Page 1

Catalan International View

Issue 20 • Summer 2015 • € 5

A European Review of the World

Infrastructures in Spain: nation building against economic opportunities

by Germà Bel

Africa: women’s rights and the access to power

by Patricia Rodriguez

Germany (and Europe) and the Catalan challenge

by Víctor Terradellas

Towards a new paradigm for the welfare state

by Josep Lluís Cleries

Sergi López by Francesc de Dalmases Universal Catalans: The award-winning Roca brothers Cover Artist: Manolo Ballesteros Interview:

sections: Europe · Business, Law & Economics · Africa · Asia · The Americas · Opinion Green Debate · A Short Story from History · Barcelona Echoes · The Artist · A Poem


Víctor Terradellas

vterradellas@catmon.cat Director

Positive & Negative

director@international-view.cat Art Director

To Our Readers

Francesc de Dalmases Quim Milla


Editorial Board

Martí Anglada Jordi Basté Enric Canela Salvador Cardús August Gil-Matamala Montserrat Guibernau Guillem López-Casasnovas Manuel Manonelles Fèlix Martí Eva Piquer Ricard Planas Clara Ponsatí Arnau Queralt Vicent Sanchis Mònica Terribas Montserrat Vendrell Carles Vilarrubí Vicenç Villatoro


4......... FC Barcelona - The Rohingya in the Gulf of Bengal 5......... Germany (and Europe) and the Catalan challenge

by Víctor Terradellas


8......... Dynamic infrastructures for twenty-first century Europe .............. by Ricard Font

14........ The structure of social communication in present-day Catalonia .............. by Núria Almiron Business, Law & Economics


Infrastructure policy in Spain

.............. by Germà Bel Asia

24........ In Syria, ‘democracy’ and ‘peace’ are written in Kurdish .............. by Francesc de Dalmases The Americas

28........ The 7th Summit of the Americas .............. by Ariadna Canela

Chief Editor

Judit Aixalà

Language Advisory Service

Nigel Balfour Júlia López


30........ Women’s rights and the access to power .............. by Patricia Rodriguez




.............. by Francesc de Dalmases

Ariadna Canela Webmaster

Gemma Lapedriza Cover Art

Manolo Ballesteros The reproduction of the artwork on the front cover is thanks to an agreement between the Artist and Fundació CATmón Executive Production Headquarters, Administration and Subscriptions

Fonollar, 14 08003 Barcelona Catalonia (Europe) Tel.: + 34 93 533 42 38 Fax: + 34 93 319 22 24 www. international-view.cat

Legal deposit B-26639-2008 ISSN 2013-0716

© Edicions de la Fundació CATmón. All rights reserved. Neither this publication nor any part of it may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, protocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior permission of Edicions de la Fundació CATmón. Printed in Catalonia

Published quarterly With the support of

38........ Sergi López Opinion

46........ The Armenian Genocide .............. by Antoni Lluís Trobat

52........ Towards a new paradigm for the welfare state .............. by Josep Lluís Cleries

56........ External action as a strategy for developing cities and territories .............. by Joan Carles Garcia

60....... Connecting Catalonia to the world .............. by Pere Torres Green Debate

64........ Urban solutions in the fight against climate change .............. by Lidia Calvo Barcelona Echoes

68........ Barcelona in Milan ..............

A Short Story from History

72..........The Imperial Admiral and the founder of Odessa

by Manuel Manonelles

74........ Universal Catalans .............The award-winning Roca brothers A Poem

79........ 1 [from Four Poems]

by Francesc Garriga

The Artist

80........ Manolo Ballesteros

Departament de Presidència

Catalan International View

Positive & Negative by Francesc de Dalmases

FC Barcelona, the best team in the world

On June 6, Football Club Barcelona beat Juventus at the Olympic Stadium in Berlin. The victory saw the culmination of a perfect season for Barça in which it won every competition in which it participated: the League, King’s Cup and the UEFA Champions League. This feat confirms their status as the best team in the world over the last decade as a result of sheer hard work from the bottom up, and the belief and conviction in playing their own, unique form of football. The club has also become the first team in history to have won two trebles (the first with Josep Guardiola, during the 2008-2009 season). Six years later, once again under the guidance of a new coach, Luis Enrique, Barça has done it again. Seven players have had the honour of having participated, in a highly distinguished manner, in both of Barça’s trebles: Messi, Xavi, Iniesta, Piqué, Alves, Busquets and Pedro.

The Rohingya in the Gulf of Bengal

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) estimates that in recent months in excess of 8,000 immigrants from Burma and Bangladesh have passed through the Gulf of Bengal in an attempt to reach Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia. Most of the Burmese migrants belong to the minority Rohingya ethnic group, who the Burmese authorities do not recognize as a people or as having a distinct culture. The terrible conditions in which these immigrants travel, at the mercy of human traffickers, are made worse by the fact that the Indonesian army has decided to prevent them from reaching its shores. The Indonesian navy’s blockade violates the immigrants’ basic human rights. We are talking about men, women and children without food or water being left adrift in the midst of an ocean. Denying them basic assistance is condemning them to an almost certain death. 4

Catalan International View

To Our Readers

Germany (and Europe) and the Catalan challenge by Víctor Terradellas

According to a popular saying, tripping up isn’t a big problem, as long as you don’t fall in love with the stone that made you fall over. With this in mind, we can review Catalonia’s recent history and note that at key political moments, the essential unity of Catalan society has been affected by an ideological split that has weakened it. It happened with the anarchist movements at the beginning of the 21st century, again during the post-Franco period and we can observe this phenomenon now with proposals for political regeneration which, in certain cases, present it as a false choice between social progress and national advancement. Aside from learning from history, so as not to repeat it, and appreciating that Catalonia’s future depends on its capacity for joint political action, it is worth analyzing the Catalan question from a European perspective. We can see how Catalonia can either become key to the stability of Europe or, depending on our political evolution, part of an enormous European problem.

When we state that an independent Catalonia is more beneficial to the EU than a Catalonia which is part of Spain, we do so with the conviction that only by managing our own economy, and building and modernizing the infrastructure which helps to support it, can our country remain a net contributor to the European project. On the contrary, if our country remains within the Catalan International View


To Our Readers

Spanish system of autonomous regions, which is on the point of bankruptcy and which is characterized by the boycotting and neglect of structural needs which would ensure Catalonia’s social progress, Catalonia will be doomed to be part of a state, Spain, which threatens the Europe of the euro. The risk of a large-scale Spanish bankruptcy cannot be disguised with circumstantial data based on a macroeconomic perspective which ignores the microeconomic aspect, of runaway youth unemployment, the lack of an effective productive and efficient industrial fabric, and an unresolved imbalance between the world of education and university and a weak, precarious labour market.

Catalonia’s independence is in keeping with Catalan society’s civic, peaceful and democratic wish. Nevertheless, from a European perspective it should also be considered as an act of regional responsibility and commitment to the common European project. At the European level we see, first of all, that Germany exhibits a certain solitude. Indeed, Germany is entering rather problematic terrain, with the loss of their comfort zone. While it leads European institutions in search of a solution to the Greek question, new fronts have opened up close to home of similar complexity. Poland, 6

Catalan International View

for example, is a clear case of a growing economic crisis fuelling a growing political and social crisis with no end in sight. A situation made worse by its newly-elected ultraconservative, Eurosceptic government. To this we must add a populist Hungary and a destabilized Ukraine. Meanwhile, south of Germany, France and Italy (each in their own way) face the enormous challenge of maintaining the welfare state despite the crisis that continues to threaten its demise. And to top it off, the intangible reality of jihadism which recently hit France and Denmark, casts a shadow over the entire continent. The preceding analysis of the situation leads one to propose the beginning of a new stage of European alliances which bring together the need to protect and promote Europe’s most essential, democratic values, with the need to also promote and protect the economic foundations that underpin the European project. In this sense, a Catalan-German alliance is not a new idea. Catalan territory formed part of the Carolingian Empire (in the 8th and 9th centuries), and German philosophy of the 12th century draws heavily on the work of Ramon Llull. This partnership was well-known throughout Europe and was especially apparent in the 18th century with Germany’s indignation as a result of the Austro-Hungarian crown’s neglect of the Catalans in 1714, following the fall of Barcelona. Nowadays, Germany knows it can count on Catalonia’s commitment to be

To Our Readers

an example of political, economic and social stability as a new state in southern Europe (a reflection of the north in the south), and with the commitment to take on its share of Spain’s debt, a debt which is essentially underwritten by German banks. It is a politically coherent and economically reasonable option. Even more so with the rise in interest rates expected in the US and Europe, which will further hinder Spain’s repayments. We ought to remind ourselves that Spain is a state which continues to raid its pension funds in order to avoid facing up to the reality of the decline in its revenues. It is an option, however, that can only be formulated and become a reality if there is a consensus within Catalonia. It is an agreement that must be backed by the Government of Catalo-

nia, with widespread political and social support. It requires, therefore, a dose of pragmatism and generosity that is incompatible with the division brought about by the atavistic tendency which has been observed at key political moments throughout Catalonia’s history, of which I spoke at the beginning of this article. Catalonia’s independence is in keeping with Catalan society’s civic, peaceful and democratic wishes. Nevertheless, from a European perspective it should also be considered as an act of regional responsibility and commitment to the common European project. A commitment that should allow us to contribute our grain of sand to the construction of this new Europe. The new Europe we all yearn for, which seeks to be a global leader of the 21st century. Catalan International View



Dynamic infrastructures for twenty-first century Europe. A proposal from Catalonia by Ricard Font*

Nowadays it is generally agreed that infrastructure is a means to an end and not an end in itself. Viewing infrastructure projects in isolation is to underestimate them by ignoring their meaning for society and the relationships between people. Infrastructure is an aid to mobility and constitute transport networks which meet collective needs, respond to citizens’ expectations, guarantee people’s rights and generate economic activity.

The majority of our daily activities are inextricably linked to transport and mobility, which are both key to the world in which we live, regardless of our age or occupation. One of the main priorities of transport policy at the European level is to improve the efficiency of transport networks in order to reduce congestion, which is estimated to cost the EU in excess of €110,000M a year. Cities are the nodes of the European transport system and serve to generate mobility. Large urban areas suffer the effects of high traffic density, industrial output and the generation of energy, and logistical activities in ports, airports and major communication hubs.The two main consequences are congestion, which negatively affects economic growth, and pollution, which leads to declining air quality. These are common problems in European conurbations such as London, Berlin, Milan, Frankfurt, Paris and Barcelona. According to the latest Eurobarometer survey, half of EU citizens use their car on a daily basis. In Barcelona, for example, the sixth report on economic, social and territorial cohesion 8

Catalan International View

estimates that between 15 and 20% of highways suffer from congestion. The latest mobility survey of the Barcelona metropolitan region shows that, in 2014, the use of private vehicles on weekdays grew by 3.5% with respect to the previous year. In response, the Government of Catalonia and in particular the Department of Territory and Sustainability are working to ensure mobility produces less waste, while being more accessible, safe, healthy, efficient, competitive, equitable and ultimately, more inclusive. This commitment to sustainable mobility manifests itself both in terms of our strategic vision and principles, and in terms of concrete proposals and specific actions. At the strategic level we face two major challenges for the future: the first is to significantly increase the movement of goods by rail as a means to access the rest of the European continent and, secondly, a firm commitment to making public transport a competitive alternative to private vehicles at all levels. One of Catalonia’s major shortcomings with respect to our European


competitors is the low usage of freight transport by rail. The Mediterranean Corridor, a global, multimodal project, is a competitive and sustainable response to this demand for the movement of goods. The specific objectives behind the development of the Mediterranean Corridor are increased capacity, interoperability and inter-modality, in addition to efficiency, safety and sustainability. The idea is that the Mediterranean Corridor will transcend a lineal definition of infrastructure in order to incorporate connections with population and loading nodes. The corridor’s infrastructure thereby incorporates branches connecting ports, airports, cities, logistical terminals and major producers as intended by European transport policy.

With regard to public transport, both the Catalan government and the Department agree that it is one of the foundations of the welfare state, a right that allows people to move freely and safely around the public space in order to go about their daily activities or for leisure. To realize this vision we have increased the number of social travel cards, so that today, one in four people who use public transport receive some form of benefit. In a similar vein, it is also becoming a priority for public transport to cope with the future growth in mobility as we move to the next stage of economic recovery. To date, Catalonia has a relatively mature mobility infrastructure network and a range of public transport services on a par with other European cities. In Catalan International View



other words, we have some of the tools that should enable us deal with the increased uptake in mobility generated by a more favourable economic scenario. Something which indeed is already happening. In the Barcelona metropolitan region in particular (which accounts for more than 60% of the population and almost 70% of necessary journeys), 2014 showed a significant increase in occupational mobility, representing a 9.1% growth with respect to the previous year.

One of the main priorities of transport policy at the European level is to improve the efficiency of transport networks in order to reduce congestion, which is estimated to cost the EU in excess of €110,000M a year Private vehicles are responsible for a large proportion of this significant increase in mobility, while public transport has grown to a lesser extent. Clearly there remains an important task for the future that will enable us to manage mobility in a sustainable and efficient manner and continue to encourage the use of public transport. As part of this endeavour, the Department of Territory and Sustainability has been gradually rolling out its Exprés. cat luxury intercity bus network, since autumn 2012. The project represents a commitment to express buses as an efficient, competitive mode of public transport to quickly, sustainably and affordably connect the territory’s major transport hubs which account for the greatest demand for journeys. The Exprés.cat network seeks to handle the large increase in the demand for intercity bus transportation services in recent years. Such express bus networks, which operate in other cities such as Paris, 10

Catalan International View

Istanbul, Hamburg and Nantes, offer a series of advantages over conventional lines, such as a significant reduction in travel time, high-speed commercial routes, a real-time information service for users, vehicles with full accessibility, free newspapers and Wi-Fi on board and an increase in inter-modality, allowing for connections to urban transport services, rail, metro, tram, other intercity buses, Bicing and Girocleta (Barcelona and Girona’s bicycle sharing schemes). The express bus network benefits from infrastructure priorities such as bus lanes, traffic signal prioritization at traffic lights and few stops along the route, in order to offer an attractive service to the user with better frequencies, real-time information both inside and outside the vehicle and a unified corporate image. So far the results of these measures have been excellent, the annual demand for corridors for express bus lines in service to date exceeds 3 million users, with strong annual growth in use of the service and customer satisfaction of over 8 out of 10. On the road to providing a quality public transport service, the T-Mobilitat project will play a key role. This pioneering project goes beyond public transport services by aiming to become a major tool in mobility management through its ability to integrate all modes of transport into a single smart support, thanks to a new electronic ticketing system which uses a model based on contactless chip technology employed in sales and validation. The project is innovative in terms of its technology and the pricing and management of its services, since instead of buying tickets, users acquire rights of use. This means that T-Mobilitat users will no longer have to carry multiple cards according to the zones they wish to enter or journeys they plan to make. Instead transport costs will be tailored to the mobility of each citizen: the


more journeys they make, the cheaper they cost. Thus pricing will be flexible, enabling the level of actual use of the service to determine the tariff, without having to anticipate the level of usage in advance. In addition, the passengers can choose between a prepayment or a post-payment system, should they wish to pay by standing order. Barcelona is the capital of the Smart Cities Expo, the world’s first exhibition dedicated to technology and urban initiatives. Begun in 2011 the fourth Expo was held in November 2014. In addition, Barcelona is one of the leading cities in terms of the number of international congresses and the leader in terms of the number of delegates, besides being a world leader in mobile technology. T-Mobilitat was created against this background, to benefit from these synergies, serving as another means to develop mobile projects, becoming a prime example of smart cities. The system will allow for the application of special rates for groups, which will facilitate the mobility via public transport of collectives such as schools and organisations and contribute an added value to tourism and business, offering visitors a unique, world-leading product in the world of mobility. Furthermore, the application of the system goes beyond public transport and provides scalable functionality for the Bicing network, carparks and even the application of tolls, in order that citizens have a single card for both public and private transport use. In short, T-Mobilitat offers citizens a new, more attractive, comfortable, modern and value-for-money access to the entire offer of mobility services, with the aim of improving the efficiency and sustainability of journeys made in Catalonia. The system will initially be implemented in the Barcelona metropolitan area and subsequently in Tarragona, Lleida and Girona, with

the ultimate goal of moving towards a single integrated mobility system for the whole of Catalonia. The lessons learnt from the integration of transport services in cities, regions and entire countries show that the efficiency of integrated transport systems is clearly greater compared to non-integrated systems. In other words, the benefits of integrated transport are much greater than the sum of the individual benefits arising from each of the modes of transport and operators that compose the system. However, if the integration of the public transport system is to take us further, we will need the right tools for the intelligent management of mobility as a whole, not solely for public transport. In this regard, we must overcome the historic separation of the management of road transport and public transport in Catalan International View



order to move towards joint management of mobility. This also introduces new concepts such as pay per use, and pollution and congestion charges. The logic of the principles of ‘pay per use’ and ‘polluter pays’ adopted by the EU should also be adopted by Catalan practices to improve the efficiency and sustainability of the global transportation system. We ought to follow the example of the European Parliament and European Council who, by adopting various directives have established the need to regulate the criteria for calculating tariffs governing the use of certain road networks under the principles of ‘pay per use’ and ‘polluter pays’. Both principles seem reasonable and sheer common sense, and in fact, they are already applied to air and marine freight in the form of taxes and to public transport via tariffs on tickets.

