Aragon has broken off negotiations with Catalonia over the proposed joint bid to hold the 2030 Winter Olympics in the Pyrenees. Consequently, the Spanish Olympic Committee (COE) has lost patience and announced that it will put forward its own proposal, which could consist of a candidacy by Catalonia on its own. This morning saw the eleventh meeting over the joint Games bid and tensions escalated until the committee decide that enough was enough. "The Catalonia-Aragon project has collapsed," COE sources told ElNacional.cat. The representatives of Aragon did not accept the latest proposal of the committee over the issue which has been the sticking point since the beginning: the distribution of events between the two communities. Today it was proposed that Aragon would host the modality of freestyle skiing and, in return, Catalonia would host the figure skating, but Aragon once again demanded alpine skiing competition in its territory and at this point the negotiations fell into major discrepancies. The president of the Spanish Olympic Committee, Alejandro Blanco, stated that the body he heads will present his own proposal and that he will explore the possibilities of "presenting a technically unbeatable project", as stated in the statement issued by the COE this Monday evening. One of the scenarios is that the candidacy will be solely focused on Catalonia. For its part, the Catalan government has announced that it is ready to hold the Winter Games alone and does not want to miss the "opportunity" to host this sporting occasion.
Initially, the deadline for reaching an agreement was set for last Friday, May 20th, but in an interview with radio station RAC1 the COE leader admitted that "greater margin" was needed for the talks to continue, although he did not want to specify a date. In any case, on July 1st it has to be resolved because the International Olympic Committee is visiting Spain. Blanco said that in recent weeks "progress has been made" in the agreement between the two communities. On the other hand, he flatly ruled out a solo candidacy from either Catalonia or Aragon. "It's not that it wouldn't have a chance, but we would be making complete idiots of ourselves," he said.
In this regard, after the COE decided to postpone the deadline for the agreement on the 2030 Winter Games candidacy, the Catalan presidency minister, Laura Vilagrà, called on the committee for a "quick solution" to overcome the blockage between Catalonia and Aragon. The minister asked for it to be expedited rapidly because the public needs to be told "all the details with certainty", Europa Press reports. Vilagrà was speaking at the meeting of the local territorial committee on the Olympic Games project, a telematic meeting with the participation of the Aran governing council, regional and municipal representatives from the Pyrenees and Barcelona, government delegates and members of several Catalan ministries: presidency, vice-presidency, foreign action and climate action.
Vilagrà defended at the meeting that the candidacy will be based on criteria of economic, social and environmental sustainability, and said that the snow-based disciplines should be prioritized, rather than those planned for ice rinks in the cities: "We see these as the Pyrenees Games," she said. The minister also said that with the current hotel capacity it is possible to "accommodate the different groups". The meeting also specified the technical details of the two consultations of the opinions of residents of Pyrenean counties to be held on July 24th, one in the high Pyrenees area of north-west Catalonia, on whether the games bid should go ahead, and another in three other counties - Berguedà, Solsonès and Ripollès - on whether each of those territories should take part in it.