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Batecs de Hyde Park (1): La caverna

Batecs de Hyde Park (1): La caverna | AngloCatalan Affairs | Scoop.it

Si s’ha d’anar alguna vegada a Hyde Park, que sigui un dia assolellat. El parc es mostra amb tot el seu esplendor i l’ambient és indescriptible. Als jardins italians, a la porta nord-oest del parc, el temps sembla que s’hagi aturat, amb el borboll constant de l’aigua caient de les fonts i una tranquil·litat infinita.

Presideix el jardí l’estàtua d’Edward Jenner, el pare de la vacunació moderna. El jardí està envoltat d’estàtues i d’escultures clàssiques, de bancs i de flors. En un dels bancs, una noia amb trets asiàtics ensenya xinés a un senyor anglès. Hi ha un petit monticle ple d’hamaques verdes i blanques amb gent ajaguda. Al fons, Long Water, l’extrem allargat del llac Serpentine.

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Scottish referendum gives us hope for independence, says Catalonia minister

Scottish referendum gives us hope for independence, says Catalonia minister | AngloCatalan Affairs | Scoop.it
Madrid's refusal to allow Catalonia a vote on independence was expected, says Andreu Mas-Colell, economy minister. But the example of Scotland offers a vision for the future

 

Ask Andreu Mas-Colell, the man in charge of Catalonia's economy, for his thoughts on Scotland's forthcoming independence vote, and he hardly draws breath before answering.

"Admiration, respect and envy," he said. "It's an exemplary process."

Yet to the frustration of Mr Mas-Colell, it is an example which is unlikely to be followed any time soon by Spain.

On Tuesday the parliament in Madrid voted overwhelmingly against allowing Barcelona to vote on independence – with 299 votes to 47, and one abstention, after nearly seven hours of debate. Mariano Rajoy, the emphatically anti-referendum prime minister, told parliament: "Together we all win, but separate, we all lose. This isn't just a question of law, but of sentiment. I can't imagine Spain without Catalonia, or Catalonia out of Europe."

Artur Mas, the president of Catalonia, retorted that "they are afraid of the Catalan people voting."

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Spanish parliament rejects Catalan independence vote

Spanish parliament rejects Catalan independence vote | AngloCatalan Affairs | Scoop.it

Spanish MPs have voted overwhelmingly to reject a request by the Catalan authorities to hold a referendum on independence on 9 November.

After seven hours of debate, 299 MPs voted against the motion, with 47 votes in favour and one abstention.

 

Spanish PM Mariano Rajoy earlier warned a referendum would be "an economic disaster" for both Spain and Catalonia.

Plans to let the people of the eastern region break away from Spain has led to months of constitutional debate.

The region already enjoys a wide degree of autonomy but the recent economic crisis in Spain has fuelled Catalan nationalism.

 

'Not the end'


All of the major Spanish parties, including Mr Rajoy's conservative Popular Party and the Socialist opposition, opposed the petition, with Catalan and Basque nationalist parties voting in favour.

Prime Minister Rajoy repeated his argument that a referendum would be considered illegal because, under Spanish law, referendums on sovereignty must be held nationally and not regionally.

 

"Together we all win, but separate, we all lose. This isn't just a question of law, but of sentiment... I can't imagine Spain without Catalonia, or Catalonia out of Europe." he told parliamentarians in a debate prior to the vote.

But, speaking after the votes were counted, Catalan President Artur Mas said his regional government would press ahead with the plan to hold a referendum in November...

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Catalan leader says parliament rejection won't halt referendum

Catalan leader says parliament rejection won't halt referendum | AngloCatalan Affairs | Scoop.it

(Reuters) - Catalonia President Artur Mas said on Tuesday he would forge ahead with his region's plans to hold a referendum on independence in November after Spain's parliament overwhelmingly rejected the petition.