T-Mobilitat offers citizens a new, more attractive, comfortable, modern and value-for-money access to the entire offer of mobility services, with the aim of improving the efficiency and sustainability of journeys made in Catalonia As for the road network, however, the current pricing model is based on a dual network of high capacity roads, with free dual carriageways on one hand and motorways with tolls on the other. This duality does not meet objective criteria of functionality, safety and comfort, thereby causing a perception of arbitrariness and ultimately a feeling of frustration due to territorial discrepancies. Consequently, such a transport model, which distorts competition, rejects the global, efficient management of mobility. Our aim is therefore to transform the current system where 12

Catalan International View

tolls are almost a financial instrument, to a model that allows us to internalize the externalities of road transport, which in short are: congestion, road safety and its environmental impact. It is of utmost importance that we raise awareness among drivers that they need to understand, aside from paying taxes on petrol, that their use of a road increases the cost to other drivers in terms of congestion, and society as a whole in terms of environmental impact and externalities. Thus, the payment of tolls should not be viewed as a repayment, but rather a step towards a smart, sustainable management of mobility. This sustainable management will also allow cross-funding between public and private transport, in other words, transferring new resources to the system to improve public transport. In this sense, the effects of cross-financing are twofold: on one hand the improvement of public transport also results in an improvement in road transport in the form of reduced congestion, and on the other, an increase in the mobility of public transport reduces operational costs of this means of transport. In order to adopt this new model, however, we are replacing the current system of charging for toll roads, with a new uniform system of bonuses and tolls, which has been in operation since January 1, 2015 to the entire network of toll roads owned by the Government of Catalonia. It is the first bonus system to be introduced anywhere in Spain to reward efficient behaviour such as passenger density and low emissions, encouraging car sharing and the replacement of older vehicles. The discounts apply to toll roads that belong to the network owned by the Generalitat of Catalonia (except for the Cadi tunnel), from Monday to Friday and apply to light vehicles in three


categories. First, a 30% discount is applied to frequent users, making in excess of 16 trips per month. Second, a 40% discount for high occupancy vehicles, with 3 or more occupants. And finally, a 30% discount for low emission vehicles. The system allows for the different types of discount to combine with one another, meaning that if a user or vehicle meets all three requirements, frequency, high occupancy and low emissions, they could enjoy discounts of 100%. In 2014, almost 12 million journeys received some form of discount, representing 50% of light traffic. In short, we aim to manage mobility in an intelligent way, taking into account not only public transport but also the various mobility corridors and all the public and private mobility services, with the goal of achieving an improved quantitative and qualitative planning of supply and a more global control of costs. We seek productive investments with an economic and ultimately a social return, since we believe that improvements in the welfare state require a productive and competitive economy that generates public revenues to strengthen education, health and social services. We must learn to handle scenarios of greater instability when it comes to building systems for transport infrastructures, designing cities, building smart energy systems, conflict prevention, the fight against climate change, poverty, financial instability and environmental degradation. After all, what irritates power in society and in organizations is the lethargy of governments, the complexity of society, their lack of obedience to the imperatives of

planning, their capricious unpredictability. It is not surprising, therefore, that certain naive governments wish to practice authoritarian rule, in which businesses based on poor intelligence fail to take advantage of their members’ knowledge and organize themselves with control systems that end up suffering from problems of governance. The economic crisis has emerged as a forum for decisions that respond to short-term expediency and a longterm vision. While the former pushes us to save ourselves as best we can, the latter feeds our collective instinct. Crises are times of change for the same reason that they can also be times to preserve. We simply have to choose what we wish to retain while the storm rages. The history of Man is the history of free beginnings rather an inexorable process to which we must submit. No treaty, no theory, no user’s manual for times of crisis can anticipate or replace the creativity of history, nor predetermine which solutions are best suited to the problems which we have to face. As Fuentes Quintana would say, solutions to economic problems are never economic, instead they are political. We need policies which serve to build a competitive, innovative, creative and inclusive country. A country with a dynamic economy, based on dynamic infrastructure with dynamic governance. It is not infrastructure, it is not economics, it is politics that ought to provide us with the tools and solutions, the means to bring about change and above all, the opportunity to do so better. Do we dare to be creative, to innovate and change what we recognize today as functional inefficiencies?

*Ricard Font Secretary of Infrastructures and Mobility of the Government of Catalonia

Catalan International View



The structure of social communication in present-day Catalonia, in the European context by Núria Almiron*

The communicative space within any liberal democracy, including Catalonia, is at the very least three-dimensional, to the extent that we can simultaneously identify an economic, a socio-cultural and a political dimension. The economic dimension is obvious, since communication is big business. The socio-cultural dimension is universally recognized as critical, given the impact the output of the cultural industries have on our collective imagination, in terms of creating our awareness and understanding of the world. The political dimension is equally present, the media are established and interact with and as a reaction to the prevailing political reality. As a result the media participates in politics, while in turn politics determines how the communicative space is built and rebuilt. This simplistic and therefore incomplete summary of the communicative reality in liberal democracies, nevertheless serves to present the complexity of what we can call the communicative space. The combination of business, culture, politics and technology is the reason why there are no two national communicative spaces which are alike. Each is unique. This has not stopped those who identify useful characteristics they have in common, for the purposes of classification. According to Daniel Hallin and Paolo Mancini (2007), Spain forms part of the Mediterranean model or ‘polarized pluralism’. As the name suggests, this is characterized by a high degree of politicization and external pluralism, where the media assumes a role as advocates of various political ideologies, often identifying with specific political parties, and where a commitment to these ideologies often outweighs a commitment to a professional culture. 14

Catalan International View

Since Catalonia lacks its own state, Hallin and Mancini did not analyze the Catalan situation as such, though they acknowledge the impossibility of comparing the situation in Catalonia with that of Spain. Indeed, the Catalan media does not fit the radical political polarization typical of the Spanish media. This dislocation does nothing more than mimic the political reality in Catalonia: the polarization of Spanish political bipartisanship is not present here either. Sections of the Catalan media are politicized and some are partisan, as is the case everywhere, but the ideological divide and lack of goodwill that divides leading Spanish newspapers (El País, El Mundo and ABC) is not found in the relationship between the leading Catalan newspapers (between La Vanguardia, El Periódico or Ara). Similarly, the role played by Spanish public broadcasting during the return of democracy is not comparable to the


role played by Catalan public broadcasting in the recovery of Catalonia’s language and culture. It is true that there are similarities between the two. As with all regional public bodies in Spain, they have experienced significant degrees of governmentalization since the restoration of democracy. However, if we look at the history of Catalan public television it is impossible to find a loss of quality in programming similar to that often found in state public television or other regional public broadcasting. Not only does Catalonia not fit the model of the Spanish media system, it doesn’t fit the Mediterranean media model as a whole. The Mediterranean countries are characterized by a general absence of formal, independent systems of accountability. The absence of these organisms, common among most liberal democracies, indicates a lack of consensus on ethical standards in respect to the media. By contrast, in

Catalonia there is an audiovisual regulatory council (still without a Spanish equivalent, some 14 years after its creation) and a Press Council, the Catalan Council of Information, established in 1996 following the model of the British Press Complaints Commission. In fact, Catalonia is the only nation in southern Europe with a genuine Press Council (Eberwein et al, 2011). It is therefore evident that Catalonia’s socio-political and cultural uniqueness mean we ought to speak of a communicative space that is clearly Catalan in this respect. Not only for the use of Catalan and bilingualism and for its distinct history and culture, but also for the role of the public media, for the genuine implementation of control mechanisms and for its pluralism with its own individuality. Nevertheless, does this mean that we can speak at a structural level, in other words at an economic level, of a purely Catalan media system? Catalan International View



The structure of social communication in Catalonia

When we try to evaluate the Catalan media sector from an economic point of view we can appreciate the difficulty of understanding what we are talking about. Nowadays the Catalan public has access to media enterprises whose owners can be located anywhere in the world. The major business groups based in Catalonia with media interests (Planeta, Imagina, Zeta, Editorial Prensa Ibérica, Godó and RBA) mostly operate throughout the whole of Spain. Only two groups, among the smallest, Zeta and Godó, operate predominantly in Catalonia. These two groups are a good example of the difficulties facing those who aim to become a major multimedia communications group at solely the Catalan level.

The Catalan media does not fit the radical political polarization typical of the Spanish media In addition to the aforementioned companies we should add the output of national press by groups or companies which are much more modest in size, but which dare to compete with them (such as the publishers of Ara, El Punt/Avui, Sàpiens and so on). These are wholly independent of the big groups, and provide a unique vision of affairs that enhances and expands pluralism. Moreover, major business groups which own media enterprises based outside of Catalonia (Prisa Vocento, COPE, La Sexta, Unidad Editorial, Mediaset) have disparate influence in Catalonia. While some do little business within Catalonia, others have good viewing figures in Catalonia (as is the case with Prisa’s ownership of SER and Telecinco). In 16

Catalan International View

the public arena, the state broadcaster RTVE competes with Catalan public broadcasting and attracts significant audiences, along with the major state-wide private television networks. Internationally, the Catalan public have access to content provided by major international media groups via Freeview (DTT) and premium channels. Obviously this is complemented by content available on the Internet. Finally, an overview would be incomplete without mentioning the local Catalan media. This highly dynamic network, which was established some years ago, has unfortunately become greatly impoverished due to the economic crisis on the one hand, and communication policies on the other. It is worth remembering that the Catalan communication sector, like the Spanish, has been deeply affected by the economic crisis since 2008, leading to a considerable reduction in advertising spending and the availability of credit, and to the closure of numerous media enterprises and the dismissal of thousands of professionals. This situation has resulted in a process of internal restructuring among the leading communication groups. The Catalan media system therefore has a complex structure which makes it very difficult to separately assess the Catalan market from an economic point of view. Up until now, the most established and key element of the Catalan communication structure has traditionally been the public sector, which since its inception has led the rankings of audiences and became the engine of a private Catalan audiovisual industry that expanded outside of Catalonia from the start, spreading to the rest of the state. The Catalan market has proved to be too small for the formation of large private groups which solely compete within Catalonia. So the answer to the question we asked


at the beginning is ‘yes’. Catalonia certainly has its own communication structure, but until now at least, the strength of this sector has been focused mainly on the public sector or on extending its activity outside Catalonia.

A not-so-unique structural situation

While Catalonia’s cultural and political uniqueness is the result of a unique historical process, the structural and economic dimension of the Catalan media landscape shares many parallels with what can be observed in countries with a similar population to Catalonia. Portugal, Finland, Belgium and Sweden have media systems which are essentially based on a strong public sector. In these countries the major private media groups often compete with foreign businesses or foreign groups. In Finland, the Finnish group Sanoma competes with Sweden’s Bonnier. In the Netherlands the two biggest private television operators are German, while in Sweden the third largest operator is German. Together with the secondbiggest private company (with Swedish financing) it broadcasts from the UK in order to evade Sweden’s more restrictive legislation on advertising. In Portugal, the leading private TV channel belongs to a group controlled by Spain’s Grupo Prisa. An analysis of all these cases, together with somewhat larger countries, highlights the lack of structurally independent national media systems everywhere. The transnational nature of the activity is characteristic of them all. Therefore it is not only found in small countries. In Spain itself, the media sec-

tor has long been suffering from ‘italianisation’ or the control of large media backed by Italian capital (Telecinco is owned by Mediaset; Antena 3 TV is half owned by Planeta and half by the Italian company DeAgostini; Unidad Editorial has been in the hands of Il Corriere de la Sera’s owners for many years). If we analyse the ownership of the other large media groups based in Madrid we find international capital from many other sources. In short, from a socio-cultural and political point of view Catalonia is a unique media environment. Its structure is not special in itself, however, reflecting as it does the logic of present-day capitalism. In this sense, it is neither better nor worse positioned than other nations. The recovery of full sovereignty will not relieve it of the consequences of the processes of (neo) liberalization and the breaking down of geographical boundaries that the digital age entails. It is precisely the same as what is taking place in other European contexts. However, the changing political scenario would be an excellent opportunity to protect and expand a model that already distinguishes us from the rest of the Mediterranean. It would be a shame not to take advantage of it to promote a communicative space which is more protective of democratic rights and duties, with a respect for tolerance and empowerment, raising consciences which are above all else free. Achieving such a situation is only possible with a commitment to a strong public model, if we wish to ensure that we have our own communication structure that will make us better people and better citizens.

REFERENCES: Hallin, Daniel C. and Mancini, Paolo (2007): Sistemas mediáticos comparados (Comparing Media Systems). Barcelona: Hacer. Eberwein, Tobias; Fengler Susanne; Lauk, Epp; Leppik-Bork, Tanja (eds.) (2011): Mapping Media Accountability - in Europe and Beyond. Köln: Halem.

*Núria Almiron Professor in the Department of Communication at Universitat Pompeu Fabra. Member of the research group UNICA-UPF and author of several books, including Journalism in Crisis. Corporate Media and Financialization (Hampton Press, 2010).

Catalan International View


Business, Law & Economics

Infrastructure policy in Spain: nation building against economic opportunities and social welfare by GermĂ Bel*


Infrastructure policy in Spain has for a long time been a matter of great controversy. The design and implementation of this policy as a tool for nation building, frequently damaging economic opportunities and social welfare, has been documented in many studies, and is one of the main factors explaining oversupply in all interurban modes in Spain. Works by scholars and analysts have tended to focus on passenger transport. It usually involves a huge investment of resources, and is frequently discussed by politicians and the media. Freight transport has generated much less interest than passenger transport among politicians, senior officials, and the electorate. However, even if it is less glamorous, its role in promoting economic productivity is crucial, as all the most economically successful countries know full well. In Spain, productivity has never been an influential factor in infrastructure policy (or in politics in 18

Catalan International View

general), instead the priority has been to hierarchize social and institutional relations, defining political capital as the hyper-node of the system. In this work I focus on freight transportation rather than on passenger transportation. More specifically, I will explain and discuss the policymaking process regarding the design and implementation of investments in rail freight in Spain in the last decade. This provides an extremely illustrative example of how infrastructure policy is decided in Spain, what are the underlying values and objectives embedded in the policy, and to what extent it disregards economic opportunities and social welfare.

Railway corridors for freight transportation in Spain: a European perspective In early 2003, the European Commission launched a commission to define a precise, limited number of transpor-

Business, Law & Economics

tation infrastructure projects which were to enjoy financial priority and co-financing by the EU and State level funding. What figures were available to the Spanish government to determine the needs for exporting goods and thereby make their decision? The most detailed figures had been published in mid-2002 by the Spanish government itself, together with the French in the Franco-Spanish Observatory of Traffic in the Pyrenees, a joint agency of the ministries of French transport and Spanish public works. Map 1 presents data on exported goods by road from Spain to France, obtained through a detailed survey by the French government. Map 2 presents data on goods exported by road from Spain to the rest of Europe (excluding France) through France. The maps are so illustrative that they require little by way of explanation. The volume of goods exported to France by way of the Mediterranean coast was higher than exports from the Atlantic corridor (Map 1). In the case of goods exported to the rest of Europe, the volume of the Mediterranean corridor is almost double that of the Atlantic corridor (Map 2). Even more importantly, the volume of goods exported through the central corridor (Madrid-Zaragoza) was marginal in both cases. The government of the People’s Party (Partido Popular) did not respond to the needs of the Spanish production system, but rather ensured the centrality of Madrid in any definition of priorities. And this was the option that ended up being transferred to the priorities established by the EC, in decision no. 884/2004/EC of April 29, 2004, ‘On Community guidelines for the development of trans-European transport networks’. The decision declared the central Algeciras-Madrid-Zaragoza corridor as a priority for all purposes (passengers and

freight). The corridor would be a gateway for goods to Europe via the Central Pyrenees. For travelers, high-speed passenger trains would follow the line to Barcelona and the French border. Similarly, the Atlantic corridor was prioritized under the Portugal-Spain-Central Europe multimodal axis. Thus, the Mediterranean corridor was downgraded in the definition of priorities for Spanish programming and funding with EU co-financing, even though the market would continue giving the corridor hegemony in transport demand for export. The government’s decision was nothing but a response to a centuriesold mindset, which demanded that Catalan International View


Business, Law & Economics

all priorities in the area of infrastructure pass through the capital of Spain, whether necessary or not. The Socialist Party (PSOE), then in opposition, claimed it had another view of Spain. In its Declaration of Santillana, adopted on August 30, 2003, the PSOE declared its ‘commitment to empowering the corridors of the Mediterranean (from Algeciras to La Jonquera), of great utility for the entire Spanish Mediterranean port network, and of the Ebro, which will link the Mediterranean with the Cantabrian Coast, which in turn will provide great potential for the Zaragoza logistics platform...’ In 2004, the PSOE won the Spanish general election and assumed power. Once in government, despite the statement made at the Territorial Council meeting at Santillana, the PSOE confirmed the priorities for the European networks established by the PP, which had postponed the Mediterranean corridor. Map 1. Freight traffic from the Iberian Peninsula to France

The thickness of the lines is proportional to the volume transported


Catalan International View

Things continued this way until 2010, which saw a growing clamor in the Mediterranean regions, accentuated by the onset of the economic crisis and the vocal protests of certain large manufacturing groups as to the extra costs imposed on them by the precariousness of freight transport along the Mediterranean corridor. Furthermore, the European Union transport authorities, who tend to believe that infrastructure should be built where it’s needed, began to voice their concerns with Spanish priorities. In this context, the European Commission addressed the process of redefining priorities for the trans-European freight network. And thus the miracle of the loaves and fishes happened. The Spanish government convinced the EC to declare as priorities not two, but three Spanish corridors (Central -without the connection through the Central Pyrenees-, Mediterranean, and Atlantic). In addition, the government declared motu propio two more corridors as priorities in respect to the domestic budget. The detail that was overlooked in the process was that the proliferation of corridors didn’t bring with it an increase in the European funds that were to be allocated for future investments in Spain. The miracle of the loaves and fishes was declared, but in the end, it proved to be nothing more than that. Politics continued as they must and on March 16, 2011, a highly significant event occurred. The Minister of Transport José Blanco presented the Estudio Técnico del Corredor Mediterráneo [Technical Study of the Mediterranean Corridor] in Barcelona, which forecast spending of more than €51,300 million on the corridor, as if there were no budget crisis. On page 191 of the study presented by the minister, it was noted that €8,400 million had already been spent on the Mediterranean corridor as of 2010, ‘due to the notable progress of

Business, Law & Economics

spending on the high-speed lines under construction on the Mediterranean Corridor, corresponding to the Barcelona line to the French border and the line from Madrid to Valencia and Murcia’. (sic). In short, the minister initiated a new feature of the central government’s line of communication, which was to assign to the Mediterranean coast any spending that connected Madrid with the Mediterranean coast. The central government authorities, however, hadn’t taken into account that on July 10, 2010 a large part of Catalan society had risen up and overwhelmed their political representatives, expressing their disagreement with the burden represented by the Constitutional Court’s ruling on the Statute of Catalonia, both in terms of its process and its outcome.

The PP government (reelected by the end of 2011) picked up the baton and fervently applied the put-on to the Mediterranean Corridor. Meanwhile, as endless haggling continued over revenues for spending on provisional freight lines (which will end up becoming definitive) which are still very poorly connected to the Mediterranean ports, the PP continued to build and inaugurate radial lines from Madrid that ‘modernize the Mediterranean corridor’. A pin and a map of Spain are sufficient to evaluate the policy. On page 13 of the document Ministerio de Fomento. Proyecto de Presupuesto 2013 [Ministry of Public Works. 2013 Draft Budget] the extension of the Madrid-Murcia highspeed AVE to Almeria (with no connection north of Valencia!) is included as part of the Mediterranean corridor.

