The absolute chaos that has reigned for the last four days in the Barcelona suburban rail network, with serious effects on hundreds of thousands of people and the consequent economic impact, has once again highlighted the enormous deterioration of a basic infrastructure for mobility in the conurbation of metropolitan Barcelona. It is years since the Catalan government and many institutions, as well as business organizations, trade unions, professional associations and others, spoke out in favour of a transfer to the Catalan government of the rail services, something that has not yet arrived and that the Spanish government has worked to undermine by all possible means. As much under the executives of Felipe González, as with successive prime ministers José María Aznar, José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, Mariano Rajoy and Pedro Sánchez.
Three decades of demands in one of those areas which the Spanish nationalists are fond of calling "things that affect people". And thus the old cliché that the independence movement has just its single issue - the independence of Catalonia - collapses under its own weight in the face of situations that are truly offensive to Catalans. I would like to see all the unionist parties in Catalona also give their support to the letter sent on Tuesday by the Catalan president, Pere Aragonès, to the Spanish prime minister, Pedro Sánchez, in which he says very directly that "from the Catalan government we demand to take over the management of this service, primordial for our country", in order to have suburban rail services that are "regular, punctual, safe and reliable".
Is there any Catalan political party that is against this statement? Because I am afraid that the members of the public who have been suffering from the endless delays, a lack of information and the most complete chaos of these days will be in absolute agreement, whichever party they usually vote for. The employers' association Foment del Treball has estimated a daily cost of between 200 and 250 million euros a day for the Catalan suburban train drivers' strike, and has asked the pro-independence parties, which hold the key to the next Spanish government budget, to use their power to force the transfer of rail competencies. It must be assumed that the Spanish ministry of transport, mobility and urban agenda, now headed by Raquel Sánchez - until four days ago mayor of Gavà, one of the cities directly affected - will row in favour of the solution and not be part of the problem.
One last thought: the opposition to the transfer to the Catalan government expressed by SEMAF, the union of Spanish train drivers and assistants, which represents 85% of professionals in the field, is quite unacceptable blackmail. Their argument that the Generalitat of Catalonia is incapable of taking on the management of these infrastructures is a complete nonsense and the Spanish ministry knows it. A transfer of resources proportionate to the enormous deficit that the service suffers is required, with a handover to the Catalan authorities in the shortest possible time and the engine drivers do not need to worry. Catalan users know only too well how suburban rail works - as they also know the workings of the Catalan rail service, Ferrocarrils de la Generalitat. And honestly, there is no comparison.