 

After a seven-hour debate in the national parliament in Madrid, and despite heavy support for the separatist movement in the wealthy north-eastern region, 299 lawmakers voted against, 47 voted for and one abstained.

 

The regional parliament of Catalonia, which has its own language and a long history of fighting for greater autonomy from Spain, sent the initiative to the national legislature in January asking for permission to hold a referendum.

 

"They are afraid that the Catalan people vote. Some would like to present this as the end of the matter but, as President of Catalonia, I say to them that it is not the end," Mas said in a live speech in Catalan immediately after votes were counted.

 

"Catalan institutions will search through the legal frameworks to find a way to continue with this consultation."

 

Catalan lawmakers said the movement had already gained too much momentum to stop the referendum completely.

 

All the major parties, including the ruling conservative People's Party (PP), the main opposition group, the Socialists, and the centrist Union for Progress and Democracy (UPyD), voted against the petition. Catalan and Basque nationalist parties voted in favour.

 

"Maybe I believe in Catalonia more than you do. I love Catalonia like it was my own," Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said during the debate.

"Together we all win, but separate, we all lose. This isn't just a question of law, but of sentiment ... I can't imagine Spain without Catalonia, or Catalonia out of Europe."

 

The spectre of a breakaway Catalonia, which accounts for a fifth of the Spanish economy and 16 percent of its population, has become a big headache for Rajoy, who is battling high unemployment and the scars of a deep recession.

Mas has already set a date of November 9 for the referendum, two months after an independence vote in Scotland that is being closely watched in Catalonia.

Rajoy has said he will use the courts to block the Catalan government from holding the vote, though Mas argues that if it is a non-binding consultation, it should be legal.

Mas has also signalled he will not break the law. So if the referendum is shut down by the courts, he is expected to use the next election in Catalonia, which must be held by 2016, as a proxy vote on independence.

 

Opinion polls show that roughly half of Catalans support independence but a much higher number want the right to vote on the matter.

Catalonia, the land of artists Joan Miro and Salvador Dali and architect Antoni Gaudi, is home to some of Spain's biggest companies, including banks Caixabank and Sabadell, global infrastructure company Abertis and utility Gas Natural.

 

Catalan business leaders have been cautious about taking sides on independence, fearing a backlash. But the head of Spain's largest pharmaceutical company, Barcelona-based Grifols, broke the silence last week when he backed Mas's drive to hold a referendum.

The view from the central government is that self-determination does not apply in Catalonia's case, because it is not a colony and is not suffering rights violations.

 

Spain's highly devolved system already gives Catalonia significant self-governing powers over its education and health systems and its police.

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Winners emerge after years in the financial wilderness

Winners emerge after years in the financial wilderness | AngloCatalan Affairs | Scoop.it
Over the years the long standing rivalry between Barcelona and Madrid, Spain’s two largest cities, has been fought on many fronts.

 

While the Spanish capital stands as the country’s centre of political power, Barcelona’s supporters have pointed to the city’s greater international influence in cultural areas such as food, music and tourism.

 

On the football field, where this inter-city rivalry is each season transposed into the individual battles between players such as Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi, Real Madrid and FC Barcelona have not only dominated their domestic league, but are at the top table of international competition.

 

Away from gourmet kitchens, music festivals and “clasicos” (the name given to games between Real Madrid and Barcelona) one of the most important aspects of this rivalry has been the two cities’ relative economic power, and their competing desires to be centres of international business and finance.

 

Madrid is often assumed to be the country’s centre of business, and the most likely location for any international companies looking to open in Spain. Yet over the past two decades Barcelona has increasingly focused on using its strong international brand and large local financial sector to prove it can offer more to foreign investors than tourism and football.

 

As Spain begins to emerge from its traumatic property and banking collapse, several leading companies appear to have strengthened their position as competition elsewhere has faded. The Barcelona-based CaixaBank, the largest bank in Spain by domestic assets, has emerged as one of the winners from the demise of the majority of the country’s savings banks, or cajas, which before the global financial crisis lent recklessly to real estate developers and were subsequently nationalised.

