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The mayor of Barcelona, ​​Ada Colau, has shown herself to be even more blunt than her political colleagues from Unidas Podemos in Madrid when it comes to the Catalonia-Spain dialogue table. In line with the current fashion for speculatively defining the issues to be discussed at the table before the two governments even meet, the leader of Barcelona en Comú now totally writes off any aspiration to Catalan independence: "It is evident that there is no basis on which to propose a referendum in the short term. Better that we come down to earth and leave fewer promises unfulfilled. After a pandemic and with the climate crisis, people don't want nonsense anymore", she said in statements to Catalonia's TV3.

The mayor regards a proposal for a referendum in the near future as "nonsense", using this description as she compares such a political action with recent experiences such as Covid-19. A Barcelona city council spokeperson clarified for this newspaper that by "nonsense" she was not really referring to a referendum itself but to "the politics of instant solutions".

Once again, Colau is showing signs of fatigue on an issue that is exhausting for her: "You can't promise that there will be a referendum. All of this is damaging to politics," she reiterates. Despite the clear position she takes, she asks others "not to start campaigning," especially for the next municipal elections, in two years, "because there's a long time to go." As for whether this type of statement about the referendum is an indication of political aspirations she might have been beyond the Barcelona council, Colau does not make it clear: "It is not in my plans to go on to something else. I am fully dedicated to the mayoralty of Barcelona after two hard and complicated years. I haven't decided yet, I had a two-term commitment."

No to the Airport and the Winter Olympics 

In relation to the Catalan government led by Pere Aragonès, Colau has also been very critical on two issues: the expansion of Barcelona's El Prat airport and a possible Barcelona-Pyrenees bid for the Winter Olympics. On the airport, she states her clear opposition and asks ERC to specify which side they are on. In addition, the mayor has admitted that the power from the mayoralty position to stop this new airport hub plan is low, but in terms of the city council's stand, she says that she has "the last word", despite what her Socialist partners on the council say: "It happens to all governments, there aren't any absolute majorities any more and different coalitions have to be formed."

"The expansion of the airport means increasing CO2 emissions hugely. It is not only destroying the Ricarda lagoon, but bringing in 20 million extra passengers who are basically tourists. That means we are not learning anything from the current model, which is already outdated and has failed. I am upset with this issue because I've seen no report and I've been asking for them for months." And for the Spanish airport operator, AENA, she has a message: "Their model is that of the speculative investment project that we've seen all our lives."

The mayor regretted that the Catalan authorities do not share her point of view on either this point, or on a hypothetical Winter Olympics in Catalonia. Here again, she claims she has not seen an official report: "No one has told me anything or presented me with any proposal." And she asks president Aragonès to send her the feasibility study for this project.

When asked about the reopening of the nightlife sector - still closed due to the pandemic - she avoids the issue. Last week she asked the Catalan government to consider the reopening and now she is even more prudent in her message: "We have to avoid controversies, in health matters we have shown loyalty to the government. What we do say is that from proximity and knowledge, if nightlife doesn't reopen, when there is some activity, people can be drawn to it like a magnet. The activity may be carried out with all the regulations in force, but gatherings of people who do unforeseen things may occur."


Main image: Barcelona mayor Ada Colau in the recent 'Festes de Sants'