Since a delegation of MEPs visited the Ebro Delta, in the south of Catalonia on the 8th of February, the delegation has drafted their report of the current ecological flow of the Ebro Water Plan (PHE). In the draft of the report, the European Parliament questions whether European standards and community laws are being met, and recommends conducting an “in-depth study” on ecological flow of “protected areas”. In addition, the MEPs urge the European Commission to closely monitor the area, and call on the Spanish government to have “constructive dialogue” with the Catalan Government, NGOs, and civil society about how to meet more ecological objectives and existing water demands.
In just minutes, tickets to the free screening of HBO’s ‘Game of Thrones’ season 6 premiere on the 25th of April sold out in Girona. Just 40 km away from Barcelona, the walled medieval city of Girona set the scene for some of this season’s episodes based on George R. R. Martin’s internationally acclaimed novels. Some Girona locals were even featured as extras in episodes. High demand for tickets to see the season premiere led Girona officials to include a second screening, but fans looking to buy tickets caused the online system to crash as others waited in line in person to get their tickets. Although some will be unable to attend, negotiations between ‘Game of Thrones’ producers and Girona city officials may bring the show’s cast and crew back to the city to film season 7 of the hit TV series.
Barcelona (CNA).- Sant Jordi’s Day is not only a huge festival for Catalonia, but for the printing and publishing industry as well. Annually, book sales during the festival weekend contribute between 5 and 8 percent of yearly book sales in Catalonia.
Barcelona (CNA).- In Napa Valley, California, 8 companies, 7 wineries, and 2 chefs from Catalonia will participate in the World of Flavors conference on the 22nd of April. The event is renowned as the leading conference in the field of gastronomy in the United States. This year, 800 restaurant chains, hotels, chefs, and operators will attend the conference to check out the latest culinary trends and techniques. Catalonia’s participation in the conference is part of a business mission led by ACCIÓ, a project of the Generalitat to promote Catalan business competition, innovation and cooperation around the world. Catalan Ministry for Business and Knowledge Jordi Baiget will also accompany the culinary participants to the United States, making several stops in California, Miami, and Washington D.C. to discuss Catalan business expansion in the country.
Barcelona (CNA).- People all over the world celebrate one of Catalonia’s most beloved festivals, Sant Jordi’s Day, in different ways. This year, over 40 countries have planned well over 100 activities throughout the week of the 23rd of April through the first days of May. Through a collaboration between the University Network of Catalan studies abroad as well as the Ramon Llull Institute and the Catalan Government, activities celebrating love, literature, and Catalan culture have been scheduled across Europe as well as North and South America. This year, activities including everything from Instagram contests to a project encouraging students across continents to update and extend Wikipedia articles on the Catalan philosopher and writer Ramon Llull, to whom Catalonia dedicates all the cultural activities this 2016, have been scheduled.
Barcelona (CNA).- Since the 15th century, Catalonia has been celebrating the feast day of Sant Jordi (Saint George) on the 23rd of April. Each year, people flock to the streets to celebrate this Catalonian equivalent to Valentine’s Day. Traditionally, on Sant Jordi’s Day men presented their lovers with roses, while women gave their lovers a book in return. Today, both men and women give roses and books to their friends, family, and partners as a way to celebrate love and literature. More than 500 activities related to Sant Jordi and literature will be held all over Catalonia, although Barcelona is set to be the epicentre, with hundreds of stalls selling roses, bookshops taking their catalogue to the squares and renowned writers signing their novelties and meeting their fans. In the last years, Sant Jordi has also gained international recognition and will be celebrated in more than 40 countries all over the globe.
Barcelona (CNA).- In its first annual collection, a tax raised on banks and other financial institutions maintaining empty flats has generated €11.3 million. When it was first approved, the tax was only expected to raise €8 million. The revenue from the tax is a “very positive” first assessment according to Catalan Minister for Public Administration and Housing, Meritxell Borras. The revenue gained from taxing 198 institutions with flats that remained empty for two years or more will be used to purchase 260 properties for public housing in Catalonia. However, Borras is concerned that the tax will be “endangered” by potential interference by the government in state functions.
Barcelona (CNA).- The Catalan Government collected €43.5 million in tourism tax revenue in 2015, an increase of nearly 5.5% from 2014. Quarterly analysis shows a growth in revenue from hotels, cruises, and tourist homes used by those visiting Catalonia. Additionally, the Catalan Government said that 2015’s numbers show widespread growth in touristic revenues across almost all areas of Catalonia, with Terres de l’Ebre leading with an 11.6% growth from 2014. Catalan Ministry for Business and Knowledge Jordi Baiget said the increase in revenue is “parallel to the increase in tourists” who visit Catalonia — especially those who visit during the last quarter of the year, which in 2015 proved to be the most successful.