 

Isidro Fainé, executive chairman of CaixaBank, earlier this year broke his silence on the issue of independence, arguing that a “grand pact” has to be forged by Mariano Rajoy, Spain’s prime minister, and Mr Mas in order to resolve the situation.

 

Mr Fainé, like the heads of many of Catalonia’s larger businesses, must contend with keeping both politicians and clients in the region happy, but not alienating their equivalents in other parts of Spain, where CaixaBank has more than two-thirds of its branches.

Up to now it does not appear that foreign investors are overly worried by the possibility of Catalonia breaking away from Spain, and Barcelona continues to enjoy its status as an attractive city to do business.

 

However, in spite of their recent gains, the region’s large businesses are anxiously eyeing the polls, and making contingency plans. The next year, for residents and international businesses based there, could be one of the most important in Barcelona’s history.

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Catalans Take Independence Bid to Madrid for Rajoy’s Refusal (1)

Catalans Take Independence Bid to Madrid for Rajoy’s Refusal (1) | AngloCatalan Affairs | Scoop.it
The Catalan government today brought
its campaign for independence to the Spanish parliament, where
lawmakers are debating the region’s request for the power to
call a vote on independence.
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Barcelona transfer ban 'a great injustice', says club president – video

Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu says the club is the victim of 'a great injustice' after Fifa banned it from signing new players for 14 months
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Russian ambassadors: 'next we'll take Catalonia, Venice, Scotland and Alaska'

Russian ambassadors: 'next we'll take Catalonia, Venice, Scotland and Alaska' | AngloCatalan Affairs | Scoop.it
Unauthenticated, expletive-laden recording of pair joking about which countries to annex after Crimea is leaked online

 

A recording has surfaced online purporting to be a leaked conversation between two Russian ambassadors discussing which parts of the world they would like to annex after Crimea.

 

The five-minute recording, laden with expletives, has been posted on YouTube and claims to be a telephone call between Igor Chubarov, Russia's ambassador to Eritrea, and Sergei Bakharev, the ambassador to Zimbabwe and Malawi. It has not been authenticated.

 

"We've got Crimea, but that's not fucking all folks. In the future we'll damn well take your Catalonia and Venice, and also Scotland and Alaska," says the voice labelled as Chubarov, interspersing his speech with laughter and punning the word for Scotland in Russian so it sounds like "Cattleland".

After this, Chubarov says Russia will make a move for "all those fucking border countries", such as Estonia, as well as Romania and Bulgaria. He adds that the head of the EU mission to Eritrea had jokily said in a recent conversation that he wished Russia would "take back" Romania and Bulgaria.

 

In the end, the ambassadors concur that it is probably better to leave Bulgaria, Romania and the "Baltic shit" in the EU for now, and Bakharev says it would be more interesting to go for California or Miami.

"Exactly, 'Miamiland' is fucking 95% Russian citizens," says Chubarov. "We have a full right to hold a referendum." Bakharev concurs and suggests holding one in "Londonland" as well, to jovial laughter.

 

Chubarov congratulates Bakharev on the fact that Zimbabwe was one of only 11 countries, along with Syria and North Korea, to back Russia at the UN over its annexation of Crimea. There is also consternation that the "bastards" from Malawi did not support Moscow.

 

It is possible that the leaking of the recording is revenge for the recent spate of high-profile leaks of western diplomatic discussions over Ukraine. A call between the US assistant secretary of state Victoria Nuland and the US ambassador in Kiev was leaked, in which Nuland discussed strategy advice for the leaders of the Ukrainian protest movement, as well as stating "fuck the EU" in reference to differences over Ukraine policy. Nuland as good as confirmed the authenticity of the recording, claiming that "the tradecraft is really quite impressive"...

