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Catalonia, state of the European Union?, by Carles Boix

Catalonia, state of the European Union?, by Carles Boix | AC Affairs | Scoop.it

As part of its electoral campaign based on fear and threats, the Spanish government insists that Catalonia would be automatically excluded from the European Union as soon as it became a sovereign state. The Rajoy government grounds its position on two articles of the EU Treaty. In the first place, article 4.2, which states that "the Union shall respect the essential functions of [the member states], including ensuring the territorial integrity of the State." In the second place, article 20, which states that "any person holding the nationality of a Member State shall be a citizen of the Union."

Article 20 of the Treaty is certainly irrelevant to the issue at hand. It develops an important principle when it states that European citizenship derives from and overlaps with the original state citizenship and that, therefore, the EU remains committed to protect the human rights of all its citizens (even against Member States if necessary)...

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Madrid says fresh Catalan independence push is ‘step to nowhere’ - FT

Madrid says fresh Catalan independence push is ‘step to nowhere’ - FT | AC Affairs | Scoop.it

The political stand-off between the Spanish government and leaders in the region of Catalonia has hardened further, after the Catalan president outlined a plan to achieve independence from Spain by 2016 and Madrid dismissed it as a “step towards nowhere”.

Tensions between the two sides have risen steadily in recent months, fuelled by the Catalan government’s decision to hold an informal independence ballot on November 9.

The vote went ahead despite the opposition of Spain’s government and constitutional court. More than 2.3m voters – roughly one-third of the regional population – took part in the poll, with more than 80 per cent backing an independent state. Artur Mas, the Catalan president, is now under criminal investigation for defying the court’s ruling that the vote be suspended.

 

Shrugging off the rising pressure from Madrid, Mr Mas on Tuesday outlined a new road map towards independence. At its core is a proposal to hold an early regional election and to transform the ballot into a quasi-referendum on independence.

 

The Catalan president said he wanted pro-independence parties and individuals to run on a joint list, with the aim of securing an absolute majority – and a powerful mandate to negotiate independence with Madrid and other European governments...

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The only solution to the Catalan question is to recognise that Catalonia is a separate demos capable of deciding its own future - EUROPP

The only solution to the Catalan question is to recognise that Catalonia is a separate demos capable of deciding its own future - EUROPP | AC Affairs | Scoop.it
A non-binding consultation on Catalan independence was held on 9 November, with over 80 per cent of those voting indicating that they would like Catalonia to be independent. Montserrat Guibernau ar...
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David Mackay obituary - The Guardian

David Mackay obituary - The Guardian | AC Affairs | Scoop.it
Architect in the Barcelona practice that designed the athletes’ village and harbour for the city’s Olympic Games in 1992

 

David Mackay, who has died aged 80, was a partner in the Barcelona architecture practice MBM (Martorell, Bohigas & Mackay), which designed the athletes’ village and harbour for Barcelona’s 1992 Olympic Games and gained an international reputation for repairing and shaping cities.

 

The career of the architect at the heart of the urban regeneration of Barcelona started in the 1960s, when he took a stand against the neglect and speculation that ravaged the city under the Franco dictatorship. It blossomed in the 1980s, when the Socialist party that ran the city council responded to pressure from below to create more public space and convert post-industrial wastelands to housing and social use...

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Barcelona’s Lionel Messi becomes Champions League’s all-time top scorer - The Guardian

Barcelona’s Lionel Messi becomes Champions League’s all-time top scorer - The Guardian | AC Affairs | Scoop.it
Lionel Messi became the all-time leading scorer in the Champions League after scoring twice for Barcelona in their Group F clash against Apoel Nicosia
Lionel Messi has become the all-time leading scorer in the Champions League after scoring a hat-trick for Barcelona in their Group F clash at Apoel Nicosia. Messi moved level with the former Real Madrid striker Raúl’s tally of 71 goals with a brace in Barça’s previous match at Ajax, and on Tuesday he claimed sole ownership of the record...
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Catalonian independence referendum - Nouse

