Business 13/10/2021

The Cercle d'Economia warns that Catalonia and Barcelona could fall "into a spiral of economic irrelevance"

The business lobby criticises degrowth and demands a "model of shared prosperity"

2 min
The president of the Círculo de Economía , Javier Faus.

BarcelonaThe Cercle d'Economia has denounced this Wednesday that "neither Barcelona nor Catalonia have a model of shared prosperity and with the complicity of administrations, workers and businesses". The business lobby group lamented that both the country and its capital could be trapped "in a spiral of economic irrelevance, of slow but inexorable decline".

The entity has recalled that it was one of the first to publicly show its support for pardons because it considered that "it was a first step" towards this goal, as well as "to generate the necessary complicity between the administrations and civil society". Even so, the Cercle d'Economia makes its "disappointment" with the Catalan government and Barcelona City Council very explicit: "We believe that neither of the two most important institutions in the country has defined a model of prosperity that the vast majority of citizens, civil society and business can share". Thus, the organisation considers that the model of economic development proposed by both administrations is "strongly ideological", with "lack of pragmatism", and that it often generates "confrontation". "Very often they are tactical, conjunctural, to obtain a favourable vote in some budgets or to differentiate themselves from their political adversary", the Cercle criticises.

The business lobby also repeats a message it has already defended in relation to the expansion of El Prat airport: calling degrowth theories "irresponsible". The Cercle believes that this current of thought is not "credible even in the field of climate change" and assures that in industrialised countries it has been shown that economic growth and emissions reduction can be made compatible. "There are scientists and economists who point out that technology and innovation will be part of the solution to the problem, and without growth and business profits reinvested into research, no progress can be made," he said. Regarding El Prat airport, he asks the administrations to sit down "urgently" at the dialogue table to enable an expansion "that minimizes the environmental impact".

To achieve this "model of shared prosperity", the Cercle gives as examples the government of Germany or the Paris City Council, where "consensus" has prevailed to solve problems. How do they propose to apply this formula in Catalonia and Barcelona? To begin with, the business institution proposes to redesign tourism betting "for quality instead of quantity", although it denounces that this objective cannot be achieved without constantly renewing the hotel plan and, therefore, considers municipal prohibitions an "obstacle".

"Lack of consensus and excess of demagoguery"

On the other hand, the Cercle also considers sectors such as digitisation or biomedicine strategic axes of economic growth, and urges Catalonia to follow the example of Portugal, which has made the slogan of "entrepreneurial country" its own. As for the transition to a new energy model, the body warns that "consensus is lacking and demagogy is in excess" and reproaches that "we naively think that only with the self-consumption we will serve all the energy needs of the country". The organisation ends with congratulations for the "good work done" at the Nissan reindustrialisation committee, but calls for the same consensus for the whole of Catalan industry.

"We are neither pessimistic nor defeatist, but we are not complacent. Today, Barcelona and Catalan politics do not help make the country progress or to seek and implement an economic development that brings us closer to this shared prosperity", it concludes.