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Scottish Independence: Catalonia Smacks Down Scotland Referendum Parallels

Scottish Independence: Catalonia Smacks Down Scotland Referendum Parallels | AngloCatalan Affairs | Scoop.it

Catalonia's government has hit back at comparisons between its battle for independence from Spain and Scotland's attempts to break away from the rest of the UK.


The Catalonia government said in a report that its fight for independence vastly differs from Scotland's attempts, and is shouldn't be compared, as the British government "respects" the Scots and has authorised a referendum while Spain "absolutely refuses".

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Catalan leader Artur Mas vows to press ahead with referendum

Catalan leader Artur Mas vows to press ahead with referendum | AngloCatalan Affairs | Scoop.it

The president of Catalonia vowed to press ahead with an independence referendum in defiance of a court ruling warning that no Spanish region had a right to self-determination.

 

Artur Mas, leader of the ruling centre-right Convergéncia i Unió (CiU) party, said he saw no need to abandon his government’s current political strategy to hold a referendum on regional independence in November.


“We will find a way to sidestep every obstacle that appears in our path,” Mr Mas told the Catalan parliament on Wednesday.

The president’s defiant words came in response to a ruling by Spain’s highest court that appeared to deliver a severe blow to the region’s separatist aspirations. In a unanimous verdict released late on Tuesday, the judges nullified the “declaration of sovereignty” issued by the Catalan regional parliament last year, saying it violated the constitution.

 

The Madrid-based court also made clear that it will strike down any attempt to hold a referendum on regional self-determination, which the Catalan government has called for November 9 this year. “Within the framework of the constitution an autonomous community [like Catalonia] cannot unilaterally call a referendum on self-determination,” the ruling said.

 

Analysts said the verdict appeared to leave little space for Catalans to hold a vote on independence in conformity with Spanish law. The court did draw a distinction between a full-blown referendum and Catalan claims that the region has a “right to decide” its future. Such a “right to decide” could indeed fall within the law, it said, but made clear that it stopped well short of the right to self-determination.

 

“There is no way you can pass the constitutional hurdle without reforming the constitution itself,” said Antonio Roldán, an analyst and expert on Spain at the Eurasia Group, pointing out that there would be no support for such a move from the current Spanish government. “I don’t think Mas will support an illegal vote [on independence], so the question is: What does he do now?”

 

One of the most immediate challenges for the Catalan president will be to maintain a united front between his own, centre-right Convergéncia i Unió (CiU) bloc and leftwing separatist Esquerra Republicana party (ERC). The two formed a political alliance last year and both support the November referendum, though CiU is seen as more moderate and less ready to risk all-out confrontation with Madrid.

 

Many analysts believe that Mr Mas may ultimately prefer to call off the referendum in November, and hold an early regional election instead. For ERC, meanwhile, consulting the Catalan public is the top priority.

 

“We would love to abide by Spanish law and the Spanish constitution but if somebody forces us to choose between the people and a court ruling we will have to side with the people,” said Alfred Bosch, a member of the Spanish parliament for the ERC...

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Legal blow to Catalan vote

Legal blow to Catalan vote | AngloCatalan Affairs | Scoop.it
Spain’s constitutional court has dealt a blow to the Catalan push for independence with a ruling that has nullified the “declaration of sovereignty” issued by the regional parliament last year.

It also made clear that the court would strike down any attempt to hold an independence referendum, which the Catalan government has promised for this year.

 The judges ruled unanimously that the sovereignty declaration of January 2013 violated Article 2 of the constitution, which upholds the “indissoluble unity of the Spanish nation”. They took particular issue with a passage in the declaration stating that “the people of Catalonia have, for reasons of democratic legitimacy, the nature of a sovereign political and legal subject”. 

More alarming still to the Catalan leadership, Spain’s highest court also made clear their opposition to a referendum on independence that is scheduled for November. “Within the framework of the constitution an autonomous community [such as Catalonia] cannot unilaterally call a referendum on self-determination,” the ruling said.

