July 31, 2021

Land as You Can, by Javier Melero

You will agree with me that Mr. Sánchez Llibre, the president of the Foment del Treball employer’s association, is one of the friendliest guys circulating in Catalonia. A man who has managed to have his long parliamentary career forgiven and, instead of entering that increasingly crowded attic of history where two generations of Catalan politicians yawn, find his place in the world.

Add to that an enviable ability to say sensible things in a place given to the most blushing outbursts and the fact of being one of the few people who is not stoned in the public square for being autonomist (in this exclusively populated country, at the apparently, by leftist independentistas), and they will understand the reasons why I tend to listen carefully to almost everything he says. A rare exponent of the well-mannered public figure whose pride in living is not expressed through intolerance and bad humor.

The reasons for the emergency to expand the El Prat airport have not been sufficiently explained

For this reason, and as far as the controversy over the expansion of the El Prat airport is concerned, I cannot help but think that a cross between him and our mayor could be most stimulating. Something like a debate cool that it would oppose people supposedly guided by ideology with others guided by pragmatism. Because, despite my intuitive predisposition to agree with Mr. Sánchez in everything (except if he dares to speak ill of Keith Richards), I must confess that the subject in question generates more doubts than certainties.

In the first place, because I observe with perplexity that all those supposed moral teachings that we were going to obtain as a result of the pandemic have come to nothing, as if we had returned to January 2019 and the solidarity morality – certainly somewhat cloying – would have been nothing more than a somewhat cheesy dream. There is no other explanation that some people celebrate with joy the rise in rental prices in Barcelona. Above all, after having spent months saying that its stratospheric level was expelling longtime residents to the periphery, deserting the city of children and young people – especially of the popular classes – and turning it into that theme park for tourists in which poor Gaudí coexists with resignation with the flip flop and the most vitriolic paellas.

Xavier Cervera

Second, because it is said with rare forcefulness that not proceeding immediately to the expansion of the El Prat airport, even with two, one next to the other, will represent little less than the ruin of the city, the loss of any Opportunity for the future and the definitive defeat against a Madrid suddenly turned (things of Catalonia) into an economic model to be envied.

Frankly, it seems to me that the reasons for this emergency have not been explained enough, although it is also possible that I am incapable of understanding them, since you already know that foolishness is more frequent than intelligence for the simple reason that intelligence has its characteristics. limits.

As far as I know, tourists coped perfectly with the current infrastructures, as well as those attending the few international events that we still have. With a bit of luck, the participants in the Mobile will continue to come more or less in the same contingents in which they already did (if they are able to tolerate the closure of Albert Adrià’s restaurants), and everything seems to indicate that they had more trouble getting a taxi than flying. Nor am I aware that the dedicated sex workers, who contribute so much to the success of this type of congress, have expressed the slightest complaint about access to the city by air.

Add to this the obviousness that there is no queue of international agencies eager to settle in Barcelona, ​​just waiting for the airport to expand its runways at once. The last one that was interested in moving its headquarters here – the European Medicines Agency – let it run, and not because the tracks were short, but because the prospects offered by the country’s political leadership were even shorter. And as for local companies, I doubt that they export everything by plane, or that they are not more in need of a good investment in R&D and of retaining talent than of one of those hubs that nobody knows too well what they are for, no matter how much they are named in English.

Sure, the proposal carries good intentions, but it does not seem inspired by a city model for a more sustainable future and ends up sounding like “more of the same” that we know so well. The country is full of underused airports, cities where infrastructure has brought nothing but debt and frustration, and overwhelming evidence that the first thing is to have a viable and fair project, and the second, to have longer runways.

So, while waiting for better explanations from Aena, Mr. Sánchez Llibre and the promoters of the expansion, I end up signing on this issue for Mrs. Colau and the birds of the delta. Who was going to tell me!