Map 2. Freight traffic from the Iberian Peninsula to the rest of Europe through France

The thickness of the lines is proportional to the volume transported

Catalan International View


Business, Law & Economics

The draft budget also includes spending on the Algeciras-Antequera and Bobadilla-Granada trajectories. True, Algeciras is on the Mediterranean, and from Granada one could reach Almeria (again on the Mediterranean)... but the Granada-Almeria section doesn’t exist, nor is it expected to exist (and there is actually no need for the AVE here, incidentally). In other words, thanks to spending on the ‘Mediterranean Corridor’, Madrid connects to Granada for AVE passengers and to Algeciras for freight (which is what was intended). In this way, the ‘Madrid-terranean’ accumulates five direct accesses to the sea. This pattern was repeatedly in the 2014 and 2015 Budgets. It is worth recalling the Government’s comments highlighting the contribution made to the Mediterranean corridor by the Madrid-Alicante line entering service in June 2013, thanks to which it is now quicker to travel between Madrid and Alicante than between Valencia and Alicante. In addition, by breaking all the laws of geometry, the government has succeeded in making the travel time by train (connection apart) between Barcelona and Alicante almost shorter by way of the opposite and adjacent sides (Barcelona-Madrid-Alicante) than by the hypotenuse Barcelona-Alicante: just 20 minutes more for twice the number of kilometers. All this for travelers. The structuring of freight transport, as mentioned earlier, lacks glamour. Someday, Valencia and Alicante will be better connected, and the connection will run further south and further north, and perhaps there will finally be a railway line along the Mediterranean that consists of something more than a hodge-podge collection of patches and disconnections. And someday the stretch of over 30 km of single track railway (shared by both freight and 22

Catalan International View

passengers) between Vandellòs and Tarragona, which has been strangling the Mediterranean railway corridor and accumulating delay after delay for 25 years, will be dealt with appropriately. It constitutes a true showcase of the logic behind Spain’s infrastructure policy. Granted, needs exist in many places in Spain. But some places have their needs fully met; others have their supply satisfied even if the demand has not, nor will it ever match the supply. And none of these places include the southern European corridor, along which the most freight circulates. Indeed, everything will be fixed someday. Although by then, the preferred means of transport may well have become teleportation, and too many opportunities will have been missed due to the difficulties in transporting freight, if they haven’t been missed already, that is. Recently, in April this year, the German multinational Daimler announced its decision not to locate its Asian export center for 200,000 vehicles (per annum) in the Port of Tarragona, since it lacks a rail connection (instead short-listing two sites in Italy and Slovenia). This represents, a significant loss of jobs and social welfare. All in all, the worst thing is having to spend so much energy and collective effort on disputes over issues that are evident from the point of view of the productivity of the economy and the welfare of citizens... just as it is obvious that what really matters for Spanish infrastructure policy, which has attracted so much support for so long, is ‘having’, rather than ‘using’. And that Europe begins and ends in the capital of the Spanish State.

Everyone is equal, everyone is unequal

One of the most unjust accusations leveled at regional leaders in recent years

Business, Law & Economics

is that they are accountable for so much unused infrastructure in Spain. The demand for all types of infrastructure possessed by others, especially when it communicates with the political capital, is nothing more than a logical consequence of the political offer made by the central government, which has always been the one to wield power in Spain, and more so in this area of policy. This was well documented in my book Infrastructure and the Political Economy of Nation Building in Spain, 1720-2010 (2012). Several years after its publication, the available budgetary revenues have been reduced, restricting government action. Nevertheless, central government’s methodology and approach to infrastructure policy has not changed one iota, instead it has continually reaffirmed itself. Let us recall the words of the current Minister of Transportation Ana Pastor (People’s Party) from April 2012, ‘The AVE makes all Spaniards equal’. Only two months earlier, in February of 2012, the minister had publicly presented the central government’s decision to reapply for the inclusion of the Central Crossing of the Pyrenees as a priority for rail freight transport in the European network. The proposal would end up being defeated by 26-1 in the relevant European Council of Transport ministers. The sole vote in favor was that of Spain. It is very interesting to recall the argument made by the Minister on that occasion: ‘Why is the central corridor important? Well, it is essential because we don’t want an asymmetrical Spain.

How can I explain to the Spaniards that those who belong to one particular Autonomous Community are more important than those from another?’ Well, first, one might try looking at Maps 1 and 2 showing the volume of goods exported by road from Spain. Indeed, Spanish institutions reject the principle of fairness in different ways according to the what and the where. Of course, according to the methodology of infrastructure policy in Spain, it is only logical that the Aragonese authorities should insist on claiming the priority of the central crossing of the Pyrenees, and that they mobilize the support of the governments of the regions through which the central corridor runs. They know, as the government of Spain has told them, that without this priority they are less important than those from a certain other Autonomous Community. Even if such an option represents an economic, mobility, and environmental blunder. It is impossible for this way of understanding infrastructure policy in Spain to change. Especially since it would require nothing less than changing the current model of nation building, which enjoys dominant and sustained support among political and economic elites, as well as among the general population. In the end, damage is for economic opportunities and social welfare. And something happens then when the state of the matter cannot change, many people end up thinking that it is the State itself that needs to be changed.

*Germà Bel Professor of Economics at Universitat de Barcelona. Researcher ICREA-Academia. Has been visiting Scholar at Harvard University in 2005-06 and EUI-FSR 2009. Has been visiting Professor at Cornell University in 2004-05 and 2012-13, and Princeton-University 2012-13, 2013-14, and 2014-2015. See detailed information on publications in http://www.germabel.cat

Catalan International View



In Syria, ‘democracy’ and ‘peace’ are written in Kurdish by Francesc de Dalmases*

‘Being on the side of the Kurds means working for democracy in Syria, Iraq, Iran and Turkey’, according to Asya Abdullah, co-chair of the PYD, the main Kurdish party in Syria’s Rojava region. Being ‘on the side of the Kurds’ means offering political support from the outside and it also means supporting them during a humanitarian crisis which the UNHCR has defined as ‘the worst the region has ever seen’. A crisis that ‘can only be fought by a global commitment’. The priorities are clear for the head of relief efforts in the Kurdish refugee camps on the Turkish-Syrian border, home to approximately a quarter of the 200,000 Kurds who fled Kobane and its surrounding villages. Mustafa Dogal explains that in order for people to return to the city, first the mines and shells that failed to go off during the siege must be cleared, along with the rubble and the bodies of the victims before the heat arrives. For this to be possible it is necessary that the Turkish authorities recognize the Kurdish side of the border at Mursitpinar as the major conduit for the reconstruction of the city, rather than merely opening it three times a week in order that those refugees who choose to do so can return to the free, yet dev24

Catalan International View

astated city. Whatever Turkey does, wherever the international community chooses to fix its gaze, up to two thousand refugees cross the border to undertake the journey home on every occasion on which the frontier is open. Understanding the war in Syria involves understanding how international interests, omissions and actions have a direct impact on the daily lives of hundreds of thousands of people who are its victims. Two prime examples: if the international community pressured Turkey into opening the border it would be possible to start rebuilding Kobane and would provide a dignified return with certain guarantees to refugees and the displaced; if we paid attention to and offered protection to the Iraqi Kurds and Yazidis we would not only prevent


yet another massacre of thousands of members of this ancient culture (some seventy-three such events have been documented throughout history), it would also establish the basis of new political paradigms in the region, based on the recognition and appreciation of all the identities that must coexist. It is by no means wishful thinking, since it is the Kurdish alternative which has already been established in Turkey. It is the proposal made by Syrian Kurds with a view to the post-conflict landscape and it has become a political reality in an autonomous administrative body in Iraq. If the Kurdish movement were to be seen as more than an armed force which serves the interests of the military forces of the United States, France

and Germany against the Islamic State, we would see a radically democratic attempt at nation-building that is unprecedented in the region. They propose and practice horizontal democracy in their local fiefdoms within Turkey, speaking of the need to decentralize the state; while in Syria, reinforcing the democratic aspirations of the Syrian revolutionary forces, which are dangerously caught between a choice between the familiar dictatorial rule of the supporters of Assad and the Islamic State’s cataclysmic fundamentalism. The Kurds have managed to build a revolutionary, regenerative political movement of a kind that is unprecedented in the region. At present it does not appear to aspire to establish a new state but rather to establish new rules Catalan International View



The Islamic State needs to be attacked at the roots which feed it and make it strong: the undisguised support from the Gulf states and the decisive participation of Saddam Hussein’s former military leadership

founded on democracy in the countries in which it is present. In the words of Harcho Chamin, charged with safeguarding human rights in Kobane: ‘It’s a Kurdish revolution, but it’s also a women’s revolution and in particular a democratic revolution which is important for every country in the region’.

Francesc de Dalmases

A key chapter in the geopolitics of the twenty-first century is being written in this region of the Middle East. At present the Islamic State constitutes a key part of the problem. But only a part. Seeing it to exist solely where it goes into battle is an overly-simplistic take on the problem. It needs to be attacked at the roots which feed it and make it strong: the undisguised support from the Gulf states and the decisive participation of Saddam Hussein’s former military leadership. They have both found in Islamic State the ideal means by which to sustain a trajectory marked by the profit motive and thoroughly indiscriminate violence. Finally we must, for once and for all, try to discern what the truly legitimate and democratic options are for the region. Following the attacks of September 11th, 2001 in New York, the Western allies made the mistake of including the Kurdish movement on the list of international terrorists. This was done to ensure the support of Turkey. Fourteen years later, these same countries have accepted the Kurds as the only force capable of stopping the advance of fundamentalism in the region and are providing them with logistical and military support. The Kurds should also be seen as a consolidated political movement with the ability to build and implement a new model of democracy.

(Barcelona, 1970). Journalist and consultant in humanitarian aid and cooperation and development. Has been president (1999-2006) of the Association of Periodicals in Catalan (APPEC); coordinator for the delegation to the Spanish state of European Bureau for Lesser-Used Languages (1995-1999); coordinator for the third conference of the CONSEU (Conference of European Stateless Nations) (1999); and coordinator for the publication Europa de les Nacions (1993-1999). Has acted as a foreign expert in aid projects in such diverse locations as Afghanistan, Pakistan, Mongolia, Kosovo, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Mexico, Guatemala and Morocco. He is a member of the Cooperation Council of the Catalan government. In 2011 he joined Barcelona’s Council’s Aid Commitee and is a board member of the Federation of Internationally Recognized Catalan Organizations.


Catalan International View

The Americas

The 7th Summit of the Americas: Obama and Castro usher in a new era by Ariadna Canela*

The handshake and subsequent meeting between Barack Obama and Raul Castro during the 7th Summit of the Americas signalled the thawing of relations between the United States and Cuba, ending more than 50 years of enmity. The historic meeting also marked the beginning of a new era for the Americas. The meeting, which took place in Panama in early April, will be remembered as the beginning of the thaw in relations between Cuba and the United States. US President Barack Obama arrived in Panama with the intention of improving relations between his country and the region.

The meeting will be remembered as the beginning of the thaw in relations between Cuba and the United States The announcement of the restoration of diplomatic relations with Cuba in December 2014 marked the first step in a process of rapprochement 28

Catalan International View

between the United States and its former backyard. Obama believes that the policy of isolation has failed, that ‘the times of interference’ are over and it is the time for dialogue. The so-called ‘Obama doctrine’, prioritizing diplomacy and multilateralism, was clearly apparent during the summit of the Americas. ‘The United States is looking to the future’, announced the current occupant of the White House during his speech at the first plenary session, adding that his country, ‘will not be imprisoned by the past’. ‘The Cold War is over’ he went on to say, ‘I’m not interested in having battles that, frankly, started before I was born’. Obama declared that the United States wants to work and cooperate

The Americas

with Latin American countries to resolve the region’s problems. While Obama urged the region’s leaders to look to the future, the Cuban leader, Raul Castro, took everyone by surprise with a speech that recalled past resentments and rivalries between Latin American countries and their neighbour to the north. ‘It was time to talk here’, said Castro, who half-jokingly claimed he should use the eightminute slots owing to him to address the six previous summits in which his country had been excluded. ‘Six times eight are 48’, he said with a smile.

Obama signals a turning point

In the end, Castro spoke for 40 minutes. In his speech he outlined his grievances with the America’s ‘imperialist aggres-

sion’ in Cuba. He recalled US support for the dictatorship of Fulgencio Batista, the failed Bay of Pigs invasion and the ‘hardships’ of the Cuban people caused by America’s blockade of the island’s economy. However, Castro exonerated Barack Obama of all the ills which, he said, the United States had inflicted on his country. ‘Ten [US] presidents owe us a debt, but not President Obama’ proclaimed the President of Cuba. ‘Obama is an honest man and I think his way of being is due to his humble origins’. He went on to praise the ‘courage’ required to initiate the normalization of relations with Cuba and considered ‘positive’ the intention to remove the Caribbean island from America’s state sponsors of terrorism list. Catalan International View


The Americas

Castro hopes that Obama will succeed in his efforts to convince the US Congress to repeal the blockade against Cuba and urged every country in the Americas to help. It was the first time since the first Summit of the Americas in 1994 that Cuba was able to attend. It was a historic event that overshadowed every other economic, social and security issue under discussion at the summit.

Speeches like those by the Ecuadorian President, Correa, and his Venezuelan counterpart, Maduro, warned that the change in relations between Latin American countries and the United States will not happen overnight The meeting between Castro and Obama generated high expectations since it was the first to be held between the leaders of Cuba and the US since 1956, when Dwight Eisenhower and Fulgencio Batista met, also in Panama. Our Cuba policy, instead of isolating Cuba, was isolating the United States in our own backyard’, according to Benjamin J. Rhodes, security adviser to President Obama when addressing a group of journalists. Rhodes claimed that Obama is convinced of the need

Ariadna Canela

for a new policy with regard to Cuba and the rest of Latin America, although he admitted that it is not always possible to ‘agree with everyone’. During the summit, several leaders, including the president of Brazil, Dilma Rousseff, and Panama, Juan Carlos Varela, stressed that the Americas are entering a new era.

The beginning of a long road

Speeches like those by the Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa and his Venezuelan counterpart Nicolas Maduro warned that the change in relations between Latin American countries and the United States will not happen overnight. Both Correa and Castro condemned US sanctions against Venezuela. During his speech, Correa said that the United States is continuing with its ‘illegal activities’ in Latin America and that the time has come ‘for a second, definitive independence for the region’. Meanwhile, Maduro was in a more conciliatory mood, following diplomatic negotiations between Washington and Caracas to lower tensions. The summit has served Obama to initiate a change in relations between the US and the southern hemisphere. Although much remains to be done, the new relationship between the last remaining superpower and Havana bodes well for the future.

(Barcelona, 1979) holds a degree in Philosophy and a degree in Advertising and Public Relations from the Universitat de Barcelona. An inveterate traveller, she combines her creative side as a sculptor and artistic creator with her collaboration with organizations involved with international analysis and cooperation for development.


Catalan International View


Women’s rights and the access to power: the importance of the 2010-2020 Decade for African Women by Patricia Rodriguez*

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that everyone has the right to participate in the government of their country, directly or through freely chosen representatives, and has the right of equal access to public services. Nonetheless, women, some 50% of the population, face difficulties, if not to say outright prohibition, when it comes to participating in the construction of their country and their own reality. They are therefore prevented from something as basic as the search for solutions to the problems they suffer on a daily basis. Politics is, thus, one of the areas of discrimination against women that has the greatest impact on their own development. The majority of international organizations openly admit that the situation of women at the start of the twentieth century is not what it ought to be. There have been widespread reports of the violation of women’s basic rights in areas such as healthcare, education, and equal access to resources. These elements form part of a country, a region, or a municipality’s public policy. This means it is essential that women participate in public policy if they wish to secure their rights in other areas. Thus, discussing African women and their political participation is a crucial part of a debate on the welfare of half of the African population, and indeed, the population of Africa as a whole, since it is the sphere in which decisions are taken where things can be changed and move towards greater development in all areas. Women’s so32

Catalan International View

cial and political participation has been regarded as a central strategy in the construction of gender equality and the foundations of democracy. The African continent has a firm, formal commitment to gender equality and the empowerment of women. Almost all African countries have ratified the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (adopted by the United Nations in 1979, it entered into force in 1981) and over half have ratified the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa (adopted by the African Union in 2003). The protocol represented a decisive step in the rights of African women. The progress made in these areas has also affected the legal rights of women worldwide, to the point to say that at


the regulatory and legislative level, the African continent is a world leader in terms of its rules and commitments. The African continent is often viewed in a negative light, ignoring the significant efforts and progress that has been made in numerous areas. In legislative terms, African countries have made a firm commitment, and the women’s movements have played a key role in this success story, although there is still a long way to go to ensure the practical effectiveness of such well-intentioned legislation. It is worth pointing out that this is also true in other parts of the world, which are in need of developments which bring about the changes everyone has agreed upon in numerous treaties and agreements. The African Union announced the start of the African Women’s Decade 2010-2020 (AWD) in October 2009,

in Nairobi. The AWD has been a notable undertaking for African women, while quite probably remaining unknown to the rest of the world. It is the recognition of the needs, concerns and proposals defined by the work carried out and the efforts expended by African women themselves and the pressure exerted by the movements which they create in order to articulate their demands and call for the accountability of African leaders. The aim of the AWD is to ensure greater awareness of the implementation of every commitment to gender equality and access to power regarding African women. The AWD consists of 10 themes: Fighting Poverty and Promoting Economic Empowerment of Women and Entrepreneurship; Agriculture and Food Security; Health, Maternal Mortality and HIV&AIDS; Catalan International View



Education, Science and Technology; Environment and Climate Change; Peace and Security and Violence Against Women; Governance and Legal Protection; Finance and Gender Budgets; Women in Decision Making Positions; Energizing the African Women’s Movement and Mentoring the Young Women’s Movement.

The majority of international organizations openly admit that the situation of women at the start of the twentieth century is not what it ought to be

Today, halfway through the decade and the commitment made by African governments and in the midst of negotiations concerning the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), and the contents of the Post-2015 Agenda, what is the situation of African women in terms of political participation? African countries are at the top of international rankings of countries with the highest percentage of women with access to their legislative chambers. In this regard, according to recent data from the Inter-Parliamentary Union, Rwanda, South Africa and Mozambique head the continent, with a level comparable to northern European countries. There are numerous examples of women who have risen to the highest levels of policy making: Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, President of Liberia (and Nobel Peace Prize winner), Catherine Samba Panza and Joyce Banda, former presidents of the Central African Republic and Malawi respectively, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Nigeria’s former Minister of Finance and Minister of 34

Catalan International View

Foreign Affairs and Managing Director of the World Bank until 2012, and Nkozasana Dlamini Zuma, Chairperson of the African Union Commission. Not to forget Rwanda’s legislative assembly where women represent 56% of the chamber, or the African Union, where 5 of its 10 Commission members and 7 of its 15 directors are women. It should be noted that no other supranational organization, whether regional or international, has achieved this gender balance at the highest levels of its leadership and management. Ten African women also have a noteworthy presence in UN-Women, constituting part of its executive board of 41 members which provide a platform for the participation of African women worldwide. Nevertheless, this presence, despite being a step forward, is still insufficient in terms of the African continent as a whole. Since 1995 the United Nations Human Development Report (HDR) has included two new indicators to measure the inequality between men and women: the Gender-Related Development Index (GDI), which measures the human development of women in every country, and the Gender Empowerment Measure (GEM), which measures inequalities in three important aspects of human development: political participation and decision-making power (measured by the proportion of parliamentary seats occupied by men and women), economic participation and decision-making power (measured by the participation of women and men in legislative positions, senior and management posts and participation in professional and technical positions), and control over economic resources (with an estimate of women and men’s income). The index is particularly re-


vealing, as it allows us to more clearly examine women’s position in the power structure of every country, especially in relation to decision-making in the legislature and in business. Analyzing the GEM one notes that in every country, whatever their level of human development, women occupy fewer positions with decisionmaking power. It is not enough to simply count the number of seats held by women in parliament, we ought to look further and deeper into reality. Thus, in countries such as Mozambique and Rwanda, with a significant presence of women parliamentarians, their effective capacity for decision-making is of little relevance in terms of gender equality. There are, therefore, gaps in the implementation of legislation and equality policies. This apparently strong representation of women in African parliaments ought to translate into positive impacts on women’s daily lives. Nevertheless, reality shows us that the majority of women work in precarious positions with low wages and few opportunities for promotion. Women are still marginalized in the political sphere, therefore, often as a result of discriminatory practices, social attitudes and gender stereotypes, low levels of education, and, ultimately, as a result of the poverty that affects women disproportionately. The disconnect between the regulatory framework and reality is even more evident at the local level. In Mozambique, for example, women make up 40% of the country’s national legislative assembly, while at the local level, of the 43 municipalities only three are presided over by women. Women’s participation at this level is necessary for them to advance in the construction of their own identity, as it strengthens

women as individuals and as legitimate stakeholders in society. Women’s presence in political dialogue and the electoral process is still very low in Africa. Low levels of schooling, with the lack of self-esteem and security that this can cause, together with traditional attitudes, mean that women fail to speak out publicly in the local arena, thus limiting the awareness of citizens and political actors of the changes which ought to occur. So, once again, there are dual realities that ultimately solely impact the welfare of African women. Gender equality in decision-making bodies is a question of democracy, and if a society fails to achieve a gender balance in elected bodies it fails to be an efficient democracy. We must increase the representation of women, starting from the grassroots, by way of management committees in control of water and other natural resources, municipal assemblies and organizations with active participation, which ultimately allow for the design of mechanisms and training that enable women to access areas involved in decision making. Women should also seek out and find their own paths to equality, their own social and cultural means to determine how to approach policies in order that they serve their own interests. It is not enough to be represented quantitatively: we should promote an awareness and recognition of the importance of women’s participation in the political process at the community, local, national and further still, international level. It is in this context that political parties also play an important role. Rules governing political parties regarding the order of candidates on electoral lists, the type of lists (open or Catalan International View



closed) and the financing of candidates, all determine the presence of women in politics. There is therefore a great deal of work to be done concerning political parties, to remove all obstacles which discriminate, whether directly or indirectly, against women’s participation in management. This ultimately will allow women to participate actively in internal decision-making. In short, they must ensure that women have an equal and fair opportunity to compete for all elective public posts. Beyond the internal workings of political parties, however, it is also necessary to promote programs aimed at raising awareness among young women and girls in Africa as to the importance of the political process and the participation of women, since only by creating conditions conducive to their active participation will they be able to aspire to certain positions. Women are often seen as clients or beneficiaries of public services instead of active participants in them and leaders in decision-making processes.