 

Catalonia has undergone a surge in separatist sentiment in recent years, reflected in demonstrations drawing more than a million people and in growing support for a break with Spain. Initially a grassroots movement, the call for independence has lately been picked up by leading Catalan politicians, including within the regional government.

Artur Mas, the regional president, says Catalans must at the very least have the right to decide their own future and has promised to hold November’s “consultation” – a kind of non-binding referendum.

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Barcelona's Gerardo Martino hails team spirit after win at Real Madrid – video

Gerardo Martino says his Barcelona team played a formidable match to beat Real Madrid in a thrilling clásico clash on Sunday
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Tour of Catalonia 2014: Big names and high hills set Chris Froome a tough challenge

Tour of Catalonia 2014: Big names and high hills set Chris Froome a tough challenge | AngloCatalan Affairs | Scoop.it
Chris Froome starts his biggest challenge prior to the Tour de France itself on Monday in the Tour of Catalonia, a seven-day race with a star-studded line-up featuring almost all the top stage racers currently in action and two major stages in the Pyrenees.
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Barcelona face 'Tataclysm' and need cup final win to kickstart rebuild

Barcelona face 'Tataclysm' and need cup final win to kickstart rebuild | AngloCatalan Affairs | Scoop.it
Sid Lowe: Beating Madrid in the Copa del Rey final would be welcome but Barça are struggling – with even Messi facing criticism
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Catalonia vows to continue independence fight after referendum snub

Catalonia vows to continue independence fight after referendum snub | AngloCatalan Affairs | Scoop.it
Region says rejection of referendum plans by Spanish parliament will not deter it from pursuing sovereignty

 

The President of Catalonia vowed to push ahead with plans to hold a referendum on independence for the region just hours after Spain’s parliament overwhelmingly rejected the petition.

On Tuesday following a seven-hour-debate in the national congress in Madrid, the request for permission for Catalonia to hold a Scottish style referendum on independence was refused by a landslide 299 votes to 47.

“They are afraid of the vote of the Catalan people,” Artur Mas, President of the northeastern region responded in a public address late on Tuesday following the defeat in the national parliament.

“Some would like to present this as an end to the matter. But as the President of Catalonia, I have to tell them this is not the end. It is simply a new paragraph.”

He vowed to forge ahead with plans to hold the plebiscite. “Catalan Institutions will search through the legal frameworks to find away to continue with this consultation,” he said.

 

Earlier in the day Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy had closed the door on the referendum insisting that it was not allowed under Spain’s constitution, following last month’s ruling by Spain's Constitutional Court that a region like Catalonia could not "unilaterally" call a referendum on its sovereignty.

Mr Rajoy also warned that independence would be economically disastrous for Catalonia and Spain.

 

"Together we all win and separate we all lose," the prime minister told parliament. “This isn't just a question of law, but of sentiment ... I can't imagine Spain without Catalonia, or Catalonia out of Europe."

He warned that Catalonia’s isolation from Spain and the European Union would turn it into “the closest thing imaginable to the island of Robinson Crusoe”.

 

Responding to the Prime Minister’s comment, Alfred Bosch, spokesman of the Catalan left-wing separatist party ERC said: “We are not Robinson Crusoe. Right now we are Friday, the servant, who can’t even choose his own name.”

 

Separatist sentiment has soared since the start of the economic crisis with growing resentment over “unfair” redistribution taxes from the wealthy region across the rest of Spain. Many believe that Catalonia, which has a distinct language and culture would fare better on its own...

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Spain Rejects Catalonia’s Call for Power to Vote on Independence

Spain Rejects Catalonia’s Call for Power to Vote on Independence | AngloCatalan Affairs | Scoop.it
The Spanish parliament yesterday refused to endorse the vote on Catalan independence that Regional President Artur Mas has pledged to call in November.
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MPs to stoke tensions with refusal of Catalan referendum request

MPs to stoke tensions with refusal of Catalan referendum request | AngloCatalan Affairs | Scoop.it

The Spanish parliament has delivered the clearest signal yet that it will not tolerate any move by Catalonia towards regional independence, striking down a formal request by the region to hold a referendum this year on its status.

