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The decision by the Catalan government and the municipalities affected by the expansion of Barcelona's El Prat airport to ask AENA for a moratorium, beyond the date of September 30th, to decide on the proposal to extend the third runway, again brings uncertainty into a project that has its political supporters and detractors but also has the business sector of Catalonia and its capital almost unanimously in favour.

The technical meetings that have been held during this month of July have not unblocked the decision and in the Catalan government, on this issue as on so many others, two souls are to be found: that of ERC, in favour of reaching consensus among the leftist political forces and environmentalists so that the issue does not end up being a boomerang, and that of Junts, which, through Catalan government vice president, Jordi Puigneró, expressed its support for the expansion weeks ago.

Like all those other things, in Catalonia it will not be an easy or unanimous decision. There are precedents in this regard that should not be forgotten when adopting a position. On the table, the well-known environmental problem that affects the Ricarda lagoon and the need for future expansion to plan for more international flights and higher speeds between the airports of Barcelona, ​​Reus and Girona and the respective high-speed train stations in the three cities.

The environmental issue, as one would expect, is the element that provokes the most division and it is obvious that it needs the endorsement of the European Commission and the corresponding European Commissioner, the Lithuanian Virginijus Sinkevicius. This is an obstacle, that will impose its solution on the protected space of the Ricarda. But the most fundamental question, after overcoming this obstacle, is whether or not to favour a larger airport, or whether investments in other infrastructure should be prioritized.

Leaving aside the fact that the expansion of the airport would end up having important effects on the economy, since the existing model, and the one on which the recovery will need to be based, out of preference, will be the return of international tourism. If Barcelona gives this up, other destinations will end up adopting it as their own. What is not valid is something as typical of the Barcelona city council as positioning itself in opposition to the opening of new hotels by international luxury chains or the Hermitage Museum and, at the same time, calling for quality tourism. If you want, you can choose one thing or the other, but both at the same time is impossible. And that, very often, gets forgotten.