The representation of women and the inclusion of their perspectives and experiences in the decision-making process will inevitably lead to more viable solutions that meet the needs of a wider spectrum of society It is significant that in Africa 80% of the food is produced by women while 85% of the land is owned by men. Women must be present in politics in order to ensure policy changes in legislation regarding the ownership of land and the availability of financial resources for the development of local agriculture. Only then will women 36

Catalan International View

achieve economic independence and sovereignty. According to the Togolese MP Christine Mensah-Atoemne it is essential we raise awareness among women that they must claim their rights, and they therefore need to resort to politics. In this context, African women’s movements and organizations are playing an important role. A key example is the World March of Women, a global feminist movement created to eliminate the causes of poverty and violence against women. In recent years it has become apparent that networks of African women’s movements and the sharing of experiences have taken on a more significant role throughout the continent. Nonetheless, while it is true that this work must be carried out in numerous spheres and take place on different levels, it is also true that, in spite of the obstacles and difficulties faced by women in Africa, they have played a role in building and often in rebuilding their country and have been able to take advantage of frequently unfavourable situations, and situations of conflict, to defend their rights. In a superficial reading of history, women’s role is often invisible, in spite of the fact that their active participation in liberation and reform movements has been crucial. On the African continent as a whole, though particularly those countries such as Mozambique, Rwanda and others which have suffered conflicts, women have become actively involved in political parties and peace movements and have used the transitions the countries have undergone and the drafting of new constitutions to channel their demands and enhance women’s participation and representation. Following situations of conflict and violence they have introduced spe-


cial measures in political parties relating to new electoral rules and practices. This has led to an increase in the representation of women in political bodies and institutions. Women in these countries have reached high levels in a short period of time, thanks to the introduction of quotas and the mobilization of women, establishing a fast track which is distinct from that which has permitted an increase in women’s participation in the countries of northern Europe. It is a first, yet nevertheless very important, step in the long road which lies ahead. All women should be empowered through education and training on topics such as governance, public policy, economics, information technology and science, in order to acquire the knowledge and skills necessary to contribute fully to society and the political process in their countries or regions. This is the challenge which African women are facing with energy and determination. The representation of women and the inclusion of their perspectives and experiences in the decision-making process will inevitably lead to more viable solutions that meet the needs of a wider spectrum of society. This is why women should form part of the political process, and to this end we must continue to promote a renewed commitment to all rights and laws concerning gender policies. Although African leaders rush to promote international instruments and gender policies for the advancement of

the continent, there remain cultural obstacles which influence the ratification and assimilation of said instruments. Assimilation is key to the development of effective strategies and to ensure the implementation of governments’ commitment to women’s rights; one cannot support a government if there is no national law against discrimination of women and their oppression. The inclusion of gender policies into development activities has an accelerating effect on the processes of transformation. 2015 is a key year in the evolution of the international agenda. The Post-2015 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are important elements of development in this framework, in the same way as they formed part of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The decisions which will eventually be agreed upon will determine the future of many of the policies and future actions at the global level. The decade in which we find ourselves, which comes to a close in 2020, is therefore of paramount importance for the development of women’s rights. In order for women to access power we should not only consider the effectiveness of the agreements mentioned in treatise of an international nature, we should also ensure their adoption in national legislation, of the necessary conditions for gender equality and the development of what will ultimately affect the continent as a whole. Without the participation of women we can hardly expect a better future.

*Patricia Rodriguez A Development Aid Consultant. She holds an Economics degree (Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona), an MA in Strategies, Agents and Policies for Development Aid (Universidad del País Vasco) and a Postgraduate Diploma in African Societies (Universitat Pompeu Fabra). She was the Catalan Agency for Development Cooperation’s head of Sub-Saharan Africa for 10 years.

Catalan International View



Sergi López ‘I live life the only way I know how: without turning it into a drama’ Interviewed by Francesc de Dalmases Photos by Quim Milla

When someone has genuine talent, it is inversely proportional to their ego. This is true of the actor Sergi López. Born in Vilanova in 1965, he has had an extensive career in film, especially in France. This has allowed him to work with such renowned directors as Manuel Poirier, Catherine Corsini, Arnaud des Pallières, Guillermo del Toro, Isabel Coixet, François Ozon, Agustí Villaronga, Eric Barbier, Ventura Pons and Stephen Frears. His life in film has gone hand in hand with his outstanding development as a writer and theatre actor. Sergi López is also known in Catalonia for his staunch defence of democratic regeneration. Thus, he exercises political criticism and defends grassroots activism as an indispensable tool for social transformation. Wise, intelligent, critical, crazy, creative, innovative, committed and provocative, he claims there has been one overriding factor throughout his career: sheer good luck. Maybe luck or chance can’t explain how an actor of your age has made over 60 films... Maybe it can, since another person would do exactly what I’ve done and their career would be completely different. Moreover, when people come up to me and tell me they want to do what I‘ve done I say ‘Stop!’ Because I’ve had a lot of luck, a lot. Without any kind of a master plan I’ve received some amazing gifts. Sometimes I hear talk of a Sergi López as if he was someone else. When I think of myself I think of Sergi, not Sergi López. I know he exists, that he looks like me, that he’s got the same accent... but I’m a little embarrassed by him. I’ve never dared to ‘create’ myself, to define my character to make it

one thing or another. I do what I think I have to do, I say what I think, I try to identify myself with what I do and try not to be a slave to a predetermined strategy. You won a César Award for Best Actor. You’re the first non-French actor to have received one, and a European Film Awards for Best Actor and yet you say your relationship with French cinema began by accident? I started doing theatre in my town, Vilanova. Everyone who wants to act knows there’s a group of people, in every town, that do amateur theatre. That’s the first contact I had with the theatre and right from the start I realised that I wanted to ded-

Catalan International View



icate myself to acting. There are encounters with people that are significant and one such was with Toni Albà, who’s an actor from my town. Toni’s a very creative person who studied in France and told me I should go to the Jacques Lecoq School. It was sheer luck, I arrived in France by chance. If instead of that school I’d been told about a school in London or Brussels it might have been a completely different story.

I’ve been lucky enough to make nine films with Poirier. It’s like a masterclass which has lasted nine films, with someone who is really unique, who’s an auteur, with his own view of cinema. But you did amateur theatre in your town and then you decided to go to Paris and you ended up doing cinema. These are all conscious decisions, aren’t they? But the films were also an accident [laughs]. Imagine, I’m in a theatre school in Paris, I can hardly speak French and I hear about a casting call for an actor with a Spanish accent who speaks French badly. I’ve only been in Paris for two months, so off I go, since I’m curious to know what goes on at a casting. And there I meet a special person, very special, the director Manuel Poirier. He interviews me himself, we get on really well and he tells me that he’s looking for exactly what he sees in me, an actor who’s in his twenties, positive, bright and full of energy, who gets involved with a French girl with social problems, someone from a dysfunctional family. I have to play a plain, simple character who falls in love and is loved in return. And he gives me the role and almost without knowing what’s happening, I’m making my first film. Just like in Casablanca, it was the beginning of a great friendship. Poirier has a way of working that, I subsequently realised, is quite unique. He has a way of working which for me is totally logical: he always shoots scenes in chronological order, often without telling you which scene he’s shooting. Eventually I realised 40

he makes films which are like documentaries. If anything unexpected happens in a scene, if someone drops a glass or trips up, or someone doesn’t finish a sentence or doesn’t pronounce it well, he’s bound to say ‘It’s a wrap!’. He’s a director who always makes sure you’re acting, even when you’re unaware you’re acting. And I’ve been lucky enough to make nine films with him. It’s like a course, a masterclass which has lasted nine films, with someone who is really unique, who’s an auteur, with his own view of cinema. And I guess it’s thanks to this unique beginning that you decided to choose what kind of work you’d do: to say no to television and not to get seduced by the whole American thing. But the choice is also the result of luck and pure chance. If at the time I made my first film with Poirier I’d been offered a film in the US or Zimbabwe I’d have gone, for sure. In such a situation there’s no room to choose. If there’s a chance you take it. And indeed, 99% of actors can’t choose: they’re lucky if they get a chance to appear in a play or a movie. More so with the crisis in the industry: if they’re lucky enough to do what they like that’s great, but the whole point is to make a living from being an actor. If you don’t have a choice, you can’t choose. Meanwhile, you might get a script from a director you admire, but if you’re not convinced, you turn it down. I’ve learnt how to do it. I’ve been very lucky. If I hadn’t been offered enough films maybe I would’ve been forced to take whatever came along. But if by the time summer comes along I’ve been sent two, three or four projects, I can choose. I know it’s luck, that it’s down to chance. But yes, if I get a script I don’t like or a part I can’t imagine myself doing and if it’s from a director I really like, it’s a good lesson for me, an opportunity to be honest. I tell the director why it won’t work and they understand why I won’t do it. So while I can, I won’t do a project that I don’t believe in. And I guess you’re doing both of you a favour? I think I also do it because I’m rather self-conscious. It’s not that I’m especially dumb, but film

Catalan International View


people are real cinephiles. They know the directors, the actors, their entire filmography... and I get a bit lost. So I have to trust my instincts, whether I can see myself playing the part, or if a project is too bizarre... Bizarre? Looking at your career, you’ve certainly done a few bizarre movies! You can say that again [laughs]. Dominik Molls’ Harry, un ami qui vous veut du bien [Harry, He’s Here to Help] or the first film I did without Manuel Poirier -La Nouvelle Ève [The New Eve], directed by Catherine Corsini- in which I played a trucker who had a rather complicated sexual history... they offered me the roles because the other actors they’d offered them to had turned them down.

If I get scripts, read them and like them I say ‘yes’, however strange they might be. And if they say you have to film a scene perched naked on the balcony of the main square of Toulouse and you have to throw yourself off, you do it if you believe in it. That scene in Toulouse, when I read the script it seemed great, it suited me and I believed in it. And I took the role. I never thought twice about whether I was going to be naked or not. To the point where, when the time came I felt really embarrassed and was asking myself what the hell I was doing there. But I believed in the script and in the character too, and that’s why I was where I was, playing who I was playing.

Catalan International View



The difficulty isn’t what it seems. It’s much more difficult to play a normal person who appears in the foreground and gets emotional and cries, or someone who simply laughs. Laughing, and I love to laugh, is the hardest thing to fake. When it comes to acting, the difficulty isn’t what it seems.

with ideas. You develop ideas and even invent stuff, which is the most amazing thing that can happen to you. When I do a play with Picó I don’t act, I defend what I’ve written and what I’ve previously imagined. It’s an idea that we build together and a world that we’ve invented.

You’ve counterbalanced your film career full of great writers, directors and blockbusters with your work as a playwright and by appearing on stage... And you collaborate with Jorge Picó, a friend from the Jacques Lecoq School in Paris. The Paris school is wonderful. It’s the best. When I arrived, I thought acting was something complicated. I knew there were techniques, schools, methods... But in the school they leave acting to one side, which results in it taking centre-stage. People around you improvise, so you do too and you learn to write, to develop a particular way of seeing things. It generates a form of creativity that goes far beyond merely acting.

Two interesting projects have come out of it and you find critics who say the first one was amazing, but they find it hard to like the second one as much. Criticism is very complicated. In our case, with Jorge, we begin to write without knowing where we’re going and put on a play that is still being developed. And as we actually do the play it’s with the audience -and the critics- that it takes shape and begins to improve. We believe in what we’ve done and how we’ve done it; we know that the play’s there somewhere, and by making a small change here and there you reach a point where you finally say, ‘that’s it’. Maybe they’re not big changes, since the set hasn’t changed, or the actor, and neither has the staging, but there comes a time when you make the connection and you end up where you didn’t know you had to arrive.

Instead of being a specialist, who only does one thing and does it well, you become an actor 42

Catalan International View


And again, the critics seemed a bit reticent with the second production, then, suddenly, we are among the ten best plays at the Avignon Festival, we put on a production in Paris, we go on tour round France from January to May 2016... and if we’re lucky we’ll be invited back to the Girona Temporada Alta Festival (as I’m sure we will as they appreciate us a lot there). Then I’m sure that those who saw it the first time and didn’t connect, will this time round. Why have you chosen to continue living in Vilanova? Aren’t you tempted by Barcelona, the nearest big city, or Paris, which is the epicentre of where you’ve based most of your career and where you’d be treated like a celebrity? I didn’t plan this part either! I don’t think I’d be a star in Paris. I decided not to stay in Paris when I finished my first film in Paris with Poirier. They asked me if I was staying and I thought ‘how can I?’ Honestly, I felt like I’d finished school, which had cost me a lot of money, and I’d been lucky enough to make my first film with a director of such calibre, but I didn’t let it go to my head. A film by an auteur that was only shown in one cinema in Paris and while, it’s true that it was seen by 50,000 people, which is a lot for an indie movie, it was still over. I didn’t think for a second I would have a film career. So I did what I had to do, went back home. I thought I could maybe do a play, start some sort of project... Paris seemed expensive and I didn‘t see the point. It sounds hard to believe, doesn’t it? Everything flows and falls into place, running like clockwork. Even to the point that many people in France don’t realise you don’t live there and they don’t even know you’re not French... I’m more surprised than anyone. For a long time I thought this would just be a phase. Longer or shorter but just a phase. And the surprise is that it’s lasting. The fact that I can go on working doesn’t change who I am. What you said about the idea they have of me in France is proof that we all believe what we see on TV or in the movies. I don’t live in France but I work mainly in France, which has a more powerful industry than ours. And since I work there it also means they count on me, and I can’t do everything so I have to choose... This situ-

ation is very positive and has a lot to do with not appearing in the media. I only appear when I’m doing promotional work. If you see me it’s because I’m speaking about a new movie that’s just come out. If I appeared more often people would know if I’m married or single, if I have children, if I’ve got together with someone or split up... That doesn’t happen to me in France, they don’t know who I am but they know what I do when I do it. They see me playing a character and maybe that helps me seem more believable.

It’s much more difficult to play a normal person who appears in the foreground and gets emotional and cries, or someone who simply laughs. Laughing, and I love to laugh, is the hardest thing to fake. When it comes to acting, the difficulty isn’t what it seems.

And all this experience and knowledge of the industry, does it help you understand Catalan cinema and think what the best plan for the future would be? Not really. But I do believe that cinema shouldn’t act like a guild, it can’t think and act with only its own best interests in mind. What’s missing is a more comprehensive, more collective dimension. Culture, theatre, cinema, literature... We’re at a time when people who dedicate themselves to creating have seen how it’s been stripped of its value and meaning. Economic success is given priority, forgetting the intangible element, which for me is the essence of the whole thing. It’s the part we pay least attention to, but which is essential for us as a society. Culture isn’t background music, with an orchestra endlessly repeating melodies. Culture is a need, it’s a basic necessity. We have a country with enormous ability, with a lot of talent which is working both here and abroad... in other words, the industry, as we call it, is very powerful. But for many years the political dynamic has been of a small country and this also affects culture. We haven’t had any luck and it’s a shame, in this case, yes, it does depend on

Catalan International View



luck. Maybe we haven’t had someone to explain to us and convince us that culture, especially film, tells the world about us and tells us about the world. Not being a ‘proper’ country and not having a ministry of culture (of our own) which loves film isn’t much help... Yes, sure, but what I mean is that thinking of cinema as an industry is a mistake to begin with. Making culture isn’t like making socks. France has a very powerful industry and look how hard they have to work to resist! You have to export, to sell tickets, make big productions... but culture is something else. It means breaking the rules, looking for people who write differently. But you’re right, France has protected its film industry in the same way as its cheese and its wine, and it shows.