 

The Catalan appeal was rejected in a vote late on Tuesday by 299 members of parliament, or 86 per cent, with just 47 voting in favour.

 

Mariano Rajoy, Spanish prime minister, declared during a heated debate before the vote that he could not allow an independence referendum because it violated the constitution of Spain.

 

“Spanish sovereignly resides with all Spaniards,” he said. “There is no regional sovereignty, or provincial sovereignty or local sovereignty.”

 

In a combative speech, Mr Rajoy attacked Catalan leaders for presenting an “idyllic” vision of an independent state that ignored economic realities. He warned that an independent Catalan state would be left outside the EU, the euro and all international treaties, with Catalans finding themselves deprived of EU subsidies and the right to free movement within the bloc. “What you are offering resembles Robinson Crusoe’s island,” he said.

 

The only option for Catalonia was to change the country’s constitution, the prime minister added.

Catalan leaders vowed to press ahead with a referendum – whether binding or not – regardless of Tuesday’s vote. Jordi Turull, a member of Catalonia’s ruling Convergéncia I Unió party, said a referendum was legally possible as long as there was political will in Spain. He told parliament: “The Catalan people have embarked on a path and there is no turning back.”

 

But his appeal was also rejected by Alfredo Pérez Rubalcaba, the leader of the opposition, who recalled that his Socialist party had always offered staunch support for Catalan self-governance, Catalan culture and the Catalan language. Now, he said, the region was taking a step too far. “We are absolutely against a right to self-determination and independence for Catalonia,” Mr Pérez Rubalcaba said.

 

The speeches and projected vote made clear that the Catalan push for independence is running into a solid wall of opposition in the rest of the country, stretching from the ruling centre-right to the Socialists, and from the government and parliament to Spain’s constitutional court.

Under a plan presented by the Catalan regional government last year, the region would vote on its status on November 9 – only two months after Scotland’s independence referendum.

 

Just as in Scotland, Catalonia has seen a sharp rise in support for the creation of a new independent state. Unlike the UK government, however, Madrid has been adamant it will not allow Catalonia to secede or hold a referendum on independence, arguing that the constitution leaves no room for regional self-determination.

 

Under pressure from business leaders and other European governments, both sides have said repeatedly they are ready to hold talks but they remain sharply divided on what exactly negotiations should be about.

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Spain set to reject Catalonia's request for independence referendum

Spain set to reject Catalonia's request for independence referendum | AngloCatalan Affairs | Scoop.it
Parliament expected to vote overwhelmingly against proposal, but Catalan government will go ahead with 9 November vote
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Said & Done

Said & Done | AngloCatalan Affairs | Scoop.it
The week in football – Barça's razor reflexes; British sour grapes; more war on racism; plus Diego Costa's hard legs
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Catalonia School Trains Students for Shepherd Jobs

Catalonia School Trains Students for Shepherd Jobs | AngloCatalan Affairs | Scoop.it

Students start with a month of classroom study in a rural home in the Pyrenees. Then they undergo four months of practical training with a veteran shepherd, who gradually gives them responsibilities with a herd. About 80 percent of students complete the course, and more than 60 percent go on to work in livestock farming.

 

A new shepherd on a farm that provides food and lodging earns about €680 ($936) a month, and €900 to €1,200 without room or board. A mountain shepherd—who may tend thousands of animals in a busy summer—earns as much as €2,000 a month.