Catalonian independence referendum - Nouse | AC Affairs | Scoop.it
The decision of the Scottish people to remain part of the UK in September sparked relief across Britain. However, the decision by the British government to grant the Scottish people the opportunity...
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Lionel Messi's hat-trick breaks La Liga record as Barcelona beat Sevilla - The Guardian

Lionel Messi's hat-trick breaks La Liga record as Barcelona beat Sevilla - The Guardian | AC Affairs | Scoop.it
Lionel Messi became La Liga’s record goalscorer, with 253, after hitting a hat-trick for Barcelona in their 5-1 defeat of Sevilla at the Camp Nou

 

Lionel Messi set a La Liga scoring record of 253 goals with his latest hat-trick, as Barcelona brushed aside Sevilla. The previous mark has been held by former Athletic Bilbao striker Telmo Zarra since 1955, which marked the end of the Spaniard’s 15-year career with the Basque club. Zarra scored his 251 goals in 277 appearances while Argentina captain Messi needed 289 games.

 

“We are all very happy and of course also for Leo,” Xavi, the Barça captain, said. “He has achieved an amazing and historic record.”

 

Messi, 27, equalled the record in the 21st minute with a typically breathtaking effort, curling a left-footed free kick around the wall and past Sevilla goalkeeper Beto. He struck again from close range in the 72nd minute and scored a third goal six minutes later with a powerful low drive from the edge of the penalty area...

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Lionel Messi happy at Barcelona, says manager Luis Enrique – video - The Guardian

Lionel Messi happy at Barcelona, says manager Luis Enrique – video - The Guardian | AC Affairs | Scoop.it
The Barcelona coach, Luis Enrique, says he is sure striker Lionel Messi is happy at the Catalan club
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Lionel Messi may leave Spain over tax jail threat - The Guardian

Lionel Messi may leave Spain over tax jail threat - The Guardian | AC Affairs | Scoop.it
Sources close to Barcelona football star say he feels he is being singled out by having to stand trial over undeclared income

 

Lionel Messi, hailed by many as the greatest footballer of all time, may leave Spain after continuing to fall foul of the tax authorities, sources have said.

 

The player, who earlier this year agreed a new €50m (£40m) salary with Barcelona, has complained that he is being singled out for special treatment compared with other elite sports players in Spain with disputed tax affairs...

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What next for independence movements in Europe? - Future of the UK and Scotland

What next for independence movements in Europe? - Future of the UK and Scotland | AC Affairs | Scoop.it
One can imagine that the European Commission breathed a collective sigh of relief when the results of the Scottish independence referendum were announced on 19 September 2014.
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Prosecutors in Spain to charge Catalonia leader Mas - BBC

Prosecutors in Spain to charge Catalonia leader Mas - BBC | AC Affairs | Scoop.it

Spanish prosecutors are to file criminal charges against Catalan President Artur Mas in response to a 9 November unofficial independence vote.

 

The non-binding vote went ahead despite fierce opposition by the Spanish government and a ruling by Spain's constitutional court.

Catalan officials say more than 80% of those who voted backed independence.

 

Charges will also be laid against Mr Mas's deputy, Joana Ortega, and Catalan Education Minister Irene Rigau.

 

The three politicians face accusations ranging from disobedience and perverting the course of justice to misuse of public funds.

When the Spanish government appealed against the autonomous north-eastern region's plans for a referendum, Spain's constitutional court suspended the vote and ordered a ban on campaigning...

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Spain files suit against Catalonia head over secession vote - Reuters

Spain files suit against Catalonia head over secession vote - Reuters | AC Affairs | Scoop.it

MADRID (Reuters) - Spain's state prosecutor will sue Catalan leader Artur Mas for defying a court ruling and holding a symbolic vote on the regions's independence from the rest of the country.If successful,...

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Let them vote - The Economist

Let them vote - The Economist | AC Affairs | Scoop.it

SECESSION is a nasty business. A century and a half ago, America fought a civil war to prevent it.

