cavity in the rock from a former oil field. Madrid approved the project without an earthquake risk report, despite a formal petition from the Catalan Government. Now, geologists, the Spanish Industry Ministry and the company admit that the injection of gas into the rock could be triggering the earthquakes. Activities have been stopped and the Public Prosecutor’s Office is investigating the case.

A more political Catalan Government takes office with half of the ministers to continue in the same position

December 27, 2012 11:04 PM | CNA / Gaspar Pericay Coll

The President of the Catalan Government has formed a new Cabinet with more political weight controlled by some of the people closest to him, such as Francesc Homs and Germà Gordó, who have been promoted. Half of the previous ministers will continue in the same position, such as the Vice-President Joana Ortega and the Finance Minister Andreu Mas-Colell. The new Executive combines a few Social-Democrat figures – as a gesture towards the Left-Wing Catalan Independence Party (ERC) – with members of the Christian-Democrat side of the governing Centre-Right Catalan Nationalist Coalition (CiU), in order to respect the internal equilibrium. The new Government has the objectives of organising the self-determination vote, reducing the public deficit and reactivating the economy.

The CiU proposes an independent Catalan state within the EU by 2020

October 29, 2012 11:00 PM | CNA

The Centre-Right Catalan Nationalist Coalition (CiU) presented its electoral programme for the next Catalan elections, to be held on the 25th of November. CiU’s leader and incumbent President of the Catalan Government – who is running for re-election, Artur Mas, stated that “if we want a leading Catalonia in Europe, we need a state structure, which we do not have”. CiU’s electoral programme talks about creating “state structures” but it does not openly mention the word “independence”; however, it is the closest a CiU electoral programme has ever been to supporting an independent Catalonia. The document points towards Europe and is called ‘Catalonia 2020’. “We want to be stuck with Europe. If we were to choose a partner, Europe would be our current marriage choice”, stated Mas.