I think that people ought to be ashamed to say they have no political opinions or that they don’t know about politics in general. How can you not get involved when there are people fighting and suffering for reasons that are worth it? At the start of the conversation we talked about cinema, theatre and your private life as being in separate compartments and from the way you talk about how you live, it seems that everything has a meaning. Not calculated, because you don’t calculate, but it flows in a particular direction. Is this true of your political and social commitment as well? There are many wonderful people who work every day for really worthwhile causes. And it’ll never be enough. If what I do helps these causes in some small way then I’ll keep doing it for as long as it takes. Doing nothing would seem ridiculous. I think that people ought to be ashamed to say they have no political opinions or that they don’t know about politics in general. How can you not get involved when there are people fighting and suffering for reasons that are worth it? I’d feel like an alien. We need to participate in how we want to organize in what our goals are for the future, this is always 44

unstoppable, it has no end, and to hold back seems to me absurd and rather cowardly. Does this require having a collective dimension? Of course. To me the idea of individualism, of just staying with what’s yours, your flat, your TV and your car, and everybody else can get lost, has never convinced me at all. Because the day you have no TV, no car or flat you need help, and you’d better have people organized around you. This is in keeping with your support for Catalonia’s process of self-determination. I think it’s a really exciting process. As a young man I was clear that if we’re a country, a people, then there was no doubt that we have every right to decide our future. What I find wonderful is to think that what was evident to me then, but marginal, is now the majority choice, a popular demand. Having it within reach is fantastic. I like it in particular because it’s not a single movement. It’s a movement in which we as a people are coming together from very different perspectives and ideas. We’ve found a common path and this is great. In a world in which ‘everything is decided’ is the order of the day, the fact that there’s a country which is saying ‘everything is yet to be decided’ is fabulous. But the state always responds with the question of legality. Yes, and we’ve also been quite clear in saying that the law is a dynamic concept and, in some ways, relative. It’s not an immovable marble wall. We’ve been lucky throughout history in that there have been people and groups that at a particular moment have demonstrated that a law is unjust and thanks to their fight, their strength and determination it has been changed. It’s a human rights angle that doesn’t just focus on your country, it has a global dimension, which you’d like to see on a global scale. This year you decided to experience the conditions of Syrian war refugees at first hand, and meet the Kurdish people, who represent a democratic solution for the region. I’d heard a lot about the Kurdish movement and I was very keen to see in person what they were doing and how they were coping at such a difficult

Catalan International View

time. The opportunity arose to participate in a delegation and I went there to learn, to understand, to listen. And if the fact that they were visited by someone, shall we say ‘famous’, helps them in some way, then I’m delighted to help. I came back really, really pleased: they know how to organize themselves and they represent a genuine democratic alternative in the region. The context is extremely serious, since we mustn’t forget that people are being killed. Every day. In large numbers. And this violent pressure doesn’t make them want to fix the issue as soon as possible, in a rush. Instead they have the determination to do it well, do it together and without excluding anyone. We ought to realise that in this region, of all regions, they’re trying to create a feminist revolution and it’s working. We’ve been talking for a while and there’s a thread that links your professional life with your private, your social activism and your political commitment: coherence. It’s apparent in a way that perhaps you yourself are unaware. The truth is, no, I’m not aware. I live the only way I know how, and this’ll make you laugh, without turning it into a drama. Let me tell you something that happened to me. When I was lucky enough to have made that first film with Poirier I returned home, I went to the bar where I always went, they greeted me as they

always did and they asked me to join them in a game of cards. Nothing had changed and I realised that it was how it ought to be and I didn’t want to change a thing. I’m sure it has a lot to do with the kind of people I have around me. We’re nearing the end. You’re the father of a son and a daughter. Do you think or worry about the world in which they’ll be living? The world is very messed up. Very. And in fact I feel that everything’s so messed up that I’d like to think that it’s clear that the capitalist model can’t be reinvented. If you look beneath the surface, you realise that the principle that was supposed to fix everything -grow, consume and generate wealth in order not to stop growing and not to stop consuming- is false. The apologists for ambition as a great quality have done us a lot of harm, but we have the opportunity to change things. So you think they’ll be all right in the end. The best thing we’re leaving for those behind us is the challenge of reinventing the way we live. The legacy we’re leaving behind is a world that’s a complete mess and they have no choice but to rebuild it. They won’t be able to make do and mend cos we’ve hit rock-bottom. They’ll need to think, have ideas and principles and this is a great legacy.

Catalan International View



The Armenian Genocide: a suppurating sore that continues to ooze pomegranate juice by Antoni Lluís Trobat*

-Doctor, my husband is called Vahé, he studied in Venice. -So you’re Vahé’s widow? The widow of our poet? Widow... Vahé. Words like hammer blows, steely certainty. Vahé was dead. Excerpt from Quadern d’Aram [Aram’s Notebook] (Ed. 62, 1997) M. À. Anglada 2015, the second year of the centenary of the First World War is also the anniversary par excellence of the Armenian people. It has been a hundred years since the Turkish state’s attempt to systematically exterminate the Armenian nation on an almost industrial-scale. A tragic event that reminds us of an attempt at ethnic cleansing which was the first link in a chain which unfortunately spread throughout the twentieth century and has continued into the early twenty-first century with similar crimes against humanity. The background

The road leading to the tragedy was a long one. Since the fall of the Byzantine Empire in the fifteenth century, the Armenian people had been living between three political and cultural giants: the Turks, the Persians and the Arabs. With the dream of their own state put on hold, and with a growing diaspora, the Armenians survived throughout the Modern Age and until well into the nineteenth century, largely based in Anatolia. They lived immersed in the ‘Millet’ system: confessional communities with their own institutions and direct relations with the centralised Ottoman power. They were the ‘Millet-i-Sadika’ (the loyal Millet) since they maintained a balance 46

Catalan International View

between neutrality and a tense cordiality over a long period of time with the Sultan in Istanbul, despite being excluded from most social and military functions and falling victim to periodic outbreaks of xenophobia from their neighbours. A situation comparable in some ways with the Central-European, Ashkenazi Jews. For the Ottoman Empire, the last third of the nineteenth century was simply disastrous. The ancient Osman dynasty, from its home in the opulent Topkapi Palace in Istanbul, ruled over an empire which extended from Romania to Egypt. The beginning of their decline was clear. The Treaty of San Stefano and the Congress of Berlin, both in 1878, combined with the al-


most total loss of its Balkan possessions and the weakness it displayed against Tsarist Russia, its secular enemy, led to internal tensions that were decisive for the Empire’s future. The Anatolian peninsula, once home to a mosaic of cultures with a sustained coexistence, became a tinderbox. The arrival of Turkish people expelled by the Slavs, who had just managed to shake off the Ottoman yoke, caused a cultural clash which could not be successfully contained. The economic malaise brought about by the ensuing widespread impoverishment, together with revenge and hatred, were directed by the state towards Christian minorities. The Armenians, together with the Assyrians and Pontic Greeks, were sub-

ject to constant persecution and criminalization by the state with the help, documented, of a broad majority of the Turkish population in urban areas and the Kurdish tribes in the mountains and the countryside. Between 1894 and 1896 some 200,000 to 300,000 people were slaughtered. A million Armenians were robbed of their property and the region around Lake Van, birthplace of historic Armenia, was ransacked. Countless churches were converted into mosques and it is estimated that some 350 villages razed to the ground. The American and European press of the time described it as the ‘bloody sultan’. In a process which is all-too-familiar, European-educated youth groups belonging to the Ottoman elite began Catalan International View



to defend a supremacist ideology, based on Turanism or pan-Turkism. The unification of a great state of Turkishspeaking peoples from the Aegean to Central Asia. A modernising, secular political project confronting the archaic conception of the Osman’s imperial bureaucracy but with a shared common denominator: a phobia of diversity.

Since the fall of the Byzantine Empire in the fifteenth century, the Armenian people had been living between three political and cultural giants: the Turks, the Persians and the Arabs This period saw the emergence of, the so-called Young Turks, fruit of the Committee of Union and Progress party (CUP), with the firm leadership of three individuals that was to have sinister consequences for the future: Mehmed Talaat Pasha, Ismail Enver Pasha and Ahmed Djemal Pasha. With a profoundly reformist, pro-German spirit, the trio rapidly gained power. In 1909, they deposed the elderly Abdul Hamid II and three years later, via a coup, imposed a military regime. Thanks to their irredentist, expansive spirit, the new government entered World War in November 1914. Out a fear of seeing the Armenians as the ‘enemy within’, the CUP argued that the Armenians could be seen as a kind of Fifth Column within Turkey’s borders, due to their Christian affiliations. They began to draw up their extermination plans. 24th April 1915, ‘Red Sunday’ is the symbolic date that everyone considers the moment that marks the beginning of the systematic extermination of the Armenians as a collective. On that day, the Grand Vizier Talaat Pasha ordered the arrest and murder of between 600 48

Catalan International View

and 800 leaders, teachers and authorities of the Armenian cultural and religious elite. The removal of the best minds of the Armenian community was followed by the Temporary Deportation Law of 29th May 1915. It was a legal device designed to regulate the arrest and deportation of the Armenian population throughout the Empire. With no exceptions. It began with the expropriation and plunder of the possessions of non-Turkish citizens. This was rapidly followed by the mass arrest of all Armenian men old enough to serve in the military (of between 20 to 45 years of age). Those who were serving in the army were disarmed, taken to the rear and shot. The others were taken from their villages and either met the same fate or were deported to labour camps. As for the rest of the community, the women, children and


plained that, just as many German Jews who were sent to extermination camps came wearing the medals they had won for serving the Kaiser during the Great War, at the start of the deportations, many Armenian began thinking that the Turkish state, one way or another, would finally take care of them. It was not to be.

24th April 1915, ‘Red Sunday’ is the symbolic date that everyone considers the moment that marks the beginning of the systematic extermination of the Armenians as a collective Femicide as a tactic

the elderly were forced to collect their belongings and undertake long ‘death marches’ without food or water to the deserts of Syria and Mesopotamia. On the marches they were at the mercy of Turkish gendarmes, the so-called ‘Chetes’ or ‘special organizations’ (punishment or vigilante gangs) formed by common criminals released from prison by Behaeddin Shakir, a doctor and leader of the Young Turks, and several Kurdish tribes. The marches headed in two directions based on two axes: one to the city of Aleppo; and another to Baghdad, via the Euphrates and the stretch of railway connecting Berlin and the future Iraqi capital, where many deportees were forced to buy a train ticket, foreshadowing a practice used by the Nazi regime forty years later with the Jews. The Catalan Hebrew scholar Manuel Forcano recently ex-

The list of crimes documented by contemporary eyewitnesses, in particular Protestant missionaries such as the German, Johannes Lepsius, or the Dane, Karen Leppe and American diplomats like Henry Morgenthau, is extremely long. It includes children injected with Typhus or given an overdose of morphine, together with the use of toxic gases, mass cremations and drownings. Sexual violence against women became the norm. There are accounts of thousands of rapes and abductions, and the sale of women and children by the Turks and Kurds became commonplace. The historian Yves Ternon, Professor at the University Paris IV Sorbonne and an authority on the Armenian genocide, speaks of slave markets established expressly for such a purpose. Many women and children were assimilated by Turkish, Kurdish and Arabic families, forced to convert to Islam and divest themselves of their former identity if they wished to survive. In recent years the public debate on this very thorny issue erupted in the Republic of Turkey, revealing the real-


ity of many who suddenly discovered they are descend from an Armenian grandmother who had been bought or kidnapped. Two recent documentaries have given outstanding witness to these events: L’heritage du silence [The Heritage of Silence], a French web series by Anna Benjamin and Guillame Clare on Turkish and Kurdish people who have recently uncovered their Armenian roots, fruit of the tragedy; and Grandma’s Tattoos, by the Lebanese-Armenian Suzanne Khardalian, a tragic story about the common practice suffered by the author’s grandmother and other women, tattooed as a shameful stigma by their Turkish captors. Of the 2.5 million Armenians who are estimated to have lived in the Ottoman Empire before 1915, by 1923 only one million survived. It is only fair to recall the other genocides which occurred in tandem, suffered by the Pontic and Cappadocian Greeks, with 500,000 deaths, the Assyrians, with 750,000 victims and Yazidi Kurds, with an undetermined number.

Sexual violence against women became the norm. There are accounts of thousands of rapes and abductions, and the sale of women and children by the Turks and Kurds became commonplace. The Treaty of Sevres and the end of the war meant that the new Turkey, an almost racially homogeneous state, with the exception of the Kurds, refused to admit any form of guilt. In November 1919, the Armenian Revolutionary Federation, the main Armenian National Party, while based in Yerevan, the capital of Eastern Armenia which constituted a republic during the years spent under Soviet control, 50

Catalan International View

drew up a list of those directly responsible for the genocide. Subsequently they put into effect what they named Operation Nemesis, inspired by the Narodnik, the revolutionary Socialist Russian peasants and their search for justice. They devoted themselves to pursuing and executing their persecutors. The case of the former Grand Vizier Talaat Pasha, who lived in hiding in Berlin, murdered on 15th March 1921 by Soghomon Tehlirian, a young man who had lost his entire family to the genocide, and who was later acquitted by a German court, was symbolic of a new phenomenon. Ismail Enver and Djemal Pasha, the other two members of the Young Turk trio met the same fate. Both were killed by Armenian militants. One in Tbilisi, Georgia and the other in Tajikistan, where they were leading an anti-Bolshevik insurgency, driven as always by their Pan-Turkish obsession. Their revenge was to be bitter-sweet. The Republic of Turkey was proclaimed on 29th October, 1923 under the leadership of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk: the culmination of the conversion of the Ottoman Empire into a ‘modern’ state and the old dream of the Young Turks, the ultimate inspiration for the still-dominant Kemalist project. Atatürk passed a constitution that claimed to defend human rights and non-discrimination. Genocide passed from being literal to becoming more symbolic, through the denial of the events of 1915-1923 and the start of cultural Turkification. The leaders of the previous government were tried in absentia, due to the pressure of international public opinion and the victorious states from the Great War. Nonetheless, in many cases they were subsequently found not guilty.

Recognition brings reparation

Developments in the geopolitics of the


region, the coming of the Cold War and the Republic of Turkey’s prominent role in NATO, however, led the world to forget the Armenian’s pain for decades. Of the European powers of the time, France alone acknowledged the genocide. As did twenty-one states from the rest of the world. In the European Union, condemnation came from Germany (which apologized to the Armenian people for their collusion with the Ottoman authorities during those terrible years) and also Belgium, Holand, Cyprus, Greece, Italy, Lithuania, Sweden, Poland and Slovakia. Spain, with its close ties to Ankara, refuses to do so. Only the autonomous parliaments of the Balearic Islands and Catalonia, together with the Basque Country and Navarra, have declared their position. The Armenian struggle is nowadays a struggle for recognition. While the United States and Israel have recognized the killings, until now, they have avoided the term ‘genocide’. In 2007, the Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity published a manifesto signed by 53 Nobel laureates, which, in spite of being in favour of the

use of the term genocide for the Armenian cause, considered that ‘it did not constitute a legal basis for economic compensation or territorial claims’. It is an ambiguous position which is not shared by international public opinion, human rights organizations and the majority academic position in Europe, America and the Middle East. Erdogan’s Turkey has spared no academic, political or judicial effort, via Article 303 of the Penal Code which prohibits insults to the Republic of Turkey, to repress any acknolwedgement of the facts. The murder of the journalist Hrant Dink in 2007 and Nobel laureate Orhan Pamuk’s virtual exile since 2005, prove we are not talking about a wound that has healed. Raphael Lemkin, the Polish Jew who managed to have genocide declared a crime under International Law would presumably fail to understand the reluctance of many states to recognise the events of 1915 to 1923. Neither he nor the victims or survivors of the land of pomegranates. We must ensure we stop their red juice from continuing to ooze.

*Antoni Lluís Trobat (Mallorca, 1981), he studied history at the Universities of the Balearic Islands and Barcelona. A journalist and expert in international relations, he has worked for various cultural organizations from Catalan-speaking territories, such as the Institució de Pensament Joan Fuster, the National Youth Council of Catalonia and Obra Cultural Balear. He currently works for the Escarré International Centre for Ethnic Minorities and Nations (CIEMEN).

Catalan International View



Towards a new paradigm for the welfare state by Josep Lluís Cleries*

Globalization, migration processes, new family models, an ageing population, changing trends in the labor market and a serious economic crisis, among other factors, have in the early years of the century changed the face of society. These factors have shown us the limitations of the so-called welfare state, which has characterized and continues to characterize Europe. At this very time there are moves to reformulate the welfare state, to make it more approachable, helpful, responsive and sustainable.

Let us examine the origins of the welfare state in Catalonia. The attention to people’s welfare, what came to be known as social services, emerged from welfarism and volunteerism, which in certain instances began with charitable and religious work. In other words, it appeared out of a desire by certain individuals and certain institutions, in some cases the Church, to help those who were most in need. Thus we are speaking of values based on social sensitivity, of knowing how to detect people’s needs and at the same time having the ability to meet and respond to them. This conception of the welfare state has undergone a transformation over time: from social services based on help and charitable work we have progressively evolved towards a social service understood as a social right. The latter is the current meaning of the welfare state.

Welfare State - Welfare Society

It is the government, the state, which has the responsibility to safeguard the welfare state. For this reason, it makes more sense to speak of a ‘welfare state’ rather than a ‘welfare society’, which refers to the fact that society as a whole consists of actors responsible for the 52

Catalan International View

construction and maintenance of the welfare state. We ought not to confuse that which must guarantee social rights, the state, with that which can dispense and pay for it, which is clearly the government and also society. A welfare state should be in touch with people, monitor its surroundings, detect deficiencies and needs and be able to provide the appropriate solution in every situation. It should not only act out of a desire to help, but rather out of a duty, in keeping with the premise that assigns every right a body responsible for ensuring said right. The pillars of the welfare state, pensions, education, health and social services, should be understood as guaranteed rights. We are not talking about rights which are ex gratia, but rather guaranteed services and benefits.

The Third Social Sector and the commercial sector in Catalonia

In Catalonia, there is a deeply rooted tradition of the Third [Voluntary] Social Sector, with all manner of organizations, both in terms of sectors and with regard to the varying sizes of the entities. One might even say that there is excessive fragmentation. Moreover,


there is a growing commercial sector that nowadays has a significant presence in the provision of social services. With this sector a Catalan model of social services has been under construction, with public-private partnerships playing a significant role. It is a welfare state model in which a welfare society also plays a part.

From dependence to the promotion of personal autonomy

In the twenty-first century, however, we go further and understand social policies as not only meaning responsiveness to situations of need for individuals and families, instead they incorporate a new concept: the promotion of the person and their autonomy. In this sense, the welfare state of today seeks to revive the function of the social ladder, of equal opportunities, to enable a person to grow and develop in the broadest sense of the term. Turning once more to Catalonia, since the 1980s we have been developing the most advanced social policies compared to the rest of Spain. Indeed, Catalonia became the first autonomous community to create a Department of Social Welfare, in 1988. Nonetheless, we suffered a severe setback with the adoption in 2006 of a Spanish law that encroaches on the Generalitat of Catalonia’s powers and which, moreover, the Spanish government itself has failed to fully implement. I am referring to what is commonly known as The Dependency Law.

Driven by Rodriguez Zapatero’s socialist government, with the support of the PP and other political parties, it was seen from the start to be a law that failed to respect the autonomous community’s exclusive responsibility for social services. The law also failed to clarify financing, meaning it was obvious from the start that it would be difficult to put into effect. CiU were the only party to express such an opinion. We presented an alternative text, arguing that the original would flounder for failing to address financing, among other shortcomings. Nevertheless, the law was passed and our worst fears were realised. Another of the law’s shortcomings is the fact that it is excessively bureaucratic, creating inefficient and ineffective access to services and benefits.

Equity, social justice and equality of opportunity are basic principles that underlie the policies of the welfare state and ensure social cohesion In Catalonia, the government is working in conjunction with a panel of experts to develop its own law in an attempt to promote personal autonomy, with an emphasis on the ability of individuals and their autonomy. Clearly Catalonia is committed to moving from dependency and disability to the promotion of personal autonomy Catalan International View



and an emphasis on people’s capabilities. It represents a paradigm shift. Personal autonomy is the concept around which all social policies ought to revolve in a contemporary society. We must also seek to simplify the administrative process and ensure that the meeting of people’s needs has the lowest bureaucratic burden possible. We need flexible and efficient management in this area. Agreements with the Third Sector and the commercial sector will also contribute to improvements in these aspects.