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Barcelona hit with a year-long transfer ban for breaching rules on youngsters

Barcelona hit with a year-long transfer ban for breaching rules on youngsters | AngloCatalan Affairs | Scoop.it
Barcelona's hopes of signing a successor to their departing goalkeeper Victor Valdés and the teenager Alen Halilovic have been hit by a year-long transfer ban
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Barcelona given transfer ban by Fifa

Barcelona given transfer ban by Fifa | AngloCatalan Affairs | Scoop.it
Spanish champions Barcelona are given a 14-month transfer ban for breaking rules on signing international players under 18.
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Spanish court says Catalonia sovereignty claim illegal

Spanish court says Catalonia sovereignty claim illegal | AngloCatalan Affairs | Scoop.it

MADRID (Reuters) - Spain's Constitutional Court on Tuesday partially struck down a sovereignty claim approved by lawmakers last year in the northern region of Catalonia, a vital step toward a referendum on full independence, court papers showed.

In January 2013, Catalonia's regional parliament unanimously adopted a declaration of self-determination saying the people had the right to vote on breaking away from the rest of Spain.

The Madrid court declared "null and unconstitutional" the first point in the Catalan ruling which said the people of the region had the legal right to infringe the Spanish constitution.

 

Catalan President Artur Mas has promised to hold a referendum on secession from Spain on November 9, saying Catalonia should be a separate state within the European Union and the euro zone.

Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy says such a vote would be unconstitutional.

 

Mas has been buoyed by a groundswell of public support for the referendum but with the European Union and Spanish government firmly opposed, full independence seems unlikely.

The Catalan Parliament in Barcelona voted in January to send a petition to the national legislature seeking the power to call a popular vote on the region's future. That initiative is still pending a vote in Madrid.

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Adolfo Suárez tributes provide rare unity for divided Spain

Adolfo Suárez tributes provide rare unity for divided Spain | AngloCatalan Affairs | Scoop.it
Thousands of Spaniards lined the streets of Madrid on Tuesday to bid an emotional farewell to Adolfo Suárez, the former prime minister hailed as the architect of Spain’s transition to democracy, as his coffin was carried through the capital before being taken for burial in his home province of Ávila.

Mr Powell added: “The absence of political consensus today resonates very powerfully. Many Spaniards feel that politicians today are not able to sit down and find agreement on the crucial issues such as Catalonia, the economic programme or Spain’s role in Europe. People miss the ability of the current political elite to set aside their quarrels and find agreement on fundamentals – and that is a skill they clearly identify with Suárez.”

 

The sharp divide on issues such as Catalan independence was reflected in some of the tributes to Suárez, as politicians raced to claim the former leader for their cause.

 

The ruling Popular party, which is opposed to a Catalan breakaway, issued a statement highlighting that the former leader had “always fought for the unity of Spain”.

 

Artur Mas, regional president of Catalonia, offered a contrasting interpretation that highlighted Suárez’s support for Catalan self-governance. He praised the former leader for his “capacity to take great risks”, adding that Catalonia, too, was taking a risk in pushing for independence.

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Poll finds that 60% of Catalans want independence

Poll finds that 60% of Catalans want independence | AngloCatalan Affairs | Scoop.it
A recent poll in the semi autonomous region of Catalan has found that over half the population wants to separate entirely from Spain.

 

The poll found that 59.7% were in favour of the region becoming a “new state in Europe” - up from 55% in November.

The survey also highlighted how divided the region is with 30% of the 1600 asked stating that they were “totally against” independence.

 

7.5 million strong Catalonia provides a quarter of Spain's taxes and a fifth of its GDP. Many complain that the recent austerity has fallen disproportionately on the relatively rich region, and that they’re footing the bill for Madrid’s mistakes. 

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Crimean annexation does Europe's separatists no favors

Crimean annexation does Europe's separatists no favors | AngloCatalan Affairs | Scoop.it
MADRID/PARIS (Reuters) - Russia's annexation of Crimea after a snap referendum staged under military occupation has whetted some appetites in the Balkans, but has done no favors to the Scots, Catalans,
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