The central government has picked up the gauntlet of civil society in favor of the expansion of the Barcelona airport, which yesterday, through the Foment employers' association, set up a commission of experts to reactivate the project and facilitate agreements. At the same time, economic and political circles are studying alternatives to Aena's initial proposal, as announced last Sunday by La Vanguardia.
In this context, the Ministry of Transport claims to be willing to work "jointly" with the Generalitat on a proposal to expand El Prat that makes "the need for airport growth compatible with respect for the environment". "For us, the expansion of the airport is a project that is still alive, we do not want to give up the possibility of making El Prat airport an intercontinental hub," they maintain from the ministry headed by Raquel Sánchez. "We believe that there is enough time to reach an agreement before the approval of the future Dora III in 2026," they add.
Transport stopped the investment of 1,700 million euros to extend El Prat a year ago, considering that the discrepancies between JxCat and ERC on the project made its execution unfeasible. The Catalan economic and business sector is trying to recover it now with initiatives such as the commission on the Foment del Treball airport. Chaired by Lluís Moreno –president of the Chamber of Contractistes d'Obres de Catalunya (CCOC)–, the panel of experts yesterday approved the work schedule, with the intention of presenting conclusions in July 2023. During that time, appearances of aeronautics and transport technicians, environmental experts and representatives of the affected town councils, the Barcelona Provincial Council and the Catalan and central governments. Among others, members of the organization are Mar Alarcón (Social Car), Cristian Bardají (RACC), Mònica Roca (Chamber of Barcelona), Jordi Clos (Guild of Barcelona Hotels), Salvador Fernández (Ciment Català), Enrique Lacalle (Automobile Barcelona ), Pedro Nueno (IESE), Josep Piqué (former minister and consultant), Baldiri Ros (Institut Agrícola Català Sant Isidre) or the president of Foment, Josep Sánchez Llibre.
From Transport they observe this commission with interest and appreciate "the claims of the Catalan civil society in favor of the enlargement". However, they insist that it is the governments that have to make the decisions "and for this purpose a technical commission should be formed between the Generalitat and the Government." "The Generalitat must still resolve its internal discrepancies, the stumbling block is there, not in the Government," they stress.
For its part, from the Vice-Presidency department, in the hands of Jordi Puigneró (JxCat) they have also valued the employer's initiative: "all contributions to find a technical solution are welcome". And they are willing to seek "agreed solutions" with no other a priori than "improving the airport's connectivity with a criterion of respect for the environment".
The background current thus moves towards the search for new consensus, although those involved postpone it until after the municipal elections, also pending what the ERC ends up deciding on the project.