The greatness of a country is measured by its ability to generate well-being, confidence and prosperity to its citizens Besides reducing bureaucracy, another area which is in constant need of improvement is the importance of avoiding uniformity in the attention which people receive. We must promote individualized care programs that analyze such factors as personal and family circumstances, the age of the individual, their relational needs and their surroundings. Social interventions ought to be tailored to every individual and / or family. In this regard, we need to note the key role of the various social service professionals, the quality of their training, the support they receive from governments and organizations, and so on.

Support for families

One of the instruments that strengthens social policies is the building of networks. The natural, fundamental network, thanks to which people grow and attain the best conditions, is the family. Naturally, I speak of the family understood in a modern, open sense. We must recognize that policies in support of families are one of the pending issues and there is a need to make both 54

Catalan International View

qualitative and quantitative changes. In Catalonia such policies have been the most affected by the economic crisis and the austerity measures imposed by the Spanish government. Examples of policies which support family units range from measures to reconcile personal, professional and family life, to grants for families with children (with larger grants for larger families and single parent families). We are also talking about policies which offer backing and support to families with adolescent children in particular.


One of the keys to the care of individuals and families in vulnerable situations is the protection of childhood and adolescence. The family offers many opportunities for the growth of the individual. However, when it fails to have sufficient resources to care for the children in their care, the government needs to act and ensure they have suitable living conditions in order to achieve their full development in accordance with the International Convention on the Rights of the Child.

The fight against poverty

Thanks to the latest economic crisis which is still affecting us, there has been an increase in poverty and inequality which has affected many families, especially those with children. While policies aimed at integration and the fight against poverty have always been necessary, in the current climate such actions are needed more than ever. One of the keys to building a strong, sustainable welfare state is to generate wealth based on an economy which is at the service of the people, who in turn can also generate employment. Employment is the main source of welfare because it generates self-esteem and a sense of personal and social worth.


In the past, when a person obtained a job, generally a good part of their personal and family situation was resolved. Now, thanks to precarious employment, with wages which are far below the cost of living, having a job is no guarantee of being able to meet one’s basic needs. There is a need to agree on a minimum wage in order to provide such a guarantee. Furthermore, in such situations where there is a lack of a household income it is necessary to further strengthen integration in order to help in the process of recovering a job and thereby covering these basic needs once more. In the same vein, equity, social justice and equality of opportunity are basic principles that underlie the policies of the welfare state and ensure social cohesion. We need to seek a return to the upward social mobility which is so characteristic of Catalan society.

From redistribution to ‘predistribution’ of wealth

To build more inclusive societies we need to resort to a new type of policy, such as the predistribution of wealth, which is an intervention in the functioning of the economy in order to generate more equitable outcomes from the operation of the market and place an emphasis on the prevention of inequalities, an investment in human capital and on improving the functioning of markets in general and the labor market in particular. Thus, predistribution should prioritize the proper functioning of competition, policies which support early childhood, the promotion of the emancipation of the young

through an active scholarship program, fiscal policy design and a more flexible and secure labour market and labour relations, with strong capital investment in the training of workers.

Towards a great political and social pact

When we begin to see signs that a major economic crisis is coming to an end, we need to strengthen the welfare state and make it more sustainable, with the help of a great political and social pact. First, we need a pact to combat poverty and exclusion, with particular attention to the eradication of child poverty. This should be followed by other pacts which together constitute a set of social policies. We need this show of generosity from all sides if we Catalans are to attain the new, improved country we so want. A new country that makes it possible for every person to live with dignity throughout their life. We can conclude that the greatness of a country is measured by its ability to generate well-being, confidence and prosperity for its citizens. Physical size does not count for much when measuring a country’s greatness. What makes it great, what makes it stand out from the others is when its citizens live well, the quality of its welfare state, the protection it offers to those most in need, its human dimension, the state of its democracy, its labor market and its ability to create jobs. The holding of shared values is also an indicator of a country’s greatness. As is the ability to create a future which generates confidence and hope for its citizens. Catalonia is such a country.

*Josep Lluís Cleries (Barcelona, 1956), an industrial engineer, he graduated in Public Administration Management (ESADE) and on Direction in Public Administration (IESE). He is currently the CDC parliamentary group’s spokesperson in the Spanish Senate and Chairman of the Committee for International Cooperation for Development in the Senate. He was the Generalitat of Catalonia’s Minister of Social Welfare and Family from 2011 to 2012. From 2003 until April 2013, he was a member of the Parliament of Catalonia and was their spokesperson for Social Policy and Immigration.


External action as a strategy for developing cities and territories: the experience of the province of Barcelona by Joan Carles Garcia*

Small and medium-sized cities are playing an increasingly important role on the international stage. While we are witnessing the gradual abolition of barriers on an economic, political and social level, combined with an economic crisis which has drastically reduced council revenues, we see a reaffirmation of elements unique to territories, together with local initiatives aimed at a development model based on sustainable and innovative solutions, also at the international level. The phenomenon of ‘glocalization’ has become a reality. The ways in which the global and the local interact require us to think globally and act locally. In this context, during the current period of financial planning, the European Union has given a high priority to mediumsized cities and sees them as a model with a high value since they offer high standards of living, less resource-intensive consumption and a major cultural and historical connection with their territory. As a consequence, local governments are playing a greater role, especially in the international arena. There are numerous mayors in the Barcelona area who are counting on international relations to bring benefits to the region and progress in achieving their priorities for local development. The municipalities of the Barcelona province have expressed a growing interest in partici56

Catalan International View

pating in international spaces to take advantage of investment opportunities and establish strategic alliances, share knowledge and build partnerships with other territories and actors. Many of the municipalities in the province have a history of working internationally and are distinguished by the presence of a strong international element, together with a commitment to promoting those distinctive features in which they excel in order to promote themselves and gain international visibility. With smaller municipalities in particular we are witnessing the development of innovative and creative ways to seek and stimulate their internationalization. There are municipalities that are committed to projecting themselves internationally thanks to their legacy as touristic centres, while others are promoting themselves through their


modernist or industrial heritage, as is the case of textile colonies. Organizing cultural and sporting events with an international profile is a significant asset for the promotion of a territory, while other municipalities are making a commitment to specializing in a particular industry or productive economic activity that promotes them internationally. Two noteworthy examples are the Southern European Cluster in Photonics and Optics, located in Vallès Oriental, and the Catalonia Innovation Triangle, an area of business and technological excellence spread between the municipalities of Rubí, Cerdanyola and Sant Cugat del Vallès (an area which accounts for approximately 3% of Catalonia’s economic activity as a whole). These emblematic examples show how the local sphere can contribute to development, the generation of opportunities and the internationaliza-

tion of Catalonia as a whole. Barcelona Provincial Council, as a supra-municipal body working in a network to provide quality, homogenous services to the 311 municipalities that make up its territory, has made a commitment to strategically supporting the process of internationalization of the territory and the promotion of municipalities in the province of Barcelona. To this end, the Directorate of International Relations provides technical, economic and institutional support to local governments for the development and strengthening of international relations strategies to help improve their public policies and the development of the territory, through opportunities provided by the international arena. In order for the region’s assets and the international activities carried out by local authorities to be more efficient and make a greater impact, such actions Catalan International View



ought to be considered as part of public policy and incorporated into a clearly defined city model. To meet this goal, the Barcelona Provincial Council has promoted the development and implementation of Local Plans for International Promotion through a specific methodology which it hopes will be of interest to municipalities around the world which are working to strengthen their international projection.

There are numerous mayors in the Barcelona area who are counting on international relations to bring benefits to the region and progress in achieving their priorities for local development

These Plans for International Promotion are an orientation and management tool that informs the international activities of local government in the medium and long term. They are based on a comprehensive vision of external action that systematically incorporates the opinions of businesses, organisations and academics. Currently, seven councils in the province have developed their own Plan for International Promotion. Despite having diverse origins and characteristics, the process of drawing up the plans has been extremely beneficial, serving to overcome a vision of international action as having a reactive role in one-off projects, and instead implementing such policies as part of a true public international strategy from which the council can take maximum advantage.

In this sense, the strategic planning of international action is favouring the promotion and strengthening of the fields in which these local governments excel. Examples include the promotion of Castelldefels as a tourist centre and a leading destination in which to practice numerous water sports; the marketing of Igualada as the European Capital of Quality Leather and a leader in innovation in the field of health; and the promotion of Vilafranca del Penedès as a Catalan wine capital and a wine region that is committed to quality and ecosustainability. To conclude, in these process there is an element which is particularly noteworthy: the strategic planning of international activities to create synergies between participants and to generate a positive dynamic in the municipality, contributes to the actions of local government in the international arena. Defining operational strategies, prioritizing and deciding the importance of the actions to be carried out and mobilizing the energies of the various participants in the territory towards a shared objective, allows them to act more effectively in the international arena, and to participate in networks and initiatives that genuinely respond to people’s needs while nourishing the fabric of local experiences, opportunities and resources. These issues are particularly relevant in the international arena, where local governments need to compete with each other to attract resources and where it is essential that territories promote their uniqueness and competitiveness.

* Joan Carles Garcia Barcelona Provincial Council’s head of International Relations


Catalan International View

Tel. +34 977 757 473 · +34 977 756 265 • Fax +34 977 771 129 Camí Pedra Estela, 34 • 43205 Reus (Baix Camp) www.demuller.es


Connecting Catalonia to the world by Pere Torres*

Recently, the Chinese company China Certification & Inspection Group (CCIC) opened a new centre near Barcelona for the certification of products for the Chinese market. This will enable any company in Europe and North Africa to obtain official approval for their products before they export them. It is one of the latest examples of foreign investment in our country which, thanks to the kind of project involved, neatly illustrates the role Catalonia wishes to play: to fully participate in the global economy. In the modern world, companies invest, sign contracts, seek partners and so on, and examples such as the CCIC remind us that they do so on an international scale. The Catalan economy has evolved over the years and it has adapted to international trade flows that create new rules for doing business. Catalonia possesses an open economy and the fact that more than 5,700 foreign companies have a presence here is a sign that we are well-positioned in the world, with a strategic location, with the ability to attract talent and blessed with a healthy infrastructure. 60

Catalan International View

The opening up of the Catalan economy is the fruit of our country’s industrial tradition. We have an economy consisting of small and medium-sized businesses which are both diversified and competitive, with a system of values typified by effort, the overcoming of obstacles and the desire to see a job well done. Catalonia has a clear aim: to fully integrate itself into the global economy. This claim is supported by the fact that the IMD World Competitiveness Center places Catalonia at the head of the Mediterranean economies, while the Financial


Times’ fDI Markets report labels Catalonia as one of the leading regions in Europe for attracting foreign investment. More than 47,500 Catalan companies export their goods. If we examine those which do so on a regular basis, that is, in the last four consecutive years, we observe an 8.6% rise (to 16,000), representing a record number in history. We now accept that our market is the entire world. We no longer distinguish between the natural (the nearest) and the complementary (the outsider).

In the beginning there were companies that began to export as a response to the decline in the domestic market, but now we see that companies have already internalized the concept that in order for their business model to work, in many cases they need to become a global company. It is a long-term commitment, not a solution to the current crisis. Although internationalization has now become a strategic, permanent approach for 16,000 Catalan companies, we must work to widen the base of small and medium-sized exporters. This is our challenge. Catalan International View



Growth in regular exporters. Catalonia. 2008-2014

2008 50,514 2009 41,460 2010 48,866 2011 54,954 2012 58,853 2013 58,957 2014 60,194

2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014

13,818 13,778 13,607 13,180 13,810 14,680 15,946

Source: ICEX-Perfil de l’empresa exportadora espanyola

The data shows that last year, for the first time exports exceeded €60 billion, an increase of 3.1% compared to 2013. This is a growth higher than the Eurozone average (1.8%) and the EU average (1.3%) and leading countries such as France (-0.2%), Italy (2.0%) and the UK (-11.1%). At the geographical level, one ought to note changes in sales outside the European Union, which show the diversification of exports sought by Catalan businesses. They have been refocusing on the most dynamic emerging markets: in 2008 Catalan exports outside the EU accounted for 28.8%, while last year they accounted for 35.3%.

Growth of Catalan exports. 2008-2014 (millions of euros)


Catalan International View

Source: ICEX-Estacom

To internationalize also means being awarded contracts for tenders in other countries, and implementing new production centres and business units beyond one’s own borders. In this regard, the Catalan government is preparing a survey to determine how many Catalan companies are established abroad: we already know there are more than 3,000 companies operating with Catalan capital present in other countries, with a total of 9,000 branches. We are heading in the right direction. Internationalization is synonymous with continuous improvement, the creation of wealth and employment. It is also synonymous with innovation, since without one there can’t be the other: in order to move abroad one needs to enter the market with unique products and technologies which are competitive and provide added value. The Catalan government gives its full support to the business world in order that it can internationalize successfully. We have a network of 34 trade and investment offices around the world at the service of Catalan companies to assist them in bringing their products and services to foreign markets. These offices are managed by ACCIÓ, the government of Catalonia’s agency for business competitiveness. They offer companies one-toone support for their internationalization projects, together with in-country assistance. The services ACCIÓ offers to companies include the search for marketing channels, business platforms with fully-equipped offices to be used on their


arrival, market research, the follow-up of contacts, help with recruitment and support in entering the market. Companies which are just beginning their entry into foreign markets can make use of ACCIÓ’s headquarters in Barcelona, where they will participate in counselling programs to help them initiate their international project or to diversify markets, together with access to international public tenders and the possibility of participating in trade missions. Our trade and investment offices located abroad also work to strengthen Catalonia’s position, to ensure that businesses around the world do business here, by attracting foreign investment projects. They also identify and locate technology partners to jointly conduct R&D business projects.

We believe that we have what it takes to participate, from the outset, in the new industrial revolution that is currently underway. It is a revolution that will lead to a new era for industry which has a higher added-value and is more resilient. What are the key elements to achieving such a goal? We need cooperation between the public and private sectors, together with internationalization and innovation. In our country this is reflected in the new Industrial Strategy, which, in accordance with EU guidelines, involves a commitment to a smart, sustainable and inclusive economy as we look towards 2020. All in all, we continue to strengthen our competitive elements. We believe in hospitality and the ease of integration. The time is now and the place is Catalonia.

*Pere Torres Secretary for Business and Competitiveness. Department of Enterprise and Employment of the Generalitat of Catalonia.

Catalan International View


Green Debate

A bridge to the future: urban solutions in the fight against climate change by Lidia Calvo

From bridges to rooftops. Bridges haven’t always been made in the same way. Besalú Bridge is an angular, Romanesque bridge, with eight arches of different sizes supported by pillars, mainly built on bare rock. It is still in daily use, near the city of Girona. The bridge over the river Besòs, in Montornès del Vallès, built in 1947, also includes arches, but these are made of concrete to support the weight of traffic. Modern guidelines governing the construction of bridges, even when they include elements from the Romanesque period such as arches, also incorporate other design criteria such as sustainability, landscaping and respect for the environment and the inclusion of other materials such as stainless steel and reinforced plastic. These new elements mean the bridges meet the needs of society together with traffic, load-bearing and environmental criteria. In the same way that the construction of bridges has evolved to meet the current needs of society, the construction of other buildings must also evolve to reduce the negative effects of overcrowding, be more sustainable and help fight climate change.

The negative effects of Barcelona’s growth

Barcino was a first-century AD Roman settlement located around the presentday cathedral. Many centuries later, Barcelona’s population reached 7,000 people. In the nineteenth century the city expanded to include the Eixample making room for 550,000 people. Today Barcelona is home to over 1.6 million inhabitants. This expansion has had consequences, but let us focus on those related to environmental factors. The most direct consequence of this expansion is the loss of green areas. We have replaced meadows and forests 64

Catalan International View

with concrete. No wild animals remain and biodiversity is limited to rodents. The lungs of the city are confined to Ciutadella Park and other smaller green spaces. As the quantity of traffic increases CO2 emissions are also on the rise, together with other pollutants. Since the city is essentially a concrete structure it absorbs the heat from the sun, creating a heat island in the centre of Barcelona where the temperature is 3 or 4oC higher than the city’s airport (some 20kms away). This in turn leads to an increase in the energy needed to cool homes during the summer. The correct management of waste and sewage is a challenge for the city council. A further consequence of overcrowding linked to the lack of drainage is the management of rainwater. The sewers need to be oversized to cope with the volume of water originating from rainfall and, according to forecasts, rain will be less frequent but more intense.

Green Debate

Solutions to cope with and mitigate climate change

In order to adapt buildings to this new reality we propose that nature returns to Barcelona with green walls, green roofs, urban gardens and renewable energy. The Eixverd [Green Corridor] project is committed to bringing parks nearer to residential buildings and those being rehabilitated and the rethinking of roof terraces. The aim is to seek active solutions that work for us, against climate change and in favour of social welfare. Many cities in northern Europe and the northern United States have already begun to employ planning solutions in order to mitigate climate change. Barcelona City Council has also recently realized that we have to rethink the way we live in the city in order to improve people’s well-being. El Pla del Verd i de la Biodiversitat [The Green and Biodiversity plan] seeks to restore nature to Barcelona with more

recreational and green areas in green corridors connecting Collserola (the natural park behind Barcelona) to the sea; with roof gardens and a plan to redevelop Barcelona’s ‘superblocks’, by grouping several adjacent islands of buildings, pacifying traffic and finding new, more peaceful solutions to better living. The Housing Consortium is also promoting renovation work that improves energy efficiency with grants of up to 50% of the total cost.

Installing green roofs

Green roofs are roofs, terraces, decks and patios within city blocks that have a large number of plants arranged in such a way as to encourage evapotranspiration, i.e. the absorption of water by plants and the consequent release of oxygen. While there are advantages to traditional roof gardens, covering the roof with vegetation through a series of constructive elements ensures that the benefits are maximized. Catalan International View


Green Debate

Eventually the time comes when the roof or terrace of every building needs to be replaced due to the deterioration of its waterproof layer, leading to leakages. This is the perfect moment for the residents to consider making improvements, especially knowing that thanks to council grants of 50% a green roof can cost the same as a traditional one but possesses many more benefits. Why do things the same way when we can make them more sustainable?

In order to adapt buildings to this new reality we propose that nature returns to Barcelona with green walls, green roofs, urban gardens and renewable energy

The installation of a green roof begins with a waterproof layer, preferably PVC, EPDM or TPO, with the latter being more sustainable and free from plasticizers. Once the waterproof layer has been thoroughly tested, the remaining layers can be installed: a layer to prevent root-growth, a water-retention blanket, a drainage layer (which serves to collect rainwater), a geotextile layer to filter the water and, lastly, the soil and plant material. With the various layers in place the system is protected against leakages and ready to support any kind of roof garden.

