09/09/2021

Is there definitely no solution for El Prat?

2 min
Ada Colau, Lluís Mijoler and Yolanda Díaz to the viewpoint of the Island

BarcelonaEverything surrounding the El Prat airport expansion fiasco is particularly disappointing. The president of airport management company Aena, Maurici Lucena, said yesterday that the breakdown of the agreement with the Generalitat to expand the airport is definitive and that there will not be another window of opportunity for another five years. And on both sides the situation is considered irreversible. But how is it possible that in 24 hours a negotiating process that was supposed to last for months can go down the drain with terrible excuses and without any possibility of getting it back on track? The economic world is in a state of shock and hopes that the situation can still be straightened out, and in fact it would be irresponsible not to try to do so, as President Aragonès is demanding.

With regard to what has happened in recent weeks, we can understand Aena's discomfort with certain public statements, but does anyone really believe that a strategic investment can be stopped because it has been insinuated that certain ministers may go on a demonstration against it? Or because of a series of tweets? The most logical thing would have been that, in a situation of uncertainty, the Spanish ministry had called the Generalitat to a meeting and laid all the cards on the table. Now, instead of this, what we have is an exchange of accusations and a political battle in which everyone has internal contradictions and hidden interests. First of all, the Spanish government cannot hide behind the division in the Catalan government over the infrastructure, when that same executive is also divided and this Thursday a Spanish vice-president publicly congratulated herself on halting the investment. Therefore, a clear and convincing explanation is needed for such a drastic decision with so many implications.

The most serious thing, however, is the lack of transparency. How can it be that the famous agreement on August 2 was not put down in writing and was only verbal, at the mercy of the interpretation that either side could make of it? How can it be that there is no clear and united position between ERC and Junts regarding a basic infrastructure for the country? The Generalitat would now have to present its proposal to counteract the ministry and Aena's narrative, but of course, this means coming up with specifics and getting worn down.

The public deserved a serious debate on the airport, having all the options on the table, listening to communities, to experts in air navigation, to economists, to ecologists, etc. in order to be able to make a decision that is as consensual as possible. In reality, this is a global debate that is also taking place in other parts of the world, and which has to do with CO2 emissions and climate change. It is not, in any case, an issue that can be decided on the basis of a few tweets or a few statements. If we decide to sacrifice a natural space (and compensate it with other actions), it has to be explained very clearly. And if the decision is not to expand El Prat, as Aena has decided, the consequences of not doing so must also be explained. And if the precondition is that there is a consensus between all the administrations, I agree, but this consensus has never existed, because Barcelona and El Prat councils have always opposed it.

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