 

Yet there are both principled and pragmatic reasons why the government should permit a vote. On the first, it is right to be cautious about breaking up countries, but when a region is a recognisable cultural, ethnic or linguistic entity, outright refusal to allow a vote is perverse. It would have been wrong to force Slovakia to remain in Czechoslovakia or Kosovo in Serbia, just as it was wrong for Britain to fight Irish independence. It would be just as wrong to make Flanders remain Belgian, Quebec stay Canadian or Scotland continue to be British, if a clear majority of voters preferred independence.


(...)


But the government should let the Catalans have a referendum'

'the issue now is whether Mr Rajoy wants to treat voters as grown-ups who can be trusted to decide sensibly about their own political future. By refusing even to contemplate a referendum for Catalonia on independence, he is failing to do that.

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Catalans who want independence are being thwarted by a flawed Spanish constitution - The Independent

Catalans who want independence are being thwarted by a flawed Spanish constitution - The Independent | AC Affairs | Scoop.it
These are tough times for Spanish politicians. The established parties in Madrid are mired in a corruption scandal for which Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has already been forced to apologise. And now they face a serious challenge ahead of next year’s general election from Podemos, a left-wing grassroots political start-up that was formed only in January, and that already threatens to dismantle many of the country’s political conventions.
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Catalonia moves closer to early election as dialogue hopes fade - Reuters

Catalonia moves closer to early election as dialogue hopes fade - Reuters | AC Affairs | Scoop.it

MADRID (Reuters)  - Catalonia's two main parties on Wednesday moved a step closer to calling a snap regional election they want to use as a proxy for a referendum on independence from Spain.

The region, which accounts for one fifth of Spain's economic output, went ahead with a symbolic independence referendum on Nov. 9 despite Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy blocking such a move in the courts and calling it illegal.

After the vote, Catalan leader Artur Mas, who has been sued for defying a court injunction not to hold it, said he was considering calling an early election if regional parties could unite behind a single banner in favour of independence.

Late on Tuesday, he outlined a plan to create a Catalan state within 18 months with the first step being to build a common electoral platform, uniting politicians...

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The Spanish government should offer Catalonia a referendum on federalism, not independence - EUROPP

The Spanish government should offer Catalonia a referendum on federalism, not independence - EUROPP | AC Affairs | Scoop.it
Catalonia held a non-binding consultation on independence on 9 November. Francesc Trillas assesses the argument that the Spanish government should now seek to address the Catalan independence debat...
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Apoel Nicosia 0-4 Barcelona - Lionel Messi scores hat-trick in Barcelona’s victory over Apoel Nicosia - The Guardian

Apoel Nicosia 0-4 Barcelona - Lionel Messi scores hat-trick in Barcelona’s victory over Apoel Nicosia - The Guardian | AC Affairs | Scoop.it
Lionel Messi set a new Champions League scoring record with a hat-trick and Luis Suárez found the net for the first time in Barcelona colours as they comprehensively beat Apoel Nicosia 4-0 in the Champions League
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Barcelona’s Thomas Vermaelen may need surgery to resolve knee problem - The Guardian

Barcelona’s Thomas Vermaelen may need surgery to resolve knee problem - The Guardian | AC Affairs | Scoop.it
Barcelona are concerned about the former defender who cost £15m from Arsenal but has yet to play
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The best goals of the week: Lionel Messi, Hulk and Jérémy Ménez - The Guardian

The best goals of the week: Lionel Messi, Hulk and Jérémy Ménez - The Guardian | AC Affairs | Scoop.it
Featuring a screamer from the seventh division in Poland, a team goal from Milan and a swift counter-attack from Iran
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Catalan president faces multiple charges after independence referendum - The Guardian

Catalan president faces multiple charges after independence referendum - The Guardian | AC Affairs | Scoop.it
Artur Mas has been charged with disobedience and misuse of public funds among other crimes by attorney general

 

The Spanish attorney general has charged Catalan president Artur Mas with disobedience, perverting the course of justice, misuse of public funds and abuse of power in relation to the unofficial referendum on independence held on 9 November.

 

The unofficial poll was called after the referendum scheduled for the same day was ruled illegal by Spain’s constitutional court. The court then also outlawed the unofficial vote but it went ahead anyway. Poll booths were staffed by volunteers and no civil servants were directly involved, a strategy Mas hoped would circumvent the ban...