The benefits of green roofs

The benefits can be classed as private, i.e. those received by those who install a green roof, and public, those received by the rest of the city’s inhabitants. In terms of private benefits, the economic savings are the most attractive but not the only ones. The savings are due to thermal insulation, the increase in the value of the building and from extending the roof ’s useful life. With a green 66

Catalan International View

roof covered in vegetation, the surface temperature may be up to 40oC lower in summer than a black asphalt surface or one covered with Catalan tiles. This effect is due to evaporation and the water held in the drainage layer. This means that the temperature difference on the inside of the building can be up to 5oC less, with the subsequent reduction in the use of air conditioning. In addition, with a green roof the waterproof layer is protected by the intermediate layers, the soil and plants, rather than being directly exposed to the expansion and contraction caused by heating and cooling. Some green roofs have functioned successfully for 40 years without a leak. Finally, any apartment building with a green roof will benefit from an increase in the value of the building, especially if it can be used by the residents. In the long term, there will also be savings thanks to the reduction in property tax and sewer rates. Another private benefit provided by green roofs is soundproofing of up to 10dB, together with providing the property with a space in which to relax and the possibility of having an area in which to plant fruit and vegetables. Gardens and green areas are key to maintaining a good quality of life and for promoting people’s welfare. If the list of private benefits is appealing, it is nothing compared to the social benefits green roofs bring to all the city’s inhabitants. Let’s start with the absorption of CO2 and other pollutants from the atmosphere such as NOx and PPM10. One m2 of green roof absorbs 130gr of these components per year and meets the oxygen needs for one person for an entire year. It also increases urban biodiversity through the creation of green corridors connecting Collserola and the coastline. A return of butterflies, bees and birds to our cityscape is a delight. Green roofs also increase the amount of greenery

Green Debate

per m2. Barcelona currently stands at 6.6 m2, while the World Health Organization recommends 10 to 15 m2 per inhabitant. Some effects will be noticed as the number of green roofs increases, such as improved runoff of rainwater and a decrease in the heat island effect. Green roofs accumulate rainwater. Instead of the rainwater running into drainage pipes and ending up in the sewers, these systems retain up to 50%, thereby nourishing plants and increasing the building’s thermal insulation, with only the excess being discarded. In the long term this will mean that the sewer system need not be enlarged, buying the city time in which to adapt to climate change. The heat island effect is produced by the fact that the centre of the city is some 4oC warmer than the outskirts. A massive uptake of green roofs would mean a greater portion of the sunlight would be reflected back into the atmosphere, thus reducing the greenhouse effect and, together with the increased energy efficiency of buildings with green roofs, it would lead to every building being able to reduce its energy bill, even those without a green roof.

Complementary solutions

So far we have talked about green roofs, but the Eixverd promotes other solutions that can complement them or replace them. A roof garden can be supplemented by growing tables and solar panels. Council allotments are

fully booked, there are long waiting lists. Nevertheless, everyone can have access to a rooftop garden. And if people don’t wish to plant anything, they can instead erect solar panels. In terms of solar panels, solar thermal collectors which heat water are best, in that they promote self-sufficiency while respecting current legislation. Photovoltaic cells, which generate energy that is not offloaded onto the grid can be used, but until there is a change in the law, they are less desirable than thermal collectors as the excess energy is wasted, unless it is stored in batteries. If this appears too complicated, more simple steps can be taken: the roof can be painted with reflective paint. It obviously won’t provide all of the benefits outlined above, but it will help to improve energy efficiency and limit negative side effects like the heat island effect. Another alternative is photocatalytic paint, which converts pollutants such as NOx into non-toxic materials such as nitrates. This paint also increases the efficiency of solar panels, meaning it is an ideal combination. Every solution is valid. What is not sustainable is failing to take advantage of the 1,700 hectares of roof space in our marvellous city. Why should we leave roof spaces untouched when there are more sustainable solutions at our disposal that can work for us and the environment? Solutions that don’t fail to be a bridge to a more efficient and attractive future.

*Lidia Calvo (Barcelona, 1973) holds a degree in Industrial Engineering from the UPC and an MBA from the University of San Diego, California. She began her career in the world of R&D, with HewlettPackard in Sant Cugat del Vallès and San Diego, and later turned to international cooperation projects in Bolivia, Uganda and Mozambique in the fields of agriculture, natural resource management and climate change. She is the founder of Eixverd (www.eixverd.cat), a company that seeks sustainable solutions to mitigate climate change (such as green roofs, solar panels and city gardens) on the roofs of buildings in Barcelona’s city center.

Catalan International View


Barcelona Echoes

Barcelona in Milan: ‘Barcelona, Capital of Catalonia. Real food for real people’ ‘Feed the planet. Energy for Life’ is the theme Catalonia and its capital, Barcelona, have chosen for the exhibition in Milan. It sends an unambiguous message as to Catalonia’s culinary tradition, the diversity of its landscape and produce and its efforts in favour of a sustainable and healthy cuisine.

Catalonia and Barcelona combine culinary excellence, represented by such creative chefs as Ferran Adrià and the Roca brothers, with research carried out by the Fundació Alícia to achieve something as essential as ‘eat better to live better’. The Fundació Alícia promotes innovation and creativity, together with the tradition and history that is especially valuable in the word of cooking. It also recognises that, in addition to knowledge, the raw materials are of utmost importance. For this reason, Catalonia ought to take special care of its diverse land, its countryside, its farmers, and neighbourhood markets that provide such a variety of local produce. Barcelona’s exhibit can be visited at the Palazzo Giureconsulti and the Via Mercanti in three areas: La Taula (the Table), La Cuina (the Kitchen) and El Rebost (the Pantry). Three areas in 68

Catalan International View

which to expound on such concepts as innovation, territory, produce, culinary tradition, research, and health and culture. The Pantry. The pantry serves as a window on quality products unique to Catalonia, its chefs, the elements of innovation that have given Catalan society and culture the means to achieve excellence, in terms of traditional food in Catalan homes, as well as in the world’s most exclusive haute cuisine. The Kitchen. How do we do it? This area expresses how Catalonia works with its ‘pantry’ in the form of its land, its produce, its tradition of innovation, its oral tradition, its social network and its homes. This ‘kitchen’ is the journey evoked by the writer Josep Pla with his famous phrase ‘Del paisatge a la cassola’ [From the land to the pot] We have created it in the form of a journey in two parts.

Barcelona Echoes

The first section represents how we make food by combining nature and culture, produce and knowledge. The produce is both the cause and the consequence of the land or, put another way, the produce is the land seen in close-up, and the land is the produce seen from afar. The great diversity and beauty of the land concentrated in Catalonia leads to highly diverse, quality produce. As for knowledge and technology, they represent mechanisms of tradition and innovation, systems of R&D&I in food, plus the creativity and culinary research undertaken at the Fundació Alícia. The second section explains the logistics behind the journey made by the produce to get from the land to the plate. In this sense, Barcelona has a smart network of markets that bring fresh produce to every neighbourhood, every home, every person.

The exhibition talks about Barcelona, the people’s city, which uses the market as a tool. There are thirty-nine markets spread throughout the city that offer the ability to create public meeting spaces in every neighbourhood, to develop the economy, strengthen social cohesion, improve environmental commitment, promote tourism and create a culture of food. Barcelona has managed to transform its markets into something useful and attractive, adapted to the present, and this is reflected in the itinerary. This journey which represents our cuisine begins with the symbols of wheat, olives and vines; and ends with the icon of tomatoes, bread and a jug of wine. It is the most popular food in Catalonia, which is also meant to be shared. It is the sublimation of the Mediterranean character which opens to the world from its deep classic roots. Catalan International View


Barcelona Echoes

The Table. What food and who is it for? The table represents the conviviality, the value Catalan culture places on ‘eating together’ while arranging on the kitchen table examples of real cuisine, real food for real people with different life circumstances.

The produce is both the cause and the consequence of the land or, put another way, the produce is the land seen in close-up, and the land is the produce seen from afar Thus we present new culinary creations for everyday life that can be prepared in any house, associated with different types of people and situations to show that everyone can eat properly, in their daily life, regardless of their circumstances, age, means, interests or location. 70

Catalan International View

The menu consists of simple, homemade recipes, the result of culinary research, with scientific rigour and a social calling, developed by the Fundació Alícia. The foundation incorporates the latest findings in the fields of health, science and culinary creativity to the realm of people, in order to respond to the widest possible range of circumstances when eating, while being conscious of our food heritage and the need to revitalize our territory.

A message to the world: ‘Feed the planet. Energy for Life’

The slogan chosen by Catalonia and its capital, Barcelona, for the exhibition in Milan is not accidental. It is a message from Catalonia that can easily be understood in its global dimension: understanding, comprehending and promoting the diversity of the landscape and its produce is the first step on an essential path to sustainable and healthy cuisine.


Catalan International View


A Short Story from History

Curated by Manuel Manonelles

The Imperial Admiral and the founder of Odessa The city of Odessa, presently part of troubled Ukraine, was founded by an army officer of Catalan origin, Josep de Ribas i Boyons. Known to the Russians as Osip Mikhailovich Deribas, one of the city’s major thoroughfares still bears his name: Deribasivska. This was not his only achievement, however, in what proved to be an eventful life, which included a notable role in the Russo-Turkish wars, the confidence of Prince Potemkin and, according to legend, participating in the plot against Tsar Paul I.

In 1792, with Russia claiming sovereignty over the northern coast of the Black Sea, the Empress commissioned de Ribas with the construction of what would become Odessa, subsequently appointing him governor in 1794 De Ribas was born in Naples in 1749, son of Miquel de Ribas of Barcelona who had changed cities in order to serve King Charles VII of Bourbon, the future King Charles III of Spain. At the age of 20, while at the port of Livorno, he met Count Orlov, brother of the lover of Empress Catherine the Great. On his return to St. Petersburg, while serving in the imperial army, de Ribas married Anastasia Sokolova, the illegitimate daughter of one of the top imperial ministers. His wife’s status did not prevent


Catalan International View

the wedding from being held in Tsarskoye Selo, the imperial summer palace, and the presence of the Empress, who later became godmother to the couple’s daughters Anna and Sofia. In 1783 de Ribas entered the service of the Empress’ new favourite, Prince Grigory Potemkin, who he was to accompany during the conquest of the Crimea. De Ribas played a major role in the Second Russo-Turkish War (17871792), in the naval battle on the Dnieper Estuary and the subsequent taking of the Fortress of Ochakov and Berezan Island, leading him to be promoted to the rank of general. In 1789 he led a night-time offensive against the town of Khadsibey and the Turkish fortification Yeni Duniya, both of which were destroyed. Nevertheless, de Ribas recognized the strategic importance of the site, which is where later he founded Odessa. In 1790 de Ribas, together with General Suvorov, was one of the architects behind the taking of Izmail, the fortified town on the shores of the Black Sea, also in Ottoman hands and previously thought to be impregnable. It was a resounding military victory and led to de Ribas acquiring great

fame, in spite of it being accompanied by a terrible massacre. Following the Treaty of Jassy in 1792, with Russia claiming sovereignty over the northern coast of the Black Sea, the Empress commissioned de Ribas with the construction of what would become Odessa, subsequently appointing him governor in 1794, after which he took steps to ensure the city grew rapidly. De Ribas also initiated the construction of the Black Sea fleet, for which he was severely criticized, due to his position as an army officer. Catherine the Great moved in his favour by naming him Rear Admiral and later Vice Admiral. On the death of the Empress in 1796, de Ribas was asked to appear before the royal court to answer to allegations of mismanagement of the numerous public works in Odessa. Initially de Ribas managed to ingratiate himself with the new Tsar Paul I, but over time palace intrigue led to him being largely marginalised from power, requiring him to remain in St. Petersburg, unable to ever return to Odessa. Finally, in March 1800, de Ribas was removed from his posts, which led to him aligning himself with other discontented parties who were plotting a coup in favour of the Tsar’s son, Grand Duke Alexander. In the end, de Ribas fell ill with chronic fever as a result of his military campaigns and died shortly after. Many contemporary sources share the suspicion that he was killed by the principal instigator of the conspiracy, the governor of St. Petersburg von Pahlen, fearing that delirium brought on by the fever would cause de Ribas to confess to his part in the plot. Von Pahlen was behind the murder of the Tsar some months later. De Ribas’ life appears to come straight out of a novel. Indeed, the journalist Diego Merry del Val has already written one, entitled El súbdito de la zarina [The Empress’ Subject]. In the 1930s, one of de Ribas’ descendants, Terenky Deribas, was a high-ranking official in the NKDV, the forerunner of the KGB.

Portrait of Josep de Ribas, by Giovanni Battista Lampi

Anastasia Sokolovna Deribas, wife of Josep Ribas, by Stefano Torelli

Catalan International View



Catalan International View

Universal Catalans

The award-winning

Roca brothers In June of this year, El Celler de Can Roca was declared the Best Restaurant in the World at a gala event held in London, organized by the British magazine Restaurant. This unique restaurant, located in Girona, north-east Catalonia, is jointly owned by three brothers Jordi, Josep and Joan Roca. This year they regained first place in the ranking after beating the Danish establishment, Noma, which last year snatched victory from the Catalans, who finished second.

Coinciding with the ceremony in London, the Roca brothers presented their latest projects with a conference entitled ‘Ultimate’. The event, organized for the fourth year in a row by the Costa Brava-Girona Tourist Board at the Mandarin Hotel, focused on their most recent project, the hothouse of gastronomic creativity, research and training La Masia. Joan Roca told his audience, ‘La Masia is a space for creativity and multidisciplinary dialogue where we

can continue innovating’. ‘It allows us to remain committed to what we like, which is cooking and being creative’, he added, ‘it allows us to train our team, initiate projects and realize our dreams in the form of dishes, ideas, concepts...’. During the conference, Josep Roca, the restaurant’s sommelier explained how they work with small producers and continue to get ever closer to the land and its people. Nouvelle cuisine ought to be based on an ‘emotional revolution’. ‘Chefs, waiters and customers Catalan International View


Universal Catalans

are all equal, we all want to feel loved, we all want the same thing, we’re not so different’. Josep Roca went on to underline the fact that it is necessary ‘to incorporate intangibles’ into the kitchen in a ‘society that lacks feelings’. The brothers spoke with great enthusiasm of their experiences during their travels in Latin America, which they have been able to share with their team. Gastronomy is headed in this direction’, explained Joan Roca. ‘We’ve been through a technological revolution, where everyone was worried about the latest tools and machines, then a revolution of ingredients, and now it’s an emotional revolution’, said the Catalan chef. He claims that it is all about, ‘plac76

Catalan International View

ing the emphasis on the team, the people, the relationship with the customer, those intangible yet important things that make a dining experience in a restaurant special’. Jordi Roca, the youngest of the Roca brothers and the restaurant’s head pastry chef, spoke of his experience with the mountaineer Carlos Soria. The Roca brothers researched and designed a complete diet for Soria’s Annapurna expedition. The Roca’s also spoke of a joint initiative with the Gasol brothers (Pau and Marc, two outstanding Catalan players in the NBA) to promote healthy eating habits and sport among children. The list of the World’s 50 Best Restaurants is compiled from the delib-

Universal Catalans

erations of a jury consisting of chefs, journalists, restaurateurs and gourmets based on visits to multiple restaurants, for which they receive no remuneration. Members of the jury vote on seven restaurants in total, four of which must be located in the area where they live and three in the rest of the world.

‘We’ve been through a technological revolution, where everyone was worried about the latest tools and machines, then a revolution of ingredients, and now it’s an emotional revolution’ This year’s event was the last that Restaurant magazine intends to hold in London to publicize its list of the 50 best restaurants in the world. The prestigious ceremony will travel to New York next year, in accordance with the organizers’ wish to hold a more ‘global’ culinary and media event.

Catalan International View


Because there is another way of designing, editing, communicating, reaching people, reaching groups

We do what no other advertising agency, no other copywriter can do

www.estudilogo.cat 路 estudi@estudilogo.cat

A Poem Curated by Enric Bou Professor in Hispanic Studies, Università Ca’ Foscari di Venezia

1 [de Quatre Poemes] aquesta és la sentència:

1 [from Four Poems] this is the sentence:

plantar paraules. regar-les amb paraules, collir-les amb els dits de pell més tendra.

to plant words. water them with words, hand-pick them with gentle hands.

dallar les canyes del silenci, barranc inútil, galliner de somnis.

to scythe the reeds of silence useless ravine, henhouse of dreams.

sembrar, després, paraules líquides, per disfressar la vida de mort, la mort de vida.

to sow, then, liquid words, to disguise life as death, death of life.

cap pausa. no em pregunteu per què.

no pause. do not ask me why. (Translated by Enric Bou)

Francesc Garriga (Sabadell, 1932 - Sant Cugat del Vallès, 2015) graduated in Germanic Philology from the University of Barcelona, and after a stay in the Amazon as part of the Capuchin Franciscans Order returned to Catalonia, where he would later teach Humanities at St. Gregori school in Barcelona. He became known as a poet following the publication of Entre el neguit i el silenci (1959). He was not particularly interested in social poetry of the 1960’s and thus he remained outside mainstream poetical tendencies until recent years when he became one of the most original voices in Catalan poetry. Books such as Temps en blanc (2003), and winning the prestigious Carles Riba Prize with Tornar és lluny (2012), brought his work to the attention of a younger generation of readers. Garriga’s poetical voice was direct and vigorous, and yet enlightening. He declared: ‘I write about myself with the intention that readers will think I am speaking about them. This is the only way for poetry or literature to exist’. He writes about death, loneliness and time in a moving way. He was the editor of the Spanish version of FMR, an art journal created by Franco Maria Ricci. Catalan International View


The Artist

Manolo Ballesteros

by Miquel Molins

I first saw the paintings of Manolo Ballesteros at his home on the outskirts of Figueres, in the dying light of an early winter day in the Empordà region. Also there, a few days later, it occurred to me that it was the type of painting that I have always wanted to write about. I realised that it was, as Maria Lluïsa Borràs put it, painting determined by rigour and demands that are not only aesthetic but also moral and as such difficult to express in words. His work is difficult to write about because the most striking thing about it is its immediate, tremendous and tenacious presence. It is a presence filled by its own being; its muteness seems to silence the very possibility of interpretation. Manolo Ballesteros’ paintings do not seem to say anything more than what they are, the value of the surface of the painting itself, its materiality, there does not appear to be another logical way of talking about them. But, as happens with most abstract, or nonobjective, artists, his paintings deal with the concrete while interpreting the world, they are about painting and thus about knowledge, spirit, and totality. As the saying goes, ‘less is more’. In their apparent simplicity, these paintings deal with 80

the purity of painting and its symbolic value. They are both painting and a reference to the world. In polyptyches made up of a different number of independent rectangular pictures – there is a rhythm in the air between them, says Ballesteros – of different colours and with vertical or horizontal bands in different positions and directions working both from the edges of the piece inwards and from the centre outwards. Firstly, the grid is an autonomous organic entity, a re-presentation, as Rosalind Krauss put it, of everything that separates the work of art from the world, making the painting the object of vision. Secondly, the painting compels us to acknowledge a world beyond the limits of the aesthetic object, constructing our physical surroundings and which can be seen as a theoretical model of architectural space and, as such, of the world in general. This ambivalence of sense is fundamental to the spatial entity of the works, their gridlike structure, but colour also plays its part. The colours used are not to be found in nature but in the connection between our thought and the world, and they counter any narrative reading. However, colours are signs that help us order our surroundings. They construct our

