9 September 2021
An investment of 1,700 million euros, the highest in Catalonia since the 1992 Olympic Games, in a key infrastructure for the country’s progress, such as the airport, required the consensus of all the public administrations involved. Carrying out the millionaire project to widen the tracks with the opposition of the Catalan government would have been risky for the success of the initiative. That is why the Government has decided to suspend said investment, as announced yesterday, unexpectedly, by the Minister of Transport, Raquel Sánchez.
The aforementioned decision of the Government is bad news for Barcelona, and for the whole of Catalonia, because it compromises its future of progress and economic growth. It is therefore necessary to ask, from the outset, that all the parties involved reconsider their respective positions and can reach a consensus on the necessary and essential expansion of the airport.
The Generalitat has not been up to the task when rejecting the expansion of the airport
However, it is very difficult for the Minister of Transport, as well as Aena itself, promoter of the initiative, to be able to advance in the expansion of the airport with the Generalitat against it, and with councilors of the Government itself willing to lead the big manifestation of rejection of the project that is being prepared for next day 19, which will also be chaired by the mayor of Barcelona, Ada Colau, as well as the mayor of El Prat and numerous environmental organizations. Both municipalities have a voice but do not have a vote to decide on the project.
The Generalitat, therefore, is the one that assumes a serious historical, economic and social responsibility by raising objections and opposing the expansion of the Barcelona airport. Catalonia cannot and should not be disconnected from the geographical areas with the greatest economic and technological development in the world because this is equivalent to a progressive decline and to leave new generations without a future. Furthermore, it is paradoxical that on this occasion the investments necessary for the expansion of the airport have been offered, without compensation, by Aena’s own management, led – for the first time – by a Catalan: the socialist Maurici Lucena . Nothing like this had ever happened before, since until now there had always been pressure to achieve improvements at the Barcelona airport in the face of competition from the Madrid-Barajas airport, traditionally more favored by state investments.
What is happening in Catalonia? This lack of global vision that its leaders have when mortgaging the economic, social and technological future of the country with the opposition to the expansion of the airport cannot be understood. President Aragonès, who is the president of all Catalans, has not lived up to his position by showing excessive lukewarmness and not imposing himself in the face of pressure from a few.
We must defend nature and protect the environment. Certainly. This is a principle that nobody disputes. But the defense of natural spaces, in the case of the airport expansion project, is perfectly compatible with the progress and economic and social development of the country. Even, according to the Aena project, the protected natural spaces in the surroundings of the La Ricarda lagoon would be substantially larger than the current ones.
Air connections through intercontinental flights with the United States, Asia and the rest of the world that would allow the expansion of the airport are essential for economic growth, the creation of quality employment and the attraction of investment, talent and high-end tourism purchasing power. In short, they are key to Catalonia in the 21st century. The current situation of blockade of the project must be redirected, and it is the responsibility of President Aragonès to do so.