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Lionel Messi could have joined Arsenal as a teenager, says Arsène Wenger - Guardian

Lionel Messi could have joined Arsenal as a teenager, says Arsène Wenger - Guardian | AC Affairs | Scoop.it
Arsène Wenger has said that Lionel Messi could have joined Arsenal from Barcelona as a teenager along with Cesc Fàbregas and Gerard Piqué

 

Messi, the Argentina captain, developed into one of the world’s greatest players, but was considering a switch to England when he was 15 years old in the Barcelona academy La Masia...

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Letter from Barcelona: Inside the battle for Catalan independence - New Statesman

Letter from Barcelona: Inside the battle for Catalan independence - New Statesman | AC Affairs | Scoop.it
This crisis could have been avoided. In recent years, Madrid has run a masterclass in how not to handle breakaway nationalism.

 

Barcelona is a city draped in flags. Only a handful of windows surrounding my rented apartment in El Born – a fashionably ramshackle district close to the harbour – are flag-free. From the rest hang Esteladas, the distinctive blue-and-white-starred symbol of Catalan national sovereignty.

 

Catalonia has become increasingly polarised in recent years as requests for enhanced autonomy – consistently rejected by Madrid – have hardened into demands for outright independence from Spain. Polls suggest as many as 45 per cent of Catalans support secession, while 25 per cent favour federalism and a further 20 per cent support the constitutional status quo...

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Tossa de Mar cracks down on rowdy stag and hen parties - The Guardian

Tossa de Mar cracks down on rowdy stag and hen parties - The Guardian | AC Affairs | Scoop.it
Tossa de Mar has banned such festivities during the August high season, and imposed strict regulations for the rest of the year

 

Tossa de Mar on Catalonia’s Costa Brava boasts beautiful beaches, seafront restaurants and a walled old town, but another increasingly common sight is exercising authorities - hordes of drunk and scantily-clad tourists celebrating stag and hen parties.

 

The town is cracking down on such festivities, banning them completely during August and slapping strict regulations on them during the rest of the year. “They come here and do what ever they want. It can’t be like that,” said the mayor, Gisela Saladich Parés...

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Lionel Messi sends mixed messages over his Barcelona future - The Guardian

Lionel Messi sends mixed messages over his Barcelona future - The Guardian | AC Affairs | Scoop.it
The Argentina captain Lionel Messi has given the strongest hint yet he could consider leaving Barcelona, saying “things can change a lot in soccer”
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Peret: Singer known as 'The King of the Catalan rumba' who worked with Manu Chao, Tom Jones and David Byrne - The Independent

Peret: Singer known as 'The King of the Catalan rumba' who worked with Manu Chao, Tom Jones and David Byrne - The Independent | AC Affairs | Scoop.it

The singer and guitarist Peret was known as the King of the Catalan rumba, the fusion of flamenco with South American rhythms that became a favourite of Barcelona high society at the end of the 1950s and was rediscovered by the jet set when the Gipsy Kings revived the genre in the '80s. An instrumentalist comparable to fellow gypsies Django Reinhardt, José Reyes and Manitas de Plata, he was credited with pioneering the rhythmic strumming combined with the guitar body slamming that are the trademarks of the Catalan rumba...

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Voting in their hearts - The Economist

Voting in their hearts - The Economist | AC Affairs | Scoop.it

MANUEL MOLINS remembers being called a “Catalan dog” after Spain’s civil war in the 1930s. But the 93-year-old had his revenge on November 9th, when he voted for the region’s independence in Lleida, one of Catalonia’s four provincial capitals. “Catalonia is important for Spain, but they treat us badly. If they didn’t, I might think differently,” he said. Mr Molins’ vote brought no consequences. He was one of 1.9m Catalans (out of 6.3m who were eligible) to vote for independence at a mock referendum called by the region’s president, Artur Mas. The turnout of 37% was hailed as a triumph by Mr Mas and a resounding failure by his opponents....

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