Catalan International View

surroundings, although it is impossible to know exactly how each individual sees them. Painting, according to FÊlix de Azúa, invents colour for us and does with colour what music does with sound, converting it into meaning. Colour is a sensation, and what is more, it is information; a way of constructing the world, like speech. They say the letter Y, known as the Pythagorean Y, represents the process of choosing that is presented to us throughout our lives. Each culture names colours in a different way. Due to this ambivalence Manolo Ballesteros’ painting is both easy and difficult to view. It has nothing to say about the traditional relationship between a painted image and its referent in the world, it only projects the surface itself, its physical qualities, its materiality; it is only (and this in itself is enough) presence, a splendid presence. However, in its aesthetic dimension, it is also, and especially, a refuge for the symbolic, for spirit and emotion. Like other abstract painters that Ballesteros references, Barnett Newman or Joaquim Chancho, to name only two he admires, his work does not display much action, it is emi-

nently contemplative. It is noiseless -the use of oils contributes to this silence- it presents itself exactly how it is, without overwhelming with unnecessary noise. It is painting that asserts itself, without spectacle. It appears to adopt the form of a question, rather than an answer. Ballesteros transforms the apparent monotony of filling large and small surfaces into a recurrent theme, stressing what he considers to be fundamental, the search for sense, the building of a life full of meaning. This is why we find consistency in melody, in a certain order, in a certain structure. Music, however, varies from one work to another. Especially Italian and German music; Bach above all others, also jazz and Gregorian chant. The melody is constant but the rhythm changes. This is why the series also change, with the interplay across the canvases of minimal but intense formal and chromatic variations on one hand, and the interrelations between them on the other, transgressing certain elements, in some cases even the serialisation, and relating themselves with other, non-correlative, elements, to generate receptive responses that are different from the

Catalan International View


The Artist


Catalan International View

initial ones, so that absolutely all the elements of work form a fully functioning structure; one that is resistant and solid. I started by writing about the value of presence in the works of Manolo Ballesteros. Now, talking about series, considering all the works together, I have to talk about event and performativity. All of the variations viewed together, rather than each canvas individually, display a spatial and temporal dimension, a quality of bodiliness that leaves the surface of the wall to project itself outwards, in an action that encompasses habitable space, our site of meaning. Manolo Ballesteros told me that each work is like a ‘profound expectation’, which is why it is necessary to take a break from time to time. Leaving to one side the variations and series is one way of doing this: large circles in black or red on yellow or orange monochrome surfaces replace the rectangles. They are asides, perhaps unconscious breaks to reduce the intellectual intensity invested in the rectangular multicanvas works. Something similar occurs with his folded papers. Manolo Ballesteros uses paper and the more mechanical process of folding it as a way of lowering tension, to take a break from discipline. However, this process is also based on the free development of a creative act as an act of discovery rather than of intellectual imposition. In this sense I see his folded papers as another way of reflecting before embarking on the act of painting, as well as finished works in their own right. They are probably less rationally intense, making them more relaxed than the drawings on which Manolo Ballesteros spends much of his

time filling sketchbook after sketchbook – his primary place for meditation where he intellectually shapes his ideas, feelings and emotions. I do not normally talk about the artist as a person, but in the case of Manolo Ballesteros it would be inexcusable not to mention his aristocratic retreat in the Empordà region of Catalonia accompanied by his wife Cati and his daughter Maria. His stylish, welcoming and dignified lifestyle, in short a life lived to the full, runs parallel with his painting. This life apart, this voluntary retreat, is the path chosen by Manolo Ballesteros for his craft; it is the path of virtue and difficulty, of a fully human and superior painting. In the serene maturity of his present state the raison d’être of Manolo Ballesteros’s painting is more than ever that of not-knowing, of not being allunderstanding. He is of the conviction that our inner life is vast and inexhaustible, and that one of the best ways of beginning to understand it, and indeed ourselves, is the practice of contemplating both our inner life and painting. The light outside has changed and the paintings respond accordingly. Our gaze also, now discovering a previously unnoticed shade of black. His paintings fill the studio space, surrounding those of us gathered there. In this space, a bulwark against time, his paintings speak to us of that which maybe is not but which may be; conjuring up the present and its incessant change, they show the continual dilating and contracting of the world. In the painting of Manolo Ballesteros colour and light are all it takes to reveal something of the world.

Catalan International View


Editorial Board Martí Anglada Former foreign news editor at TV3 (Catalonia Television). He has been foreign correspondent in the Middle East, Italy and Great Britain (1977-1984) for the Barcelona newspaper La Vanguardia and TV3’s foreign correspondent in the United States (1987-1990), Brussels and Berlin (2009-2011). He has also been an international political commentator. His books include Afers no tan estrangers [Not So Foreign Affairs] (Editorial Mina, 2008), Quatre vies per a la independència: Estònia, Letònia, Eslovàquia, Eslovènia [Four Ways To Independence: Estonia, Latvia, Slovakia, Slovenia] (Editorial Pòrtic, 2013) and La via alemanya [The German Way] (Brau Edicions, 2014). He was named the Generalitat’s new delegate for France and Switzerland in September 2014.

Jordi Basté (Barcelona, 1965) Journalist. ​H​e worked at Catalunya R​adio, collaborating on Joaquim Maria Puyal’s football broadcasts​ (​1982​-​2004​)​. He also r ​ eported on basketball matches and presented ​the programs La Jornada and No ho diguis a ningú. ​Later h​e joined RAC1 radio station, where he presented the sports program​​Tu diràs (​ 2004​-2007​)​. S ​ ince then he has been the director and presenter of the morning magazine El món a RAC1 (​ currently the leading program in Catalan radio history)​ ​ for which​​he received the Premi Nacional de Radiodifusió in 2010 and the Premi Òmnium Cultural de Comunicació​​in 2012. O ​ n TV, he has w ​ orked on Basquetmania and a ​ s a c​ odirector and presenter of Gol a gol for Televisió de Catalunya (2001-2003). In 2010 Basté received the Protagonistas award ​for communication and in 2011 he r ​ eceived an Ondas award i​ n recognition of his distinguished career in broadcasting.

Enric Canela (Barcelona, 1949). Holds a degree in Chemistry from the Universitat de Barcelona (UB) and a PhD in Chemistry, specialising in Biochemistry. He has taught at the UB since 1974, where he is currently Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and collaborates on research into intracellular communication. He also conducts research on theoretical Biochemistry and regularly publishes in scientific journals of international repute. He is a member of numerous scientific societies. Between 1991 and 1995 he was vice-president of the Catalan Society of Biology. Between 2007 and 2009 he was president of the Circle for Knowledge. Between 2007 and 2011 he was a patron of the National Agency for Evaluation, Certification and Accreditation (ANECA) in Spain. He is currently vice-rector of Science Policy at the UB.

Salvador Cardús (Terrassa, 1954). PhD in Economics at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB). Visiting researcher at the University of Cambridge, Cornell University (USA) and Queen Mary College of the University of London. Currently he is professor of Sociology at the UAB and the former Dean of the Faculty of Political Sciences and Sociology. He has conducted research into the sociology of religion and culture, media, nationalism and identity. His published works include, Plegar de viure [Giving Up on Life] with Joan Estruch, Saber el temps [Understanding Time], El desconcert de l’educació [The Education Puzzle], Ben educats [Well Educated] and El camí de la independència [The Road To Independence]. In the field of journalism he was the editor of the Crònica d’Ensenyament magazine (1987-1988) and was deputy editor of the Avui newspaper (1989-1991). He contributes to ARA, La Vanguardia, Diari de Terrassa and Deia newspapers. He is a member of the Institut d’Estudis Catalans.

August Gil-Matamala Has been a practising lawyer since 1960, specialising in the fields of criminal and labour law. He has taken part in numerous cases in defence of those on trial for their demands in favour of people’s rights, as well as hearings before the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg. Gil-Matamala fought the first successful case against the Spanish state for the violation of basic rights. He is a founder member of the Commission for the Defence of Individual Rights of the Col·legi d’Advocats de Barcelona (the Barcelona Bar Association) and the Catalan Association for the Defence of Human Rights, which he presided over from its foundation in 1985 to 2001. Gil-Matamala has also been president of both the Fundació Catalunya and the European Democratic Lawyers organization. In 2007, coinciding with his retirement, he received the Creu de Sant Jordi (St. George’s Cross, the highest honour awarded by the Catalan government).

Montserrat Guibernau Professor of Politics at Queen Mary College, University of London. Holds a PhD and an MA in Social and Political Theory from the University of Cambridge and a degree in Philosophy from the Universitat de Barcelona. She has taught at the universities of Warwick, Cambridge, Barcelona, the London School of Economics and the Open University. Guibernau has held visiting professorships at the universities of Edinburgh, Tampere, Pompeu Fabra, the UQAM (Quebec) and the Austrian Academy of Sciences. Currently she holds a visiting fellowship at the Centre for the Study of Global Governance, London School of Economics. Montserrat Guibernau is the author of numerous books and articles on nationalism, the nation-state, national identity, and national and ethnic minorities in the West from the perspective of global governance.


Catalan International View

Editorial Board

Guillem López-Casasnovas (Minorca, 1955). Holds a degree in Economics (distinction, 1978) and Law (1979) from the Universitat de Barcelona (UB) and a PhD in Public Economics from the University of York (1984). He has been a lecturer at the UB, visiting scholar at the Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Sussex and at the Graduate School of Business at the University of Stanford. Since 1992 he is full professor of economics at Barcelona’s Universitat Pompeu Fabra (UPF), where he has been vice-rector of Economics and International Relations and dean of the School of Economics and Business Science. In 1998 he created the Economics and Health Research Centre (CRES-UPF), which he directed until 2005. In 2000 he received the Catalan Economics Society Award, in 2001 the Joan Sardà Dexeus Award and in 2008 the Ramon Llull Distinction from the Balearic government. He is a member of the Catalan Royal Academy of Medicine and distinguished member of the Economists’ Society of Catalonia. Former President of the International Health Economics Association and since 2005 a member of the Governing Board of the Spanish Central Bank. He serves on the advisory councils for Health, Economic Recovery and Catalan Research of the Government of Catalonia.

Manuel Manonelles A political scientist specialised in international relations and human rights, he is Director General for Multilateral and European Affairs of the Catalan Government since June 2014; a position he combines with that of Associated Prof. of International Relations at the University Ramon Llull (Barcelona). Member of the Steering Committee of the Jean Monnet Centre of European Excellence on ‘Intercultural Dialogue, Human Rights and Multi-level Governance’ located at the University of Padua (Italy), he has participated in the work of the Leading Group on Innovative Financing for Development (2009-13) under the coordination of the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and in support of the International Commission Against the Death Penalty (2011-2). He has been special advisor to the Co-chair of the UN High Level Group for the Alliance of Civilizations, as well as director of the Foundation Culture of Peace and the World Forum of Civil Society Networks (known as the Ubuntu Forum). He has been an international electoral observer and supervisor for the OSCE and the EU on many occasions, and has participated in several international intergovernmental and non-governmental processes. He is currently the Government of Catalonia’s Director General of Multilateral Affairs.

Fèlix Martí Former president of the International Catholic Movement for Intellectual and Cultural Affairs (Pax Romana), from 1975 to 1984; director of the Catalonia magazine (1987-2002), aimed at disseminating the Catalan culture around the world; director of the UNESCO centre of Catalonia (1984 to 2002) and subsequently its honorary president. From 1994 to 2002 he was editor of the Catalan editions of the yearly reports of the Washington-based Worldwatch Institute, L’Estat del món [The State of the World] and Signes vitals [Vital Signs]. He promoted the Declaration on Contributions by Religions to a Culture of Peace, signed by leaders of the great religious traditions in 1994. President of the Linguapax International Institute from 2001 to 2004 and its honorary president thereafter. He published his memoirs Diplomàtic sense estat [Diplomat Without a State], in 2006. His latest book is Déus desconeguts. Viatge iniciàtic a les religions de l’Orient [Unknown Gods. Journey of Initiation Through the Religions of the East], published in 2013. He was awarded the UNESCO Human Rights Medal in 1995 and the Generalitat de Catalunya’s Creu de Sant Jordi in 2002.

Eva Piquer (Barcelona, 1969).Writer and cultural journalist. Works for several newspapers and magazines. Has been a lecturer at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona and a New York news correspondent. Won the 2002 Josep Pla prize for her novel Una victòria diferent (A Different Victory). Also author of several books, including La noia del temps (The Weather Girl), Alícia al país de la televisió (Alice in Television Land) and No sóc obsessiva, no sóc obsessiva, no sóc obsessiva (I’m Not Obsessive, I’m Not Obsessive, I’m Not Obsessive). Her latest book is called La feina o la vida (Life or work).

Ricard Planas (Girona, 1976). Journalist, art critic and cultural promoter. Studied Philology and the History of Art at the Universitat de Girona. In 1999 he founded the magazine Bonart, dedicated to the contemporary art scene in the Catalan Countries. More recently he created and directed the Catalan art fair INART in 2005 and 2006. Has worked as the curator for exhibitions by important artists such as Arranz-Bravo, Lamazares, Formiguera, Cuixart, Ansesa and Grau-Garriga. Ricard has collaborated with Ona Catalana, Catalunya Ràdio, iCatfm and Onda Rambla radio stations. Has also worked for the Diari de Girona, El Punt and El Mundo newspapers, among others.

Clara Ponsatí Holds a degree in Economics from the Universitat de Barcelona, a Masters in Economics from the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB) and a PhD from the University of Minnesota. She is a research professor and director at Institut d’Anàlisi EconòmicaC.S.I.C., affiliated faculty and research fellow at the Barcelona Graduate School of Economics. She has been senior researcher at C.S.I.C., associate professor and assistant professor at UAB and Postdoctoral research associate at Bell Communications Research, Morristown, NJ. She is a member of the editorial boards of The International Journal of Game Theory and The Review of Economic Design.

Arnau Queralt Holds a degree in Environmental Sciences from the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB) and a Masters in Public Management from ESADE, the UAB and the Universitat Pompeu Fabra. Since October 2011, he has been the director of the Advisory Council for the Sustainable Development of Catalonia (CADS), an advisory body of the Government of Catalonia attached to its Presidential Department. Since October 2012, he has been a member of the Steering Committee of the European Environment and Sustainable Development Advisory Councils (EEAC). From May 2010 to October 2011 he was secretary general of the Cercle Tecnològic de Catalunya Foundation. He has been on the board of the Catalan Association of Environmental Professionals since 2004 and was its president from 2010 to 2012.

Catalan International View


Editorial Board

Vicent Sanchis (Valencia, 1961). Holds a degree in Information Sciences from the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona. In his career as a journalist it is worth highlighting that he has worked and collaborated on many publications and with numerous publishers; he is director of El Temps magazine, and he has been director of Setze magazine, the Catalan supplement of Cambio 16, and director of the newspapers El Observador and Avui. He has also excelled as a scriptwriter and director on different TV programmes. At present he is president of the editorial board of Avui, and vice-president of Òmnium Cultural. Vicent is also a lecturer in the Faculty of Communication Sciences at Universitat Ramon Llull in Barcelona.

Mònica Terribas (Barcelona, 1968). Holds a BA in Journalism from the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona and a PhD in Philosophy from the University of Stirling (Scotland). She is a lecturer at Universitat Pompeu Fabra. From 2002 to 2008 she presented and subsequently directed the current affairs programme La nit al dia for TV3 (the Catalan public television). From 2008 to 2012 she was Director of TV3 and the following year, the CEO and editor of the newspaper Ara. Since September 2013 she has presented El matí de Catalunya Ràdio, Catalonia’s public service broadcasting flagship current affairs programme.

Montserrat Vendrell (Barcelona, 1964). Has been BIOCAT’s CEO since April 2007. As a cluster organization, BIOCAT’s goals include promoting the development of biotechnology companies and research institutions. Vendrell has been the Chairwoman of CEBR (the Council of European Bioregions) since 2012. She holds a PhD in Biology (Universitat de Barcelona), a Masters in Science Communication (UPF, 1997) and a degree in Business Administration (IESE, PDG-2007). Before BIOCAT she was linked to the Barcelona Science Park, where she held several posts such as Scientific Director (1997-2005) and Deputy Director General (2005-2007). Among other tasks, Dr. Vendrell led the design and implementation of the Park’s Strategic Plan, as well as the organization and management of scientific activities and technological platforms. She was a member of the Steering Committee of the Park’s Biotech Incubator, and in charge of international relations.

Carles Vilarrubí (Barcelona, 1954). Businessman. He is currently Executive Vice-President of Rothschild Spain Investment Bank, specialising in key mergers and takeovers in the financial sector on an international scale. President of CVC Grupo Consejero, an equity and investment advisory firm, with a portfolio of shares in consulting and service companies from the world of communications, the media, marketing, technology and telecommunications. President of Doxa Consulting Group, independent consultants on technology, media and telecommunications, leaders in the sector and with a presence in Spain and Portugal. He is a member of the advisory board of the Catalan confederation Foment del Treball Nacional [National Employment Promotion] and patron of the Fundació Orfeó Català - Palau de la Música. He has also been a member of the governing council of ADENA WWF (World Wild Fund for Nature), and sat on the boards of the Fundación Arte y Tecnología, Fundesco and Fundación Entorno. He is vice-president of F.C Barcelona.

Vicenç Villatoro (Terrassa, 1957). Writer and journalist. Holds a degree in Information Sciences. He is director of CCCB (Barcelona’s Center for Contemporary Culture). Former president of the Ramon Trias Fargas Foundation and the former director of the Institut Ramon Llull.. As a journalist he has worked for numerous organizations. He was the editor of the Avui newspaper from 1993 to 1996 and head of the culture section of TV3. Between 2002 and 2004 was director general of the Catalan Radio and Television Corporation. He has contributed to a range of media companies, such as Avui, El Periódico, El País, El Temps, Catalunya Ràdio and COM ràdio. As a writer he has written a dozen novels.

Francesc de Dalmases (Director) (Barcelona, 1970). Journalist and consultant in humanitarian aid and cooperation and development. Has been president (1999-2006) of the Association of Periodicals in Catalan (APPEC); coordinator for the delegation to the Spanish state of European Bureau for Lesser-Used Languages (1995-1999); coordinator for the third conference of the CONSEU (Conference of European Stateless Nations) (1999); and coordinator for the publication Europa de les Nacions (1993-1999). Has acted as a foreign expert in aid projects in such diverse locations as Afghanistan, Pakistan, Mongolia, Kosovo, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Mexico, Guatemala and Morocco. He is a member of the Cooperation Council of the Catalan government. In 2011 he joined Barcelona’s Council’s Aid Commitee and is a board member of the Federation of Internationally Recognized Catalan Organizations.

Víctor Terradellas (Editor) (Reus, 1962). Entrepreneur and political and cultural activist. President and founder of Fundació CATmón. Editor of Catalan International View and ONGC, a magazine dedicated to political thought, solidarity, aid and international relations. Víctor has always been involved in political and social activism, both nationally and internationally. The driving force behind the Plataforma per la Sobirania (The Platform for Self-Determination) as well as being responsible for significant Catalan aid operations and international relations in such diverse locations as Peru, Bolivia, Chile, Argentina, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Albania, Afghanistan, Mongolia, Pakistan and Kurdistan. Currently he is General Secretary of International Relations for Convergència Democràtica de Catalunya, the ruling party in Catalonia.


Catalan International View

Profile for Catalan International View

Civ 20 web  

Civ 20 web