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Pedro Sánchez's move to unilaterally withdraw the investment of 1.7 billion for the expansion of the Barcelona-El Prat airport has whipped up a whirlwind in Catalan politics, in the economic sectors and in the business ecosystem of the so-called "Upper Diagonal", which is desperately throwing its traffic signals to red to stop the unstoppable. Sánchez wanted to outplay the Catalan government and leave it to drown in the debacle of losing a multimillion-euro investment. This, because it did not accept an expansion which was decided from Madrid like a military order and was incapable of meeting the European Commission's environmental criteria, which, of course, affected the La Ricarda lagoon. It was the opposite of negotiating, looking for points in common, making imaginative proposals that needed to start from a conception much closer to the forecasts being made for the air transport sector of the future.

Twenty-four hours after its authoritarian gesture, the Spanish government has not yet explained why it took the step, beyond complaining about a tweet or a few statements that it did not like. It is obvious that Madrid wants to keep us entertained with these small details because the key aspect, whether or not they win the narrative of who has behaved irresponsibly in this whole matter, is an issue that they have been dealing behind the scenes since Wednesday, through the Barcelona-Madrid terminals. A few people have lost a lot of sleep over it and perhaps it is not because the expansion of the third airport runway has been abandoned but because of the offices that had to be built inside the complex and that were to require a very significant piece of the 1.7 billion investment pie.

Because, in the end, the airport operator AENA is a company that trades on the Ibex share index - this Thursday it fell by 1.7%, its lowest price in the last month - and in its long history the development of Barcelona airport has never been the top priority. Because Barcelona-El Prat has been a dozen times more profitable than Madrid-Barajas and yet, surprisingly, has received only a third as much as the Madrid airport. Because that can be said, right? Let's work for Barcelona to be an intercontinental hub, yes. But let's decide ourselves what we want our airport to be, and demand the  management of it using the votes we have in the Spanish Congress. This perhaps is a rather small act of sovereignty. But it is certainly more useful for Catalans than forgetting that pro-independence votes serve to do such things.

In politics, as important as having power, perhaps more important than having it, is exercising it, imposing respect on your opponent. With El Prat, the Spanish government crossed a red line that is not just political, as there is a deliberate attitude of blackmail and humiliation. It could almost be said that it has a whiff of electoralism, if it were not for the fact that there seem to be no elections in sight and the PSOE has problems with the price of electricity, as the Spanish gaze is not on Catalonia. The response given by the independence movement and obviously from the Catalan government will set the height of the bar for the conflict in the political year which has just begun.