Barcelona (CNA).- Half of the 14 Spanish projects selected by the European Commission from the State are from Catalonia. The 7 innovative SMEs, or small and medium enterprises, will receive a total of €9 million to launch their projects and receive business advice along the way. The Commission selected 50 SMEs across 14 different countries to invest €73 million in after phase 2 of the Horizon 2020 SME Instrument. In Spain, the 14 SMEs selected focus their projects primarily in the areas of information and communication, transport, energy efficiency, and food production. Since the start of the instrument in 2014, this has been Spain’s most successful year, with the 14 selected projects receiving €15.4 million — more than any other country in the programme.
Barcelona (CNA).- Four out of the ten Spanish universities included on the 2016 Times Higher Education (THE) list of the top 150 universities under 50 years old are native to Catalonia. The Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB) was named 12 out of 150, with Universitat Pompeu Fabra (UPF) ranked 15th. Universitat Rovira i Virgili (URV) as well as the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya (UPC) were included among the rankings. Though the universities are young, THE’s editor-at-large and the editor of THE’s World University Rankings, Phil Baty, cites Catalonia’s “strong sense of civil engagement” as a driving force in the universities’ growth and stand-out performance in this year’s rankings among educational institutions both young and old.
Barcelona (CNA).- Barcelona representatives aimed to make the Catalan capital a “veg-friendly” city this Tuesday in an unexpected proposal. The proposal launched by the city’s economy commission received support across almost all of the city council parties, and hopes that Barcelona can become a “friend of vegan and vegetarian culture”. With this, the proposal includes plans to support more businesses and individuals looking to benefit from including more “veg-friendly” options. Additionally, the commission’s proposal includes plans to publish a list of stores and restaurants in Barcelona that are helping people who are vegan, vegetarian, or just want to reduce the amount of meat and animal products they consume. To make it a reality, Barcelona will establish a BCN VEGPoint which will serve as a support and networking centre for businesses looking to become more veg-friendly.
Barcelona (CNA).- After eight years of losses, SEAT has pulled itself out of the red, earning €6 million in profits after taxes in 2015. This marks an end of a period of struggle with a record turnover of 8,332 million (up 11 percent on 2014), stated SEAT CEO Luca de Meo. He also hopes that the success in 2015 will help the company maintain its momentum as it pushes into 2016 with the manufacture of a new SUV vehicle as well as the release of three other car models over the next 18 months. Although the company has faced significant challenges in the face of a recovering auto industry, SEAT has seen increasing demand from southern Europe in Italy and Spain, as well as in Germany, where the company made 90,000 of their 400,000 car sales in 2015.
Barcelona (CNA).- The 11th edition of the Mobile World Congress (MWC) surpassed its record and registered 101,00 visitors, 6% more than last year’s edition. Barcelona’s community benefited greatly from the creation of over 13,000 part-time jobs, and close to €460 million in increased revenue The 2,200 stands distributed across two different venues, L’Hospitalet Gran Via and Fira de Montjuic, constituted an exhibition of 110,000 square metres where the latest news in the mobile phone-related industry was unveiled. Presentations on virtual reality held the spotlight throughout the week, with newly unveiled gadgets and discussions on how virtual reality will change how we live and communicate. Despite the mobility problems, mainly derived from the metro strike which diluted the opening of Barcelona’s new L9 underground line, GSMA CEO John Hoffmann confirmed that the MWC will stay in Barcelona until 2023, maintaining the city’s reputation as a mobile centre of Europe.
Barcelona (CNA). - Just one year after the app’s founders say it was launched, Sharing Academy was awarded the prize for best application at the event’s Mobile Premier Awards at Mobile World Congress (MWC). According to Jordi Llonch, the CEO and creator of Sharing Academy, the idea for the app came from a personal struggle with one of his classes. After struggling to pass a course in university, Llonch sought the help of a friend studying the same course at a different school. While many were excited to see what new gadgets were unveiled at MWC, from new tablets and smartphones to virtual reality goggles, discussion has widely centered around how to best connect user’s devices, and users themselves. By 2020, GSMA and other tech leaders at the conference hope to see the implementation of 5G technology and messaging systems like RCS take hold in a new generation.
Barcelona (CNA). – Between February and March, hundreds flock by car, bus, and train to neighboring Sitges for a weeklong celebration of parades, music, and masquerades for ‘Carnestoltes’ or Carnival as it is more commonly known. While many Spanish speaking countries around the world celebrate carnival, Sitges is a hotspot for tourists looking for both proximity to the sea and a citywide party. For well over a century, Sitges has celebrated Carnival in accordance with the Catholic liturgical calendar. Indeed, this year was no different with festivities starting early on the 30th of January and lasting well into Ash Wednesday on the 10th of February. Starting with smaller events like mask decorating and games of Quinto, the excitement heightens as visitors await the arrival of King Carnestoltes alongside the Carnival Queen.